(Source: TUAW) We’re getting closer and closer to some of the stuff we see it science fiction literature and films. Siri [iTunes link] is a small Silicon Valley startup with a really breakthrough product that for now only works on the iPhone.

Here’s the deal. You download the free app, start it up, and tell it what you want. It could be “Will it snow in Des Moines today?” or “Where can I find the nearest burger” or it could be “Find the nearest parks”. It parses your comments, runs out to the web for a few seconds and comes back with a lot of suggestions. It gives you buttons to call the places you’ve found, or to show them on Google Maps and get you directions. 

I tried to get a bit fancier saying “Make me a reservation for 2 at the nearest Olive Garden tonight at 7.” The app figured out Olive Garden didn’t take reservations through their service, but it provided me a number for the nearest Olive Garden and offered to map it. You can even tell the app to remind you of things, and it will send you an email at the appropriate time.

(Source: TheAppleBlog.com) If you are or ever have been the board gaming type, you may have run across Settlers of Catan, or at least heard of it from a fanatic friend. The game, which is a bit like Risk but without the war (at least in its basic incarnation), is all about resource gathering, trading, and colonization.

Fans of the series (and there are many) will be pleased to know that Settlers is now playable on your iPhone thanks to Catan ($4.99, iTunes link), an app that faithfully recreates the experience on your mobile device. If you aren’t yet a fan, Catan for your iPhone or iPod touch might just be the thing that converts you.

RockBand

It’s true – as leaked earlier this week and confirmed yesterday, EA is bringing Harmonix’s Rock Band to the iPhone, and it’s about what you’d expect: notes come down the screen set to popular music, you tap in certain places in time to the beat, and get a score based on how well you do. Truthfully, I’m a huge Rock Band (and Harmonix) fan in general, but this doesn’t excite me much — the big draw of Rock Band is actually playing with those instruments, and while yes they’re plastic and tiny, when you get four people in the same room together playing them, it actually feels like you’re jamming in a band.

Fortunately, the iPhone version will have both online and bluetooth multiplayer, so you will be able to jam with people, but the gameplay is simply reminiscent of Tap Tap Revenge, which you probably already know about and/or have. It looks like they’ve gotten most of their songs from the actual Rock Band game; twenty songs with the purchase (no price yet), and then there will be 99 cent packs of two songs each coming out soon. The app’s been submitted and it should be out in the store next week.

Soda. Coffee. Water. Next time to you go to the movies, chug ‘em all down.

As long as you have a new iPhone app by your side, you’ll know when you can escape to the bathroom without missing the best parts.

Approved by Apple’s App store earlier this week, RunPee (yes, really) promises to be the small-bladdered moviegoer’s best friend.

The application features all the movies currently playing in theaters and tells users approximately how far into the movie each “pee time” begins, the cue line to listen for and even what they’ve missed. (When you’re on your way back to your seat, you can hit a button to unscramble text that provides a short synopsis.)

YouTube Preview Image

This is an incredibly fully featured product and only $2.99.

  • 1024×682 Canvas size on 3GS (600×400 on all other devices)
  • Up to 6 layers on 3GS (3 layers on all other devices)
  • Import layers from camera or photo library
  • 10 levels of undo and redo
  • 25 preset brushes, including flood fill and texture brushes
  • Synthetic pressure sensitivity
  • Completely customizable brush setting

etc

(Source: TUAW) Long before I was an Apple nerd, I was a horror nerd. More specifically, I was an Evil Dead/Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell freak, and even maintained a website devoted to their 1993 masterpiece. I’m both surprised and excited to see my two obsessions collide in the form of an iPhone app devoted to Army of Darkness [iTunes link], the third of the Evil Dead series. Sure, some people use their iPhones to be more productive and create spreadsheets, but sometimes you just need a simple app that screams “shop smart, shop S-Mart!” or “see this? This is my BOOMSTICK!” 

The app is a simple soundboard app, consisting of 16 audio clips from the film that can be played at the touch of a button. There’s also a “slideshow” mode where you can hear all the clips in a row accompanied by an image slideshow. It is definitely not the most full-featured iPhone app, but for the horror fans out there it will make a great addition to your iPhone dock.

The app is free and, as far as I’m concerned, essential to every iPhone. If you like it, be sure to check out the other MGM soundboard apps [iTunes link] with audio clips from Robocop, Silence of the Lambs, Fargo and Rocky (all free except for Rocky, which is $0.99).

(Source: MacRumorsMashable reports on a discovery that the latest update to the iPhone application from popular business establishment review site Yelp [App Store, Free] contains an augmented reality easter egg called “Monocle” that allows users to view business ratings overlayed on a video stream from their iPhone’s camera. The feature is only compatible with the iPhone 3GS, which contains the necessary digital compass for properly assessing the device’s orientation.

Download the new Yelp app (came out yesterday). So you shake your iPhone 3 times. That activates a feature called Monocle. A message should come up if you activated it. A blue box will come up saying “the Monocle has been activated.” It will create a button in the top right corner. Now you should be able to look at the bars, restaurants, etc. Only works on iPhone 3GS.

Electronic Arts has released the Wolfenstein RPG for the iPhone and iPod touch — the game isavailable on the App Store for $4.99 right now. It’s based in the world of Wolfenstein, but it’s not your normal first-person shooter. Instead, it’s actually a mobile turn-based RPG, adapted from an older cellphone platform for Apple’s handheld. Considering its origins, the game looks pretty good, and it’s got a silly sense of humor as well — you can read books to gain abilities and power-ups, or play a chicken-kicking minigame. Reviews are pretty excellent on iTunes, so if you’re looking for something a little different to play as a role-playing game, it might be worth a look.

Even more anticipated than this game is the Doom RPG, with the same type of gameplay, but set in id software’s Doom universe (notable, among other things, for its BFG weapon). Odds are that if this game does well, the Doom RPG (and maybe even Orcs and Elves, originally seen on the DS) probably won’t be far behind.

TechCrunch is reporting today that an iPhone App that utilizes the Apple Push Notification system to let you know you have new Gmail is about to hit the app store. The app, called GPush, is developed by Tiverias Apps, and gives Gmail users an instant notification that new mail has arrived. iPhone users will still have to read their mail, either in a browser or the Apple Mail client, but the notifications will be essentially instant.

It’s an interesting development, given how badly other Google-related apps have fared of late on the iPhone. The developers of the app say it has been sitting unapproved for a month, and they are wondering about the timing of it suddenly being blessed. 

Of course this app was not likely to get AT&T all hot and bothered, so it is not a perfect test of a seismic shift in the attitudes around Apple, but any change in the way the App Store works will be interesting to watch.

GPush will be US$0.99 for a week, then will be sold for $1.99 after.


(Source: TUAW) Earlier this summer I took a paperless vacation abroad, thanks to my iPhone and Evernote. I could have done a digital boarding pass for extra efficiency, but I was happy enough with my experience. The digital boarding pass is a matrix code sent to your phone or PDA via online check-in, saving time and benefiting the environment and those without a printer (also, printers just love to run out of ink at the most inopportune time). Continental, American and Northwest offer the digital boarding pass option (here’s a good run-down on how they work).

Now, the privately-held USAA Bank intends to let customers deposit checks via a pending update to the bank’s iPhone app. According to the New York Times, the feature will require customers to photograph both the back and front of the check with their iPhone’s camera. From there, they simply send the images to the bank via the app and presto, the check is credited to that customer’s account. They can then void and destroy the paper check; it’s no longer needed.

Fraud is an obvious concern, but one of the bank’s executive vice presidents, Wayne Peacock, says they’ve got the necessary security measures in place. Specifically, the service will be limited to customers who are both eligible for credit and insured by the bank. All told, about 60% of current customers meet the threshold for acceptance, according to Mr. Peacock.

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