Square adds gifts cards/passbook support, Instagram, BBC News, British Airways, Snapheal, VLC Streamer, more

Square Passbook gift cardsSquare Register version 2.5: Square is rolling out Passbook compatible gift cards for local businesses that users of the Square Wallet iPhone app can purchase and share with friends. To welcome the new feature, Square’s Register app also gets an update with the ability to accept the new gift cards via Square Wallet, Passbook, or QR code, as well as iPhone 5 support:

- Accept gift cards for your business from Square Wallet, Passbook and printed QR codes.
– iPhone 5 support and various improvements.

Instagram: Instagram has released a pretty big update to its app this afternoon, adding a revamped camera and camera roll access. Additionally, there are new grids for easy photo taking, new filter access page, and the addition of Foursquare data.

  • Instagram-themed shutter & shutter release button.
  • A preview of the most recent photo on your camera roll.
  • Improved Camera Roll image selector (iPhone 5 only) for quick access to your last photograph.
  • Optional grid guide for live photos and a permanent grid guide for the scale & crop screen.
  • Speed and reliability improvements.

BBC News version 1.7.7: Official iPhone 5 support for the BBC News iOS app:

- iPhone 5 support
– bug fixes

British Airways version 4.0: A big update to the BA iPhone app brings a completely redesigned UI that provides easy access to upcoming flights from the My Flights screen, as well as improvements for retrieving bookings and alternative boarding pass options. The updated app is also now fully iPhone 5 and iOS 6 compatible.

We’ve completely redesigned the app to make it easier to access all your upcoming flights and to address a number of issues

Snapheal version 2.1: Snapheal for Mac received an update today that includes a new and improved UI, a new crop tool, a “new algorithm for image retouch and adjust,” and much more:

- Brand new look and improved user experience, including 1 click to erase objects, faster selection, better way to save and share images, etc.
– New crop tool
– New algorithm for image retouch and adjust: faster performance, better color processing
– Enhanced lasso tool
– Improved algorithms for erasing multiple objects
– New clone&stamp tool, with better customization of brush opacity and softness

Instamac version 1.1: The recently launched Instamac Instagram client for Mac receives a ton of UI refinements, full Retina display support for Retina MacBook Pros, improved slideshow features, and more.

-We’ve spent a lot of time going through each and every user interface element to make Instamac the most elegant Instagram Client for the Mac.

Dungeon Hunter 3 version 1.4.0: Read more

Coupons.com adds Passbook integration for dozens of top retailers

Coupons.com announced today that it is adding Passbook integration to its mobile site, allowing users to save dozens of coupons from leading retailers directly to the iOS 6 Passbook app. While the company is not making its entire selection of coupons available to iOS users initially, it does have a long list of notable retailers included in its Passbook-Ready gallery accessible on iOS devices. The company’s mobile app has not yet been updated with the Passbook functionality, but visiting coupons.com will prompt you to visit and add Passbook coupons.

Users of iPhone 5 or iOS 6 simply visit www.coupons.com on their mobile phone, select the Passbook button, and tap Add to Passbook for the coupons they want. Then, just show the offers in Passbook at the cash register for instant discounts.

Some of the retailer partners the website is currently offering Passbook coupons for include Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, Old Navy, OshKosh B’gosh, PETCO, PetSmart, Sears, Michaels, and Avenue. The coupons display the expiration date, a scannable barcode, and instructions to show cashiers how to process the offer:

Each Passbook “coupon” includes a description of the offer (such as “Save up to 20% on Your Entire Order”), the expiration date, and a scannable barcode. An “information” button at the bottom right corner of the offer provides instructions for cashiers on how to process the coupon (including a numeric code that can be manually typed into the cash register if the barcode is not scanning automatically) and additional information (such as purchase requirements).

The company highlighted a few of the offers currently available to Passbook users, and it noted the gallery would be updated frequently: Read more

Apple planning fixes for keyboard glitch, Wi-Fi, Passbook bug, & Exchange in iOS 6.0.1 update?

According to a report from BGR, a reliable source informed it that Apple has begun testing iOS 6.0.1 with U.S. carriers in anticipation of a release in the coming weeks. Also mentioned in the report is a list of fixes apparently included in the update that address many of the issues users have complained about since the launch of iOS 6. Among them is a fix for the horizontal glitches that some have experienced in the iOS keyboard and folders and a number of other bug fixes for recently reported problems.

The report said the update would also bring a fix for issues with cellular data, improved Wi-Fi, as well as “a problem with the camera’s flash not going off.” Other fixes Apple will release with iOS 6.0.1 are related to iTunes Match, Passbook, and Exchange bugs:

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CEO of MLB Advance Media floored by Passbook adoption, 12 percent of eTicket buyers already choosing the service

As the new Passbook feature available on iOS 6 starts to settle in the hands of more users, the sales of printed tickets may start to go down. MarketWatch reported this afternoon that Major League Baseball wants to phase out printed tickets all together and move to apps like Passbook to deliver tickets instead. The MLB tested this type of digital ticket sale with four teams during the last two weeks of the season. From the sound of it, results are better than expected.

Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB Advance Media, told MarketWatch that 1,500 e-ticket buyers, or 12 percent, bought their tickets using Passbook. He was shocked: “That adoption rate really floored us – there is no question our fans want digital tickets.” This has to be just what Apple wants.

Passbook offers benefits that paper tickets do not. Sure, there is nothing like having the paper ticket as a collectors item, but the benefits of a digital version may seem worth it to some. Bowman explained, “Fans can use the tickets, forward them to a friend, resell them, or even donate them to charity – and they never get lost or left at home.” Fans can also purchase a paper ticket, leave it at home, and use their ticket via Passbook instead. Read more

USPTO publishes Apple iTravel patent with Passbook-like features and NFC tech

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a series of Apple-granted patents today related to iTravel that reek of Passbook and Near Field Communications.

According to Patently Apple, the “boarding pass and express check-in” feature spotlighted in iOS 6’s Passbook app, which Senior Vice President of iPhone Software Scott Forstall previously announced, is covered in today’s iTravel patent. Apple also received coverage for NFC tech, that we think has a pretty good shot of going into the next iPhone, within iTravel that concerns the check-in process and, more specifically, factors for transportation providers to perform identification and ticketing checks.

Patently Apple explained:

  • Apple’s iTravel check-in system will work with Macs, but more importantly, with iOS devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Ticketing and identification information will be stored on the iOS device and transmitted, such as via near field communication, to another electronic device. The handheld device may be used to check into flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, trains, buses, and so forth.
  • Additionally, traveler identification information may be transmitted electronically to enable faster security verification during check-in. The traveler identification information may enable automatic lookup of the traveler in a security database, thereby reducing the inconveniences of incorrect identification. Travelers may also provide specialized identification, such as fingerprints or retinal scans, in order to provide heightened security on high-risk modes of transportation.

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Start using Passbook on iOS 6 with a few simple steps

During Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference opening keynote, which took place earlier this month, Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall unveiled a new app called “Passbook” that allows customers to track a number of various types of stubs, including boarding passes, loyalty cards, movie tickets, and coupons.

The app is included in the iOS 6 preview currently available to developers a part of Apple’s developer program, but it is missing those virtual items to put inside. For now, it is just a sitting page with no functionality. However, Passbook will most likely swing into full gear as Apple makes more additions heading into this fall. For those of you itching to start using Passbook, you can get it going in iOS 6 with just a few simple steps:

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Phil Schiller: App Store is more democratic than traditional retail, Passbook is not a direct payment service

In a recent story about growing concerns among app developers who want better ways to promote their apps in the App Store, The Wall Street Journal published quotes from an interview with Apple’s Vice President for Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller about the “tremendous amount” of work Apple does to help new apps get discovered. Schiller also talked about how things will improve with the redesigned App Store, Facebook integration, and new user tracking tools for developers in iOS 6:
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