Thursday, September 30, 2010

SingTel is Singapore's worst. And best.

In an interesting turn of events, SingTel is currently leading the poll as the worst carrier for iPhone users by a pretty wide margin. However, people are also saying that SingTel has the best and most reliable broadband speeds.

So far, some 56 percent of voters on SG Polls believe that SingTel is Singapore's worst carrier. Only 13 percent of users voted for M1, putting it in distant second place. StarHub, on the other hand, has 11 percent of the vote. A democratic 19 percent believe that all three carriers are crap. In total, some 114 votes have been cast in the last 24 hours.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New app allows iPhone users to vote on the burning issues of the day

The good news for SingTel is that is has taken an early lead. The bad news is that it is leading a poll for worst carrier for iPhone users.

This is according to a new app SG Polls. So far, some 58 percent of voters have chosen SingTel as the worst carrier, compared with 17 percent for StarHub. Amazingly, no one has voted for M1 as worst carrier. Yet.

New app Waalkz helps tourists and locals better appreciate historic districts

A new iPhone app, Singapore Heritage Walking Tours, allows users to walk around Chinatown-Telok Ayer, Little India, The Arab Quarters-Kampong Glam, and Boat Quay and learn about the rich history of the area.

Round-up: Apple releases new iOS beta, iTunes beta and Remote

Apple has just released a bunch of new betas for developers. iTunes 10.1 beta is aimed at helping developers test printing. No news yet about what iOS 4.2 beta 2 has in store though.

Apple's Remote app has also been upgraded to version 2.0. It supports the Retina Display, the iPad, a shared iTunes library, the new Apple TV and AirPlay.

(via TiPB)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Caltex Station Locator makes it easy to locate Caltex Stations, duh.

Did you know that the Caltex station at East Coast Road has a pet store? I didn't. I only found out while mucking around with the free Caltex Station Locator. This app does as its name suggests; if you are looking for a Caltex station, this app will help you find it.

You can search for stations near you, or look for a station that has the fuel type you are looking, whether it is the Platinum 98, Premium 95, Regular 92 or diesel.

Monday, September 27, 2010's iPhone app is now pricier. Company co-founder explains why.

The team. From left to right: Dominic Ee, Kuan Chih Yuan, Ang Jun Han and Toh Kian Khai.

Just last week, decided to increase the price of their popular iPhone app to US$2.99 from US$1.99. iMerlion speaks to founder Ang Jun Han about the pricing change and finds out more about the company's plans for the future.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Due gets featured on Gizmodo

Developer Lin Junjie is on a roll. His to-do cum reminder app Due was just picked as one of nine apps featured on Gizmodo's list of the Week's Best Apps.

Due shares the spotlight with apps like Mario Batali Cooks and Gangstar: Miami Vindication.

Due shot into public notice after getting a shout-out on Daring Fireball a few days ago.

Click here to read the iMerlion interview with Junjie.

(Thanks to @appvader for the tip-off!)

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Test-driving the built-in HDR capability in East Coast Park

My family and I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon at East Coast Park last week. It was a very hot, very bright day, perfect for the beach and especially good for testing out the new HDR capability in the built-in camera in iOS 4.1.

Here are some shots I took to see what difference HDR would make.

Non-HDR: Note how the shadow in the foreground makes it hard to see the detail. Also, the sky is all blown out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

iChangi app is must-have

Finally, an app by a government-linked institution that doesn't suck. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the iChangi app is pretty slick.

This app allows you check arrival and departure times for Changi Airport. You can search by flight number, city or airline.

Picture perfect: The story of how iPhone app Due came about

Lin Junjie with girlfriend and beta tester Sharon Tan.

Some rusty Visual Basic and C and a degree in broadcasting and cinema studies doesn't sound like much of a foundation for making a great iPhone app. However the experience of Lin Junjie, a photographer and developer of Due (US$2.99) shows that nothing beats a great idea, perseverance and an attention to detail (not forgetting a bit of luck).

Junjie's first week on the App Store was a slow one. Everything changed though when his app was mentioned on the well-known blog Daring Fireball. At the time of writing, Due is the number 7 paid app in the Productivity category in the US iTunes stores, ahead of Awesome Note and GV Connect.

iMerlion interviewed Junjie, 25, to find out how Due came about, what it was like to be Fireballed and his advice for other iPhone developers.

(Note: The interview below was conducted via email and edited for readibility.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SG Motor Racing delivers Singapore Pools odds for F1

Just in time for the Singapore Grand Prix, SG Motor Racing (Odds) is an app aimed at people who want to bet on the FI race.

Use this free app to find out what odds Singapore Pools is offering.

It gives the odds for the race winner (driver), the race winner (team), the top three, the fastest lap and the dual forecast. Pay US$1.99 to unlock the other seven odds offered by Singapore Pools.

Download this app here.

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buUuk among Asia's top 10 apps

Restaurant finder and guide buUuk was recognised as one of Asia's top 10 apps at the Accelerate Conference conference yesterday.

Apart from buUuk, three other Singapore-based companies made it to the top 10 list. They are mig33, ShowNearby and Zopim. The other winners were from Japan, Indonesia and Korea.

App by local developer receives Daring Fireball spotlight

Due, an app by local developer Phocus LLP, had the spotlight thrown on it Tuesday by well-known Apple blogger John Gruber.

Gruber of Daring Fireball called the app a "convenient, low friction way to set short-term reminders and timers" and its design was described as "focused and thoughtful".

Due, which costs US$2.99, is a simple app that allows you to set a timer for tasks. The app allows you to recycle previous timers quickly and easily.

Learn more about Due from its website or click here to buy it on iTunes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SG Mahjong gets up-sized

The makers of the popular iPhone app SG Mahjong have finally released a version of their app for the iPad. Mahjong HD is a version of mahjong for the iPad using Singapore rules.

There are three difficulty modes, a leaderboard and you can also play against three other friends.

Given the bigger screen size, the iPad is probably a better platform for mahjong than the iPhone. At least now you won't have to squint to see what cards you have.

Mahjong HD costs US$2.99 in the App Store.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Why SingTel’s network stinks

Recent data by iPhone developer Muh Hon Cheng provides evidence that SingTel’s network is groaning at the seams.

The chart below gives a breakdown of users who updated the app SG Buses in the 10 days before September 14. According to this chart, 54,170 SingTel users upgraded their copy of SG Buses to the latest version. In comparison, 32,090 StarHub users upgraded while the corresponding number for M1 users was 25,090.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New iPod touch VS iPhone 4: a video comparison

Still wondering whether to get an iPod touch or an iPhone 4? Three videos by compares the performance of the iPod touch, the iPhone 4, the iPad and the 3GS.

The videos look at speed, display quality, video camera quality. In the comparison, the iPhone 4 is way ahead in terms of its display. Even though both the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch have a Retina Display, the iPod touch does not use IPS technology which allows for a wider viewing angle.

Apple releases AirPrint beta to developers

Together with the beta version of iOS 4.2, Apple has also released a beta version of its AirPrint wireless printing for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to developers.

AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks and can print text, photos and graphics to them wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need to install drivers or download software. HP’s existing and upcoming ePrint enabled printers will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices.

Using AirPrint, devices running iOS 4.2 will also be able to send print jobs to printers shared through a Mac or a PC.

AppleInsider has a walkthrough of what AirPrint looks like now.

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iOS 4.2 beta released

Apple has released the beta version of iOS 4.2 which unifies the iOS experience between the iPad and the other iOS devices.

Among other things, iOS 4.2 brings multitasking, folders and GameCenter to the iPad. However, Apple has also changed the function of the physical switch on the side of the iPad. iOS 4.2 turns this into a mute switch, moving the screen orientation lock to the multi-tasking bar of the iPad, which is accessed after you do a double-press on the home button of the device. While this makes the  experience consistent with the other iOS devices, it also means that accessing the screenlock is now going to be harder.

iLounge has an extensive series of screenshots that cover most of the changes.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Foound described as "Foursquare of the future" after DEMO launch

Local start-up Foound has made a minor splash at the DEMO conference in Santa Clara, California.

The company launched its app in the US earlier today at the conference and it garnered a nice write up by CNET's Rafe Needleman. In a piece headlined 'Foound launches Foursquare of the future", Needleman wrote: "Amid a morning full of demos of highly functional products, this one seemed to be actually fun, in addition to being in a hot and potentially profitable market."

CHORDiCA now free

To celebrate making it into the finals of this year's SiTF awards, Joash Chee has decided to give away his music app CHORDiCA. The app used to cost US$2.99.

"I hope that more people will use this opportunity to explore this mobile accompaniment music app and maybe form their own bands," he said.

Interestingly, at least one band has been so impressed with CHORDiCA it also inspired their name. BANDiZZLE, a DC-based Canadian band, regularly uses Joash's app, and can be seen in the videos on their YouTube channel.

The SiTF awards are given out by the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation (SiTF) to recognise  innovative ICT applications or solutions that have been developed locally. The awards will be given out on Sep 30.

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Steve Jobs is a ninja

Incontrovertible evidence that Steve Jobs is a ninja:

1) He is always in black.

2) Apple has denied that Jobs was stopped while going through Kansai airport with throwing stars. However, Apple studiously avoided addressing the issue of Jobs' ninjahood.

3) The most damning evidence of all: antennagate has completely dropped off the radar. Even after Apple announced that they would end their case giveaway program, no objections have been heard. Why? I have two words for you: throwing stars.

Bonus: now we know what Apple plans to do with Liquid Metal.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Flurry accounts not private?

The people behind Omnitoons, Handstand, Global Refund and Wikinvest are very lucky that Muh Hon Cheng is an honest man.

For the last two months, he has been given what looks like accidental access to the Flurry accounts of these four companies.

Hon Cheng, who is responsible for many apps including SG Buses, SG NextBus and buUuk, logs on to Flurry every day to check how his apps are doing. On at least five occasions, he has been presented with the front page for the Flurry accounts of these other companies.

Apple ending case giveaway program

Apple is ending its iPhone 4 case program. If you buy an iPhone 4 after September 30, you can ask for a free bumper from Apple but the company will no longer offer the option of other types of cases as it does now.

"We now know that the iPhone 4 antenna attenuation issue is even smaller than we originally thought," said a statement on Apple's iPhone 4 Case Program page. "A small percentage of iPhone 4 users need a case, and we want to continue providing them a Bumper case for free. For everyone else, we are discontinuing the free case program on all iPhone 4s sold after September 30, 2010."

Users who buy a iPhone 4 after Sep 30 and who want Apple's free bumper case should call AppleCare to request a free Bumper case, said the statement.

Apple will also return to its normal returns policy for all iPhone 4s sold after Sep 30. Returns are allowed within two weeks of purchase and a 10 percent restocking fee will be charged on opened boxes. Currently, Apple allows returns within 30 days and does not charge a restocking fee.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri

To all our Muslim readers, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri!

From all of us at iMerlion.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New iPod touch reviewed, compared with iPhone 4

Reviews are popping up all over the web about the new iPod touch and the device has also been torn down by iFixit. As a result, we now know a little more about this device.

Apart from the lack of the phone functionality, here's how the new iPod touch is different from the iPhone 4:

1) It's thinner (7.3 mm vs 9.2 mm)
2) It's lighter (101 g vs 137 g)
2) There is a 64GB option whereas the iPhone 4 only goes up to 32GB.
3) It has 256MB of RAM compared to the iPhone 4's 512MB.
4) The rear camera delivers photos at 960 by 720  resolution (just under 0.7MP), compared to the 5MP shooter on the iPhone
5) No flash
6) No GPS

Click here to see the specs of the new iPod touch.

Check out reviews by Engadget, Macworld and PCMag.

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iOS 4.1 now available for download

As expected, iOS 4.1 is now available for download. To get it, just connect your iPhone to your desktop and go to iTunes. Select the device in the left pane, and in the large window on the right, click on the button "Check for update".

Among other things, iOS 4.1 fixes bugs with the proximity sensor and Bluetooth. It also offer an updated Camera app that allows High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos as well as Game Center, a new app that allows you to find other players in multi-player games.

iOS 4.1 also restores the field test mode to the iPhone. This will give you a numeric figure for the strength of the signal.

To use this feature, dial *3001#12345#*, then press the call button.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Local iPhone Photography Exhibition Coming Up

Local iPhone photographer Chia Aik Beng will be holding an exhibition of his photographs at the Red Dot Design Museum on Oct 2 and 3.

The show, entitled four80bythree20, will have 80 pieces that feature his photographs. All pictures were taken with his iPhone and processed with apps on his iPhone as well.

Aik Beng is an up and coming iPhone photographer based in Singapore. His works were part of the EYE'EM exhibition in Berlin earlier this year as well as MMS Gallery in Philadelphia in July. He was put under the spotlight by well-known iPhone street photographer Greg Schmigel in his blog Just What I See. He was also July's featured artist on the online gallery Pixels At An Exhibition. His photos can be seen on Flickr and he has a Facebook page called World Through My i.

Aik Beng, a graphic designer by training, is one of a group of photographers in Singapore who are actively engaging in iPhone photography, or iPhoneography. iPhone photography celebrates the limits and possibilities of the iPhone as a tool for artists. All shots have to be done using the iPhone and any processing of the image has to be done using iPhone apps rather than full-fledged desktop applications like Photoshop. For more examples of this new art form, check out iPhone Photography, a Facebook page run by Ivan Kuek that regularly spotlights local iPhone photographers.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New apps: Apps to help you buy a Mercedes-Benz, wine or a new home

WineToDrink (US$2.99). Search for wine by name, pricing, rating and region as offered by local wine stockists. Yum!

myStar - Singapore (Free). Looking to buy a Mercedes-Benz? What a coincidence! Me too! This app tells you how much the different models cost in Singapore dollars and how they can be financed.

Shop Singapore (Free). Look for shopping promotions. Search by brand, mall, store and credit card company.

Streetdirectory (Free). Local street directory. Sadly, not very good.

CPF Tools (Free). This app helps you compute how much you have to pay into your CPF account. It does not allow you to check your own CPF account though.

SG Property4u (Free). Look for property and compare housing loans.

nex SG (Free). nex is a new mall at the junction of Upper Serangoon Road and Serangoon Central. It is opening in November but to get the word out, the mall commissioned this iPhone app which tell you about the mall and also has a game that looks vaguely like Angry Birds.

GST@sg (US$0.99). The next time you need to split the bill for lunch with friends, this app might help. You can split the bill evenly, or split it based on what each person ordered.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Avoid getting eaten by a grue! Win a promo code to Elly The Wanderer's Mapmaker for MUDs.

"You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike."

If you are a fan of MUDs, MOOs and MUCKs, we have something that might interest you.

Joash Chee, intrepid developer, music school principal, all-round entrepreneur and new father has a new app that will be up your alley, especially if you are the sort of person who gets lost in alleys.

Elly The Wanderer's Mapmaker for MUDs is an iPad app that will help you draw maps when you are wondering around lost in your MUD or MOO.

Joash made this app in Game Salad in just 24-hours. The app retails for US$0.99 but we have 10 promo codes to give away.

To win a promo code, all you have to do is email us at editor at imerlion dot com and tell us what title you are currently playing.

Alternatively, tell us the significance of the quotation at the start of this post.

Good luck!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

IMerlion going on Bloomberg TV

Catch me on Bloomberg TV! I'll be on at 12.20pm today to discuss Apple's latest announcements.

ITunes 10 now available for download

You can now download the new and improved iTunes 10 here.

Comes with Ping and AirPlay, though you'll have to wait a while to use AirPlay.

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New iOS 4.1, 4.2 coming up, new iPod touch gets A4 and Retina Display

Apple made a raft of announcements early this morning, some of it relevant to us in Singapore and Asia, the others, not so. Here's a look at what is directly relevant to iOS users here:

New iOS 4.1 This is coming September 8 and will have a bunch of bug fixes. It will fix bugs with the proximity sensor, Bluetooth and the sluggish performance on the iPhone 3G. Will also have Game Center. This update is not available for the iPad.

Upcoming iOS 4.2. Due in November. This will bring multi-tasking and folders to the iPad. Finally. (Update: Also, wireless printing.)

iTunes 10. Has a music-centred social media network called Ping. You can follow artists and friends. Great way to discover new music. Also has AirPlay, that will allow you to stream your music wirelessly to compatible speakers.

New iPod touch. As expected, Apple unveiled a new iPod touch. It is supermodel-thin and has the A4 processor, Retina Display, front- and rear-facing cameras, 3-axis gyroscope and will handle FaceTime.

Other announcements:

New AppleTV. Smaller and cheaper than before. A quarter of the size of the previous model and just US$99 compared to US$229 before. Thanks to AirPlay, you can have music and movies playing on your iPhone/iPod touch or iPad and you can transfer it wirelessly to your HD TV via AppleTV.

The new AppleTV also does Netflix movies, cheaper HD TV shows (US$1 vs $3) and first run HD movies for $5. Unfortunately, it only works in the US iTunes store, which means you need a US iTunes account.

New iPod shuffle. Apple turned away from the tie-clip look and went back to the old square clip. Some changes under the hood. Good for workouts. Just US$49 so it won't be so painful if it flies off while you're jogging and gets run over by a truck.

New iPod nano. Small, square touchscreen that comes with a clip. Will not play movies anymore though.

Macworld has a nice overview of the event.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Choosing your SingTel APN: e-ideas vs internet

If you've had to switch APNs from 'e-ideas' to 'internet' because of a problem with SingTel's 3G network you might want to consider going back.

While the 'internet' APN will get you 3G access in a pinch, it appears to have slower upload speeds and suffers from a higher latency than the 'e-ideas' APN.

In addition, Internet tethering is disabled when you use 'internet'. On the bright side, the 'internet' APN apparently allows you to use the VPN, which 'e-ideas' does not (or so we're told by someone commenting on the original iMerlion post).

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New and updated apps: SG Buses V3, Muslim Pro, GlobalDial 121 and iLionDance

SG Buses V3 (free). This update fixes bus arrival times and supports the iPhone 4's Retina Display.

MUSLIM PRO (free). Get prayer time notifications, Qibla compass and an Islamic calendar.

GlobalDial 121 (free). This app allows you to use SingTel's Global Dial 121 service when you are abroad.

iLionDance (US$0.99). Practice your drumming, cymbals and gong with this app.

IKEA Catalogue (free). Use this app to download the Ikea catalogue for Singapore.

TravelJoy (free). An app by Tenet Insurance Company that allows you to buy your travel insurance through your iPhone.

Tip of the hat to iMerlion readers loongshifu and Lim Siong Huat!

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Apple streaming iPod event live

Apple has broken with tradition and will now be live streaming the iPod event as it happens.

The event will take place at 1am Thursday morning (Singapore time of course). To watch it, go to www.

If you want to catch it live, you will need Safari running on Snow Leopard or an iOS device running iOS 3.0 and above.

The Wall Street Journal says Apple will announce TV show rentals for US$0.99. People are also expecting a touchscreen nano, a new iPod touch with Retina Display and front and back cameras, like the iPhone 4. Ars Technica has a nice roundup of rumours.

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