Apps & updates: Podcasts, AutoCAD WS, Opera Mini, BBC iPlayer, more

We already had a number of updates to Apple’s own apps today, including iWork for iOS, Apple Remote Desktop, iTunes U, Xcode 4.4, Safari 6, and OS X Server, but below is our usual list of popular apps and updates hitting the store today:

Update: Apple has now updated its Podcasts app with the expected bug fixes. Release notes below:

What’s New in Version 1.0.1

Podcasts 1.0.1 provides a number of improvements, including:

• Significant improvements to performance and stability
• Podcasts in your library now show the number of unplayed episodes
• Top Stations now show the podcast title if artwork is missing
• Playback speed is now remembered when playing the next episode
• Fix for a problem where the Subscribe button is inactive
• Resolution of an issue where Top Stations artwork may not appear

Podcasts: If you have experienced issues with Apple’s Podcasts iOS app that released last month, as many have, you will be happy to know Apple plans to release an update today that brings a number of fixes to common bugs. According to a report from AllThingsD, Apple has been hard at work tweaking the app to fix the problems that currently plague it” and the update expected today should “vastly improve it.” 

AutoCAD WS version 1.5: Autodesk’s app for viewing, editing, and sharing AutoCAD drawings on iOS devices was updated today with two new “powerful collaboration tools that transform design creation, review, and approval into a social experience.” The two features include:
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Sculley: If anyone is going to change television, it’s going to be Apple (Murdoch agrees, too)


Photo courtesy of BBC

John Sculley, former vice-president and president of PepsiCo and CEO of Apple between 1983 and 1993, is adamant that Apple —not incumbents such as Samsung— is poised to change the first principles of the television experience. Sculley also confessed in an interview with BBC that has not read Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Apple’s late cofounder and CEO. Nevertheless, the executive turned investor underscored Apple’s history of past industry disruptions while opining that the television industry is about to experience Apple’s magic touch:

I think that Apple has revolutionized every other consumer industry, why not television? I think that televisions are unnecessarily complex. The irony is that as the pictures get better and the choice of content gets broader, that the complexity of the experience of using the television gets more and more complicated. So it seems exactly the sort of problem that if anyone is going to change the experience of what the first principles are, it is going to be Apple.

Sculely, 72, is a Silicon Valley investor nowadays, and dispelled some “myths” about his tense relationship with Apple’s cofounder. He said he did not fire Jobs, insisting they had “a terrific relationship when things were going well.” Heck, even Rupert Murdoch is commenting about Apple television, writing on Twitter this morning: “All talk is about coming Apple TV. Plenty of apprehension, no firm facts but eyes on their enormous cash pile”.

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‘Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy’ BBC documentary airs tonight

BBC is getting set to air a new documentary entitled ‘Steve Jobs: Billion Dollar Hippy’ tonight at 9:00pm on BBC HD and BBC Two. According to the Telegraph, the documentary apparently presents a more “ruthless image of Jobs” where Wozniak reveals that Jobs reduced him to tears following the release of Walter Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’ bio (click the image above for the clip of Woz from the doc):

Jobs, for instance, tricked a young Wozniak into writing code for a computer game but pocketed the majority of the payment for the project from Atari himself. Wozniak admits on the programme that he cried when he heard about Jobs’s scam following the release of a book on Jobs.

The doc is hosted by Evan Davis, and features appearances from Tim Berners-Lee, Rita Clifton, and Stephen Fry. It will also of course include interviews with Steve Wozniak and others that were close to Apple and Jobs. The program profiles Avie Tevanian, who worked with Jobs as head of software at Apple until 2006, who tells a story of trying to get Jobs to join in on a stag party: Read more

BBC iPlayer app lands on iPhone and iPod touch with 3G streaming

We heard at the beginning of the month that BBC’s iPlayer iPad app would be getting an iPhone and iPod touch version in the coming weeks and today the app has officially landed for UK users. To accompany the release, the app will also be able to stream content over all 3G networks and now officially supports AirPlay on iOS 5.

The company’s blog post notes a ‘Live Channels’ feature will allow you to quickly switch between BBC channels just like on radio and TV, and all BBC national radio stations support background audio for multitasking. They have also made improvements to streaming by introducing HTTP Live Streaming using adaptive bitrate technologies, allowing the app to adjust your streaming quality based on your connection speed. The web version of the app accessible at bbc.co.uk/iplayer will also soon get 3G streaming capabilities.   Read more

BBC gets a hands-on with the iPhone 4S and Siri personal assistant

The BBC has just posted their hands-on with Apple’s new iPhone 4S. While there isn’t much to show asthetically, BBC demos Apple’s new camera application and the hit of the show, the Siri personal assistant. You’ll notice how Siri actually repeats back to you what you say, and it works pretty seamless, even with a British accent.

Check out Apple’s Siri demo below:

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