I recently discovered something interesting. Checking out Aio Wireless, I discovered I could add data-only service to an old iPhone for as low as $15 per month all-in and no contract.
Aio Wireless is the new LTE pre-paid service from AT&T. It’s not listed anywhere that it’s run by and uses the AT&T network, but this is mentioned in press releases about the service. They offer both recurring and single month services.
Aio Wireless offers a set limit 250MB tablet rate for just $15/month. With additional GB available to add for $10/month. Not a bad deal. To use the Aio service a SIM card will need to be ordered from the site for $9.99 (make sure to order the correct size for the phone or tablet to use). In my test it got to me in just a day.
Once the account is set up and the SIM is registered for the $15/month tablet plan, the SIM will then work in any iOS device that is unlocked and compatible with the AT&T network. Even an iPhone. Voice and SMS won’t work, and don’t expect it to since this is just a data service. But iMessage will work as well as any other feature that uses the data connection.
The downside, and it’s not a big one, is that the service provided for pre-paid cell phone services like this is never first-tier. Meaning it isn’t prioritized on the host network like contract services. Aio Wireless specifies that the LTE service is capped at 8MB. Still a great speed, but well below the 30-40Mbps I have seen on AT&T LTE. So data rates will be slower, but still very usable. Especially considering the price.
I’m guessing this little loophole will be closed eventually, but until then it’s a great way to give access to an old iPhone or iPad for an extra device for a relative, to use as a hotspot, or to have a device on another network.
Posted by Jeff Scott on September 10th, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
In our review of the Next Issue app and subscription magazine service, we found it to be a great value. And now Next Issue has been updated to include an additional 31 magazines. This brings the total to over 70 magazines still at their original subscription price of $9.99 for the monthly magazines, or $14.99 including the weekly magazines.
The new magazines include: Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Details, Eating Well, Elle Décor, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Family Circle, Family Fun, Food Network Magazine, Golf World (available for Unlimited Premium subscribers), Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful, Ladies’ Home Journal, Living the Country Life, Marie Claire, Midwest Living, More, O, The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Road & Track, Seventeen, Successful Farming, Teen Vogue, Town & Country, Traditional Home, Veranda, W, Woman’s Day, Wood
Fans of Gameloft’s ambitious mobile MMO, Order & Chaos Online, have more reason to celebrate. The game will be getting a massive update later in August. The game will include new features that fans have been asking for, including mounts, a brand new dungeon to explore, player vs player (PvP) combat arenas, and and end to the subscription model.
The new dungeon will be called Salien Pt. 2. The original Salien dungeon was added in update 1.10 in March of this year, 2012. There will be three new arenas for player versus player combat, in combinations of 1 on 1, 2v2, 3v2, or 4v4 players. There will be four new mounts to tear around on through the Arcadian Forests or the Tanned Land.
What’s most interesting, however, is the end of the subscription model. PC and console-based MMO games are suffering huge losses in player subscriptions lately; it makes sense that a mobile game like Order & Chaos would struggle with adding and maintaining an active, paying subscriber base as well. With mobile gaming exploring the free to play model more vigorously than the traditional PC and console gaming space, it’s surprising that Order & Chaos Online lasted as long as it has.
VaultBox.me is an app and website designed to help users catalog their property for insurance purposes in an easy and convenient way. Developer Jacob Israel claims he was inspired to create this service after his home was robbed three times in one year, but was unable to be reimbursed for the full value of his items due to insuficient cataloging.
So, VaultBox.me provides sufficient cataloging of property for insurance purposes. Users can easily scan the UPC barcodes of their items to add basic information, and add in info such as the item’s serial number to identify it. Pictures of the item, receipt, owner with the item, and the serial number can be added for additional proof. All this is available from both the app and from the VaultBox.me website, so if that precious iPhone disappears, the information saying it was stolen is not! The service is free for 10 items, with yearly subscriptions available for greater quantities.
Best-selling gadget magazine Stuff now has an iPad edition. Stuff Magazine, like most iPad magazine apps, is a Newstand app that’s free to download but charges for individual issues and subscriptions.
Stuff Magazine includes the same tests, photography, and expert opinions on the newest tech toys and gadgets, but the iPad edition includes new interactive features that are exclusive to the iPad magazine. The new digital magazine includes hands-on videos, 360-degree photography, Twitter feeds within the magazine, animations, and photo galleries.
Subscribers to the print version of the magazine will also have free access to Stuff Magazine. New subscribers can also just subscribe in the app itself. The prices listed in the app description are in British pounds. But from what I can glean from the top in-app purchases, the magazine costs $4.99 (£2.99) for an individual issues, $11.99 (£7.99) for three months, $19.99 (£13.99) for six months, and $33.99 (£23.99) for a year.
With the rise in popularity of “cloud” services like iCloud, Dropbox, and Box, another category of cloud services has started to pop up describing themselves as “personal clouds” or “private clouds.” PocketCloud, and it’s iOS app PocketCloud Explore, is one of those services.
These personal clouds often provide access to a remote computer instead of uploading all files to a “cloud” server in possession of the service. With the free version of PocketCloud Explore, users gain access to one remote computer, have 2GB of actual cloud storage, are limited in upload/download size, and audio and video streaming are restricted to 30 seconds. Subscribers can use ten remote computers, the upload/download limit increases to half a GB, and video and audio streaming becomes unlimited in length (Windows only, Mac coming soon).
PocketCloud comes with a companion program that must be installed on the remote computers users wish to access on the fly. The program is available for both Mac and Windows, but the Mac version is unable to stream audio and video as of now.
A PocketCloud subscription will cost $5 per month, but it’s currently on sale ($7.99 for three months and $23.99 for the year).
GreatCall has just released its next app in the health and wellness scene, LiveNurse. This app allows users to actually connect with a registered nurse for advice at any time or day.
These live, registered nurses will ask basic questions and follow medical standards to obtain enough information to direct users to the appropriate care for whatever situation the user may be in.
In addition to 24/7 help from a registered nurse, the app features information from the award-winning medical encyclopedia, A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. The information includes descriptions of common medical problems and their treatments as well as symptoms, warnings, prevention, and more.
LiveNurse has a “Shake for Help” feature that provides information on topics being read by shaking the iPhone. The information appears as a bubble on the screen specific to whatever the user was reading about.
Pre-existing GreatCall users can log into their GreatCall accounts on LiveNurse. The app is available for free but requires a subscription of $3.99 per month.
MAD Magazine, a source of completely ridiculous humor, satire, and just sheer stupidity, has just been released (on April Fools’ Day of course) for the iPad. On top of new issues, the iPad app has special access to classic MAD articles.
The pricing structure for MAD Magazine is similar to other magazine apps. The app itself is free. Buying single issues of MAD Magazine come in two prices. Back issues (these won’t have the interactive elements of the newer issues from this month and on) will cost $1.99. Buying the current issue will be $4.99. Subscriptions will obviously save the avid MAD reader money. An annual subscription (six issues) will cost $9.99, saving $20 compared to buying every current issue when it’s released. A bi-monthly subscription is also available (an issue every two months) for $1.99, still saving readers money from buying the current issue for full price.
Of course, MAD Magazine will feature pop culture related articles, but the magazine will also feature classic pieces like Al Jaffee’s Fold-In, Spy vs. Spy, and “A MAD Look At…”
Popular fashion magazine, Vogue, has updated its iPad app to become a full-fledged Newsstand app. Full issues of Vogue magazine are now available for the iPad. In addition to full issues, Vogue has also updated to support the Retina display on the new iPad (third-gen) and added auto-renewing subscriptions.
As expected, print subscribers will have free access to the iPad version. Non-print subscribers have a few purchasing options. Single issues of the magazine can be purchased at $3.99 an issue. A one-month subscription (that renews automatically from month to month until cancelled) will cost $1.99 per month. A one year subscription (still automatically renewing) will cost $19.99 per year. Both subscriptions come with free trials, one month for the month-to-month subscription and three months for the yearly subscription.
While Vogue focuses mainly on fashion, issues will contain content from a variety of topics including art, photography, politics, celebrities, food, and health. The Vogue app is free to download.
Fandor, an online indie film streaming service that caters to both independent film fans and the mainstream movie crowd, released an iPad app today. This move comes shortly after announcing a partnership with the Roku streaming set-top box back in November. Going mobile brings one of the web’s largest collections of entertaining films that celebrate cinema to iPad users. The films within the collection include the likes of FILM SOCIALISME from the Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard. A magisterial essay on the decline of European civilization, the film was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival. Fandor offers its users great films such as this as well as others not found anywhere else.
The app features a unique way in which to discover new films via the “Spinner” which offers members a way to have a film randomly picked for them or to select criteria such as era, genre or length before spinning. Members can also take advantage of integration with Twitter, Facebook and email to recommend their favorite movies with friends. The company supports indie filmmakers by sharing a portion of its subscription fee with them as well as with distributors. New members can sign up via a seven-day unlimited free pass on Fandor. Subscriptions range from $2.99 per week or $99.99 for the year.
Did you get that long-coveted new iPhone 4s or iPad 2 for Christmas? Not sure what your new miraculous devices can do to improve your life? Or, maybe you’ve had an iOS device for quite a while and want a fresh perspective on its capabilities and the latest apps available for it. In either case, 148Apps and iPhone Life Magazine want to give you a chance to start 2012 off right by winning one of five magazine subscriptions to iPhone Life.
What do you have to do to enter? It’s simple! Just visit the following site: http://www.iphonelife.com/contest As a bonus, you’ll receive a free browser issue of iPhone Life.
Now that the NBA season is in full swing, the NBA has released NBA Game Time 2011-2012, an app that gives users access to tons of NBA features anytime and anywhere an internet connection is available. Many of the basic features are free, like game alerts from your favorite teams, stats, scores, play by play reports, news, and video highlights. There are also two subscription level available for users who want to access more of the app’s premium content. The NBA Game Time Plus subscription give users access to video highlights from in-progress games, full game video recaps, an advertisement free experience, and live radio feeds (both home and away broadcasts) of games. An NBA Game Time Plus subscription costs $7.99.
For $39.99, users can subscribe to the NBA League Pass which includes all of the features above as well as live streaming of all NBA regular season games, a full archive of all the season’s games, and live in-game stat overlays. Some users may already have an NBA League Pass subscription through their cable or satellite provider and are able to use their account information to log in via the app and gain access to all League Pass content.
Currently, NBA Game Time 2011-2012 is compatible with all iOS devices running version 4.0 or higher, but it isn’t optimized for the iPad.
YouWeb L.L.C. has released the one of the most ambitious and sought after workarounds ever on the iPad. Their popular browser, iSwifter, has just updated their app with an “all-you-can-eat” subscription model to provide unlimited access to Flash social games and MMO’s on the iPad. People can now play Facebook games and other popular flash games on their iPad. With the ability to use Flash not only to watch flash video but to interact with Flash content like games, the iPad may truly be able to replace laptops for some.
Rajat Gupta, co-founder of iSwifter and former EIR at YouWeb, explains YouWeb has been working over the entire last year creating this technology, “Playing Flash social games and MMOs on the iPad is something users are clamoring for. But it’s not as simple as building a Flash video browser: we have spent the last year building a cloud based Flash browser technology that lets users play their favorite Flash social games and MMOs on the iPad. Social game and MMO developers
benefit greatly from not having to spend months porting their Flash games to tablets.”
iSwifter is not only an app for playing Flash games but is a full-fledged browser with the added ability to watch Flash videos and interact with Flash content. The app itself is free and comes with a free seven-day trial. After the trial, the ability to have unlimited access to Flash games will be $4.99 a month.
Peter Relan, Founder of YouWeb and Chairman of iSwifter, compares iSwifter and Flash gaming to Netflix and movies, “iSwifter is doing for social gaming and MMOs what NetFlix™ and Hulu™ have done for movies and TV shows: subscription based unlimited access to awesome content. A few months ago nobody would have anticipated playing Facebook social games or Flash MMORPGs on iPads with a quality user experience!”
Rdio, from the founders of Skype and haters of the letter A (we presume), have announced that their iOS app has gotten a huge update, revamping a bunch of the app’s features. If you’re not familiar with Rdio, it’s a subscription service that lets you search for an and stream music on their service (which includes most if not all major popular releases) to devices that support their service, including iOS and Android apps. It’s a subscription-based service, costing $9.99 per month for unlimited streaming and the ability to sync songs straight to your device for when listening when you’re offline. They also offer a $4.99 per month subscription, for access via the web only.
The app features a bunch of new features. First, the homescreen has been redesigned in a more Springboard-esque design (similar to the Facebook app’s home screen), with the ability to customize and rearrange the icons on the homescreen itself. As well, they’ve added access to see top charts and new releases, so if you need to stay hip on what’s new, you can look at it, be befuddled as to who these people are and why they all sound like robots, before going back to your music with distorted guitars and incomprehensible screaming. That may just be me, though. Thankfully for people like me, personalized recommendations based on what you listen to are offered as well, so you can further envelop yourself in your bubble of specific taste. There’s a fairly solid social aspect to the whole system as well, where the recommendations can be pulled from friends and taste leaders whom you “follow,” a la Twitter.
As far as actually listening to music goes with the Rdio app, there’s now a bar at the bottom of the app that lets you easily call up your currently playing song list and controls, so you can easily play/pause and skip tracks without losing your place in the app. You can also set your specific syncing options, so if you want songs to sync to your device only on wifi and never on 3G, or if you want to never actually download anything to your device, you can do so. Rdio is a neat service for legally listening to music on demand, and the app comes with a free 7-day trial so you can check out the service risk free, without entering any kind of payment information. If you’ve been looking for a streaming music service for your iOS device, Rdio is worth a look.
Apple has finally, formally announced its subscription service for apps. This formal announcement means that any app that provides a digital subscription outside an app must also do so inside the app.
The announcement to day basically comes down to this. If a service provides a method to receive a digital subscription on an iOS device (think Zinio, The Daily, The Times of London) that the option to subscribe needs to be offered inside the app at the same or lower prices. To clear one thing up, this does not mean that print subscription prices need to apply to digital subscriptions. While I’d love that rule, as a consumer, that would be overstepping Apple’s bounds a bit.
One thing to note is that this doesn’t just apply to digital print publications like magazines and newspapers. This also applies to music services like Rdio, Pandora, and Rhapsody. And it applies to video services like Netflix and Hulu+. We’ve reached out for comment from some of these companies to get their reaction.
The result is that services like the above will need to provide a method to subscribe inside the app as well as outside the app. And Apple wants their 30% cut when subscriptions are done inside the app. To ensure that publishers don’t just pass the 30% extra onto the user, Apple has noted that the subscription prices inside the app be the same or lower than those offered outside the app.
If a service provides a subscription outside the app, and doesn’t deliver the subscription in the app, they seem to be excluded from this requirement. The one key phrase from the Apple announcement is “Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app.” That does set the likes of Wired Magazine free to continue to only offer their magazine at an inflated per issue price. Wired offers their magazine at $3.99 per issue within the app while routinely offers the print edition at $10/year. But they don’t offer a digital subscription anywhere else.
Though companies like Netflix and ABC already have devoted video streaming apps for the iPad it’s still an arena that many media organizations are slow to embrace. It seems that the BBC is ready to jump in though, as they have announced plans to release their iPlayer TV service in the US very soon, but there are a couple catches. First off, it’s an iPad exclusive; second, it’s arriving as a subscription service.
The BBC iPlayer basically functions very similarly to what the major American television networks are doing in the online space. Users can launch the iPlayer and then watch or listen to any of the BBC’s television or radio programming from the past seven days on-demand. So, if you happened to miss the latest episode of Doctor Who, Top Gear, or want to get the latest headlines from BBC World News, iPlayer will be your best bet. The service has been available in the UK for three years now and is easily the most popular on-demand service across the pond.
Unfortunately, unlike American services such as Netflix or Hulu shows don’t stay on the iPlayer after the seven day window has passed. So if you’re looking to catch up on entire seasons of shows then iPlayer really won’t help all that much. However, huge BBC fans who want to have all the recent content available at their fingertips will likely love this app. The BBC hasn’t announced a pricing structure for the service yet, so we’ll have to wait and see how much the company plans to charge. Nor do we have any information yet on any potential service differences for the US version. There’s always the possibility that they will black out shows that are shown on BBC America for example.
The question now becomes, can the BBC break into the American market with this app? It’s definitely going to be tough considering how many other options are available to US consumers, but there’s definitely some content exclusive to the BBC that a number of folks would want to access. An interesting prospect indeed, and one which we’ll definitely be keeping our eye on.
Those wishing that the currently Europe-only Spotify music streaming service and iPhone app would hit to the rest of the world now have another option – MOG Mobile Music.
The MOG network has been around for a while but its new iPhone app makes it a serious contender in the audio subscription market offering similar, if not better, features by comparison to its rivals.
Highlights of the service include a library of eight million songs and some 700,000 albums that can be streamed to your iPhone over 3G and Wi-Fi and bundled into playlists. An unlimited number of songs can also be downloaded to the iPhone and stored for periods when you’re outside of Wi-Fi or cell areas.
The above features are all par for the course when it comes to this type of app and service but there are a few gems to be found in MOG Mobile Music too. The first is the true on-demand nature of the listening. Songs can be played at any time and repeated unlike many similar services that prevent repeat play, and you can listen to user playlists and customizable artist radio stations on the go. Artist radio isn’t as strict as the others either, with a simple slider determining how much of the artist you hear and how many similar artists are played.
It’s flexibility that seems to be the key difference between MOG and its rivals and, for a $9.99 per month fee, looks set to take a lead in the cloud-based music subscription game.
If you fancy trying out MOG Mobile Music, a three-day free trial is currently available when you download the app. No credit card is required either so you can sample the service risk free during this period.
The Hulu Blog today confirmed what many have been murmuring about online for some time. Hulu is bringing its streaming TV service to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The aforementioned murmurs also questioned how this delivery of most of America’s top TV shows would be paid for, they too were given an answer with the introduction of the Hulu Plus subscription.
Formerly only available via a PC or Mac, the Hulu Plus app and subscription service will combine to deliver episodes from current and classic TV shows on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as the iPad and third gen iPod touch.
At present the service is working on an invite-only basis (apply for one here) and will cost users $9.99 per month but, for this fee you do get a good deal of benefits. Full seasons of TV shows will be available including big hitters such as Family Guy, 30 Rock and The Office with up to 720p HD resolution available. Through the Hulu Plus app, users will be able to browse, search and resume playback at the same point on different devices. For iPhone and iPad users, you will even be able to stream over 3G!
While we’ve not had the chance to fully test Hulu Plus yet, this sounds like the service Apple’s portable devices have been crying out for and one that will likely bring about a few discussions inside Apple HQ. With the recent acquisition of media streaming startup Lala, it is rumored the company is gearing up to introduce a cloud-based iTunes service that could include streaming TV shows to iPhones and iPads.
The Hulu Plus app is available for free on the App Store and includes a bunch of freebies that don’t need a subscription in order to try out. The movie Super Size Me is included as well as clips and episodes from a number of TV shows as well, so it’s worth sampling the app for these bonuses alone.
Field Trip gets a new update that adds the ability to preview publisher content, a redesigned layout for accessing Recent, Nearby, Favorites, and Map, and an improved map view. The update also adds new content; including Time Travel Ireland, Fest300, Abandoned NYC, Weird CA, Landmarks of New York, Curiosities Book Series, Andy Haler, Carpe Durham, […]