The search for the top App.net client

Welcome to 9to5Mac’s Smackdown series, where we compare the top hardware and software accessories for your Apple products.

App.net (or “ADN,” as many users have come to call it) was launched last year as an alternative to other microblogging platforms that had become more hostile to developers in recent months. The idea wasn’t so much about ripping off Twitter as it was about giving developers a friendly place to build cool apps and services. Rather than being funded by venture capitalists or advertisments, ADN was funded solely by the people using the platform. Users and app developers paid a yearly fee to get into the network or build on its API.

In the time since it was opened to the public, ADN has lowered their annual fee, introduced feature-limited, invitation-only free accounts, a cloud storage service, and more. Thanks to the developer-friendly atmosphere, many amazing iPhone clients have been released. In today’s smackdown, we’re going to put three of the most popular, fully-featured apps head-to-head to determine which one is the best.

If you want to give these apps a try, you’ll need either a free or paid ADN account. The free accounts are only available by invitation, but lucky for you we happen to have 400 invitations to hand out. Want to claim one? Just click this link and sign up. Once you get there, be sure to follow us.

Read more

Gmail 2.0, Kindle X-Ray for books, Foursquare, Netbot, Uber, Jingu Friends, more

Gmail iOS 2.0

Gmail version 2.0: Google has just released a major update to its Gmail iOS app, introducing multiple account support, a new look that appears to be partly inspired by its Sparrow acquisition, search predictions and much more. The update also brings interactive Google+ posts support, an infinite scroll inbox, new welcome screen, and  the ability to respond to Google Calendar invites. Google walked through some of the new features of the overhauled Gmail app in a blog post noting the app was six months in the works:

Six months ago, our team set out to completely rebuild the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad to give you you a faster, sleeker, and easier experience on iOS. The result? Version 2.0. With version 2.0 of the app, you’ll get a totally new look and feel, plus a bunch of improvements like profile pictures in messages, numerous new animations from swivels to transitions and infinite scrolling in the message lists.

Kindle version 3.5: Amazon previously rolled out its X-Ray feature, which used to be exclusive to Kindle devices, to iOS devices back in October. At the time, it was only making the feature available for textbooks on iOS. Today, Amazon has updated the Kindle iOS app to extend the X-Ray to all books. The update also includes “Manga Image Rendering Improvements”:

• X-Ray for Books – see the “bones of the book”. X-ray helps you learn more about notable characters, places, and phrases with descriptions from Shelfari.com and Wikipedia.
• Manga Image Rendering Improvements

Uber version 2.1.0: iPhone 5 support and localizations:

-Uber app now supports iPhone 5. Also in this release are Dutch localization, and an enhanced look for top riders.

Netbot for App.net (iPhone): Tapbots updated its Netbot client for App.net today with some new features and improvements. The iPad edition is available here.

- Added support for Stream Marker
– Added Unified Stream option
– Added support for img.ly as an image service
– Performance improvements for older devices
– Better support for image annotations

Foursquare version 5.3.5:  Read more

Angry Birds Star Wars, Netbot for App.net, Find My Friends, Pandora Radio, more

Angry Birds Star Wars: Rovio has been teasing the Star Wars edition of Angry Birds for a few weeks now, but today we get our first look at gameplay from the new title. The game appears to be just a Star Wars themed version of the traditional Angry Birds gameplay. Rovio has more on its Tumblr. Angry Birds Star Wars will hit the App Store on November 8th.

Netbot for App.net: The App.net client made by Tweetbot creators Tabots is receiving a nice update today that brings push notifications, as well as an “experimental post search” feature. In addition, the update includes a number of fixes and improvements and is also available to the iPad version.

-Push Notifications
-Experimental Post Search
-Various other fixes and improvements

Discovery Channel HD: Discovery Channel updated its iPad app today to include “an interactive second screen experience synchronized to the premiere of two MythBusters episodes.” The episodes are airing this Sunday, November 4th at 8pm. The update also includes optimizations for iOS 6.

GAME mobile app: One of UK’s biggest game retailers is launching a new iOS app today that offers access to its Game Reward and Gamestation Elite programs.

Find My Friends version 2.0.1:

• Temporary friends are listed under Followers in the Me tab
• Friends’ notifications regarding your location appear in Me > Followers

Pandora Radio version 4.0: One of the biggest updates today goes to Pandora Radio’s iOS app. On top of new sharing options and redesigned user experience, the update also introduces a ton of new features. Full list below:

Read more