Blu-Ray App for iPhone Arrives Courtesy of Universal

pocketbluUniversal Media announced awhile ago that it would be introducing iPhone control into some of its Blu-ray titles, starting with “Fast & Furious,” the Vin Diesel/Paul Walker romp that saw the lucrative car racing series return to its humble origins. Now, Universal is extending the iPhone/Blu-ray connection to a much wider swath of its library thanks to “pocket BLU,” a new app for Apple’s (s aapl) handheld devices.

pocket BLU is a free download from the App Store that allows your iPhone to become a remote control for operating Blu-ray discs from Universal. It won’t work with just any movie, of course. Blu-ray discs need to be played using a Wi-Fi connected player, for one, and the title has to be specifically enabled to work with pocket BLU, something which will be indicated by a conspicuously placed logo. Read More about Blu-Ray App for iPhone Arrives Courtesy of Universal

New Apple Remote Sports More Current Look, Better Usability

apple_remoteIf you’re like me, you have so many white plastic Apple Remotes scattered around your living space that visitors ask if they’re part of the decor. And they were quite stylish, once upon a time. But Macs started being less about plastic and more about aluminum long ago, and the Remote has languished at the back of Jonny Ive’s design studio, disregarded. Until today, that is.

Along with new iMacs, Mac minis, mice and MacBooks, Apple (s aapl) also quietly unveiled a made-over Remote. It still does the same thing it always has, which is control you Mac or dock-connected iPod remotely, but now it does it with a different aesthetic and improved usability. Read More about New Apple Remote Sports More Current Look, Better Usability

Screen Grab: Apple Launches New iMacs, Remote

Apple_remoteOf course. Of course! A month after I bought an iMac, Apple (s AAPL) goes and refreshes the line. Normally we wouldn’t cover a product line update like this, but as our sister publication, TheAppleBlog, points out, the new, bigger, LED-lit iMacs will undoubtedly be a must-have for NewTeeVee watchers:

The new displays feature 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution for the 21.5-inch, and 2560 x 1440 for the 27-inch, which mathematically inclined readers will note makes the aspect ratio for the screens 16:9. That’s good news for HD movie and TV show watchers, but the changed ratio might not excite web and print professionals quite as much.

Apple also unveiled a new remote control today, replacing the iconic (and easily lost) white-on-white control with a sleek aluminum one with black buttons. Again, from TheAppleBlog: “Is it worth an additional $19 now? Not sure, but at least it matches the machine it works with.”

Zipcar App Finally Hits the iPhone

zipcar_iconIt was one of the apps shown off at Apple’s (s aapl) WWDC Keynote speech talking about iPhone OS 3.0 back in June of this year, but Zipcar has taken its sweet time making an official appearance in the App Store. The application is finally here (iTunes link), so urbanites who’ve been waiting to make a trip to Costco to load up for the winter, you’re in luck.

For those who aren’t familiar with Zipcar, it’s a car-sharing service that allows members to rent a car during the day for running errands, etc. Cars can be picked up from convenient parking lots located throughout the urban areas served by Zipcar and dropped off again in another designated area. Zipcar members pay a monthly subscription fee and hourly and daily rates for use of the car. Read More about Zipcar App Finally Hits the iPhone

App Review: Keymote Makes Shortcuts Even Easier

keymoteThere are no shortage of iPhone apps that function as remotes for your Mac, Apple TV, or just about anything else. Keymote (iTunes link), by Iced Cocoa, takes the concept to a new level by allowing custom “keysets” for all of your favorite applications.

So why would anybody need an app to do this when most apps have keyboard shortcuts already? Well the answer is simple if you consider the power of leveraging the large screen on the iPhone. When it launched sans a physical keyboard, Steve Jobs commented that it was a great idea to do away with it, because there are times when you don’t need a full size keyboard. If you are typing in numbers, it would be great to see large numbers instead of individual keys. Read More about App Review: Keymote Makes Shortcuts Even Easier

iPhone Headphone Freedom Coming Thanks to Third-Party Apple Remote

iluv_remote

My Apple (s aapl) in-ear headset is fine. Despite complaints that there’s too much cable noise, and that they don’t seal well, I’ve had little trouble personally (or I’m just good at overlooking flaws in Apple hardware). Still, I have some nice noise-canceling Sony DJ cups just sitting unused in my closet, and I’m actually far more partial to an around-the-ear than an in-ear design. But I need the in-line remote.

It’s a problem whose solution is obvious: build a third-party remote/adapter that will allow regular headphones to work with the iPhone, including all the fun new remote features available on the 3GS and the 2G touch. Unfortunately, I am not a third-party hardware peripheral manufacturer. iLuv, however, is, and luckily they had the same bright idea. Read More about iPhone Headphone Freedom Coming Thanks to Third-Party Apple Remote

Recipe for A Great Remote Worker

A friend of mine told me today that he just can’t work from home. He simply cannot do it. This guy enjoys his work, he likes his team, he’s great at what he does, and he feels a sense of responsibility to his employer. It made me wonder: what makes him incapable of working from home, when others have no problem at all? What is it that we remote workers have, that others don’t?

Apple TV & Remote Updated

Remote App

I have really enjoyed my Apple TV since the beginning, but I will admit that I enjoy it a lot more with the Remote application on my iPhone. Apple has updated the Remote app and the Apple TV firmware, making the Apple TV even better when used with an iPhone or iPod touch, and perhaps showing a lasting commitment to this hobby project at 1 Infinite Loop.

While the original Remote app allowed you to browse content and use the iPhone keyboard to enter text, it did not allow you to navigate the onscreen menus. This wasn’t such a big deal when playing your own media because you could just pick the song, movie or TV show from the list of files. However, when browsing through YouTube or Flickr, it was annoying to switch back and forth between the original white Apple remote and your iPhone. The new Remote app now has additional finger gesture controls to replace traditional controls, so you can finally control everything from your iPhone or iPod touch. The update adds a few new tricks to the media player as well.

Here’s what you can do with the new app… Read More about Apple TV & Remote Updated

Rowmote: Simple iPhone Remote Control

rowmote

Ever since I owned a Sony (s sne) Ericsson phone which connected to my Mac via Salling Clicker, I’ve been fascinated with controlling OS X remotely. The iPhone created a fantastic device for taking remote control to a new level, and a search for “remote” in the App Store illustrates how popular the idea is.

A relatively new app on the scene is Rowmote, which takes a much more simplified approach. Rather than trying to offer a huge array of functionality, it simply replicates the controls found on a standard Apple (s aapl) remote. This provides a thoroughly appealing solution as Apple doesn’t always bundle remote controls with new computers. Read More about Rowmote: Simple iPhone Remote Control

Weekly App Store Picks: March 14, 2009

shuffle4g

Place your iPhone on the floor and prepare to dance a merry jig, it’s the weekend and that means I’ve prepared a selection of fresh picks from the App Store.

As ever, before we get stuck in to a hand-picked selection of the latest releases from the App Store, I’ve delved in to the week’s Apple happenings to bring you notable news from the past seven days.

First up, swiftly following the Watchmen movie release came the iPhone game. Featured in TheAppleBlog’s new App Review series, the game managed to earn our first Rotten Apple award. If this game were a person you’d be best off giving them a swift kick to the shins and walking away — it’s awful.

On Tuesday, the latest update of Tweetie — my fave app for tweeting — was blocked from release by Apple. It’s all to do with ‘objectionable content’ namely a very naughty word, our own Darrel Etherington explains everything.

Another column new to TheAppleBlog, Jailbreak, continued this week. Clayton Lai highlighted five must-know things about jailbreaking your iPhone. It’s all terribly informative, especially for those new to all this jailbreaking business.

And speaking of hacked iPhones, one thing that those with jailbroken devices might have problems using is the latest iPhone firmware. Version 3.0 of the iPhone OS is due to drop next Tuesday, March 17, at a special Apple event.

Finally, Apple released the latest version of iTunes, integrating several updates including a smart new DJ mix feature, and also squeezed out a brand new iPod Shuffle. The new Shuffle has been causing somewhat of a stir due to its buttonless design, moving controls over to the proprietary headphones.

On to the apps now, this week I’ve been looking at Remote, Eliss, Payback Lite and Topple 2.

Read More about Weekly App Store Picks: March 14, 2009