Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winners of promo code for NewtonApples

Congrats to the following people! You've won a promo code for NewtonApples!


To claim your promo code, all you have to do is send an email to editor at imerlion dot com and we will send you the promo code.

If you didn't win, don't give up. We'll have more promo code giveaways in future. Just keep checking the site regularly.

Our thanks to Edenpod for the promo codes. If you would like to play NewtonApples, you can buy the game for US$0.99 or you can try out the lite version.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

No new iPhone at WWDC

In the past, Apple has used WWDC to announce the latest iPhone models. It did it for the iPhone 3G, the 3GS and the 4. This year, however, looks to be be different.

A number of publications are reporting that the latest iPhone will not be launched at WWDC. According to The Loop's Jim Darlymple, his sources have told him to "expect a software show in 2011, not a hardware event." Tech Crunch's MG Siegler and All Things D are also reporting the same thing.

So when the iPhone 5 make an appearance? Engadget points out that new iPod models are traditionally released in September, in time for the Christmas season. With the iPod becoming less important to Apple, it makes sense for the iPhone to take its place.

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WWDC sold out

If you were dithering about attending this year's WWDC, oops. Within 12 hours of going on sale, WWDC tickets have all sold out. In comparison, it took eight days for it to sell out last year.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Contest: Win a promo code for NewtonApples

Did an apple really fall on Isaac Newton? Maybe it did and maybe it didn't. However we do know that he most certainly did not face a downpour of malevolent apples raining down on him. However, this is precisely what happens to poor Sir Isaac in the game NewtonApples, by local developer Edenpod.

This game, which is a mixture of space invaders and fruit ninja, requires that you poke the red apples,  swipe the green apples and flick away leaves that fall with alarming rapidity on a snoozing Isaac Newton.

This game costs US$0.99 but we have promo codes to give away to five lucky iMerlion readers.

All you have to do is send the following tweet:

"Hey @imerlion, I want the promo code for NewtonApples!"

We'll pick five winners at random from the tweets that are sent. The contest will end at noon on Monday, March 28.

Good luck!

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New apps: PAssion Card; MySentosa; Earth Hour 60+

PAssion Card (free). This is a pretty good app to have if you have a PAssion card. This app will let you look up your points, helps you find discounts and also holds exclusive coupons.

MySentosa (free). Sentosa now has lots of cool stuff happening. Use this app to keep track of events or to help you locate the attractions. The most useful feature of this app is the What's Nearby function, which is parked under the Concierge. This will help you find nearby ATMs, bathrooms or WiFi zones.

- Earth Hour 60+ (free). Earth Hour is this Saturday, March 26 but this year, the organisers have decided to make it more meaningful by encouraging people to lower their carbon footprint all the time, rather than just for an hour. This app promotes sustainable activities by rewarding those activities with badges. A future update will allow you to compete with friends.

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New app: Mobile@HDB

Planning to buy or sell an HDB flat? You need Mobile@HDB. This excellent app allows you to get useful data from HDB's database. You can get recent transacted prices, check ethnic quotas or figure out if you qualify for the CPF Housing Grant because the flat you're planning to buy is close enough to your parents.

All this information is probably already available on the HDB website but this app formats the data for the iPhone.

Mobile@HDB can be downloaded here.

(Thanks to Victor for the heads-up!)

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BuUuk and Waalkz make it to CNN Go top 10 list

Two local iPhone apps, buUuk and Waalkz, have been listed on a CNN Go list of top 10 augmented reality travel apps.

Restaurant finder buUuk came in at number 5 while walking tour guide Waalkz took the eighth slot.

BuUuk, which is free, currently covers most major cities in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Africa so if you are a frequent traveller to those regions, buUuk is a pretty handy guide to have.

Waalkz provides free heritage walking tours to Boat Quay, Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam (the Arab quarter).

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Chordica now free till end April

Joash's twins, Emma and Clara, will be turning 10 months on April 1. They won't be at the workshop though.
Developer and recent father Joash Chee has just made his music app Chordica free from now until the end of April to support the free piano workshops he will be conducting next month.

The hour-long workshop is aimed at people who plan to use Chordica for worship in church. It will teach one song each week.

The workshops do not require any prior piano background and is open to the public. They will be held at Alive Community Church, which is located at 231, Mountbatten Road.

To find out more about the workshop, check out the website here.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Singapore and Hong Kong to officially get iPad 2 in April

Apple has announced that it will launch the iPad 2 in Singapore and Hong Kong next month, but did not give a specific date.

In a press statement that was just released, Apple said: "iPad 2 will be available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and additional countries in April, and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced at a later date."

Details about the Singapore and Hong Kong launch were mentioned as part of a statement to announce that the iPad 2 would be launched in 25 countries around the world this Friday.

The original press release is here.

The full press release is below:

iPad 2 Arrives in 25 More Countries This Friday

Available in Hong Kong, Korea & Singapore in April

CUPERTINO, California—March 22, 2011—Apple® today announced that iPad® 2, the second-generation of its third post-PC device, will go on sale in 25 additional countries this Friday, March 25. iPad 2 will be available at Apple retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers at 5 p.m. local time, and online through the Apple Store® ( beginning at 1 a.m. Apple today also announced that all models of iPad 2 will be available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and additional countries in April.

“While competitors are still struggling to catch up with our first iPad, we’ve changed the game again with iPad 2,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re experiencing amazing demand for iPad 2 in the US, and customers around the world have told us they can't wait to get their hands on it. We appreciate everyone’s patience and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.”

iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. iPad 2 features Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime® and Photo Booth®, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, bringing the innovative FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Though it is thinner, lighter, faster and packed with new features, iPad 2 still delivers up to 10 hours of battery life* that users have come to expect.

Pricing & Availability
iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) the 64GB model. iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 will be available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and additional countries in April, and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.

iMovie® and GarageBand® for iPad apps are available for $4.99 (US) each from the App Store℠ on iPad or The Smart Cover is available in a range of colors in vibrant polyurethane for $39 (US) or rich leather for $69 (US).

*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Developers donating proceeds to help Japanese relief efforts

Macworld has an excellent collection of links to developers who are donating proceeds from the sale of their software to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Have a look and do your part!

In addition SmartRoam has announced that calls to Japan from Singapore (and a bunch of other countries) will be free until the end of March. SmartRoam makes ChatTime, a low-cost international calling service that enables people to call landlines and mobile lines.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update: Due

Now iPad-native.
Lin Junjie's (no, not the singer!) has just updated his excellent alarm and reminder app Due.

Due is now at version 1.4 and it is a now features native iPad support.

Among other changes, you can now have long titles for notes for those of you who need it. You can also can create a granular timer so that it will go off in precisely 4 minutes and 53 seconds. A simple double tap allows you to edit timers and reminders.

Now that Due has Dropbox sync and native iPad support, this app has become a truly indispensable way to keep track of things you need to remember.

Due is available in the App Store for US$4.99.

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New app: Singapore Biennale 2011

Did you miss the chance to book a night's stay at the Merlion Hotel? Don't make the same mistake twice. Find out what other cool stuff is happening at the Singapore Biennale by buying the Singapore Biennale app.

The app is a guide to the Biennale, with audio and images for over 65 stops and with high resolution interactive maps. With 60 artists from 30 countries presenting works across four exhibition venues, it would be easy to miss interesting installations without something like this app as a guide. And given the paucity of information on the Biennale's own website, this app appears to be crucial if you want to figure out what to catch.

The Singapore Biennale 2011 app costs US$1.99. (Note that after you download the app, you will then need to actually download the data separately. The additional download weighs in at 28.3MB.)

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Singapore is 10th most Mac-friendly country

Singapore is the 10th most Mac-friendly country in the world with an OS market share of 10.69 percent. The other nine countries, in order, are Switzerland, Luxembourg, the United States, Iceland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Denmark.

The Mac market share in the number one country, Switzerland, is 17.61 percent. On a regional level, the Mac's market share in Asia is 1.61 percent so Singapore is way ahead of the curve here.

These figures were calculated by Pingdom and are based on visitor stats from more than three million websites during the month of February as obtained from StatsCounter.

(Via Macworld)

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This is how the iPad 2s are appearing on Sim Lim Square shelves

Bags of iPads in that familiar shopping bag. Photo credit: Robert Miller/New York Post.

The New York Post has a story about how an Asian gang is paying people to buy up iPad 2s from Apple's iconic Fifth Avenue store so that they can be resold.

Apparently, one guy hands out wads of cash to five henchmen who then give out the money to about 200 Asians standing in line to buy the iPad.

The iPads then get put on the plane and sent back to China.

Some of these presumably get sent back to Singapore as well, where the iPad 2 is now available in shops at Sim Lim Square and Lucky Plaza.

Currently, a 16GB WiFi-only iPad 2 is going for between S$1,150 and S$1,450 in Singapore. Apple sells this for US$499 (S$637). One shop in Lucky Plaza is asking S$2,800 for the 64GB WiFi + 3G version that the Apple Store is selling for US$829 (S$1,058).

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The iPad 2 now available in Singapore, for a stiff mark-up

The iPad 2 is already on retail shelves in Singapore, mere days after its US launch last Friday. A quick check with shops in Lucky Plaza and Sim Lim Square today found at least 13 places selling the device.

The cheapest price we found for the 16GB WiFi-only iPad 2 was S$1,150, a mark-up of 65 percent compared to buying it in New York City, where the sales tax is 8.875 percent. The cheapest 32GB WiFi-only device was S$1,300, which is 56 percent more than buying it from the Fifth Avenue Apple Store.

The check also showed that while the WiFi version is readily available, the WiFi + 3G is extremely scarce. We only managed to find one shop selling the WiFi+3G version.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Round-up: Earthquake donations via App Store; White iPhone in spring; iPad 2 issues; AnandTech previews; iFixit teardowns

- The US Apple Store is allowing people to donate to the American Red Cross to help with earthquake and tsunami relief. 100 percent of donations will go to the Red Cross. (MacDailyNews)

- Phil Schiller says the white iPhone is coming in spring. (Cult of Mac)

- The iPad 2 launched in the US on Friday to long lines at Apple stores around the country. Thanks to the demand, shipping for online orders has been pushed back to three to four weeks. The AT&T version of the iPad is particularly popular because it uses the GSM network which means it can be resold in many other parts of the world. (Macrumors)

- Some early iPad 2 owners are reporting problems with a light leak around the edges of the screen. (Engadget)

- Some iPad 2 owners are also reporting a yellow tint on the screen similar to the problem reported with the iPhone 4. (Macrumors)

- AnandTech has a detailed preview of the iPad 2 benchmarking its CPU and GPU performance. Theyt use Infinity Blade as a example of what developers can do with the iPad 2's power compared to the original iPad. (AnandTech)

- AnandTech has also dived deep into the GPU and the iPad 2 shows very impressive results compared to the iPad and the Xoom. (AnandTech)

- iFixit has a teardown of the iPad 2. (iFixit)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winners of the Meetup Time promo codes!

Congrats to the following people! You've won a promo code for Meetup Time (US$0.99).

- @quekth
- @mrtax2005
- @xxxjanesaxxx
- @totallyamnesia
- @chibiryan
- @digitalmozart
- @spazk
- @get_creative
- @XiaoZhuZhu1988
- @thobycat

To claim your prize, please email editor at imerlion dot com and we will send you the promo code which you can redeem within iTunes.

If you didn't win, don't worry. There will be more opportunities in future. Just keep checking the iMerlion website, follow @imerlion on Twitter or like us on Facebook to stay ahead of everyone else!

(Our thanks to Edenpod Apps for donating the promo codes for Meetup Time!)

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The iPad 2 reviews

The reviews of the iPad 2 are out:

Daring Fireball

New York Times



All Things Digital

USA Today


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Apple releases iOS 4.3

Apple has released iOS 4.3 to the general public so you can now update your iOS device.

The update, among other things, will enable you to share your iPhone 4's Internet connectivity with other devices using a feature called Personal Hotspot.

And contrary to the copy on Apple's iOS page, three seems to be the maximum number of devices that can simultaneously connect to an iPhone 4 running Personal Hotspot. I connected my iPhone to my MacBook Air and shared the Internet connection via USB and then successfully connected two other devices via WiFi. However, I was unable to connect another device to my iPhone via WiFi.

It's not a big deal. I don't anticipate wanting to connect more than three devices at any one time anyway. But it's still odd that the Apple page says that Personal Hotspot will connect up to five devices when the limit seems to be three.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Apple releases iTunes 10.2.1

Apple has just released a minor update to iTunes 10.2 to bring it to 10.2.1

No details yet about what's under the hood but it's probably a good idea to upgrade your iTunes before iOS 4.3 is officially released, which is scheduled for March 11.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Personal Hotspot limited to three connections in Singapore?

Even though Apple is promising that up to five devices can connect to an iPhone 4 using Personal Hotspot,  developers in Singapore are reporting that three is the current maximum.

Personal Hotspot is a new feature for the iPhone 4 that is part of the upcoming iOS 4.3 which allows users to turn their device into a WiFi hotspot. This will allow users with laptops and iPads to piggyback off the iPhone 4's Internet connection.

According to Apple Singapore's page on iOS "You can share your connection with up to five devices at once over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB -- with up to three of those connections using Wi-Fi." A footnote clarifies that it will work with "up to three devices over Wi-Fi, three devices over Bluetooth and one device over USB".

However, developers in Singapore who are now running the latest version beta version of iOS 4.3 have reported that they have not been able to connect more than three devices to the iPhone 4. Once three devices are connected, attempting to connect a fourth device requires disconnecting one of the three.

The footnote limiting the Wi-Fi connectivity to three devices is found in similar pages for other countries such as the US and Australia. However, in a number of major markets in Europe such as the UK, France and Germany, there is no such limitation.

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works with up to three devices over Wi-Fi, three devices over Bluetooth and one device over USB.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Contest: Win promo codes for Meetup Time!

When you have to set up a conference call between people in three or more timezones, finding a sane time to have that call is a real challenge. That's where Meetup Time comes in. This locally developed app helps you to find a reasonable time to have a meeting when you are dealing with multiple timezones.

Meetup Time costs US$0.99 but we are giving out free promo codes to iMerlion readers. To win, all you have to do is to send a tweet saying: "Hey @imerlion! I want a promo code for Meetup Time!"

We'll pick 10 winners at random from the people who send that tweet between now and noon on Monday, March 7.

Good luck!

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New: WheresApp SG; iShare@Sembawang; Central Singapore; Tax Calc; Car Megamart; Bike Park Where

WheresApp SG (US$1.99) -- Like Whatsapp (hence the name) but with location. This app provides instant messaging cum location detection cum traffic cam viewer. Another brilliant idea by Singtel. Because that's exactly what we need. Yet another instant messaging app.

- iShare@Sembawang (free) -- Use this app to book BBQ pits, void decks, get MP profiles or call the town council quickly.

Your Guide to Central Singapore (free) -- Find out about social assistance schemes and get details about community events.

- Singapore Tax Calculator (free) -- Find out how much you'll owe the taxman.

- Car Megamart (free) -- Get highlights, promotions from Automobile Megamart.

- Bike Park Where (free) -- Tired of trying to find a parking spot for your motorbike? This app can help.

- SG Deals (free) -- Shopping deals around Singapore.

- glo (free) -- Shopping deals around Singapore.

- SMosque (free) -- Locates mosques around you.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Everything else you need to know about Apple's Mar 2 event

- Catch the video of this morning's event here.

- Macworld has a nice hands-on of the new iPad 2 and the Smart Covers. (Macworld)

- Apple releases iTunes 10.2, which is necessary for iOS 4.3.

- iOS 4.3 will be released on Mar 11. It will have a faster Javascript engine, new iTunes Home Sharing, enhanced AirPlay and Personal Hotspot. Apple's page on iOS 4.3 is here. Full Apple press release here.

- Along with the iPad 2, Apple also announced specially made covers that will protect the screen. Held to the iPad 2 by magnets, the Smart Cover can also be used to prop the iPad 2 up in portrait or landscape mode. Very sweet. Apple's page on the iPad covers is here.

- A new HDMI cable  adaptor will allow you to connect your iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 4 and 4th gen iPod touch to an HDTV. Mirroring is only supported in the iPad 2. Video out supports up to 1080p for iPad 2 and up to 720p for iPad, iPhone 4 and iPod touch (4th generation). Movies play at up to 720p. Check out the full description from the Apple Store.

- iMovie for the iPad looks very cool. The bigger screen should make video editing much easier on the iPad than the iPhone. (See Apple's page here.)

- Garageband for the iPad also looks very cool. Realistic instruments and the ability to sense pressure so you can tickle the ivories or pound on the keyboard and get the appropriate sounds. (Apple)

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Apple drops price of original iPads

Apple has just dropped the price of the original iPad, at least in Singapore.

WiFi version

S$538 vs S$728 for the 16GB model,
S$668 vs S$878 for the 32GB model,
S$798 vs S$1028 for the 64GB model.

WiFi + 3G version

S$718 vs S$928 for the 16GB model
S$848 vs S$1,078 for the 32GB model
S$978 vs S$1,228 for the 64GB model

(Thanks to @yjsoon for the heads-up!)

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iPad 2 will go on sale from Mar 11 but no date for Singapore launch

Apple has announced that the iPad will be available in the US from Mar 11. No date has been released for a Singapore launch. iOS 4.3 will be available for download on Mar 11 as well.

Apple has released a video but for those who just need the quick highlights of the iPad 2, here they are:

- 33 percent thinner
- up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad
- dual-core A5 processor
- two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video,
- up to 10 hours of battery life
- available in black or white
- Will run iOS 4.3
- Wi-Fi model pricing: US$499 for the 16GB model, US$599 for the 32GB model, US$699 for the 64GB model.
- iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G pricing: US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB model and US$829 for the 64GB model.

The iPad 2 will be available in the US on Mar 11 and then in a bunch of countries on Mar 25. However, Singapore is not on the list for the first wave.

Apple also announced iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad. No mention of MobileMe.

The full press release is below:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Round-up: Cheaper iPhones; No knighthood for Jobs; Last minute rumours

- Apple is looking at producing cheaper iPhones especially for the pre-paid market. (Appleinsider)

- Gordon Brown supposedly blocked a knighthood for Steve Jobs because Steve would not speak at a Labour Party conference. (Telegraph)\

- Last-minute rumours about Apple's Mar 2 event:

- Jobs mulling an appearance at the iPad 2 launch. (All Things Digital)
- MobileMe revamped with cloud storage features, iPad 2 is ho-hum and iPad 3 is the one to watch (Cult of Mac)
- Apple to unveil iOS 5, new social app (Business Insider)

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