YouTube Capture app makes it simple to record and share video anytime, anywhere

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 17th, 2012

Google has whipped up an app called YouTube Capture that makes it super simple to record and share video from your mobile device. After downloading, installing, and briefing setting up the app, you are given the tools to quickly upload video to YouTube. After you shoot a scene, you can edit it before sending it off to the Internet. After giving your video a title, tapping the wand icon allows you to flip on or off color correction and stabilization; you can also trim the video and add background music provided by free YouTube Soundtracks. Tap the YouTube icon and you can control who sees your video online; the public setting allows anyone to search for and view your video, the unlisted setting allows only people with a link to your video to view it, and the private setting makes it so that only you can view it. The app also makes it easy to share your video with friends via Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. If you want to share video with your Twitter followers, for example, tap the Twitter icon, allow the app to access your Twitter login credentials, and poof your video is tweeted into the twittersphere.

It’s all rather rudamentary, but that is Google’s point with this app. Want to upload a video to the Internet and share it with your social circles? YouTube Capture will get the job done quick and easy. Download it today in the App Store. Coming soon to Android. Video demonstration after the break.

[Via YouTube Blog] (Click here for more…)

Google Maps returns to iPhone!

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 12th, 2012

If you’re an iPhone owner and have been sorely missing Google’s dedicated app for Maps that Apple replaced with their own Map app when iOS 6 was released, well today’s you’re lucky day. At long last, Google has released Google Maps for iPhone and it brings back the glory of the old days; namely a vector-based map service you can actually rely on, Street View that provides 360-degree panoramas of streets and goes inside more than 100,000 places of business worldwide, detailed information for more than 80 million businesses and points of interest, Google local search that aids in discovering places to eat and shop with ratings and reviews, live traffic information, and directions for driving, mass transit, and walking. Pretty much everything you had been used to using with Google Maps on iOS.

But it doesn’t stop there. The most significant enhancement to Maps is turn-by-turn navigation with voice guidance, and it works just as advertised. Also, this latest version of Google Maps looks better than previous versions; it features a new design that’s sleeker and more streamlined than ever before. The map fills up the iPhone 5’s larger screen; a search box sits at the top for you to quickly input addresses and other queries to put Google local search to work; on the bottom left the “three dots” icon can be swiped to the left to reveal a list to enable live traffic, public transit, satellite view, and a quick link to the Google Earth app; if you’ve inputted an address or point of interest a swipe up from the bottom gives you detailed information about the location, including links to Save it, Share it, and enable Street View (swipe down to return to the map); at the bottom left resides the trusty “you are here” icon that when pressed will instantly locate your current position on the map (tap it again to enable smooth tilting and rotating of 2D and 3D views); and when you first open the app it asks you to log in with your Google Account so you can sync your searches, directions, and saved places between your computer and phone–score!

Though it doesn’t pack everything that its Android counterpart has (cashing maps for offline use is noticeably absent here), Google has does a fine job bringing back the glory and then some to Maps for iOS. If you’re obsessed with Flyover and prefer a map that is admittedly more pretty, stick with Apple’s offering. However, if you can live without those things (and Google’s offering doesn’t look so bad) it’s a no brainer that you should hide Apple Maps inside some folder and replace it with Google’s solution. Heck, even Apple CEO Tim Cook advises customers to use alternative map services while his company works out the innumerable kinks. Google Maps has proven over the years to be simple to use and extremely reliable, and that’s what it all comes down to, really. So watcha waiting for?

The new and improved Google Maps is now available as a free download in the App Store. It is compatible with iPhone 3GS and up, iPod touch 3rd-gen and up, and your device must be running iOS 5.1 or later. The app will work on the iPad, but note that it is not optimized for the original iPad and iPad mini screen sizes yet. Catch a fun clip from Google after the break.

[Via Google] (Click here for more…)

My Xbox Live companion app update turns your smartphone into a Dashboard navigator

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 24th, 2012

While you wait with bated breath for Xbox SmartGlass to release on your portable devices, enjoy the next best thing which is a significant update to the My Xbox Live companion app for iOS and Android. Most significantly, the 1.5 update turns your iPhone into a remote control complete with directional arrows and the ABXY buttons. These are solely used to navigate your Xbox Dashboard and controlling media playback, not for playing games. A new section called Discover lets you browse new entertainment content and beam it to your Xbox. Also, you can now access a quick list of your most recent console activity. All of these aforementioned features work on Windows Phone and iPhone only. For the iPad retina display support has been added. And for Android users this is their first taste of the app. Get your download on here: iOS / Android

[Via Major Nelson]

Apple aims to reinvent the textbook with iBooks 2, iBooks Author & iTunes U

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on January 22nd, 2012

On January 19 Apple announced new versions of its iBooks and iTunes U platforms, ushering in a new way for students to get their education on. Apple has partnered with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to launch iBooks textbooks, “an entirely new kind of textbook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive.” More specifically, they are fullscreen textbooks that feature interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, and slick navigation. When you’re holding your iPad horizontally, an iBooks textbook offers up all kinds of interactive media embedded next to text; when orientation is turned vertically, text is front and center. In addition to the interactive  elements and content, this next generation of textbook also allows students to learn and study in a more efficient manner. For example, other features include easy highlighting and note-taking, searching and definitions, and lesson reviews and study cards.

Says Apple’s Phil Schiller: “Education is deep in Apple’s DNA and iPad may be our most exciting education product yet. With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world. Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

The iBooks 2 app is now available to download in the App Store for free. iBooks textbooks are also up for grabs today, and they range in price from free to $14.99. And Apple isn’t keeping educators in the dark when it comes to the creation of these virtual textbooks. In addition to McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and other big textbook makers, Apple is letting anyone create iBooks textbooks and publish them to the iBookstore for free. The creation tool is called iBooks Author and it comes with Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts for educators to customize. You can add your own text and images by simply dragging and dropping them into the templates, and multitouch widgets allow you to easily add interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, and 3D objects. If you do decide to publish your own material into the iBookstore, there are two things to be aware of: (1) Apple has set in place the classic 70/30 revenue split (creators get the larger chunk, of course) and (2) your work must be exclusive to the iBooks. Have you always been itching to publish a book and educate the masses? Now’s your chance. Download iBooks Author in the Mac App Store today for free (Lion only).

Last, Apple let loose a dedicated app for iTunes U. In short, it “lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world.” According to Apple, it gives iOS users access to the world’s largest catalog of free educational content from top universities, and now any K-12 school district can offer full courses through the app. Here’s a real-world example. A university teacher can set up a virtual portal through which his or her students can access course materials such as syllabuses and assignments. Students can use the iTunes U app to keep up with homework and check off projects once they are complete. Teachers can push new assignments to students at anytime, and students will receive the updates as notifications. iTunes U and iBooks are integrated; if a teacher pushes out a homework assignment to reach an additional chapter from a Biology textbook, the student can receive the notification, tap the assignment, and immediately be brought to the interactive Biology iBooks textbook without ever leaving the iTunes U app. Wild, huh?

Says Apple’s Eddy Cue: “The all-new iTunes U app enables students anywhere to tap into entire courses from the world’s most prestigious universities. Never before have educators been able to offer their full courses in such an innovative way, allowing anyone who’s interested in a particular topic to learn from anywhere in the world, not just the classroom.”

The iTunes U app can also be downloaded from the App Store today.

Apple’s education-centric announcement is very exciting to say the least. With iBooks and iTunes U, students will have the ability to carry around enhanced versions of traditional textbooks, ones that are highly interactive and constantly keeping up to date with the latest information. iBooks Author and iTunes U give educators the opportunity to publish, share, and keep in touch with students during the school year and help them maintain healthy study habits. This really is a whole lot to digest right now; Apple might just be on the verge of pushing US education into a bold new direction. And you want to know what the best part is? Future students won’t have to lug around giant backpacks stuffed with thick textbooks. With the introduction of iBooks and iTunes U on lightweight, small iOS devices, those days will soon be a thing of the past.

Video demonstration awaits after the break.

[Via Apple 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Twitter gets a new look, again

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 11th, 2011

On Thursday Twitter announced that it’s rolling out another new look for its homepage. This time around, the desktop and mobile experiences are getting simpler and streamlined. (New) New Twitter is organized into four sections: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me. Let’s take a brief tour…

Home is home to your personal collection of tweets. The desktop version is organized into two columns. To the left there’s your personal info including your name, profile picture, your number of tweets, who you’re following, and your followers; there’s also a link to your profile page and a way to quickly compose and send out a tweet. Underneath that you’ll find follower suggestions and the trending topics list. To the right there’s the familiar list of incoming tweets from the people you follow. The new interface allows tweets that are attached with images and videos to expand so you can easily explore embedded media. Replying, retweeting, and favoriting tweets are all just one hover and click away.

Connect acts as a hub very much like the Activity Feed of the old Twitter. It’s the place where you’ll see who has followed or mentioned you, retweeted or favorited one of your tweets. Tweets are organized by Interactions and Mentions. A search bar sits at the top and you can use it to find and discover people by entering their @username or full name.

Discover highlights trending topics and stories that are being talked about on the social network. This section is organized like this: Stories, Activity, Who to follow, Find friends, and Browse categories. Stories that are shown to you are based on recent popularity as well as your connections, location and language. Activity shows everything your connections do related to the accounts that they follow. See who else your connections follow, their lists and what Tweets they favorite, retweet or reply to most. In Discover the search bar at the top allows you to enter a hashtag or keyword to further explore a topic of your choice.

Me servers as your profile page and it can be fully customized from here. A gallery of your recently tweeted photos and videos are stored here, as are your Direct Messages.

The new Twitter design is the network’s most simplistic to date, and best of all it transfers over to the mobile space too. Whether you’re accessing Twitter from a desktop or your cell phone the experience will be nearly identical. How do you enable the new look? Easy! Download and login to the latest versions of Twitter on your iPhone or Android device and then you should be able to access the new desktop version. Twitter says they’re working on rolling it out to all users “over the next few weeks.”

[Via Twitter 1, 2]

‘Grand Theft Auto III’ is coming to iOS & Android

Posted in Images,News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 11th, 2011

One of the most iconic video games of all time is about to be re-released for gamers on the go. Rockstar Games is calling it Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition, and it’s coming to the App Store and Android Market on Decemeber 15 for $4.99. And just in case you’re wondering, this isn’t a spinoff or rehash of the PS2 original; this is GTA III all the way only miniaturized for mobile devices. Look in the gallery below for some gorgeous screenshots, and hop after the break to see exactly which iOS and Android devices will support the game. The wait for GTA V just got more tolerable.

Update: GTA III is out now for iOS & Android. Get yours today: App Store / Android Market

[Via RockStarGames; Engadget] (Click here for more…)

The new Xbox 360 dashboard goes live today [Update: iOS companion app out now]

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 6th, 2011

Gamers, are you ready for dat new New Xbox Experience? Today Microsoft is lifting the veil on the latest dashboard user interface for Xbox 360. And this one’s a doozy. Besides an entirely new “Metro” look to match Windows Phone’s and Windows 8’s skins, the refreshed dashboard introduces expanded voice control with Kinect, Bing voice search, YouTube, enhanced Facebook sharing capabilities, cloud storage, beacons, updated parental controls, and customized applications for televisions, movies, internet videos, sports and music. Starting today, EPIX and TODAY (MSNBC) join Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, and Zune for video offerings in the United States. Later this month, Crackle, iHeartRadio,, TMZ, UFC, Verizon FiOS TV, VEVO, and Vudo join in on the fun. And in early 2012, CinemaNow, HBO GO, MLB.TV, and Xfinity On Demand will become available to use on Xbox 360s. Soon, Microsoft’s four-year-old console is going to transform into a viable destination for nearly all of your entertainment needs. With all of these options to watch TV and movies and listen to music, playing games will suddenly become a just a part of what Xbox 360 is all about. Add in some refined Kinect voice and motion support and you’ll finally get a taste of what living in the future is really like. This dashboard update is certainly something to be excited about. Get your download on today by simply booting up your Internet-connected 360.

In related news, Microsoft has also outed the Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone users. The free app allows you to search the Xbox catalog for movies, TV shows, music, games, and apps right on your phone and view detailed content information. You can even pair your phone to your console and beam purchased content from one device to the other. Content playing from your 360 can be controlled via your phone (play, pause, rewind, fast-forward), and you can navigate the new dash using your phone’s touchscreen instead of a controller if you so desire. Download the free Companion app today.

Update: Microsoft has decided to share the wealth and offer a similar companion app for iOS users. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners running iOS 4.3 or higher can install My Xbox LIVE. The free app allows you to log into your Xbox LIVE account to read and send messages to friends, manage your friends list, read and edit your full profile, customize your avatar, and view and compare your achievement progress with friends. Sadly, you won’t be able to search the Xbox catelog–this biggie is only available for Windows Phones for obvious reasons. Download the iOS edition at the App Store.

[Via MajorNelson 1, 2, 3, 4]

Gmail takes a bold step forward with new look [Update: official iOS app released]

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on November 1st, 2011

Today Google flipped the switch and transformed Gmail with a new look. It was previewed back in July and now it’s ready for primetime. The navigation panel on the left is more customizable;  you can resize the labels and chat areas depending on which section you access most often. Search has been upgraded, too. The search box up top now features a drop box with helpful options that should make finding exactly what you’re looking for easier and faster. You can also create filters from search queries. Emails have been aesthetically transformed to look like streamlined conversations. Profiles pictures for your contacts show up inside emails and unneccesary text has been stripped out of view making reading a conversation a better experience. In addition, Google has figured out a way to make the Gmail window fit your screen perfectly; the spacing between elements on the screen will automatically change based on the kind of display you’re using. In the settings menu, you can play around with display density and manually select “comfortable,” “cozy,” and “compact” views. Last, the Gmail team has added high resolution themes to the mix. They say most of the popular themes have been upgraded to HD, so the switch on your end should happen automatically. The new look has rolled out to everyone today; to enable it simply click the “Switch to the new look” link located at the bottom right in Gmail. There’s a brief video highlighting these changes after the break.

Update (11/3): Today Google finally released an official Gmail app for iOS devices. Google says they’ve “combined your favorite features from the Gmail mobile web app and iOS into one app so you can be more productive on the go.” The Gmail app promises to bring speed, efficiency, and optimized touch input to the table. The iPad version takes advantage of the larger display, naturally. Moments after Google released the Gmail app into the wild, unfortunately, they pulled it from the App Store due to “a bug which broke notifications.” As soon as the app returns to the Store you will be notified.

Update 2 (11/16): And it’s back! Get your download on right here.

[Via GoogleBlog; GmailBlog] (Click here for more…)

GarageBand comes to iPhone and iPod touch

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 1st, 2011

Mac OS X and iPad users have been creating sick beats and rocking out with Apple’s music creation app for quite some time now. Today the company released a new version that can be downloaded and installed on iPhones and iPod touches. The official press release announcing the news (posted in full after the break) describes the app’s prominent features:

You can plug your electric guitar into iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to play and record through classic amps and stompbox effects, or record your voice or any acoustic sound using the built-in microphone. GarageBand allows you to record and mix up to eight tracks and then share your finished song with friends or send it to your Mac to keep working on it in GarageBand or Logic Pro.

GarageBand for iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S) and iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation) is now available in the App Store for $4.99. If you already purchased it for the iPad, it’s totally free to port it to your other iOS devices.

[Via Apple] (Click here for more…)

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Facebook for iPad is here

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 11th, 2011

They say good things come to those who wait. After sitting through two iterations of Apple’s tablet, Facebook for iPad has arrived. On Monday Facebook dropped a dedicated app to access to the social network in the App Store. The house that Zuck built is calling it a “hands-on Facebook” that takes advantage of the tablet’s large, hi-res display. Organizing and flipping through photo albums is easier than before, as is chatting, playing games, and navigating around. Facebook also went ahead and updated its iPhone/iPod touch version to make its aesthetic match that of its bigger brother. The iPhone version of the app features the same left-hand navigation pane for a more streamlined experience and search is more comprehensive. Download the new Facebook app for iOS devices today, gratis.

[Via Facebook Blog]

Facebook releases dedicated Messenger app for mobile users

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 9th, 2011

Facebook’s been cooking up a dedicated messaging app and today they’ve released it for iPhone and Android users. It serves as “an extension of Facebook messages” and it aims to “give you a faster way to message friends and small groups.” In a nutshell, it transplants the Messages section of the traditional Facebook app into one of its own so that the user has less jumping around to do when he or she wants to send and read messages. The app culls together your Facebook friends and your cell phone contacts so that they’re available to pluck from without hassle. For example, when you type John Smith his name will come up and you’ll be able to select how you want to reach him. If he’s a close friend and you have his cell phone number saved in your device and you’re friends with him on the social network you can choose which way you want to contact him: Facebook notifications or texts. It’s all done right inside the app and messages are delivered instantly. The app also makes group messaging a snap; simply type two or more names in to To field and your message will be sent to everyone at once. You can attach and share pictures and location data as well. Since the Messenger app is an extension of Facebook messages, all of the conversations you have inside it will transfer instantaneously to the proper Facebook app and web experience.

After playing around with the app, it’s plain to see that Facebook is trying its darnedest to prepare for the impending Messaging War that will be fought between it and Apple (iMessage), Google (Huddle), and BlackBerry (BBM). Download the free Messenger today: iPhone / Android.

[Via FacebookBlog]

Skype drops new app tailor-made for the iPad

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on August 9th, 2011

At long last, Skype for iPad is here. Everything you’re used to using on the iPhone/iPod touch version of the app has been ported to the tablet and optimized for the bigger screen. Like the iPhone version this app allows for two-way video calling between other iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, Android devices, PCs, Macs, and HDTVs over WiFi and 3G. It also takes advantage of both the front and back-facing cameras. For the rest of the deets, hop after the break to read the full app description. There you’ll also find a brief demonstrative video. But I know what you really want: click here to download the free Skype for iPad app today.

[Via SkypeBlog] (Click here for more…)

Google+ app comes to iPhone

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on July 19th, 2011

When Google pushed out their new social service Google+ they simultaneously gave Android users a way to access their accounts on their phones in a handy dandy app. Up until now, iPhone users have been forced to login and check their accounts inside the Safari browser. Today, thankfully, Google has pushed out a native Google+ app for iPhone users. The app’s homescreen includes Stream, Huddle, Photos, Profile, Circles, and a Notifications tray. In Stream you can view new posts from your Circle mates, those that are Nearby (if you allow the app to tag your location), and Incoming posts; you can also check-in at places and obviously send out posts and attach pictures to them. In Photos you can view pictures that have been uploaded by your Circle mates, photos of you, from your albums, and from your phone. In Profile you can view (but cannot edit) your About page, your Posts and Photos. In Circles, you can see all of your Circle mates, tap them to view their profiles, and from there you can move and/or remove them from Circles; you can also create new Circles. And lastly there’s Huddle, the one feature that has been exclusive to Android users until now. With Huddle you can initiate a group messaging experience that gathers together selected friends or circles so you can chat together in one space; users can be searched by name, email, and circle.

And that about covers the Google+ app for iPhone. Download it today for free from the App Store. Note that it is only compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G; Google has not specified when (or if) the app will make its way to other iOS devices (i.e. the iPad and iPod touch).

Evernote Peek makes flashcards obsolete

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on June 11th, 2011

It’s mid-June which means it’s finals time for students in middle and high school. It’s proven that making flashcards is a great way to study for a test. If you use this method and happen to own an iPad, you’ll want to learn more about Evernote Peek. The folks at Evernote have designed a new app around the iPad 2’s smart cover accessory. So you know how the smart cover works, right? When you attach the accessory to the iPad, it automatically aligns to the screen (magnets). The cover instantly wakes up and puts to sleep the iPad when it’s applied and removed thanks to the built-in ambient light sensor. Evernote figured out a way to take advantage of this simple yet intriguing behavior.

You have a vocabulary test coming up. Goodbye flashcards, hello iPad. Lift up the smart cover flap to peek at a definition. Close it and think about what the word might be. Lift the cover again and you’ll be presented with the correct answer. The app will track which definitions you remember; the ones you get wrong will be saved so you can study them again later. Designing your own study guides using Evernote Peek is easy. All you have to do is create a free Evernote account and connect it to the app. Text and visual clues can be used to help you study. See it in action in the video above.

All in all Peek gives students yet another way to study for tests, albeit one that brings them one tap closer to accessing distractions like Facebook and Angry Birds. But it’s not like flashcard studying doesn’t take place in front of the computer screen. Download Evernote Peek for free in the App Store today.

[Via Gizmodo]

3D head-tracking comes to iOS

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on May 24th, 2011

i3D is now available in the App Store! But what is it? It’s a simple app that takes advantage of the Head-Coupled Perspective, or HCP, to track the face of a user in real time. The app makes your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch’s front-facing camera lock into your face and updates the perspective of a 3D scene accordingly. The app relies solely on head-tracking; the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope are not utilized. The developers note that HCP “does not create a stereoscopic display. It provides a kind of monocular 3D display: the same picture is seen by both eyes. In the future, it might be combined with a stereoscopic display for a better 3D effect.” The app comes preloaded with several 3D scenes for you to experiment with. It’s free, so there’s no reason not to try it out. Sure, i3D is a glorified demo of sorts but hopefully such experimentation will one day lead to full-fledged games that take advantage of the 3D illusion.

HBO finally gets it, brings HBO Go service to iOS, Android

Posted in News,Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on April 19th, 2011

HBO first unveiled the HBO Go service in February 2010, promising subscribers access to their favorite premium TV shows and movies inside their browser. It never really caught on. Today HBO revealed its plan to bring the on-demand service to the mobile front, and I’ve got a feeling this will get the motors revving. Come May 2, HBO subscribers will have instant and unlimited access to every episode of every season available through HBO on their mobile devices. Featured content includes “HBO original series, blockbuster hits, sports, specials and more.” The company has specified it’ll be coming to iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad as well as Android-powered ones. The service is free for (paying) HBO subscribers and it’ll work over WiFi and 3G. The interface mimics the one they’ve been using inside the browser and it’s pretty slick; check it out in the video above.

[Via Engadget]

News Corp. unveils ‘The Daily’, the first iPad-driven news publication

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 5th, 2011

“New times require new journalism. Our challenge was to take the best of traditional journalism, competitive shoe-leather reporting, good editing, a skeptical eye, and combine it with the best of contemporary technology.” That’s how News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch opened up the launch event for his company’s brand new digital newspaper The Daily. It’s being described as “the industry’s first national daily news publication created from the ground up for iPad.” News Corp. and Apple worked together to come up with a news source tailor-made for the tablet community. The Daily will push out new content every day and publish up to 100 pages focused on these specific areas: news, sports, gossip and celebrity, opinion, arts and life, and apps and games. It takes advantage of the iPad’s multitouch display by providing interactive methods of implementation.  For example, the home screen of the app provides readers with a carousel view of the day’s news, and you can easily swipe through them and tap on the ones that interest you most. Also, you can use your fingers to take a 360 degree view of a photograph. In addition to photos, the paper will highlight news using text, embedded videos, audio, information graphics, and real-time data and social feeds. For example, inside the gossip and celebrity section you might find a Twitter feed of a celeb who is making headlines and discover what she is up to that way. In short, The Daily allows its editors to deliver stories to their readers in new and exciting ways that simply are not possible in the realm of TV, radio, and traditional papers.

The Daily also includes… A selection of articles can be read aloud to you by actual people (read: no GPS-like robotic voices); the paper can be customized with your preferences (think: weather, sports teams); the apps and games section provides reviews and ratings for select iPad applications and will link you directly to the App Store if you decide to purchase an app; Sudoku and crossword puzzles are available to play within the app; readers can leave comments on Daily stories in either written or audio form; said stories can be bookmarked and saved for reading later; stories can be shared with others via Facebook, Twitter, and email (those who receive shared stories can read Web-friendly versions of the articles even if they’re not subscribers).

Readers are promised a new Daily to be automatically downloaded to their iPad straight from the either 365 days a year with new content everyday. If a day happens to be packed with breaking news, the editors can jump into the paper at any time and provide readers with the latest news (they can even change the cover story if they like). All of this comes at a price; since The Daily is an iPad-driven news source News Corp. does not have to worry about paper, factory, and delivery costs and the savings trickle down to the subscriber. It’s priced at $.99 per week or $39.99 annually, not bad at all. The first two weeks of use are free, thanks Verizon Wireless. It’s first application made available on the App Store featuring a subscription model; subscriber fees are billed directly to an iTunes account. The Daily app is available to download today right here.

The Daily promises a new voice for a new technologically-advanced era. I’m excited that a powerfully influential force in Murdoch’s News Corp. is behind the first digital paper made from the ground up for the iPad, and I’m equally curious to see how newspaper readers respond to it. It’s easy to assume that the young crowd of 20-somethings will take the charge in signing up for subscriptions, but what I’m most interested in seeing is whether or not those people who are used to reading traditional (read: physical) papers will take a liking to The Daily and transition over to it. At the get-go it certainly takes advantage of Apple’s tablet in terms of browsing and visually immersive experiences, so we’ll have to see if the editorial team can keep things up all throughout the year. If they continually pump out new content and update the app appropriately with readability improvements, I envision a bright future for the newspaper readers of tomorrow.

Look after the break a visual tour of The Daily and official PR.

[Via The Daily] (Click here for more…)

IntoNow app is Shazam for your TV

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 1st, 2011

Shazam is to music as IntoNow is to television.  Get it?  Simply hold your compatible device up to your TV and the app will scan the program’s audio to determine what you’re watching.  The app can even recognize a show even if it’s airing live for the first time.  You’re thinking, how does it work?  The embedded “fingerprinting” tech is dubbed SoundPrint and it runs a series of algorithms that can quickly identify a show based on the audio from that program.  SoundPrint’s index covers over 140 million minutes of previously aired shows, or 266 years of video.  Over 2.6 million airings have been indexed over the past five years and that number is constantly growing.

So the app can tell you what you’re watching, big whoop!  The social aspect of IntoNow is what makes it most interesting.  In addition to displaying the program being watched, the app will provide all kinds of relevant data about the program including episode and cast information.  In turn, this can be shared with your friends over social networks such as Facebook and Twitter (i.e. “Larry is watching “House” can be shared with your friends across networks).  What’s more you can create and manage an in-app friends list, see what your friends are watching, receive notifications when your friends are watching the same episode or show as you, and comment on their statuses. The feature list goes on…you also have one-click access to Netflix from the app, so you can add your favorites shows to your Instant Queue right then and there before you forget.

IntoNow is available in the App Store today, it’s free, and it’s compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

[Via Engadget; IntoNow]

Skype brings video calling to the iPhone

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 30th, 2010

Today Skype updated its official iPhone app and version 3.0 brings with it video calling over WiFi and 3G.  Two-way Skype-to-Skype video calling can take place between two phones and between phones and computers (Windows, Mac, or Linux) at no charge.  In addition to the iPhone 4, the app is also compatible with the iPhone 3GS, the newest iPod touch, the third gen iPod touch, and the iPad all running iOS 4.0 or higher.  Since the latter two devices do not feature back and front-facing cameras they are restricted to only receiving video.  And note that since the 3GS does not pack a front-facing camera it will only broadcast video from the back-facing camera.

I gave the app a test drive and it worked flawlessly…over WiFi, that is.  With that stable connection I was able to successfully connect to a desktop Skype client and video chatting worked as advertised.  With the iPhone 4 you have the option to broadcast video from the front-facing camera and switch it to the back one on the fly, as well as options to mute the conversation and switch between portrait and landscape modes.  When I disabled WiFi and attempted an iPhone 4-to-desktop video chat the video appeared noticeably more pixelated and laggy until it decided to cut out completely and drop the call.  But that’s 3G for you; heck, at least it works.

The free Skype update is available to download now at the App Store.  Apple might have had a leg up on the video conferencing competition with FaceTime since iPhone 4’s introduction, but with Mac and Windows support–plus 3G support–plus a giant user base in the millions–Skype is enabling the futuristic functionality for a significantly larger community of iOS users.  Press release and (creepy) introductory demonstration video after the break.

[Via Engadget] (Click here for more…)

Twitter intros push notifications for @mentions

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 17th, 2010

This week Twitter introduced a neat new feature for mobile users: push notifications for @mentions.  Whenever you are mentioned in the Twittersphere you can make it so that you receive a text message or push notification from the Twitter app so that you’re instantly notified about it.  The push notification part only works with the latest version of Twitter for iPhone, for now.  Twitter is also bringing push notifications for Messages to Twitter for iPhone, a feature that Blackberry users have already been privy to.  To enable these new notifications, tweak your settings at  Twitter says they’re working on bringing these new slate of features to Android and Windows Phone 7 users soon.

[Via TwitterBlog]