January 27, 2012

Valve debuts free Steam Mobile iPhone app

Valve has released Steam Mobile for iOS, a free app for the iPhone. According to Valve, “With the free Steam app for iOS, you can participate in the Steam community wherever you go. Chat with your Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, read the latest gaming news and stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales.”

That’s the promise of the app, anyway; Steam Mobile has launched in “limited beta,” meaning you first need to input an activation key on your PC or Mac. Entering your username and password into the Steam Mobile app is apparently enough to “express interest” in the beta, but for now that’s pretty much all the app does until you receive an activation key.

It’s interesting that this app was approved; Apple has traditionally frowned on apps that require users to register for access in this manner, so it’s odd to see Valve granted an exception.

Also worth noting is that Steam Mobile will not serve as a front end to Steam selling games for the iPhone. All Steam Mobile will allow you to do is access the community and buy games for your Mac or PC from your iPhone.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone Users Get “Samsunged” For Not Choosing Galaxy S II & Free Turn-By-Turn Navigation [Video]

Did you choose to purchase an iPhone over the Android-powered Galaxy S II? Well, congratulations. Like many of us here at Cult of Mac, you’ve been “Samsunged!” In its latest ad for the Galaxy S II, Samsung shows off its free turn-by-turn navigation software while taking another swipe at iPhone users who wait in line for a device “that looks like last year’s phone.”

It’s the same approach the Korean electronics giant took with an ad back in November, which also mocked iPhone users for waiting in line for a new device. But I wonder what Samsung’s smartphones would be like now without the iPhone. They are simply refashioned replicas, after all.

And I wonder whether Samsung is a little jealous that customers don’t wait in line for its own devices.

What do you think of Samsung’s approach in its latest Galaxy S II ads?

[via 9to5Mac]

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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Cult of Mac

Daily iPad App: UpNext 3D delivers free maps

I love maps. I’ve had printed atlases for years, I have globes all over the house, and I had some of the early mapping applications for the Mac like DeLorme Street Atlas. Sadly, DeLorme abandoned the Mac years ago.

Suffice it to say that any new mapping application will get my attention right away. Let me direct your attention to UpNext HD Maps. It’s a free app for the iPad that gives you searchable, zoomable maps with 50 of the cities rendered in 3D, and 23 with extremely enhanced details.

You can click on a building and see what businesses are inside. You can search for recreation, dining, shopping and more. The app is connected to Yelp so you can often find reviews of places that might interest you. There is also a deal finder which will show you any discounts at nearby locations.

The app requires an Internet connection, but can pre-cache recent places you’ve been when you’re offline. In terms of performance the app was pretty peppy on a Wi-Fi connection, but frankly it would be very slow on most 3G connections. The data needed to render buildings realistically in 3D is not small.

You can find maps of everywhere in the United States, but you will only get the detailed 3D renderings in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Paul, and Washington DC.

I did have a few crashes when using the app, and I noticed that once you venture outside the center city area, you quickly lose the 3D display. There are big gaps in information, so don’t expect detailed info everywhere you click. Even so, this is a worthwhile app to play around with, and the price is exactly right. I’m hopeful that the app will get more stable, add more information, and include more cities.

The app works with any iPad and requires IOS 4.0 or later. It’s a 16 MB download.

I’ve grabbed some screen shots which you can browse below.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Discount on 360|MacDev and a chance to win a free pass

Last year’s 360|MacDev was filled with good food and great company, plus sessions with some of the best developers in the world. The annual event in Denver is one of the must-attend Mac developer conferences out there if you want to learn from the best.

This year’s conference is almost upon us, but there’s still room to attend. Check out the conference schedule, and if you see what you like, use the code “TUAWRocks” (no quotes) to get 20% off your pass.

Better still, caption the pic of developer Mike Lee, seen below, exercising his Second Amendment rights. Next week we’ll pick a winner of a free pass to 360|MacDev! Rules below. Keep it tasteful.

  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • To enter leave a comment on this post captioning the image of Mike Lee.
  • The comment must be left before MONDAY, January 23, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
  • Prize: Pass to 360|MacDev Conference Feb. 3-4, 2012 (Value: US$ 300)
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

Have you ever wondered what kind of data speeds you get on your iPhone with a full 3G signal, or how fast your internet is on your home Wi-Fi network? With the free iOS app from Speedtest.net, you can perform a quick and simple test that will tell you your download and your upload speeds on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

First, open up the App Store on your device, or using iTunes on your computer, and download the free Speedtest.net app. Before opening the app, be sure that the network you’re connected to is the one you would like to test the speed of. And if you’re checking a 3G connection, it’s best to turn Wi-Fi off.

When you’re ready, open up the Speedtest app and it will automatically find the nearest server. This should only take a couple of seconds, and once it’s done, you can hit the ‘Begin Test’ button.

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

Speedtest will now do its thing and present you with three results: Your ping, your download speed, and your upload speed.

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

You can use the ‘Settings’ tab at the bottom of the app to specify whether you’d like to see results in Kbps, Mbps, or KB/s; and how you’d like your results to be sorted. The ‘Results’ tab will show you with a list of results from previous tests.

Check The Speed Of Your Device’s Data Connection With The Free Speed Test App [iOS Tip]

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Cult of Mac

Looxcie Adds Free Social Streaming App To Its Sport Video Cam

Looxcie Adds Free Social Streaming App To Its Sport Video Cam

The Looxcie camera is a neat little gadget by itself, able to clip onto an ear and record 30-second video bursts of your life. Now it has a fantastic little streaming app that you can use to stream those clips and even allows two-way voice communication. Hello, ultra-portable broadcast team.

The app, called LooxcieLive, looks pretty simple to use, even though it’s filled with options. You can broadcast video to a group of viewers you’ve invited and replay videos after you’ve streamed them. Not yet implemented but coming soon are  features that will allow you to permanently save and replay videos ( they’re currently saved for 24 hours only) and the ability to watch those videos from a web browser (currently you can only watch them from your iPhone).

The app is free, and Looxcie is calling it a beta — so expect a few glitches.

Eli Milchman

When he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he’s Cult of Mac’s technology editor. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

China Unicom offers free iPhone 4S on contract

Want a free iPhone 4S? If you’re a customer of China Unicom, you’re in luck — the company announced today (one week from the first day of iPhone 4S availability in China and 21 other countries) that they’ll give users a free iPhone 4S for signing a multiyear service contract.

It gets better. The promotion offers the 32 GB iPhone 4S on a three-year contract for as little as 286 yuan (about US$ 45) per month, or customers can commit for only two years and get the 16 GB model for 386 yuan per month.

Several industry analysts think that the subsidy, which is designed to attract high-end subscribers who will also buy up expensive data plans, is a bad idea for China Unicom. Hong Kong-based analyst Steven Liu of Standard Chartered Bank noted in a Bloomberg article that “After subsidizing the iPhone, the operator will have less money for subsidizing other smartphone users that could be more profitable.”

China Unicom’s costs for 3G phone subsidies and related marketing expenses were nearly 6 billion yuan in the first half of 2011, almost four times the same period in 2010. The popular iPhone handsets are sure to hit the carrier’s subsidy costs even more, but customers don’t appear to want to purchase lower priced and less capable smartphones.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

China Unicom customers can get Apple’s iPhone 4S free with contract

By Katie Marsal

Published: 11:46 AM EST (08:46 AM PST)
Apple’s carrier partner in China is offering an aggressive promotion in which customers can get a brand new iPhone 4S for free if they sign a multi-year service contract.

Customers can pay as little as 286 yuan, or $ 45 U.S. per month, for the plan to get a free iPhone 4S, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The promotion will begin Friday, Jan. 13, which is the day the iPhone 4S will go on sale in mainland China and 21 other countries.

China Unicom subscribers can get a free 32-gigabyte iPhone 4S with a three-year service contract. And the 16GB model is available free for those who agree to a two-year contract.

The iPhone has already proven to be costly for China Unicom, as the carrier saw its 3G-related cost increase nearly fourfold in the first half of 2011. Some analysts believe the carrier’s heavy iPhone 4S subsidy will only accelerate those costs.

China Unicom’s 3G business has been a money-losing operation for the carrier through the first six months of 2011. Subsidies of smartphones reportedly accounted for 45 percent of the 3G service costs.

The subsidies being offered by China Unicom are much more aggressive than other carriers across the world. For example, in the U.S., customers on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon can get a 16GB iPhone 4S for $ 199 with a new two-year plan, while the 32GB model is $ 299 and 64GB is $ 399.

Customers in the U.S. and some other countries to have an option for a free handset in the form of the iPhone 3GS, which was first released in 2009. That promotion started with the release of the iPhone 4S in October.