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iOS App Updates: Apple Store, FedEx Mobile, Yahoo!

iOS App Store iconNearly every day, new app updates hit the App Store. But how many of us actually update our devices on the same schedule? Here are a trio of updates you might have missed over the last day or so.

Apple served up version 2.6 of the official Apple Store app on Tuesday, and while it sadly remains native iPad-free (still!), the update will be a welcome one for those waiting for their next iPhone upgrade.

The app now includes a push notification option that alerts U.S. users (sorry, no international users for now) when their line is eligible for upgrade pricing. Setting up the feature requires a bit of information on your carrier account now, but when the upgrade is available you’ll be able to buy with only an Apple ID and password.

The Apple Store app also now includes delivery notifications for when an order ships, updates on its status and when it’s actually been delivered as well.

Speaking of deliveries, FedEx Mobile also received an update Tuesday to version 4.2, which now includes the ability to sign up and use FedEx Delivery Manager for customizing deliveries being sent to your home (once again, only for U.S. customers for now).

With Delivery Manager, FedEx customers can schedule deliveries or vacation holds, have packages shipped to a different address and even sign for a package. Hopefully you’ll have better luck than we did: The sign-up form keeps choking on the second Address line, which it claims is optional but insists on an apartment or suite number, neither of which we actually have.

Last but not least, the official iPhone-only Yahoo! app was updated to version 3.0 on Monday and now includes personalized stories which are assembled from your interests, new summaries, an endless visual stream of new stories and much slicker article pages than ever before.

All of these free app updates are now available from the App Store.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Weekend Recap: RadioShack Mac Accessories, Siri’s Data, TweetDeck Mobile

TweetDeck for iPhoneWhatever your opinion of TweetDeck, it’s hard not to sympathize with those about to lose a loved one on May 7, when Twitter effectively slays the mobile versions of its TweetDeck apps. We had a similar situation when Echofon made the decision to axe its Mac client last year, prompting us to switch entirely to Tweetbot for a harmoniously synced iOS/OS X solution. What will you be using to replace TweetDeck mobile?

RadioShack Adds Mac Accessories to Product Mix

Those of us at a certain age tend to associate electronics retailer RadioShack with overpriced cables and Tandy-branded hardware of questionable quality, but the chain has gotten more hip in recent years. MacRumors is reporting that the product mix now includes Apple-branded Mac accessories such as the Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, which can be ordered online or purchased in any of the company’s more than 7,000 brick-and-mortar locations. Of course, RadioShack is no stranger to Apple products, having added the iPod back in 2005 and followed it up with the iPhone and iPad in 2010.

Siri Remembers Everything You’ve Said to Her for Two Years

Ever wonder what happens to those sweet nothings you speak to Siri? Wired decided to find out after privacy advocates began raising questions about what Apple could potentially do with all of that data — and more importantly, how long Siri’s memory actually is. According to Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller, Siri data is anonymized, and the company only keeps it around for up to two years. “If a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data,” Muller elaborated, referring to the “random numbers” used to identify you to Siri, which do not include your Apple ID or email address. After six months, the voice recordings are decoupled from your number, but the unattached files might be kept as long as 18 more months, where they could be used for “testing and product improvement purposes.” Privacy advocates think these details should be spelled out more clearly, but at least now you know.

Twitter Will Kill Off TweetDeck Mobile, Facebook Integration May 7

Microblogging behemoth Twitter already announced back in March that it would be killing all mobile flavors of TweetDeck, and now the execution has a solid date: May 7. In a brief update Friday on its Posterous blog, the company elaborated that “TweetDeck AIR, TweetDeck for Android and TweetDeck for iPhone will be removed from their respective app stores and will stop functioning on May 7,” which is also the same day those apps’ Facebook integration will meet its maker, so to speak. The company claims TweetDeck is more popular on the desktop, while mobile users prefer the official Twitter app, so the company is making the move in an effort to “double down” on killing off platforms that it sees as not worth the trouble.

MacPhun Touts 288K Downloads of Free FX Photo Studio in 24 Hours

Infographics! We love ‘em, and so do the folks at MacPhun, who created one to demonstrate how last week’s FX Photo Studio for iPhone promotion went down. After making the app free for 24 hours, the developer racked up 288,522 new downloads worldwide (116,494 of those in North America), which helped the title shoot up to number six in the overall App Store rankings for the U.S. — trailed only by the likes of Twitter’s Vine and Music apps, and the free Yahoo! Weather. The promotion had little effect on the people of Mail, where the app barely squeaked out 104th place in the photo category, but managed to rank in the top five in more than 85 other countries.

The Survey Says: Pre-Launch iWatch Demand Equals Original iPad

Just how badly do people want an iWatch from Apple? Apparently, just as badly as they wanted the iPad before it officially existed. MacRumors is reporting that a new survey from ChangeWave reveals consumer interest in a so-called “iWatch” matches that of the iPad prior to the tablet actually being launched in 2010, with 19 percent of those asked “very” or “somewhat” likely to buy one. That’s nearly identical to the results of a January 2010 survey for the iPad, which found four percent “very likely” and 14 percent “somewhat likely” to buy, for a combined total of 18 percent. Does that mean more people are stoked for an iWatch? Time will tell…

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Nuance Hopes Consumers Are Ready to Talk to Mobile Ads

Nuance Voice AdsEver wanted to have a conversation with a mobile ad, presumably aside from yelling at it to get off your screen? Ads are going to get a lot more chatty soon, thanks to the voice recognition gurus at Nuance.

Nuance Communications announced its latest technology known as Voice Ads on Monday, which will enable users to hold a two-way conversation using little more than a mobile advertisement.

While most of us are probably annoyed by mobile ads, Nuance aims to make them more engaging, tapping into its popular voice recognition technology to allow advertisers to “deepen the relationship with consumers” by making their targeted ads more chatty.

“Voice Ads redefines the relationship between consumers and mobile advertising, giving them an opportunity to engage with brands in a more meaningful way,” explains Michael Thompson, executive vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile. “Voice has already changed the mobile interface, making it faster and easier for consumers to discover and access information, and find people and content. Mobile advertising shouldn’t be any different, and should be designed specifically around the unique capabilities of the mobile device.”

Nuance Voice Ads are now available to mobile ad platform creators, carriers and creative agencies in the form of a software development kit (SDK), which promises to allow advertisers to integrate the technology into both new and existing mobile ad campaigns.

Whether consumers are actually ready to talk to their mobile ads, however, remains to be seen…

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Plex for iOS 3.1 Introduces Mobile Media Server, Enhanced Filtering

Plex Synced Content SharingIt’s always a good day when you wake up and find a shiny new version of your favorite app, and today is that day for Plex for iOS users, with the media player adding mobile server abilities on top of a stack of other improvements.

Plex announced the release of version 3.1 for its universal iOS app of the same name, detailing a raft of big changes in a blog post on Thursday night.

At the top of that list is a new Mobile Media Server feature, which allows users of the iOS version to play synced content or view photo albums on another Plex client — perfect for visiting a like-minded friend with your iPhone or iPad and sharing images of your recent vacation to their Plex-equipped Roku, for example. The feature even works between iOS and Android clients for beaming content between them.

But that’s not all: Plex has taken the rich library filters from its Plex/Web service and made them available in the iOS app as well after testing them out on recent beta builds of the Android version.

Don’t be surprised if Plex 3.1 asks you to approve of push notifications when you first open it, because the app is now capable of alerting you for new friend requests or recommendations. The update also takes advantage of the company’s latest universal transcoder, introducing support for more subtitles such as VOBSUB and PGS.

There’s even more, with a new and improved photo viewer, a new dark theme, variable scrubbing speed from all sliders, better integration of search in sections and channels and a host of welcome bug fixes.

Plex for iOS 3.1 is a .99 universal app available now from the App Store, and a free update for existing owners.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Gmail Receives Updated Interface on Mobile Browsers

Back in December, Google updated the user interface on its Gmail app for iOS. Today, the company has also updated the Gmail experience on mobile browsers, featuring the same new look and improved functions as the app. According to Google, the changes are a response to positive feedback from users.

“Since launching the rebooted Gmail app for iPhone and iPad in December, we’ve heard from many of you that you like the redesigned UI, along with new features such as improved search and integration with Google Calendar,” reads a post on the Gmail Google+ account. “Today we’re rolling out a similar refreshed look to the Gmail mobile web app.”

Gmail for Mobile Web

The December update to Gmail for iOS brought a streamlined look to the app, and added new features such as better auto-complete searches and a more streamlined Calendar. According to today’s post, most if not all of these improvements are now available on the mobile web version.

Additionally, Google has brought the same updates to its Gmail Offline Chrome extension. Gmail Offline allows users to access their inbox and email archives, even when disconnected.

Granted, there’s still a very real question as to why anyone would want to use the mobile web version of Gmail over the iOS app, but to each their own. You can check out the update right now in the iOS browser of your choice.

Follow this article’s author, Matt Clark, on Twitter.

Image Source: Gmail Google+

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