iNews Review

New Yorker Cover Made on iPhone, Next Gen CPU for Next iPhone, Frog Guitar App, and More

This Week's iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.05.29

We don't usually highlight off-the-wall apps, but we just have to bring Frog Guitar to your attention. This bizarre, hilarious, and entertaining musical app lets you play a virtual guitar that uses frogs instead of strings - you can even stretch them to adjust pitch. I don't know if you'll find it worth 99¢, but you'll probably get a kick out of the YouTube video.

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June 1, 2009 cover of The New YorkerNew Yorker Cover Painted with an iPhone

The New Yorker Blog says:

"Jorge Colombo drew this week's cover using Brushes, an application for the iPhone, while standing for an hour outside Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Times Square....

"There's a companion application, Brushes Viewer, that makes a video recapitulating each step of how Colombo composed the picture...."

The iPhone New Yorker Cover

BusinessWeek's Arik Hesseldahl says:

"To the list of cool things you can do with an iPhone, you can now add 'illustrate the cover of a magazine.'

"The artist Jorge Colombo used the iPhone app Brushes to create the illustration that graces the cover of this week's New Yorker. Colombo will continue to offer drawings made on his iPhone that will be featured on the magazine's Web site."

Faster Next Gen CPU Expected in New iPhone

Electronista reports:

"The next revision of the iPhone should be characterized by a dramatic increase in processing power, an alleged scoop by veteran technology writer John Gruber says. He refers to 'informed' sources who say the iPhone will jump from its existing 412 MHz clock speed to 600 MHz...."

Gruber expects "roughly double" the performance due to the new CPU and perhaps twice as much RAM.

iPhone Price Cut to $99 Coming?

The Street's Scott Moritz suggests that Apple may cut the price of the 8 GB iPhone to $99, according to a growing consensus among analysts.

AT&T Lobbies for Palm Prē

The Register's Austin Modine reports that AT&T chief Randall Stephenson is warning that US wireless networks aren't ready for a deluge of 3G traffic, while noting he'd like his company to start selling the 3G Palm Prē once Sprint's exclusive contract runs out.

Top 10 Must-Have Free iPhone Apps

Even Primakos says:

"I love my iPhone 3G. It's fun, it's useful, and it continually amazes me that Apple was able to enter a market it previously had zero role in and instantly cause the rest of the industry to start playing catch-up. Anyone who who has one will tell you that the absolute best part about it is the variety of applications, or 'apps', that are available for it, both free and paid. Having used it for several months now, I've compiled a top ten list of free iPhone Apps that every single user should have. I attempted to organize them in order, but they're all great in their own regard...."

10 Smartest and 10 Stupidest iPhone Apps

The Register's Rik Myslewski says:

"The soon-to-be-released iPhone 3.0 software will offer a slew of new capabilities to iPhone developers. With that sea change in mind, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at the highs and lows of the current crop of apps for the iPhone and iPod touch.

"Not merely the best and worst, but rather two Reg-ratified Top Ten lists: the 10 smartest and 10 stupidest apps that the iTunes App Store has to offer."

Columbia Professor Warns of EMF Health Hazards

CTV.ca News Staff reports that a Columbia University professor of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics is sounding a warning to the public about negative health effects of man-made electromagnetic fields, such as the ones that emit from cellphones and power lines.

Dr. Martin Blank, who delivered an address in Toronto in Wednesday on behalf of the BioInitiative Working Group, is cited as stating: "When you get an electromagnetic field that's coming out of a power line, or it's coming out of a cellphone antenna or a cellphone tower, it's going to do things to the molecules in our body," and that may include nasties like brain tumours, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and breast cancer. Dr. Blank is quoted saying that EMF safety research has been too narrowly focused on thermal effects and not enough on EMF induced biochemical changes, which he says occur long before there are measurable temperature changes.

Presentation

New Pioneer A/V Receivers Integrate with iPhone, iPod

PR: Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. has announced that it is now shipping A/V Receivers that seamlessly integrate Apple's revolutionary iPhone and iPod into a customer's home theater. Pioneer's VSX-819AH, VSX-919AH and VSX-1019AH A/V Receivers and also feature proprietary technologies designed to restore compressed audio data and recreate the dynamic listening experiences intended by the original musician.

Pioneer VSX-1019AH A/V Receiver"With our new line of A/V Receivers that seamlessly integrate with Apple's iPhone and iPod, we now offer a complete solution for improved portable audio playback in the home theater realm," said David Bales, marketing manager of audio products for the home entertainment division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "With Pioneer's rich heritage in A/V receiver design and innovation, we are thrilled to give our customers the ability to make iPhone and iPod part of their home theater system."

Pioneer A/V Receivers are part of the "Works with iPhone" and "Made for iPod" program and feature a seamless user experience for iPhone and iPod owners. The new line of receivers allow consumers to simply plug their iPhone or iPod to the A/V Receiver and utilize a full-color graphic user interface (GUI) complete with album art, utilize a central remote control option to easily navigate through playlists. The A/V Receivers will intuitively turn on the Auto Music-Mute function when a call is received on an iPhone, allowing home audiences to maintain an uninterrupted entertainment experience.

By utilizing two proprietary digital audio enhancement functions - Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) and Auto Level Control (ALC) - the Pioneer A/V Receivers deliver a high quality listening experience specially designed for portable audio device home integration. Pioneer's ASR was designed for use with highly-compressed music files to ensure a more dynamic audio experience when played through home audio speakers. Meanwhile, Pioneer's ALC technology equalizes the fluctuating volume levels that can occur with digital audio tracks and other input sources resulting in a richer user experience that alleviates the need to manually adjust the volume.

Pioneer's A/V Receivers are available now at Best Buy and other national and regional retailers nationwide for suggested retail prices that range from $299 - $499.

Pioneer's Home Entertainment and Business Solutions Group develops high definition home theater equipment for discerning entertainment enthusiasts. Its Blu-ray Disc players, A/V receivers and loudspeakers bring a new level of emotion to the HD experience. The company brands include Pioneer and Elite®. When purchased from an authorized retailer, consumers receive a limited warranty for one year with Pioneer products and two years with Pioneer Elite products.

These receivers can be ordered from Amazon.com, Best Buy, and other sources.

  • VSX-819AH, currently $286.53 with free Super Saver shipping at Amazon.com, $299.99 plus shipping from Best Buy
  • VSX-919AH, currently $399.99 with free shipping at Amazon.com, not yet listed on the Best Buy website
  • VSX-1019AH, currently $449 + shipping or $472.58 with free Super Saver shipping at Amazon.com, $509.99 plus shipping from Best Buy

Apps & Services

Brushes Viewer (Free Viewer for App Used to Create the New Yorker Cover)

PR: Brushes Viewer is a free application for Mac OS X that allows you to replay your Brushes paintings stroke for stroke, export them at very high resolutions (up to 1920 x 2880), and even export them as QuickTime movies. Download it to take full advantage of Brushes.

Jorge Colombo drew this week's The New Yorker Magazine's cover using Brushes for the iPhone, while standing for an hour outside Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Times Square

Advanced Color Picker

Brushes ViewerSelect virtually any color (with transparency) using the familiar hue/saturation color wheel. Quickly choose black or white via the preset swatches. Fill the entire painting with any color (use a semitransparent color to tint your painting).

Realistic Brushes

Flick between three different brushes ranging in style from smooth to bristly. Choose any brush size from 1 to 64 pixels in diameter.

Balanced Painting Tools

Brushes records your brush strokes allowing you to replay them at high resolutions on a Mac. Brushes also provides a generous undo stack, allowing you to undo (and redo) a large number of brush strokes. Don't worry about making a mistake!

Extreme Zooming

Zoom in and out by pinching. Brushes allows you to zoom from 70% to 800%. Drag with two fingers to pan when zoomed in.

Eyedropper Tool

Pick up colors from the painting using the eyedropper. The eyedropper is accessible from the toolbar or by tapping and holding on the painting.

Gallery ViewGallery View

Browse your paintings in the Gallery. Tap a thumbnail to open a painting, or hit the add button to create a new one. You can also import a photo from your photo albums.

Viewing Mode

When you're not editing a painting, you can flick between them, run a slideshow, duplicate a painting, add a painting to your photos, or delete a painting.

Built-in Web Server

Download your paintings directly from your iPhone or iPod touch using Brushes' built-in web server.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.11 (Tiger) or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) recommended
Link: Brushes Viewer for Mac OS X
Link: Brushes App (available through the iPhone App Store)

BabyPhone Deluxe Turns iPhone into a Baby Monitor

PR: In the origin this application was built for the iPhone and sold since mid of March 2009 over the iTunes App Store from Apple Inc.

Roeland Hofkens, the founder of Bluefields, and his wife had the idea of building a baby monitor application for the iPhone, while traveling with their 1.5 year old daughter. Both baby monitoring devices they had with them did not work. The walkie-talkie device did not reach the distance it promised, and the DECT phone with a baby monitor function did not to connect to the phone system of the hotel. BabyPhone Deluxe can be used worldwide wherever there is a mobile network connection and regardless the distance.

BabyPhone Deluxe works like a standard baby monitor - just switch on the application and place your iPhone a distance of 2 to 3 meters to your sleeping baby. The mobile will call the configurable phone number when a sound exceeds an adjustable level. So it is possible to hear everything that is going on in the child's room.

A lot of value is put on an intuitive user interface and an accurate operability. For example, it still works properly if there is a call, SMS, or calendar event coming in. The iPhone will fall into a battery saving mode after 3 minutes, so that a new battery lasts at least for 10 hours. It is possible to configure a call delay. This means the application will call the configured phone number only if the sound level exceeds the threshold for 1, 2, 3, or 4 seconds. This prevents 'false positives': you won't be called when the baby coughs or turns around, only when it really needs you.

On top there is a BabyRecorder that records the sounds of your baby during the night, switching on and off automatically. These recordings can be used for the family records or even to show the doctor how hard and often the baby coughed in the night.

New features on the Android platform will be:

  • Two-Way-Communication: possibility also to talk to the baby over the loudspeaker of the T-Mobile G1. So the parents can calm the child until they are back.
  • Call-In-Function: starting the call from the configured phone number and listen actively into the baby's room.
  • Blocking of incoming calls: as the iPhone has to be put on silent, so that the child does not get awake if there is a incoming call, these calls will be automatically blocked.

BabyPhone Deluxe is available on the iTunes App Store from Apple Inc. for $4.99.

Short Hand: Faster Typing on Your iPhone

PR: LizzardWerks has released "short hand" 1.0, an iPhone app that helps write quicker emails, tweets, notes, and more using typing shortcuts. Tap a few letters to automatically insert a whole phrase - or even multiple paragraphs. It makes writing commonly used phrases much faster and easier on the iPhone's small keyboard. Users can create their own typing shortcuts, or modify or delete the built-in ones. Great for BlackBerry switchers, because it's similar to the BlackBerry's AutoType feature.

With the typing shortcuts in "short hand", a new iPhone and iPod touch app released today by LizzardWerks, users can write whole sentences or paragraphs by tapping just a few letters. For example, typing "wn" could automatically insert "hey, what are you up to tonight?" Or typing "adr" could insert a person's entire 3-line mailing address. The options are limitless, and users can rapidly combine their customized shortcuts to make complete messages. Users can add, edit, and delete an unlimited number of custom typing shortcuts.

Quickly type up a message, then send it to Mail, Twitterrific, Tweetie, Appigo Notebook, or Appigo Todo. Once Apple ships the new iPhone OS 3.0 this summer, short hand users will be able to write text quickly and send it to any application through automatic copy and paste.

Great for people who miss AutoType on the BlackBerry, AutoText in Microsoft Word, or typing macros in many programs. Short hand can also save drafts to finish later, and it automatically saves sent messages. You can use sent messages as templates for sending new, similar messages - another time saver.

Key features:

  • Create, modify, or delete an unlimited number of shortcuts
  • Use shortcuts to insert frequently used words, phrases, or even multiple paragraphs
  • Shortcuts can insert multiple lines, including line breaks
  • Type using the vertical, portrait keyboard or the horizontal, landscape keyboard, which has larger keys that make typing easier and faster

System Requirements: iPhone or iPod Touch 2.1 or later

short hand 1.0 for iPhone is 99¢ and available exclusively through Apple's App Store.

Free OS X 10.5 and iPhone Apps for SendPhotos Photo Sharing Service

PR: Avanquest Software has released as a free iPhone application its Avanquest SendPhotos photo sharing service. The service leverages the convergence of mobile phone, desktop and Web 2.0 technologies to enable friends and family to instantly and securely share and exchange favorite photos and digital images free over the Web from their computer or mobile device virtually anytime or anywhere.

The iPhone application's built-in photo editor allows color and contrast adjustments to images and provides the ability to annotate, crop, and "smudge" out parts of a photo. Other features include support for WiFi as well as a cellular connectivity, allowing mobile subscribers to avoid costly data charges. It is easy to set up an account within the iPhone application so that users can begin sharing photos immediately.

Further expanding the robust community of users for the interactive photo sharing service, the company also unveiled today the SendPhotos iPhoto Plugin for the Mac Photo Gallery application, which gives users of the popular iLife '09 iPhoto Macintosh application a simple one-step method for publishing of photos to the SendPhotos service.

The free Macintosh application can be downloaded at SendPhotos.com. iPhone users can access the mobile application either via iTunes or the iPhone App Store.

"Giving Macintosh and iPhone users access to our powerful application with its mobile and desktop client and many unique sharing features brings us closer to our goal of making universal photo sharing a reality for SendPhotos users," said David Wright, president, Avanquest Product Design Group. "The iPhone now is one of more than 150 popular mobile devices from leading manufacturers for which we enable instantaneous uploading of photos with 'set it and forget it' simplicity."

SendPhotos users enjoy 1 GB of free online storage space for archiving approximately 2,000 photos online (based on average photo size of 0.5 MB). Users also have the ability to invite friends and family to 'share-back' their images, providing the opportunity to create a comprehensive photo document of a social event, such as a wedding or birthday party. The SendPhotos account owner simply provides permission to the 'guest' and they upload images to complement a photo album.

The Avanquest SendPhotos Web site provides a personal and private online cache for uploading, archiving, synchronization and sharing of digital images. The SendPhotos.com site allows access only to user-authorized family, friends and associates without third-party publicity or search engine pickup and dissemination across the Internet. A simple drag-and-drop, animated and extremely fluid interface facilitates the easy transfer of stored photos to a variety of external photo sharing and social networking sites, including Picasa, MySpace and many others.

Currently available in Beta, Avanquest SendPhotos is available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German editions and provides the ability to embed a photo 'album' created in SendPhotos to a website or blog by using Avanquest PhotoFlow feature. See a PhotoFlow example by clicking here.

System Requirements: Avanquest's SendPhotos iPhoto Plugin application requires iLife '09 (compatible with iLife '08), OS X 10.5 or later.

FotoMagico Remote for iPhone/iPod touch

PR: Boinx Software announces the availability of FotoMagico Remote to control a live FotoMagico 3 slideshow with iPhone or iPod touch. To help presenters with their live narration, FotoMagico Remote also includes a teleprompter that displays a thumbnail and the speaker notes for the currently displayed slide. FotoMagico Remote can be purchased exclusively at the iTunes App Store for $19.95.

"Using the FotoMagico Remote on stage gives you unprecedented control and makes you look cool," says Oliver Breidenbach, CEO of Boinx Software. "Adding this to your iPhone or iPhone touch comes much cheaper than buying one of the less stylish and less useful hardware remote control devices on the market."

Presenting The Professional Way

A full screen presentation with FotoMagico 3 can now be remotely controlled with the "FotoMagico Remote" application on iPhone or iPod touch. FotoMagico Remote provides playback remote control and a teleprompter right in your palm. You can read your notes and get a visual feedback of the duration of the current slide on the screen, giving your whole live presentation a highly professional touch.

With FotoMagico Remote you are free to walk around the stage in front of your audience while narrating your slideshow. FotoMagico Remote on your iPhone or iPod touch is the perfect addition to FotoMagico 3 Pro!

Secure Remote Control:

Remote controlling a live presentation with your iPhone or iPod touch can be protected with a four digit PIN code. Setting the PIN code makes sure nobody else can interfere with the presentation.

System Requirements:

FotoMagico Remote runs on any iPhone an iPod touch with iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later. FotoMagico Remote requires FotoMagico 3.0 (or later) running Mac OS Leopard (or later) and an available local WiFi network for the communication between the Mac and the iPhone or iPod touch.

FotoMagico Remote for iPhone and iPod touch is available exclusively at the iTunes App Store for $19.95.

Celebrity for iPhone: Want to Be a Tabloid Star?

PR: Have you ever wanted to be a tabloid star?

With Celebrity, Visuamobile's new iPhone app, you can put your own picture on fake magazine covers.

Just take a picture of yourself or your friends, choose a magazine cover, and make it to the front page.

Celebrity for the iPhoneCelebrity main features :

  • 20 realistic covers with various themes
  • Covers are visible while taking the picture
  • Built-in email sharing
  • Image adjustments : crop, scale, flip
  • Realistic vintage effect on covers
  • CoverFlow like navigation
  • Use of the personal photo library

The Celebrity app is released in two versions :

  • Lite version: free, includes 4 covers
  • Premium version: includes 20 covers ($2.99)

Premium version on sale at 99¢ for 5 days

Deep Green and Deep Green Lite Chess for iPhone and iPod touch

Deep GreenPR: UK based Cocoa Stuff announces Deep Green 1.1, an update to their wildly popular chess game for iPhone and iPod touch. Developed from the ground up to leverage the iPhone's unique capabilities and interface, Deep Green continues to combine great complexity and functionality into a simple, yet compelling and intuitive user interface. Version 1.1 sports new notifications at check, checkmate and stalemate, as well as new callouts, sound, vibration, and animations and more.

Cocoa Stuff announces Deep Green 1.1, an update to their wildly popular chess game for iPhone and iPod touch. Specifically developed from the ground up to leverage the iPhone's unique capabilities and interface, Deep Green continues to combine great complexity and functionality into a simple, yet compelling and intuitive user interface.

Perfect for casual game play, Deep Green offers incredible looks, polish and ease of use, featuring realistic sounds that make the gaming experience fun and compelling. It includes built-in help, with sections for new features, reference, and frequently asked questions. There is also a shortcut for sending email to support for learning more about chess rules. These features, except for built-in help and support, can be turned on and off in the new Application Settings.

With Deep Green, opponents can move pieces either by drag-and-drop or by tapping a piece, then tapping the square they wish to move it to. The tapped piece will jiggle, dutifully awaiting for the user to tap the destination square. The game supports auto-rotation, ensuring the user always plays from the bottom and up, and the board is rotated correctly for the in-turn player when competing on the device with a friend.

Feature Highlights:

  • Play against Engine or Human, or Engine versus Engine
  • Adjustable Engine strength
  • Concentration setting allowing the Engine to play more like a Human
  • Manual board setup
  • Game playback - First/previous/next/last position, auto-playback, drag slider
  • Replay of last move
  • Move suggestion animated on board
  • Take back - Undo, all the way back to start
  • Free choice between tap/tap and drag/drop moving (no need to set preference)
  • Display of Captured Pieces
  • Smooth animations everywhere
  • Game and state saved between program sessions
  • Built-in Help
  • Rich, analog-type sounds, optional
  • Callout notification for Check, Stalemate, and Checkmate
  • Vibration on Check, Stalemate and Checkmate, optional
  • Board Coordinates
  • Board Auto-Rotation

With Version 1.1, Deep Green Lite makes its first appearance. Deep Green Lite is a free version with all the functionality of its big brother, with exception to game saving. Each time Deep Green Lite is launched it starts over with a new game. Deep Green 1.1 sports new notifications at check, checkmate and stalemate, as well as new callouts, sound, vibration, and animations.

Deep Green was first released on the Newton platform in 1998, and was a huge success. Only ten days after it was released, Apple discontinued the Newton project. "The overall goal of Deep Green is to keep it simple, beautiful, and elegant" said Joachim Bondo, president and founder of Cocoa Stuff. "Deep Green 1.1 offers a slew of new features, at the cost of only one extra button added to a secondary view. This is a product of very high quality with a long and exciting roadmap ahead."

System Requirements:

  • iPhone or iPod touch 2.1 or later
  • 4.3 MB

Sound is only available on first generation iPod touch when using headset or external speakers. The device must be unmuted. Vibration must be enabled on the iPhone for the currently active Silent/Ring state. Vibration is not available on iPod touch.

Deep Green 1.1 for iPhone is $7.99 and available exclusively through Apple's App Store. All future upgrades are free to existing customers. Deep Green Lite 1.1 debuts and is free.

ToneTune Virtual Tuning Fork

PR: Stanton Studio, LLC has announced the release of ToneTune 1.0, available on the iPhone App Store. ToneTune is a multiple tuning fork that helps you tune the strings on your stringed instrument to the correct pitch by ear without searching through hard-to-find books or the web. TuneTone has many more tunings for instruments than the competition, and a more intuitive interface.

Simply select your instrument and tuning, and tap the graphic to get the right pitch for each string. It can even play all the notes in sequence, as many times as you like.

There is a short how-to video there, as well as a feature list, screen shots and an instrument list. There is a Spanish version of ToneTune and the web site too.

Version 1.1 is currently In Review, as is a new free version, called ToneTuneLT (with a reduced number of tunings and note range).

Frog Guitar: Make Beautiful Music on Your iPhone

PR: A new company, Smort Inc. has released its first application for the iPhone, Frog Guitar.

Getting a little tired of all of those tree-hugging musical apps for the iPhone like Pocket Guitar and Ocarina. Plus, who isn't tired of Tap-Tap-Tapping? Come on! It was time for someone to step up and create something truly awesome - so Smort Inc. built a guitar out of Frogs.

It's very simple to use:

  • pluck, strike, or strum the frogs
  • stretch the frogs with the rope and pegs to change pitch
  • ignore the flies - they are just for decorations - and be careful how you treat those frogs or things might get messy

You can actually play chords and stuff with multitouch although the fingerings are inverted from a standard bass guitar. My homemade video shows you a basic song.

Check out Frog Guitar on YouTube.

Frog Guitar is available now in the App Store for 99¢.

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