This week's sponsor


Clean Up Your Inbox Today with SaneBox

60beat Has a GamePad for Your iOS Devices: It Just Needs Games

It doesn't require batteries, plugs into your iPad or iPhone's audio jack, and sports a total of twelve action buttons for getting your game on. 60beat's GamePad isn't dissimilar from a Logitech controller you may have picked up for occasional PC gaming, featuring four shoulder buttons, a d-pad, two joysticks, a mode toggle, and an ergonomic design. As the GamePad does require a free headphone port, it does come with an audio splitter if you want to wear headphones while blasting baddies.

Read more

Apple To Appeal Italian Regulator’s Fine Over Warranties

Earlier this week it was reported by Reuters that the Italian anti-trust regulator had fined Apple a total of US$1.2 million for failing to adequately inform its customers about their rights to product guarantees and assistance. Today Apple has responded to the decision, telling The Register that it will be appealing the decision - believing that Apple has complied with all Italian laws.

The Italian regulators claim that Apple Sales International, Apple Italia and Apple Retail Italia all failed to give customers appropriate information about their rights to two years of free assistance that is available to them due to Italian law. Specifically the issue arises because the "AppleCare Protection Plan" that Apple sells and encourages customers to purchase, overlaps with what is already provided by Italian law.

Apple is also facing another anti-trust investigation in the EU over Ebooks. The Register's article today is also well worth the read on their relationship with Apple's PR group, because it seems as though the recent Christmas holiday has renewed the once frosty relationship between the two organizations.

[via Reuters, The Register]

Zephyr Jailbreak Tweak Enables Cohesive iPhone Multitasking Gestures

The iPad brought four (or five) finger gestures for multitasking in iOS 5, but due to the screen size, the iPhone didn't receive the same gestures. Today however, Grant Paul (known more commonly as chpwn) has released a jailbreak tweak that brings gestures to the iPhone for those same multitasking functions.

The tweak, named Zephyr, is available on the Cydia store and is currently made up of two key gestures. The first is based on Max Rudberg's concept video from earlier this month, and is essentially a single finger swipe up from the bottom of the screen (ie. the Notification Center gesture but from the bottom of the screen, moving up) and it reveals the multitasking tray. The second gesture is swiping in from the sides of the iPhone screen, allowing you to go back to your last opened app and then back again.

Emulating the gesture functions of the iPad and iOS 5, this Zephyr tweak looks and works really well and it's clear that Paul took the time and effort to perfect how it works. It's available for jailbroken devices for $2.99 on the Cydia store. Unlike some other, similar tweaks, Zephyr does not require Activator or other jailbreak tweaks to work.

Paul says he is looking to update the tweak with more gestures and actions in the future, including perhaps a gesture to exit to the home screen (as is possible with the iPad on iOS 5). You can view a demonstration of the tweak below the break.

Read more

Launch Center: An Action and Shortcut Hub for your iPhone

Shortly before the Christmas holiday, a few apps got a lot of attention in Apple media after being barred from the App Store for inappropriate use of the Notification Center. These apps, App Switcher, Launch Center, and Quickpick, were submitted with the intent of using the Notification Center as a way to access a list of customized commands (shortcuts) that take advantage of Apple’s and third party URL schemes. App Switcher and Quickpick were pulled, and Launch Center simply didn’t get approval. The three apps removed this feature and are now available on the App Store as standalone applications.

If you jailbreak your iOS devices, these apps probably aren’t going to find their way into your standard toolkit. Paid and free utilities available through Cydia will mirror features available on Android through widgets, the lock screen, and the Notification Center. Purists, however, could find some value in automating common tasks and reducing the time it takes to perform custom actions. Jeff Broderick’s Settings is free, but the icons are fixed and I decided I only want access to a few. There’s also Icon Project, but I have no desire to fiddle with making icons. Of the apps noted above, Launch Center looks polished and simply presents a clean list of actions.

Read more

Concept: Redesigning the Update UI for Mac Apps

With the introduction of the Mac App Store, Mac applications are starting to follow iOS's updating process which involves visiting the Update tab, optionally reading about what's changed, and updating your applications from a central hub. We're accustomed to this on iOS — it makes sense where control over each mobile application has been centralized from the very beginning and where you're likely to have a greater abundance of small apps to update. The transition from third party software suites to the Mac App Store, however, has caused a bit of a clash between applications and how they update themselves. Coming from a world where Sparkle informs us of updates when we launch applications, we're accustomed to seeing pop-ups informing us of new updates for our few Mac apps as we need them. I myself prefer this type of notification on the desktop.

There are problems with both methods. Sparkle's update pop-up forces you to stop what you're doing to deal with the update notification, and currently the Mac App Store doesn't notify you of updates unless you manually check the store. With these two problems in mind, Lennart Ziburski designed a concept that freshly implements ideas already familiar to us from apps like Safari and Spotlight on Lion.

Read more

MacStories Apps Of 2011: Reader’s Choice Winners

We've had a great response to our search for the best iPhone App, iPad App, Mac App and iOS/Mac Game with votes numbering in the thousands and people really excited about the huge giveaway that we ran alongside the vote. We've given away most of the codes but the final winners will be emailed over the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

We've tallied the votes and figured out who you, our readers, have deemed as the best apps and games of iOS and Mac. The winners may be largely what is expected, but it is interesting to see who the runner-ups were - there are a few interesting results there.

Just a quick note to all those who voted; thank you! We didn't know whether you would embrace this idea or not, and we're thrilled that so many of you voted and that we got such a large sample of our reader's opinions on the best apps and games of 2011.

Jump the break to find out who all those winners and runner-ups all are.

Read more

Best Apps Of 2011: Final Chance To Vote & Enter Our Huge Giveaway

UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Winners will be announced tomorrow, Saturday 24th of December.

Last Friday we opened up the poll's, to hear what you thought was the best iPhone, iPad and Mac App - as well as the best Game for the Mac/iOS from 2011. As part of it, we put together the biggest giveaway we have ever run on MacStories - with around 250 codes to give away.

We've had a great response with votes numbering in the thousands and people have loved the huge giveaway. But now we are on the home stretch, as of posting there are just 10 hours left of voting, with the poll closing at 7:00 PM EST (New York time) tonight. Click here to see how long away, exactly, that is.

So if you haven't yet voted, get a move on and vote right now - you'll also go in the running for some of the apps we are giving away today — the final day of the giveaway! We're giving away some truly excellent apps today, in fact, a spectacular bunch of apps:

  • Tweetbot (iPhone)
  • Fantastical (Mac)
  • Reeder (Mac)
  • Pixelmator (Mac)
  • PDF Expert (iPad)
  • Reckless Getaway (iOS)
  • Ecoute (Mac)
  • iA Writer (Mac)
  • AirServer (Mac)
  • Triple-Pack Bundle: Mr. Reader (iPad), iA Writer (iPad), AirServer (Mac)

View more details on how to enter the giveaway
View all the short listed apps