In July Nuance released iPhone app Dragon Go! that has nicely combined voice recognition technology with intelligent search functionality. Today the company released updated version of this app (free download) with a number of new features added. Specifically, the update includes support for media content on Netflix, Google+ public posts and search engines Wolfram|Alpha and Ask.com. Besides, the Yelp support was improved and now you can see a map view directly within the Yelp tab.
Today Amazon announced their tablet called Kindle Fire. It has 7" IPS display, custom android OS, weights 413g, has 8Gb of storage, Wifi. Unfortunately it does not have 3G. The price is attractive though - $199. Shipments start November 15.
We are not sure that this device can be a real iPad killer. However it will definitely compete with other Android tablets, like Blackberry Playbook, HP Touchpad and others.
AllThingsD reported on an interesting app from Disney that uses iPad’s capabilities in unusual way. So-called Appmates are toy cars that interact with the app via the iPad’s display. Writer of the publication Tricia Duryee explains:
Research firm Gartner has published sales forecasts for the tablet market, stating that a lack of momentum from competitors will allow iPad to be absolute leader during the holiday shopping season. Looking further ahead, Gartner predicts that Apple will maintain more than 50 percent share of this market segment through 2014 even as Research in Motion’s QNX and Microsoft's Windows 8 platforms are expected to build up some momentum. Research vice president at Gartner Carolina Milanesi explains:
“This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen”.
Gartner has lowered its estimates for sales of Android tablets in 2011 by 28% over second quarter’s projections, noting very weak adoption due to its interface issues, high prices and limited app availability.
The company expects that Android will see growth as Google releases its next-generation Android’s "Ice Cream Sandwich" and addresses fragmentation across the Android ecosystem. However, according to Gartner's sales forecasts, Android tablets will not catch up the iPad by the end of projection period of 2015.
Popular games Asphalt 6: Adrenaline and Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD developed by Gameloft are now available for free for a limited time. Regular price is $4.99 for iPhone version and $6.99 for iPad version. The lowest price on sale was $0.99, it's never been fully free. Now it is, so go ahead and download.
Asphalt 6 is a arcade racing game with superb enviorments and fast-paced racing, there's over 55 events, across 11 leagues. Drive cars such as Astion Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and even Ducati's. The single player campaign is quite long for being on the iOS, but that's not all, there's also multiplayer support via the Game Center.
Apple has started promotion of its iBookstore on Twitter by launching a new account in this social network to keep followers informed on special offers, new releases and other changes in the store. Apple has actually created account in June, but the company has just today started sending out Tweets.
"Welcome to the Apple #iBookstore on Twitter. Follow us to discover new releases, exclusive book offers, and more".
The Apple’s second Tweet promotes "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern, which is now actively promoted by the company. Currently Apple is featuring this book on the main page of iBookstore. Starbucks has also joined the promotion by offering an "extended sample" of this book for free through its program “Pick of the Week” .
Apples created several Twitter accounts to keep users updated on featured and new content on the iTunes Store.
Also Apple is expanded its ties with this social network in other places, having allowed for Facebook and Twitter posting on its online store and added Twitter integration to the upcoming iOS 5.
According to Bloomberg, South Korea is the first country worldwide that has convinced Apple to change its customer service policy on faulty iPhones. The country’s fair trade commission has persuaded Apple to replace defective iPhone with new models instead of refurbished devices, providing users report faults within one month after purchase.
The Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Aolizio Mercadante, has confirmed that the new Apple’s factory is “ready”, and even already making iPads that will begin shipping in Brazil from this December.
At first many doubted, but it will be the first time that the company will produce iPads outside Chinese territory. We are taking a big step for digital inclusion in the country,” he said. Mercadante also said that the federal government will announce in the coming days to invest in a big factory of games in the Manaus Free Zone.
The new Brazilian factory is a result of a joint effort by the Brazilian government and Foxconn, manufacturer of the iPhone and iPad that reportedly invested $12 billion in this new factory. As Apple planed production started in late August / early September. We also reported that in June Foxconn hired 175 engineers for the new factory.
TNT, cable television channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System, has launched an iPad app that allows watching full-length television movies and shows broadcasted by the network. The app includes integration with Facebook, GetGlue and Twitter, and gives you access to clips and behind-the-scenes videos. Also you can schedule remainders and check out program guides.
It should be noted that watching full episodes of such television shows as Falling Skies, Rizzoli & Isles and The Closer requires authentication through your TV provider. The free TNT app for iPad is available for download from the App Store.
A blog-publishing service Bloogger has become quite popular after Google bought it in 2003. However, the search company neglected the app for iOS until today, when this service debuted for iPhone as a free download app on the App Store. Google states at the Blogger blog that this app allows users to write a blog post and save or publish it from their iOS devices.
The Makayama Movie Mount is a case for iPad 2 that can significantly improve video capture by clipping to the device a number of accessories related to professional photography. These peripherals include third-party tele-lenses and wide angle lenses, lights, microphones and a tripod providing pan and tilt camera movements, and stable shots.
Apple is planning to open three more stores this week in three different countries. So, with these stores, Apple will open 14 new retail stores for four weeks moving toward its goal to open 30 stores during the July-September quarter.
Mapleview Centre (Burlington, Ontario, Canada): it will be the 21st Apple’s store in Canada. The store will be the eighth in or near the "Golden Horseshoe" region of Ontario wrapping around the western end of Lake Ontario.
City-Galerie (Augsburg, Germany): City-Galerie will be Apple's sixth German store and the second in Bavaria in the southeast of the country.
Campania (Caserta, Italy): Apple's seventh retail store in Italy which locates approximately 25 km north of Naples.
According to Reuters, the Palo Alto, California-based Flipboard Inc wants to land deals with studios for obtaining rights to offer episodes of TV shows and movies through its social magazine app. Read the rest of this entry »
Third-party Dolphin Browser app has become very popular among Android users and has been downloaded nearly 9 million times. As TechCrunch reports, Sequoia Capital invested over $10 million in this app, and some part of that sum will likely be directed to developing iOS version of the browser, which has just appeared in the App Store.
The iOS version has most of the features that made this app so popular among users of Android devices. They are convenient sidebar for quick access to bookmarks, built-in translations, customizable gestures, tabbed browsing, speed dial and more. It should be noted that Dolphin is based on Apple’s WebKit, as well as other third-party browser available on the App Store, default Safari app, and majority of browsers for smartphones.
This browser has some main competitors like Opera and several smaller competitors like SkyFire that are steadily gaining popularity among iOS users.
Dolphin Browser app is available for free from the App Store. (iTunes link)