Turn your iPhone into a McIntosh

McIntosh makes high-end, expensive audio components that most people can't afford but wish they could. Now the company is offering up something free to iPhone and iPod Touch users who want to bring a little old-school McIntosh flair to their devices: an audio player app that's skinned with the "legendary" McIntosh analog blue meter.

The app description reads:

McIntosh Labs is proud to introduce the AP1 Audio Player--the first digital product from the legendary audio experts. The AP1 offers iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch owners the ability to listen to and playback music from their digital … Read more

iPad App Store adds new search tools

Finding App Store apps that aren't featured prominently on the front page generally tends to revert into the proverbial needle-hunt in the haystack. Good news: new search tabs have magically appeared as of this morning, making app-browsing just a little easier.

The new pull-down search categories, as seen above, cover price, rating, platform, release window, and the like. They appear when using the search function, and can help narrow down a wide field of apps (such as, say, "dog apps"). It's a solid first step, but it doesn't help address flaws that are already in … Read more

App for iPhone tells you where to get naked

Apple has for some reason seen fit to approve an iPhone app that helps nudists find one another. Developed by Simply Basic Software, AANRmobile is the official app for the American Association for Nude Recreation, which says it boasts up to 50,000 members and more than 260 resorts nationwide. That's a lot of skin.

The app isn't that scandalous, really. It has no images and no links to images of nudity, which, based on the nudists I've known in Olympia, Wash., is perhaps a good thing.

It does include an FAQ regarding recreational nudity (which I … Read more

Fancy a Ferrari? Rev up eBay Motors mobile app

At the Mobile Insider conference this week, representatives from mobile ad network AdMob reported that three to four Ferraris are sold each month on eBay's mobile app. The surprising statistic was confirmed by eBay Motors, which added that the eBay app for iPhone has moved 38 Ferraris since it launched last year.

But it's not just Ferraris mobile users are bidding on--members have purchased Lamborghinis and Bentleys from their mobile devices. The most expensive vehicle purchased using the iPhone app was a Mercedes SLR McLaren for $240,001. Whoever bid $240,000 for the vehicle must be kicking themselves.

These big-ticket vehicle purchases have been made through a combination of "Buy Now" selections and auctions. eBay spokesperson Angela Leon says mobile app features that alert users when they've been outbid have made it easier for members to complete sales on mobile devices.

Mobile buying and bidding of vehicles will continue to grow when eBay launches its Motors-specific app in the next few weeks.… Read more

BlackBerry App World 2.1 gets in-app payments

BlackBerry maker RIM has announced a change to its BlackBerry App World applications sales front that will gratify both developers and owners of BlackBerry smartphones.

Starting today, BlackBerry App World 2.1 will now let users buy features within an app in stages.

In-app payments already constitute a popular billing model within the smartphone world, particularly among gamers who can purchase access to new levels. Their use lets developers offer apps for free, then gradually up-sell certain features to the user, instead of charging for an entire game or app up front.

A new payment service on RIM's back … Read more

What's wrong with the Mac App Store

The Mac App Store launched less than one month ago, to promising fanfare and download stats.

I was extremely excited about the Mac App Store, well before it even existed. In fact, I was dreaming of the existence of just such a thing over a year ago. In my mind, it was the beginning of a fusion between Apple's iOS and its venerable OSX operating system--perhaps, even, the beginnings of the inevitable crossover between portable smartphones/tablets and "regular" computers. I liked the idea of an App Store's convenience, its one-stop shopping, and its consolidation of … Read more

Apple enforcing rules on e-book publishers

Apple is now trying to enforce an ignored but apparently existing rule that specifically targets publishers of e-book apps offered in its App Store.

In a nutshell, if the publisher gives customers the ability to buy books outside of the app, such as through its Web site, then it must also offer the ability to buy books within the app itself using Apple's in-app purchase system. Otherwise, that app would be rejected.

Of course, if the books are purchased within the app, Apple gets its standard 30 percent cut.

"We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines. … Read more

Dropcam gets Android app

Last year, we reviewed the Dropcam, a consumer video monitoring system that integrates into your Wi-Fi network. Previously, you could remotely monitor video feeds from a Internet-connected computer or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, running the Dropcam iPhone app. Now the company has brought that same remote mobile monitoring to Android devices in the form of a free Android app.

What we liked about the Dropcam was how simple to set up it was. The network-enabled Webcam produced by 88Volts uses hardware made by a company called Axis. Two models are currently available: the standard Dropcam ($200), which just … Read more

Boxee Box's Netflix app delayed--again

As January came and went, those hoping for Netflix on the Boxee Box were once again disappointed.

In an early morning blog post today, Boxee revealed that its Netflix app failed to make a self-imposed January 31 deadline because "we have not yet satisfied Netflix's security requirements." Boxee didn't say exactly what the issue is, but added that aside from that hangup, the app works as expected on internal units of its set-top box.

Knowing that users wouldn't be happy to hear the news, Boxee's vice president of marketing, Andrew Kippen, attempted to quell … Read more

Fooducate for iPhone: Dude, drop the Twinkies

The departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services yesterday announced new dietary guidelines for Americans that include eating less sugar, fat, and salt--no surprises there. But following such recommendations can be hard; many products labeled low in fat or high in fiber may also be brimming with sodium or additives. Nutritional labels don't always tell people what they need to know.

That's where Fooducate, a new iPhone app (Android version is "in the oven," the makers say) comes in. It uses the iPhone's camera to scan the bar codes on 200,000 food products in supermarkets and convenience stores.

It then brings up nutritional info--and not just the stuff required on the label. It also displays information about high-fructose corn syrup, food coloring, controversial additives like butylated hydroxytoluene, and healthier alternatives (instead of Super Sugar Choco Nugs, perhaps Grape Nuts?). The app's Web site uses as an example Apple Jacks cereal. It gets a D+ rating, which surprised me (something with fruit in the title must be good for you, right?!).

I wanted to try the app out, so I went to the kitchen of The Unicorn, a restaurant and bar in Seattle that yesterday served as my office. The first thing I spotted was a box of Twinkies, a favorite food from childhood that I sadly haven't had in years. I try to stay away from junk food and Twinkies are junk food, right? … Read more