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Apple introduced podcasts as a huge part of iTunes eight years ago now, and in that time they've seen some mammoth success with their software. It has become the center of Apple's consumers digital lives.
Now, the company have passed 1 billion podcast subscriptions, with the milestone being celebrated. Apple are using the milestone to highlight some of their most popular podcasts, which include This American Life, TWiT and All Songs Considered, as well as an upcoming program called The Alton Browncast. I would've expected more from the milestone, such as the company giving away something for free, but whatever, Apple.
BlackBerry has not made any attempt to hide the fact that its mobile messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, will be coming to Android and iOS this summer. The company has, however, been quite tight lipped on when exactly BBM will launch on both platforms. In a recent interview, India's managing director for BlackBerry accidentally let a hint slip that September could be the official launch month for BBM on Android.
"The service is coming to Android this summer. But summer as per North America, where it remains till September," said Sunil Lalvani. He did not elaborate whether or not his claim actually meant it would arrive at the end of September nor did he make any mention of a release date for iOS.
Previously we were led to believe that BBM would make its Android and iOS debut sometime on or around June 27 but that date has obviously come and gone. BBM on iOS and Android could play a major role in companies who have multiple smartphones all running different operating systems but need a central form of mobile messaging. Some analysts say that it could once again become the de facto messaging service for professionals on the go.
Today, Evernote updated its app for iOS and added some new features that are sure to make its users happy. The update mostly includes features that make organization much easier including things like Shortcuts, Related Notes, and Skitch integration. This new support for Skitch allows users to have the app annotate their images and notes with Skitch and they will show up at Evernote.
As you would expect, the newly integrated Shortcuts feature allows users to "shortcut" important notes, notebooks, and even tags so they are easily accessed for quick use. Additionally, your shortcuts will sync across all devices and versions of Evernote which makes cross-platform organization much easier. The new shortcuts feature is similar to the old "Favorites" section which only allowed the pinning of notes.
Don't worry premium users of Evernote, you are not left out in this update as you now have the ability to annotate PDF documents using Skitch. Another new feature called Related Notes will search when a new note is started and recommend additional posts that may be helpful or related. Evernote for iOS is available for free in the App Store with a premium version costing users $4.99 a month or $44.99 per year.
After some licensing issues arose back in 2011, VideoLAN decided to pull their popular VLC media player app from Apple's App Store until all the issues were sorted out. Over the past two years, the developers have been working hard at bringing VLC back to iOS and making it better than ever.
Tomorrow, July 19, VLC Media Player will make its triumphant return to the App Store and will be accompanied by both the Mozilla Public License Version 2 as well as the GPL V2 license which will alleviate any further questions on its legality. VideoLAN says that the app will be 100 percent free and have new features that will be sure to put a smile on everyone's face.
The app has been completely rewritten from the ground up and will play all of the file types that its PC and Mac version already does. The company says that getting files into VLC will now be much easier thanks to Dropbox integration, Wi-Fi syncing, and web downloads. Reports are coming in that say the app is much faster than the previous version which should negate streaming issues.
A new app has just hit the smartphone markets and it aims to serve up audio news much in the same way the Pandora handles music. Swell actually launched back in June and featured content from NPR, American Public Media, ABC news, the BBC, Ted talks, and many others. Today, the company announced that they have raised $5.4 million in Series A funding.
This round was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and included investors like Google Ventures, InterWest Partners, and Correlation Ventures among others. This tops the company's seed funding round by almost $3 million, which was led by Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, DFJ, Andreessen Horowitz, and other angel investors.
Swell works much like Pandora and once you start the app, you just let it run. In the event you don't like what it's playing, simply swipe to skip it. You're also able to choose topics that appeal better to you such as technology, world news, health and wellness, and many more. With it being out in the wild for over a month, it appears that the app is a success with the company saying that users listen for 30 minutes on average their first time using the app and returning users spending more than 110 minutes per week using the app.
Google have released a very nice update to Chrome for iOS which now includes some highly anticipated features such as fullscreen web browsing on the iPad, and giving users full access to their browsing history.
Chrome for iOS now includes improved integration with Google's other apps on iOS, where after you've signed into your Google account in Chrome, you can quickly sign into other Google apps with a single tap. You can also choose to have certain links open in the native Maps, YouTube, Google+ and Google Driev apps, instead of displaying them in Chrome.
Something Google decided to throw into the Chrome for iOS bag of tricks is an experimental data compression service. This feature has been on the beta version of Chrome for Android for a few months now, but iOS users can now play around with it. I've been using it on my smartphone for a few weeks and it definitely feels snappier to browse the Internet. You can download the latest version of Chrome for iOS from the Apple App Store, here.
This morning, Tumblr issued what it called a "very important" security update for its iOS app. The social networking site said that on Tuesday it discovered a vulnerability in the app that could allow passwords to be compromised. Tumblr said that it cannot stress enough the importance of everyone downloading this update as soon as possible.
No details were released as to what the actual vulnerability was or how the intrusion could take place, but the issue appeared to be specific to the iOS app as no information has been posted about a similar vulnerability in the Android or Windows Phone versions of the app. Additionally, Tumblr said that all users of the iOS app should update their passwords after the update has taken place.
WhatsApp has been quickly making its way to the top of the list for the world's most popular messaging platforms. Just a few months ago, its owners claimed that its servers see more than 10 billion messages pass through each day; that's more than Twitter or even iMessenge. The app is free on Android for the first year and then costs one dollar per year thereafter. Unfortunately for iOS users, until now they had to pay that dollar upfront.
Today, the company announced that it is finally going to bring the iOS version of the app in line with Android and BlackBerry and offer the application free for the first year and then require a one dollar per year subscription thereafter. This move has been planned for quite some time and everyone knew it was coming; we just did not know when.
Existing iOS users should be ecstatic to hear that since they've already paid for the app, their subscription to the service will be free for life and they will not be required to pay the one dollar subscription fee each year. I use WhatsApp on a daily basis as it appears to be much faster than my carrier's text messaging service, is quite convenient, and is a free way for me to communicate with my brother and sister who live overseas. While none of us are iOS users, I know a few friends will be happy to hear of this announcement.
Google has updated its Play Store's website to more closely align with the design features of Google Now-style cards, which actually makes the place look a little more organized and much more like the official app. While these updates are cool and certainly needed, the most notable change is the inclusion of apps for Google Glass.
The addition of Google Glass compatibility checks were first spotted by Nicolas Gramlich. It's no surprise that Glass has shown up on the Play Store as Google likes to streamline their device management. Website androidandme.com has also posted a screenshot which appears to be of the official Google Glass app for Android. With these hints, it appears that Google Glass users will officially have access to the Google Play Store any day now.
Foursquare has just stepped up their monetization efforts in an attempt to profit from the actions of its 35+ million users. Beginning today, those who use the service to check in at any location will instantly be served up a targeted ad that may benefit brands sold at the location they are at.
One of the first advertisers to test out this new feature on Foursquare is Captain Morgan, a brand of rum from Diageo. The brand is using Foursquare to suggest a Captain Morgan cocktail to people immediately after they check in at bars, nightclubs, restaurants, or other places where liquor is sold. On the other side of the scale, Toys "R" Us has also been using the service to show coupons to select users who check into kid friendly areas such as parks, pools, and fun zones.