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Science is the new Rock & Roll, or at least you'd be forgiven for thinking so after seeing the huge crowds that Professor Brian Cox can draw just by talking about the wonders of the universe. The iPad isn't short of apps celebrating this new phenomenon either - so here's our pick of the best apps for science geeks.

Streaming giant Netflix have added a couple of new features to their iOS apps that should excite iPhone-touting film.

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The new update that was released earlier today brings the app up to compatibility with the new iOS7. Visually not much has happened (it was already pretty flat) - but what is interesting is that they've added support for Airplay. This means that if you have an Apple TV, or similarly compatible device, rather than be restricted to your phone's tiny screen, you can watch it on your TV.. whilst using your phone as a remote. Nifty.

They've also added full HD support - which is crucial if you want to enjoy some of Netflix's, er, B-list film catalogue, like Taffin, without compromising on picture quality.

Go to the app store now and get updating!

bbm-ios-android.jpgBlackBerry's BBM messaging service will be making its long-awaited arrival on Android phones and Apple's iOS devices this weekend.

Those sporting gadgets running Google's operating system will get the first stab at it on Saturday 20 September, with the iOS version hitting the Apple App Store on Sunday 21 September. That sees BlackBerry just squeeze into the summer launch window that they had planned, with barely a day to spare.

BBM for iOS and Android will let users chat with BlackBerry owners and each other, while also letting users share files, images, and voice notes. Group chats of up to 30 participants is also supported. BlackBerry says that its BBM Channels feature will be made available on iOS and Android soon after the initial launch.

On Android, the app will be compatible with Android 4.0 and up, while only iOS users running version 6 and above will be able to make use of the service.

Despite this year's BlackBerry 10 reboot for the company and the launch of a number of critically well-received handsets, BlackBerry has still struggled to make up the ground lost to smartphone rivals Apple and Google with Android.

As such, the company have now begun farming out key software properties to rival mobile platforms, while also potentially considering an outright sale of the company.

The iPad is a great tablet, no question about it, but anyone who argues you can get just as much work done on it as you could a Windows PC or a Mac is either a) mad, or b) an Apple executive. However, a new app called Parallels Access could change all that. It takes the concept of remotely accessing a Windows PC or Mac computer from an iPad and runs with it, "applifying" desktop-based apps with gestures and touch interface options so as to make them feel like they were designed for a tablet all along.

Parallels Access is a subscription service that (provided both your desktop PC or Mac and iPad are connected to the internet) allows you to access all of your desktop applications and files on the iPad, on the go. While this isn't anything ground breaking in and of itself, what Parallels Access excels at is making the desktop computing experience feel as though it is native to the iPad. Just look for instance at how it presents Mac and Windows desktops through the app:
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(Note that that is just the view given for your favourite apps - you can access a traditional desktop view when required too.)

It all looks very iOS, right? It doesn't end there - any computer based app accessed through Parallels Access retains practically all of the gesture controls that you've become accustomed to with iOS. Pinch-to-zoom that Excel spreadsheet? No problem. Long-press to copy and paste in a Word document? Ditto. How about using the same gesture to copy text between a native iPad application and the remotely accessed computer app? No sweat.

Perhaps where Parallels Access really shines though is in the way that it has added brand new gestures to compensate for the lack of a mouse. For instance, in an area where the precision of a mouse can't be matched by sausage-like fingers, a tap and hold gesture will bring up a magnifying glass, letting you access the more granular buttons the desktop operating systems regularly use. These few examples just scratch the surface of what it is capable of.

And then there are of course the added benefits of being able to access Windows from an iPad. Flash video and games can finally be played on the Apple slate through the remote access application and, providing you are playing slightly more sedate turn-based PC games such as Civilization or Football Manager, there's no reason why you couldn't finally have those top games on your iPad with you all the time.

In terms of connection speed required, Parallels Access appears to scale well. You may see a slight degradation in image quality from time to time, but as long as you have a half-decent constant web connection, it works like a charm. This isn't the reserve of fibre-broadband users.

It is, however, the reserve of those with a fair bit of spare cash. Compatible with iPad 2 or newer and computers running OS X 1.7 and Windows 7 or higher, it costs £54.99 per year for each computer being accessed. Cheaper alternatives exist (check out GoToMyPC or PocketCloud Pro), but none are as intuitively realised as Parallels Access. If remote access of your desktop machine is vital to your work flow, this could prove an indispensable tool.

zappar-angry-birds.jpgAugmented reality app experts Zappar have teamed up publisher Pedigree Books to launch a range of interactive books for kids.

The "Super Interactive Annuals 2014" line will feature a number of titles based on properties including Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and Sonic the Hedgehog, and will have pages that work in tandem with the Zappar augmented reality app.

Readers need only download the free app, fire it up and point it at the Zappar code symbols on relevant pages to see extra animated content to supplement what's going on on select pages, as well as gain access to a number of casual games.

Available to all Android and iOS users that have a device with a camera, the augmented reality content accounts for just 20% of the whole book experience according to the publishers, meaning that even kids without access to a compatible mobile device will still be able to enjoy each book.

"Working with Zappar on these new titles has allowed us to offer our customers something completely new and fresh," said Matthew Reynolds, publishing and sales director at Pedigree.

"We are very excited about the retail prospects for this range, which will stand out on the shelves and ensure we remain the market leader in annuals."

The Zappar app can be grabbed for free from the App Store for iOS devices and Google Play Store for Android devices, while the annuals themselves are already available in store at ASDA, WH Smiths, Tesco and other UK shops.

Check out the video below to see the app and annuals in action:

gta_vice_city.jpgGrand Theft Auto developer Rockstar has slashed the price of all of its iPad, iPhone and Android games, offering mobile gamers some crime-ridden fun on a budget.

Three GTA games are up for grabs. The classic Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City games, having recently enjoyed 10th anniversary touchscreen makeovers are up for £1.99 each. Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars (originally for the Nintendo DS and arguably the GTA game best suited to tablet play) is also available for a penny shy of £2.

Gritty noir shooter Max Payne is also discounted, down to just £1.49.

Generosity clearly brought on by a case of sunstroke, Rockstar cite the recent "beach weather" for inspiring the sale, as well as the impending launch of Grand Theft Auto V on Xbox 360 and PS3.

RELATED:
10 reasons to be very excited about Grand Theft Auto V

apple-maps.pngApple's Maps app was one of the company's rare public failures, partially responsible for costing at least one Apple executive his job, and leading to a rare public apology from the Cupertino firm.

CEO Tim Cook has already committed to fixing up the app, and a new rumoured purchase could be the most major step in the right direction for the beleaguered cartography application.

According to sources speaking to AllThingsD, Apple are in the process of purchasing Canadian location start-up Locationary.

Locationary crowd sources location and amenities data, verifying that all information given is not only accurate, but up to date at a minute level, including whether or not stores and public places are temporarily closed (say, for refurbishment).

When quizzed on the news, an Apple spokesperson gave an uncharacteristically suggestive response:

"Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

That's nearly confirmation, right?

Either way, if the new purchase is indeed going through, it'll take a little while for the benefits to hit the app. In the meantime, why not check out the newly-released iPad version of Google's amazing Maps app.

Firefly, the cult sci-fi TV show helmed by Joss Whedon of The Avengers fame, is to be revived as an iOS and Android game due for release in summer 2014.

Called Firefly Online, the game will see you building and customising your own spaceship before heading out to hire a crew, taking on missions and (presumably) battling other craft. The "Online" part of the game comes from the ability to meet and trade with other players in-game, a mechanic that will work across both the Apple and Android platforms, allowing for rare cross-platform play between the two.

Revealed by Fox during the San Diego Comic Con, the game is being developed by Dairy Queen Tycoon developer Spark Plug Games, alongside QMXi who specialise in sci-fi gaming tie-ins.

Though pencilled in for release initially on smartphone and tablet devices, the developers haven't ruled out a PC release yet, but will first gauge interest in the mobile properties.

Firefly only had one season, which ran in 2002 before being cancelled, but remains a fan favourite, enough to justify a one-off movie called Serenity in 2005. Fans of Star Wars would do well to check them all out.

For more updates on the game, visit www.keepflying.com.

app-store-top.pngWe're pretty sure you receive gifts on your birthday rather than give them away, but Apple will be throwing out the rule book to celebrate the fifth anniversary of their App Store. The Cupertino company will be giving away a number of popular apps that usually carry premium pricing for free to mark the occasion.

Among the freebies are top hack-and-slash game Infinity Blade II (usually priced £4.99) and Traktor DJ for iPad, which usually commands a hefty £13.99 selling price.

Other apps set to be discounted include the games Tiny Wings (as well as the iPad HD version), platformer Badland, picture editing app Over, Disney's massively popular kids game Where's My Water? and pixel-art action adventure masterpiece Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP.

The fifth anniversary of the launch of the App Store falls on 10 July, with over 50 billion apps having been downloaded to iPad, iPod touch and iPhone devices since the shop opened its virtual doors.

iCade-8-Bitty-pad.jpgThis year is set to be one of the most disruptive 12 months ever for the games industry. Straight from the most fiery E3 conference for some time, we're now just a few short months away from the next generation of gaming consoles.

But, rather than being all sewn up by Microsoft's Xbox One, Sony's PlayStation 4 or Nintendo's Wii U, it's Apple who've just made the real game-changing gaming announcement.

iOS 7 for iPhone and iPad is set to introduce an official controller API.

Apple will now allow gamepads into the MFi program, which green-lights the sort of officially certified accessories you see lining the shelves of brick-and-mortar Apple Stores.

Two controller forms will be accepted: a "standard" model that offers a D-Pad, shoulder buttons and four face buttons, and an "extended" controller that adds an extra pair of trigger buttons and a pair of thumb sticks. Each can be a standalone controller that connects over AirPlay, or can act as a frame to house the iOS device, popping the controls either side of the screen.

On the surface it doesn't sound like a major deal - we've already had iOS gamepads from the likes of iCade and Ion. However, without any standardised API blueprint to work against, games developers had to put the effort in to optimising their titles for each manufacturer's unique hardware control system. For many games devs, it just wasn't worth the extra hassle to add support for a controller that only a few thousand people (at best) may own, especially when the iPhone and iPad's touch controls worked out fine. But with the introduction of a standardised API, whatever Apple-certified gamepad you buy going forward from the release of iOS 7 will adhere to a unified design, a single system that any game dev can easily add support for.
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Hardcore iGaming

For years now we've been told that the console business will die out as more and more "casual" gamers turn to the devices in their pockets for their gaming thrills instead. But this has left the "hardcore" gamer, those that prefer their adventures delivered with buttons and thumbsticks instead of swipes and taps, out in the cold.

With the introduction of a standardised controller, the iPad can now be considered a genuine portable hardcore gaming console, among its many other techy roles.

And the hardcore gaming experiences for iOS devices are now coming in thick and fast. The recently released Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic port went down a storm, while the likes of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and the Modern Combat series are as far removed from the likes of Angry Birds as is possible.

Again, console stalwarts will point to the fact that some of the "hardcore" titles I've highlighted here are ports of older console titles. But with the knowledge that a traditional controller is now available to work with, more console-like games will certainly make their way to Apple's devices, perhaps even day-and-date iPad editions of games that would once have been the reserve of Sony and Microsoft's consoles.

And, unlike the uncharted waters of the next generation of consoles, there's already an installed iOS userbase of well over 500 million. 500 million! Of course, iOS 7 adoption is needed to support the gamepads, and older iOS devices won't be able to run iOS 7. But if even just under half of that number update to the new version of Apple's mobile operating system, that would eclipse even the mighty PlayStation 2's 155 million owners. And in penny-pinching times, you're not asking gamers to invest hundreds of pounds on new hardware, just in an inexpensive add-on for their already-capable device.

In terms of software, games like SW:KOTOR are proving gamers are willing to pay a premium for hardcore games on iOS devices, pushing app margins higher for developers. It's a market struggling games developers can't ignore.
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Taking on the big three

Of course, this isn't quite a fair fight when you look at the hardware; the Xbox One and PS4 will be able to deliver incredibly detailed worlds, verging on the photo-real, with experiences exclusive to their platforms.

But mobile graphics are catching up rapidly. Apple's full-fat iPads already offer high resolution graphics through their Retina displays, and according to some mobile GPU vendors, the gap between mobile graphics chips and home gaming ones are shrinking.

Gamers are already turning against the Xbox One for what many feel are draconian anti-piracy measures. By encouraging digital downloads and licensed "ownership", Microsoft are effectively chasing the model set by Apple's revolutionary App Store. The difference of course is that people have accepted the App Store model, even if they can't trade the items they purchase through it. In the App Store, Apple delivered a disruptive platform through disruptive devices - the iPad and iPhone. The Xbox One is looking to introduce disruptive ownership systems in a traditional console market, and the two just don't gel together well in consumer's minds. Apple's App Store has succeeded, and with the 50 billionth app download confirmed on Monday, the Cupertino company are reaping the rewards. As are developers, who've pocketed $10 billion in the process.

But what of Nintendo's Wii U, selling so poorly that games publishing powerhouse EA look to be ceasing development for it altogether, and that many developers feel is hamstrung by its relatively low specs? The API announcement is arguably the final nail in the Wii U's coffin - with an integrated high resolution touchscreen and the addition of physical controls, what's the iPad but a more powerful Wii U gamepad, minus a certain moustachioed plumber? If the console fails and Nintendo are forced begrudgingly to license their properties out to mobile platforms, Apple will be first in line to pick up the pieces, possibly signing up their own valuable exclusives, and Nintendo will finally have a D-Pad to guide Mario around with.

The big sell

The stickler of course will be pricing and marketing. A £50 iPad controller isn't going to sell. A line of £10-£15 controllers though from multiple manufacturers, with Apple's in-store marketing magic behind it? Bundled in with an iPad or iPhone (however unlikely that particular scenario seems)? Now you're cooking with fire.

And then of course there's the Apple TV - with this announcement you're just a step away from pairing a controller with that and calling it the iGame.

Though a quiet announcement, Apple are now taking gaming seriously. And gamers should be taking Apple seriously now too.

mad-dog-deon.jpgLove watching the Jeremy Kyle show on your tablet, but can't stand the ITV Player app's adverts butting in just before we find out exactly why the UK's very own skeletor, Mad Dog Deon, tattooed his face up? Then you'll be (possibly) pleased to hear that ITV are introducing a subscription offering for their iOS app that will cut the commercials.

The premium upgrade will cost £3.99 a month, letting you watch uninterrupted streams of all ITV and ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 shows, as well as offering simulcasts of ITV3 and ITV4 over 3G and Wi-Fi.

"As ITV Player on mobile devices continues to grow - over 7 million downloads on iOS to date - it is important we deliver innovative business models and adapt the product to the evolving market," Steven Power, Product Manager for ITV Player on Mobile.

"I'm genuinely excited that we're the first commercial broadcaster to offer viewers the choice to watch content with or without advertising."

The update should be live now for iPhone and iPad users. No word on an Android version yet though.

ios-7-apple-top.pngBoasting sales of 365 million mobile devices, Apple today revealed iOS 7, their latest mobile software build.

"The team at Apple has been working incredibly hard on the latest version of iOS, and today it's a great thrill to announce iOS 7" said CEO Tim Cook.

"iOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone. It's packed with amazing new features and a stunning new user interface."

Featuring all new typography and redesigned icons, it's got Jony Ive written all over it, who made it clear he would be removing many elements of skeuomorphism after taking over the head software role from Scot Forstall.

Translucent effects feature heavily, with a home screen that reacts in a 3D way to a tilting phone, letting you see "behind" each icon.

Improved multitasking looks set to feature, letting you jump between apps in a similar fashion to fullscreen apps on a Mac OS X machine, while a new lockscreen features an upwards - rather than sidewards - swiping gesture.

All core Apple apps get a new look, refined and "flat" compared to older versions. Even the wireless mobile signal bar gets updated, now represented by 5 dots rather than rising bars.

Folders can now spread over multiple pages, giving clean-freaks increased control over the layout of their apps.
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iOS 7: The key new features

Control Center

Control Center is accessed from a swipe up from the bottom of the screen and gives quick access to controls including Wi-Fi, brightness and Airplane mode, as well as enabling AirPlay among others. It's much like many Android reskinning's settings bars, accessed from downward swipes on those devices, but here complete with Apple's refined design sensibilities, finished with a translucent look.

Multitasking

Multitasking across all apps will be introduced, with the OS monitoring you usage habits and making sure they're ready to go as soon as you fire your phone up. Twitter and Facebook feeds for instance, will be automatically updated when firing your phone up. Double clicking the Home button brings up a pane-style view of each app, not unlike webOS cards, unlocking multitasking capabilities.

SafarI improvements

Safari now features a "Smart" search field that brings up favourites when its tapped, as well as featuring iCloud Keychain integration for accessing passwords and logins automatically. That search filed is smart like Chrome's Omnitoolbar too, pulling in pages from bookmarks, history and previous searches too. Tabs are no longer limited to just 8 either, though Apple didn't give a specific figure.

AirDrop

AirDrop will allow users to share photos wirelessly by tapping on faces of pals in your snaps. Photos in will also be subject to new integrated filters if you so desire, while photo sets will be organised into "Moments" categorised by date and location. Here's hoping Apple's Maps tech is up to the task. iCloud Photo Streams can now also have multiple editors, letting you and your pals put together photo albums together.

Siri updates

Siri now comes with a whole new female voice, and the option of a male voice in the US. French and German languages are now supported by the voice-activated assistant, with Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing services integrated into what it's commands can control and search. Hands-free Siri integration will also be integrated into dashboard screens of 16 major automotive manufacturers.
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New improved App Store

A new version of the App Store will be introduced that automatically updates apps as a new version becomes available, as well as showing you the most popular apps of fellow iOS users in your local vicinity.

iTunes Radio

Apple's long-awaited music streaming service, iTunes Radio, also made an appearance. Integrated directly into the music player app as a "music discovery service", it makes use of a list of featured stations that you can swipe though. Tapping the station name plays it, and stations seem to be based around individual artists as well as genres and curated offerings.

Tapping a star next to a track lets the service know to play more songs that are similar, add it to an iTunes download wishlist, or remove the song from ever playing on iTunes Radio ever again. The "Nickleback button" if you like.

Free with ads, it's completely free to iTunes Match subscribers, coming totally ad-free to those folks. No separate subscription plan then will give Apple a big boosts here, though there was no word of offline playlists either, suggesting the company are still trying to get people to splash the cash on tune downloads through iTunes. Rolling out in the US first, it'll be available through iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and also works in iTunes on the Mac and AppleTV.

Activation Lock

A new security feature, Activation Lock will prevent theives from re-activating a device is it's been wiped remotely with the Find My Phone feature. A user will need to sign in again with their Apple ID in order for the phone to be useable again. Thieves will be stealing a brick, in other words, making for a great deterrent.

iOS 7 Availability

Developers will be able to get their hands on a beta version of iOS 7 from today, with an iPad beta rolling out in the coming weeks. The final version available to all iPod touch, iPhone and iPad users will be available "from the fall". That's the Autumn for UK readers, making a September/October launch date likely in time for a new iPhone release. However, only more recent devices will be supported, as follows: iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, iPad mini and the 5th gen iPod touch.

"This major effort is only possible because of the incredible collaboration between Jony and his amazing design team and Craig and his amazing engineering team," said an obviously pleased Cook, with iOS 7 enjoying the most applause from the collected developers at the event.

"Our goal at Apple is to make amazing products that our customers love. Really great products that enrich peoples' lives. The words you saw at the beginning of the show are more than just words to us. They are the values we live by. They drive us. You've seen them reflected in our products over the years. You'll continue to see them reflected in the products we make in the future."

So what do you think of the new iOS 7 update? Has Jony Ive nailed it? We're looking forward to getting our hands on the new mobile OS, and will bring you our full verdict once we've got our hands on it!

dark-fate-ipad.pngOur self publishing season continues today with a quick look at Dark Fate: The Treasure Island Chronicles, by Oxfordshire-based startup Whooc Publishing Ltd. under their Freed Fiction Imprint. So far we've looked at how to solo DIY publish Kindle eBooks, but what of stand-alone apps, and alternative ways to fund your project?

Dark Fate: The Treasure Island Chronicles explores both, being a novel in app form for iPad and iPhone, seeking funding through the Kickstarter crowd-funding community.

Fronted by Bea Longworth and Bill Cole, the pair founded Whooc Publishing themselves back in October 2012. Dark Fate: The Treasure Island Chronicles is set to be their young-adult orientated Freed Fiction imprint's first title. And it's an ambitious one.

Described as "first person fiction", it borrows heavily from the Choose Your Own Adventure books of old, but brought bang up to date as an iPad app. A prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Dark Fate will let readers pick their own path through the tale, with the choices they make not only shaping the story, but defining the character the reader eventually becomes - Treasure Island stars Long John Silver, Blind Pew or Billy Bones, using an interface and coding Bea describes as similar in principle to that of console game Mass Effect.bea-and-bill-dark-fate.jpegWith touch controls and glitzy animations, it's far removed from the pen and pencil book-based role players of generations passed, making great use of the technology at hand. However, it's a more complex undertaking than a standard eBook, requiring a team of people to complete. Dark Fate will also have to face Apple's somewhat-draconian App Store approval process - a submission system far more involved than, say, the KDP approach.

"It's been really interesting coming from tech to the book publishing industry as a relative outsider," says Bea.

"Many publishers seem to view anything 'digital' as borderline witchcraft, but also know they need to find a way to use technology effectively if they're going to grow their audience. At the same time, interactive fiction and other genre-busting book/game crossovers are having a resurgence - The Numinous Place by Brandwidth was recently successful on Kickstarter, The Story Mechanics just released their first 'digital feature' The 39 Steps on Steam and Random House is experimenting with Black Crown, a 'narrative experience' designed to launch a new author. "

Kickstarter is full of potential for authors looking to fund their writing, but it's no walk in the park. Project backers can be demanding, requiring constant updates on the project that may distract from an authors work. Stretch goals for novelists can be great fun though: if a backer pops an extra £1,000 into the project, for instance, they could be immortalised as a main character in the tale.

However, with Kickstarter's profile rising rapidly, it's becoming an increasingly competitive area, with hundreds of projects all vying for backer's cash. Fail to hit your funding goal, and any money pledged by backers returns to them, potentially derailing your project.

"Kickstarter is becoming quite mainstream, which means a wider audience of potential
backers but also that Kickstarter fatigue is setting in," explains Bea.

"We don't have any celebrity supporters or cult following, so we decided to try and stand out by creating a video which would be entertaining as well as informative. We've mixed up our favourite movies, games and young adult novels - it's kind of like an episode of Spaced crossed with an infomercial!"

For more on Dark Fate: Treasure Island Chronicles, click here. The project is seeking £25,000 of funding, and has 23 days to achieve that goal.

Tech Digest eBook Self Publishing Season - Guides, Interviews and More on How To Get Your Work Read

Star-Wars-Knights-of-the-Old-Republic-20-1280x960.jpgIn a somewhat surprising move, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, first released in 2003, is set to swoop down onto Apple's iPad.

One of the greatest role-playing games ever made, and certainly the best Star Wars title, it was developed by a pre-Mass Effect Bioware churning out some of the best games of their careers.

Set many thousands of years before the events of George Lucas's films, it charts the rise of an evil Sith lord, with a superb twist-heavy story and the chance to shape your character any which way you choose.

IGN have been given early access to the app (which has yet to appear on the UK iTunes store), praising just how well the game stands up today. The site also praises the port's tap-to-target combat (with the turn-based pause system well suited to mobile play), but admitted to struggling at times with the drag-to-walk movement controls.

If you've never played the game before, definitely give it a go on iPad, as it's a bone-fide classic, even with the slightly dodgy movement according to IGN.

No word on UK pricing or release yet, but it seems only a matter of days, if not hours away.

shazam-2013-ipad.jpgShazam have updated their iPad app, giving the music identification service on the tablet a new look and introducing new functionality.

A new discovery homescreen has been added with a clearer layout for tag results, as well as improved social integration. A new automatic tagging system has also been added, with the Shazam service continually tracking the audio being played around it and offering up its results without you needing to keep hitting the tag button - a great feature for obscure party playlists or when listening to the radio.

The discovery screen also adds what others are listening to or tagging at that time, which will also include TV shows in the US. An interactive map mode will let you track what songs are being tagged around you, while Rdio streaming integration lets you jump from a tag instantly to play the song.

"We have seen amazing growth and expansion in both the number of people who use Shazam on iPad as well as their level of engagement," said Rich Riley, Shazam CEO.

"With more than 300 million Shazamers globally who use the app more than ten million times each day to discover more about the music and television they are interested in, we have created an exciting and engaging new iPad experience for existing and new users."
Owners of the iPhone and iPod touch versions of the Shazam app will already be familiar with some of the new features, will other new ones will be rolling out to all versions of the app in coming weeks, including a revised version for Android owners.

Star Command, the long-awaited space ship strategy sim, will hit Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch on May 2.

Sitting somewhere between an 8-bit Star Trek and Theme Hospital, the game lets you build your own starship, enlist its crew and then takes them across the universe, meeting hostile alien races and engaging in space battles, repelling any foes that beam their way onto your ship.

Full Retina display resolutions will be supported, as will be fullscreen iPhone 5 support.

It's release this week comes a lengthy 15 months after its originally-slated date, penned in initially following developer War Balloon Game's successful Kickstarter pitch.

Android, PC and Mac versions are also in the pipeline, prioritised in that order depending on the success of the iOS release. Android versions are expected a month after the iOS release.

Google Now hits iPhone and iPad

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google-now-ios.jpgGoogle's superb Google Now digital personal assistant service is now available for the iPhone and iPad.

Landing as an update to the iOS Google Search app, Google Now has until this point been an exclusive feature of Android versions 4.1 and above.

Tapping into your Google accounts (Gmail, Calendar etc), your search history and current location, Google Now presents you with cards offering all manner of information, from the weather, local transport updates, sports results, meeting reminders (with directions) and local amenities. You can tweak the app to show you content more relevant to your needs, dismissing information that's not required.

One of the best things about Android, you may be surprised that Google has opened it up to Apple users. But ultimately Google wants as many people as possible using its services and viewing its ads, so it's ultimately an inevitable release. Anyway, Android users still get the superior version of Google Now, where it runs constantly in the background, pushing notifications and a readily available stream of relevant information at users from a single long-press of the home button.

Recently uncovered code has also suggested that Google Now will soon launch as the default view of the desktop Google homepage for users signed in to the search engine's services.

Grab the updated iOS app by clicking here. Those with the Google Search app already installed on their iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices will get Google Now through an app update.

UPDATE:
Super Monster Bros By Adventure Time Pocket Free now seems to have been removed from the App Store. But a quick search sees that a near-identical title called 'Adventure Games Super Monster Bros Plus' is still on sale. AVOID IT!

If you see your little one browsing the Apple App Store and venture anywhere near the Super Monster Bros By Adventure Time Pocket Free game, wrestle that thing from their hands IMMEDIATELY. It's quite possibly the most cynical cash-grabbing rip off app we've ever seen.

As highlighted by the folks over at IGN, the app (which can barely really even be called a game) illegally uses Nintendo's Pokemon characters and Mario sound effects, in a platformer where there's no penalty for walking across gaping chasms.

But that's not even the worst part. Upon firing up the app, you are instantly offered the option to purchase a £70 character which (we haven't been foolish enough to lay down the cash and test this theory) looks only to offer another rip-off Pokemon reskin for the main character.

Extra lives cost money, as do even the fireball projectile attacks that can be burnt through in a matter of seconds.

Which begs the question: how did this ever get through Apple's "stringent" App Store approval process? When apps like AppGratis (which aims to help App Store browsers get the best deals) get ejected from the App Store, how can the Cupertino company allow such shame-faced cash-grabs to make it onto the store? It plays so liberally with intellectual properties as to be a joke for starters, before you even look at the in app purchases, especially considering the scrutiny in-app purchases are currently under.

Apple need to pull this now, and give a slap on the wrist to whatever employee green lit its distribution.

Nike_FuelBand_App_Update_large.jpgNike's FuelBand may be inspiring those who would otherwise be couch potatoes to get up and break a sweat, but what good's that if you can't show off your rock hard calf muscles?

A new update to the Nike+ FuelBand app will let you do just that, letting you add photos of your workouts through the app to share with Facebook friends, with location tags and exercise achievements all attached.

The app will also allow you to customise your networking photo with your current NikeFuel Score (and the Nike+ logo - kind of like those kids that used to have the "Swoosh" shaved into their heads) too. Not a bad idea - anything that can obscure my pained post-run face photo.

Finally, the app also introduces new customisable social leaderboards, using the NikeFuel score as a currency with which to challenge your pals latest fitness achievements.

With no FuelBand support planned for Android devices yet, this remains an iOS-only update.

cut-the-rope-time-1.jpgThis week sees the return of the candy-loving Om Nom in the new Cut the Rope: Time Travel puzzle game for mobile devices.

The sequel to 2010's Cut the Rope and 2011's Cut the Rope: Experiments, the latest in the award winning series sees Om Nom travelling through time on the hunt not only for another bunch of Campino's to munch down on, but also for his ancestors from across the ages.

Taking in levels loosely based on time periods including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Stone Age, this sequel still sees you slashing away at ropes hanging the sweet goodies around Om Nom, tasking you with making sure they drop into his watering mouth. cut-the-rope-time-2.jpgA keen grasp of the laws of gravity and timing is required to succeed, and you'll also need to get to grips with a host of new contraptions and obstacles to make sure Om Nom gets his grub, from the usual to bubbles and blades to bombs and bouncing platforms. This time out you'll also need to feed Om Nom's ancestors too, meaning you'll have to figure out how to make sure each of the green little monsters gets their share of the sweet-toothed dinner.

Alongside the standard levels, developers ZeptoLab have also expanded the "Om Nom Stories" mini animated series to go along with the game, with episodes popping up between each major group of stages.It's part of the company's push to make Om Nom a household name, with ZeptoLab also working on a full series with Sony.

Despite it's kiddie visuals, there's still a stiff challenge involved too, with some devilish puzzles littered across the game, especially if you're aiming to collect all the additional challenge stars dotted around each stage.

Cut the Rope: Time Travel is available for all major mobile platforms, priced at£0.69 for iPhone from Apple's App Store, and £1.99 for iPad. The app is also available for £0.62 from the Google Play store for Android-supported devices, £1.85 for NOOK and £0.65 on Amazon.

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