Apple has been releasing iOS updates left and right lately, greeting iPhone owners with a prompt every time they start up iTunes. Many are wondering if these updates are important, what the purpose of the updates are, and whether or not it's actually worth the time to continue installing. When it comes to the latest update, iOS 4.3.3, Apple has made significant changes to the way in which location data is stored on your device.
Responding to criticism and questions from across the board, Apple is reacting to a discovery by security researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden. The pair discovered a log file on the iPhone and iPad that keeps location data from cellular tower triangulation indefinitely. With software they wrote, they were able to see maps of where they had been with their iPhones ever since the iOS 4.0 update was installed.
All of those smurfberry sales have led angry parents to sue Apple over its in-app purchasing policies, thanks to kids racking up credit card bills via iTunes. The problem is that minors playing free games on the iPhone or iPod touch made headlines when hundreds or thousands of dollars in in-app purchases was showing up on their parents' credit card bills.
One notorious game is Smurf Village from Capcom Interactive, which allows the purchase of a $99 wagon of smurfberries. The lawsuit, filed in US District court in San Francisco, states that "these games are highly addictive, designed deliberately so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of Game Currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more."
For those who remember the good old days of video gaming on the Atari 2600, the most comprehensive retro gaming collecting to hit the App Store is finally here. Atari offers 100 games in total, some which emulate arcade versions of these classics, and others just like the cartridges for Atari's home Video Computer System (VCS). The app, Atari's Greatest Hits, comes with the 1972 arcade version of PONG, with other games available for in-app purchase.
Different packs of four games organized into categories run $0.99 each, but the entire collection of 99 additional games can be had for just $14.99. Downloading the complete collection requires Wi-Fi as the file is 68 megabytes. One modern feature to be added to select games is Bluetooth multi-player functionality so you can compete against others who also have a mobile device running iOS 3.0 or later.
Video and film enthusiast site Vimeo has developed its own iPhone application, available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. The application is free and includes features such as access to your Vimeo account, browsing videos, and editing and sharing video created on your mobile device.
Many of the features of your Vimeo account can be opened from the iPhone app, such as liked videos, account information and access to the huge library of Vimeo content online. What makes the app different is the video shooting and editing features built into the software. Vimeo has come up with a credible free video editing alternative to the $4.99 iMovie app from Apple.
The fact that cellular devices emit radiation is nothing new, and the debate over how much exposure is harmful is far from settled. Tawkon has developed an app for BlackBerry and Android devices to help those concerned about the issue. The company was hoping to bring an iPhone version to the App Store but the software was rejected by Apple.
Tawkon has made the app available on the Cydia app store for jailbroken iPhones and is appealing to customers to help urge Apple to lift the ban. Reports have indicated Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself responded to the company with a short email stating simply, "No interest."
Bing has further improved its mobile search tools thanks to better HTML5 support and some other refinements. The new version is available using mobile web browsers on both iOS and Android platforms. Microsoft's own Windows Phone 7 will have to wait until the Mango update later this year, which will add HTML5 compatibility.
In a bonus for iPhone users, searches will now automatically show relevant App Store applications in addition to normal results. Microsoft previously added an iPhone apps tab to its visual search on desktop web browsers. Top apps can be browsed by category or organized by search criteria.
Rovio has released 15 new levels to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in their Angry Birds Seasons game. The level pack is complete with Leprechaun hat-wearing pigs and birds, shamrocks, pots of gold and Irish theme music. Those who already own the app can get the update for free.
Everyone else has to fork out $0.99 for the Seasons version of the game, which now includes levels for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's Day in addition to St. Patrick's Day. All four holiday updates have added over 100 new levels to the original Angry Birds game.
Now iPhone owners have another way to join Android users in a video chat. Qik Video Connect Plus has been released on iTunes for $2.99. A free version is in the works and is currently being reviewed by Apple. For those who are not familiar with Qik, the app offers an alternative to FaceTime and has been pre-installed on many Android devices.
Besides real-time video calling, Qik offers a variety of other features. Video mail messages can be sent to friends, and live video can be broadcast on the web for your contacts to watch live. The plus version of Qik includes real-time video effects, syncing with the camera roll and support for HD video.
The iPhone has mishandled another time change as clocks across the continent were set forward one hour this weekend to mark the beginning of Daylight Savings Time (DST). Reports have surfaced on Apple forums, Twitter and other venues of frustrated iPhone owners missing appointments and experiencing strange behavior on their devices.
The DST bugs run the gamut from iPhone clocks jumping backward instead of forward by one hour, alarms going off an hour early, and phones switching to DST properly but later in the day undoing the change. Apple has not announced an official reason for the clock problems, but they are easily fixed.
Just in case you haven't heard, Apple announced a little product called the iPad 2 earlier today. Also discussed in the talk was a listing of the new features and software coming to iOS devices with firmware version 4.3. This operating system will be released on the iPad 2 shipping date, currently scheduled for Friday March 11, 2011.