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Seems like all the big news this week is app-related! Twitter has a new iOS app update, Batman flies in with a slick new Arkham City game, OnLive is coming to iOS and a whole lot more. Hey, maybe someday we’ll all be giving virtual gifts for the holidays -- no more wrapping paper and bows, no more piles of gifts under the tree. While you ponder that future, read on for all the news from Thursday, December 8, 2011.
Got $5.99 burning a hole in your iTunes account and ready to kick it Batman-style? Warner Bros. Entertainment is all too happy to take your cash and accommodate with the new Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, a universal iOS game app that just hit the App Store. “The inmates have escaped and Batman has his hands full defeating an army of henchmen and some of his most iconic villains,” the game description reads. “Scour the rooftops and the seedy underbelly of Gotham City through a series of one-on-one battles with the Joker, Two-Face and more, as well as the Batman: Arkham City Lockdown exclusive – Deathstroke.” Gamers will have a choice of several Batman skins and power-ups “as you punch, kick and combo your way to cleaning up Gotham City,” and the game is built on Epic’s Unreal Engine (the same one powering the popular Infinity Blade titles), so it should be pretty sweet.
You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Twitter: They’re not afraid of change. That includes releasing version 4.0 of their iOS app, with a redesigned user interface for the iPhone that’s already testing the patience of users, judging from a quick glance at (ironically) Twitter itself. With a cry of “Let’s fly,” the new app is broken up into four categories: Home, Connect, Discover and Me, with a fifth button for posting new tweets. While our personal favorite remains the third-party Echofon Pro, we kind of dig this update more than the last few (we know, we’re in the minority). The changes will be rolled out eventually to the Twitter website, but for now you can download the iPhone or Android versions (or hit up the mobile version of the website) to experience it for yourself.
It’s been a big week for “personalized reader” apps with Flipboard finally arriving on the iPhone, and now Google is leaping into the pool with its own approach. Google Currents is a free universal app for iOS (also available on Android, naturally) with more than 150 publishing partners, offering full-length articles from more than 180 editions including CNET, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Fast Company and more. (And hey, don't forget to add Mac|Life, who's included in the "Science & Tech" category!) The app is also tied to a new self-service platform allowing publishers to design, brand and customize their web content for Google Currents users. The app also taps into RSS, video and photo feeds, public Google+ streams and Google Reader subscriptions so you’ll never be without something to read (in theory, anyway). The universal 9.3MB app is available now from the App Store.
If you love cloud-based gaming service OnLive, you’ll love it even more once the iOS client app arrives. According to TouchArcade, the release is imminent and will come with a free copy of LEGO Batman: The Videogame absolutely free for anyone who downloads the client and signs up (no purchase necessary). TouchArcade describes the service as “a lot like instantly streaming movies over Netflix, except it's video games, and you get to actually play them in real time with minimal lag if you're internet speeds are up to snuff.” The OnLive client has already hit Android, so if you’re rockin’ some kind of Google-blessed device, you can download that client now, sign up and be ready to go when the iOS version hits the App Store. The company is also offering a Universal OnLive Wireless Controller in their store for $49.99 if you don’t like doing the touch thing, and an iPhone version of the app is expected soon as well.
Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative have announced a milestone for the Pocket God digital comic book series. With more than seven million downloads for the popular iOS game from which it’s based, the full-color comic has itself passed the 500,000 download mark. To celebrate, the two companies have teamed up with Free App A Day (FAAD) to offer the first issue of the digital comic absolutely free today from the App Store -- but don't worry, it will also be a Friday freebie courtesy of Monster Free Apps as well. And that’s not all: The digital comic series today launches issue No. 11, which is immediately available for download on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with 20 pages of all-new content courtesy of iVerse Media as a 99-cent in-app purchase.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter