Friday, December 31, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Apple Resumes iTunes App Approvals has posted a note today to let us know that Apple's iTunes Connect department is back from their week long holiday shutdown.

That means that we will start seeing new apps and updates to exiting apps showing up in iTunes and on our iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches in the next day or so.  It also means that the pricing freeze is over, and we should expect to see applications and games that were heavily discounted during the Christmas holiday returning to normal.

If you have been putting off getting that game or app while it has been on sale, better get it soon!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Year End Deals on iPods, iPads, iPhones, Smartphones

Didn't get the cool new phone or iDevice for Christmas that you were hoping for?  Are you sitting on a pile of cash or gift cards?  Don't worry!  There are still deals to be had on new and refurbished hardware between now and the end of the year.

Apple (Refurbished Hardware)
  • iPod Classic (Silver or Black) - $209
  • iPod touch 32GB (third generation) - $229
  • iPod touch 64GB (third generation) - $299
  • iPad Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G - $50-100 off refurbished units
AT&T Wireless (Refurbished Hardware)
  • Apple iPhone 4 16GB - $99, $36 activation fee
  • Apple iPhone 4 32GB - $199, $36 activation fee
  • Apple iPhone 3GS 8/16/32GB - $29/$49/79, $36 activation fee
  • BlackBerry Torch - $9.99, activation fee waived
  • HP Palm Pre Plus - $0.00, activation fee waived
  • HTC Aria - $0.01, activation fee waived
Keep reading for Verizon Wireless and Sprint phones.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Smartphone Fanatics!

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings from your friends at Smartphone Fanatics!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Angry Birds for iPhone/iPod Touch Updated to 1.5.0

Angry Birds for the iPhone and iPod touch has been upgraded to version 1.5.0 following Monday's update to Angry Birds HD for the iPad.

The Angry Birds 1.5.0 update includes:
  • A new theme in the Frontier Badlands
  • 15 new levels and one new golden egg
  • Game Center support
  • Introduces the Mighty Eagle
[Notes] The Mighty Eagle feature is a $0.99 in app purchase.

Head over to the iTunes Store or hit the App Store on your iPhone/iPod touch to get in on all the new bird flinging action!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SPF360 Podcast Show 2

For the second SPF360 podcast, I discuss:
  • Google Nexus S smartphone
  • "Price Wars" in the iTunes App Store
  • Apple sells 1 million second generation Apple TVs
  • Angry Birds HD 1.5.0 for iPad
  • In-App purchases and how to protect yourself from unexpected charges
 Listening Options
I have submitted the SPF360 .m4a podcast feed to Apple for review, and with any luck, publication.  In the meantime, please use the following listening choices. RSS feed (for use in your favorite podcast catcher)
Direct .m4a Download
Direct .mp3 Download

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Briefly Noted: 1 Million Apple TVs Sold

    By way of a brief Apple press release, we have learned that sales of Apple's second generation Apple TV have crossed the 1 million mark.

    Long considered a "hobby" by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the Apple TV has not been met by the same commercial success as iTunes and the iPod.
    "Apple® today announced that it expects sales of its new Apple TV® to top one million units later this week. The new Apple TV offers the simplest way to watch your favorite HD movies and TV shows, stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe℠, all on your HD TV for the breakthrough price of just $99. iTunes® users are now renting and purchasing over 400,000 TV episodes and over 150,000 movies per day.
    Now with AirPlay®, recently available in iOS 4.2, users can wirelessly stream their music, video and photos from iPad™, iPhone® and iPod touch® to their new Apple TV, making it the perfect iOS accessory. Users can also control Apple TV with their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using the Remote app, available as a free app on the App Store℠."
    The second generation Apple TV is available now from Apple's online store, Apple retail stores, and authorized resellers for $99.

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Angry Birds HD 1.5.0 Update Released [UPDATED]

    Rovio Mobile, the makers of the insanely popular bird launching game, Angry Birds, has released Angry Birds HD 1.5.0 for the Apple iPad last night.

    This update includes:
    • A new theme in the Frontier Badlands
    • 15 new levels and one new golden egg
    • Game Center support
    • Introduces the Mighty Eagle
    [Update] The Mighty Eagle feature is a $0.99 in app purchase.

    My kids have been watching the trailer for the Mighty Eagle for weeks now and can't wait for this update.

    For current owners, this is a free update.  If you haven't yet gotten in to an avian flinging addiction yet, you can purchase Angry Birds HD from the iTunes Store (link) for $4.99.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Facebook for iOS Updated to Version 3.3.3

    Today, Facebook for iPhone and iPod touch has been updated to version 3.3.3.

    Included in this maintenance release of Facebook for iOS are the following enhancements:
    • Improved reliability in chat and messages
    • Improved notifications interface
    • Fixed a memory usage bug
    • Fixed some conditions which cause the application to crash
    • Removed the text field for walls you can not post to
    • Restored the ability to post on a Page where you are an admin
    • Fixed a group photos bug
    • Improvements to the Places feature
    You can download the update directly to your iPhone or iPod touch by using the App Store icon, or you can dowload the application to our Mac or Windows PC (link) and iTunes sync it to your iDevice.

    You can use the Facebook application on your iPad, however, this it is not a "Plus" application which means the app will not take advantage of the large display and the text and photos will look a little bit fuzzy when you use the 2x zoom feature of iOS on the iPad.

    Briefly Noted: Apple iPod Models

    I had a need to look up the various versions of the Apple iPod today.  I'm not talking about the Nano, or the Shuffle, but the "classic" iPod line.  You know, the 5GB white iPod that started it all.

    If you are interested in taking a brisk walk down iPod Memory Lane, check out the iPod Classic Wikipedia article.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Rage HD Updated to 1.11

    id Software has updated their first person shooter (FPS), Rage HD for the iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS, and iPod touch 4G and 3G.

    This update adds some new features to the game that will enhance the game for players that enjoy fragging muties in this rails based shooter.

    Rage HD 1.11 adds the following new features:

    • Game Center support fro Leaderboards and Achievements
    • Gyroscope support for the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G
    • Explore all 3 levels in "Museum Mode" before the shooting starts
    • Mirror Mode allows you to play the original three levels backwards
    • Second display support so you can play Rage HD on your TV with Apple's video out solutions
    • Control Rage HD from your iPhone or iPod touch
    • Language localization for French, Italian, German, and Spanish
    Rage HD is a universal binary game that works on both the iPad and current model iPhones and iPod touch models.  You can buy Rage HD for $1.99 and version 1.11 is a free upgrade to current game owners.

    For more details, check out Rage HD in the App Store (link).

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    iBooks 1.2 Released

    Today, Apple released a new version of their iBooks application for iPad and iPhone.

    The iBooks 1.2 update brings the following features:
    • Experience fully illustrated books, from children's picture books to beautifully designed art books, available for download in the iBookstore.
    • Organize your books and PDFs into personal Collections. Swipe left or right to jump between Collections.
    • Print PDF documents and notes you've written in iBooks using AirPrint.
    • iBooks now fits more words per page by automatically hyphenating text, available only on iOS 4.2 or later.
    iBooks is a free application and is available now from the iTunes Store (Link).  iBooks requires iOS 3.2 or later on the iPad or 4.0 or later on current model iPhone and iPod touch devices.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    SPF360 Podcast Show 1

    I return to a regular podcast this week with the release of the Smartphone Fanatics SPF360 Podcast Show 1.

    On this week's SPF360 podcast, I discuss:
    • The Verizon rumor for semi-exclusive iPhone 4
    • The incredible disappearing HP webOS smartphones
    • BlackBerry Storm2 boot up speed #fail
    • BlackBerry Playbook hands on
    Listening Options

    Smartphone Fanatics RSS Feed
    Direct Download

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Samsung Nexus S Unveiled

    The new Nexus smartphone is being launched by Samsung and is headed for T-Mobile here in the United States.

    Samsung and Google deliver Nexus S, the world’s first handset to feature the latest version of Google’s Android™ platform. Powered by Android 2.3, Gingerbread, this smartphone is packed with powerful technology and the latest in hardware features.

    Form Meets Functionality

    Featuring both superior functionality and a stunning user-experience, the Nexus S has a brilliant Super AMOLED touch screen that provides a premium viewing experience. The 4-inch Contour Display has a curved design for a more ergonomic style and feel when held to the user’s face.

    Powered by a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, Nexus S produces rich 3D graphics, faster upload and download times and supports HD-like multimedia content. In addition, Nexus S features a gyroscope sensor to provide a smooth, fluid gaming experience when the user is tilting the device up or down or panning the phone to the left or right. It also comes with 16 GB of internal memory.

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Rumor: White iPhone 4 On Track for Spring 2011

    Apple has missed the target date for the white iPhone 4 twice now, so you'll forgive me it I'm a bit skeptical of the newest target date of "spring 2011."  This information isn't new.  An Apple spokesperson also reported that the white iPhone 4 launch was rescheduled to spring 2011.

    The unofficial reasons that I've seen around the Internet range from the white parts of the phone not staying white and yellowing to there being problems to the cameras to an antenna redesign.  Whatever the reason, the end result is the same - customers still can't buy a legit white iPhone 4.


    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Briefly Noted: eWeek T-Mobile G2 Review

    I recently came across's review of the new T-Mobile G2 smartphone running Google Android.
    "Overall, the T-Mobile G2 by HTC, which is priced at $199 with a two-year contract, is quite a good Android phone. It doesn't have every feature that can be found with the competition, but it has a few features the others don't have, most notably the very fast 3G access. If you want an Android choice, this is right at the top of the list."
    You can read the full review on the eWeek website.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Rovio Releases Angry Birds Seasons

    Rovio has followed up their successful Angry Birds: Halloween app with Angry Birds Seasons.  "Seasons" is a separate game for iPhone and iPad that includes the Halloween levels, and a new set of Christmas themed levels.

    The twist for the Christmas themed levels is that you play one a day until December 25th.  That is kind of annoying while we're waiting for Christmas to get here, but the Seasons levels are harder for me to get 2 or three stars so I'll end up spending a day trying to get to three starts so it won't be a big problem for me anyway.

    One thing that I really like about Angry Birds: Seasons is that is supports iOS 4's Game Center feature so I can compare how I'm fairing against my friends and family in the leaderboards.

    Like the original Angry Birds, Angry Birds: Seasons comes in two flavors: iPhone/iPod touch ($.99) and HD for iPad ($1.99).  If you purchased Angry Birds: Halloween, Angry Birds: Seasons will be a free upgrade.