Apple updates Trailers app with push notifications, better Rotten Tomatoes integration, and more

Apple has updated its iTunes Movie Trailers app with several new features and upgrades. The biggest new feature is the ability to get push notifications when movies marked as favorites hit theaters or iTunes. The in-app movie reviews have also been tweaked. Where previously you could only see a movies overall Rotten Tomatoes rating, you can now read full reviews right from within the app.

A few smaller features are also included in the update. You can now share links to movie trailers via AirDrop to other iOS devices, and a few bugs have been squashed. You can grab the app for free on the iTunes App Store. The full change log is below:

Read more

SXSW Festival using iBeacons for interactive sessions, speedy badge pickup through iOS app

SXSW-appOn top of the many uses for iBeacons we’ve seen in retail environments, event organizers are another group that have started taking advantage of Apple’s new Bluetooth tech recently. The MLB is deploying them in stadiums to send notifications to baseball fans, CES hosted an iBeacon scavenger hunt this year, and today we’ve found out the upcoming SXSW festival where Apple is hosting its latest iTunes Festival will also be using the technology.

Eventbase, the company that has been building the official SXSW festival app for a few years now reached out to let us know it will be deploying some iBeacons around the event this year to improve the experience. Specifically, it will be using the technology to “help attendees in Austin pick up their badge faster and get more involved in the sessions they attend.” One feature in the app will allow for real-time audience interaction during sessions: Read more

Venmo update brings the simplicity of AirDrop to mobile payments

Mobile payment app Venmo received a big update today that introduces a new way to quickly send money to nearby friends. It works just as easily as Apple’s AirDrop sharing system. The app uses Bluetooth to detect nearby Venmo users and lists them above your recent payment recipients when sending money.

While some apps make the process of sending money relatively quick, Venmo has the added benefit of making it easy to pay people around you without needing to enter any contact details at all, even if you’ve never met them before. The only catch is that both parties need to be using Venmo for the feature to work.

Venmo is available for free on the iOS App Store.

Review: 60Hz 3.0 for iOS reimagines how you interact with your TV schedule

If you watch a lot of TV, you may be familiar with a problem that plagues many TV lovers: you can never keep track of which shows come on which nights or which episodes you missed last week. Thankfully, there are a whole host of online services that can track this information for you.

I’ve tried a few different apps to keep track of my TV viewing habits, and today one of my favorite apps in this category, 60Hz, has been updated with a brand new design and a bunch of new features and tweaks.

Read more

Upcoming app will allow you to stream all 24 seasons of The Simpsons, but only through certain cable providers

simpsons1920

Last year, FX sister site FXX landed the exclusive cable and video-on-demand rights to The Simpsons, and it looks like fans of the show will finally see a payoff soon. While the nearly $1 billion deal includes cable distribution rights, the big news is that FX will be launching a dedicated app that allows subscribers to stream the entire series (all 24 seasons and counting) legally from mobile devices and the web …  Read more

Apple launches Best of 2013 page on iTunes, highlights top music, apps, books, and more

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 12.33.56 AM

Apple has just published its Best of 2013 page, highlighting some of the most popular music, movies, TV shows, iOS apps, ebooks, and podcasts from the past year. In the music section, Lorde’s “Royals” took the pick for Song of the Year, while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist was named Best Album.

Gravity, the box office hit starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, was named Movie of the Year. Despite the confusion it caused when its final season was broken into two separate purchases earlier this year, Breaking Bad was Apple’s pick for Show of the Year.

Read more

Behind the scenes look at Apple TV app development w/ the new Bloomberg channel

appleTV

Unlike its developer program and vast ecosystem of apps on iOS and Mac, there’s not much we know about Apple’s strategy for content on the Apple TV. There’s been a lot of talk that a much rumored refreshed Apple TV set top box— or perhaps even the rumored full-fledged TV set— might also come alongside a more open developer platform with app distribution.

For now, however, Apple is slowly and quietly behind closed doors making deals with select content partners that are building apps for the platform. How is Apple working with developers to build and approve these apps? Does it have an Apple TV SDK that could in theory be released to all developers? With Bloomberg TV today becoming the latest app to launch on the platform, we’ve talked with the people that built the app to get some insight into the Apple TV development process. Read more

Bloomberg launches on Apple TV globally with 24/7 live news stream, on-demand content, iOS integration & more

Bloomberg-Apple-TV-01

Following Apple’s steady release of new content and features for its existing Apple TV platform in recent months, this week it adds yet another as Bloomberg becomes the first channel to live stream business news 24/7 to Apple TV customers. We spoke with Bloomberg’s head of mobile Oke Okaro who told us all about the new Apple TV app.

The majority of the content you’ll find in the new app is the same Bloomberg TV content you’ll find on its website and in its mobile apps but specifically optimized for the larger screen. That includes a live stream of business news, on-demand content with a mix of full TV show episodes and clips, and a special live stream that will appear only for events and breaking news. While there is similar news programming already on the Apple TV through apps like The Wall Street Journal and SkyNews, Bloomberg will be the first to have a 24/7 live stream of business news. That’s compared to the WSJ app which often only live streams content on certain hours throughout the day. It’s also going beyond the other news apps by offering all of its content for free in full-length form in addition to integration with its iOS apps coming in a future update. Read more

iOS/Android app revenue gap narrows, but iOS still miles ahead

revenue

Business Insider created the above chart to show exactly how the revenue gap between iOS and Android apps shows up for developers.

While there’s no doubt the gap between the two platforms is narrowing, it’s also clear that in the metrics that count, iOS is still where you want to be. Ad revenue – read free apps – is where Android is making money for developers …  Read more

Google Search iOS app gets massive update w/ ‘OK Google’ handsfree voice search, notifications, reminders, much more

The Google Search iOS app has received a huge update today that brings a number of new features including the ability to activate voice search handsfree. Users on iPhone 4S or later can now simply say “OK Google” to begin a voice search, much like what users have been able to do with Google Now on Android devices for quite some time.

Version 3.1.0 now includes notifications for upcoming events, flights and public transit. For example, the Google Search app will provide notifications for delayed flights, tell you how long you have to catch the last train, and remind you of upcoming appointments . You can also now set reminders within the app:

Ask Google to remember things for you. Just say
• “Remind me to buy coffee beans at Starbucks,” or
• “Remind me to check out the fair this weekend”
and Google will remind you at the right time or place

In addition, Google says users can now set reminders for when their favorite musicians, tv shows, actors or celebrities are releasing new content or appear in headlines. There are also new cards in the app that display info for movie and event tickets, boarding passes, rental car reservations, public transit and upcoming events.

Read more

Review: Flamingo for Mac looks to improve on Messages for Mac

screenshot-1

Messages for Mac may support a few different chat services, but there are still a variety of features that would vastly improve the experience of messaging on the Mac. Flamingo is a new app designed to make chatting even better with a whole host of features you didn’t even realize you were missing.

Unfortunately because Apple keeps iMessage pretty locked-down, you won’t be able to use Flamingo with that. You can still use it with your Facebook, Google Hangouts (text, not video), and other XMPP-based chat services. But should you use it for those things? Keep reading for our full review.

Read more

Redesigned iPhoto & Garageband iOS icons appear, indicate likely makeovers next week

IMG_4745

Redesigned icons for iPhoto for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and Garageband have appeared in the iCloud Storage Management function in the iOS Settings app. The new icons are simpler, flatter, and is designed with iOS 7’s new icon grid system in mind. They are a stark contrast from the colorful, 3D-like icons used in the current versions of the apps.

Screen Shot 2013-10-16 at 11.16.02 PM

In line with the app redesigns for all of Apple’s bundled iOS 7 apps, it is likely that the new icon will come as a complement to a completely redesigned version of the iPhoto app. When Apple released iOS 7 last month, the designs to Apple’s App Store apps went noticeably unchanged. Besides iPhoto, Apple has a slew of other App Store apps (like iWork’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote & iLife’s iMovie). However, there are yet to be any solid indications of redesigns for the other apps…

Read more