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Now that the iPhone has landed on three of the four major U.S. wireless carriers, Apple appears to be painting the nooks and crannies with an April 20 rollout at a number of small regional carriers who are almost entirely connected to the older CDMA technology being gradually abandoned by Verizon and Sprint. If you live in those areas, you’ll probably get a better deal, so it’s worth checking out if you’re in the market for a new iPhone. No need to thank us for that sound advice -- just show your appreciation by reading the news for Wednesday, April 4, 2012 instead.
Mobile email lovers, the first update to Sparrow for iOS has arrived! The news was announced on the company’s blog earlier today, and Sparrow 1.1 arrives with the addition of send and archive, the ability to show or hide dock badges for each account, showing only specific folders or labels, a built-in web browser and new empty trash/spam options. The first update also includes bug fixes for authentication with some Google Apps accounts and custom SMTP for Alias -- but sadly, push email is still MIA. That said, the developers are teasing the forthcoming Sparrow 1.2, claiming they are “confident that Apple might revise its position on the Push API.” The blog post also promised: “Push is coming. With or without Apple,” but this has since been changed to a less confrontational “If Apple can’t help us yet, we have other ideas.” Here’s hoping they’ll also kill those nagging Deleted Messages and Sent Messages folders that the app keeps adding to our iCloud email -- we roll with Trash and Sent folders here, homey.
One of our favorite reading apps for iOS is Zite, which recently leapt from the iPad to the iPhone and iPod touch as well thanks to a universal build update. Today, Zite is announcing eight new publishing partners who will be joining the app and available as featured sections. The launch is part of the new Zite Publisher Program initiative, which breaks out each publisher’s content into its own featured section inside the app while providing an optimized mobile reading experience with advertising upsell opportunities. Launching today are featured sections for Bleacher Report, CNN, The Daily Beast, FOX Sports, HLNtv, The Huffington Post, Motley Fool, The Next Web and VentureBeat; the additions are pushed to the existing app so no update is required from the App Store (a shame, since Zite is one of the few reading apps that hasn’t yet been updated for the new iPad’s Retina Display). The ultimate goal of the Zite Publisher Program is to entice additional publishers to climb on board, and the company has published a page to their website with all of the details.
Mac users can generally use most any portable hard drive on the market, although manufacturers often focus on PC users when it comes to marketing. Western Digital has never been shy about its love for the Mac, and this week is announcing My Passport Studio, the first portable 2TB hard drive for those of us who choose Apple. Featuring an elegant, all-metal casing that complements the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, My Passport Studio is Time Machine compatible and includes a pair of FireWire 800 ports as well as USB 2.0. The Western Digital My Passport Studio 2TB portable hard drive retails for $299.99 and is available from the company’s online store as well as other fine retailers.
This morning we announced the iPhone 4S (and iPhone 4) would be coming to Virginia-based regional CDMA carrier nTelos Wireless, and good for them for getting their press release out early. As it turns out, nTelos stole the thunder of a handful of other regional carriers, with MacRumors reporting that Alaska’s GCI and Alaska Communications, Kentucky’s Appalachian Wireless and Wisconsin’s Cellcom will be joining the party on April 20. Judging from this activity, the website claims this could be “a rather significant coordinated rollout to small CDMA carriers,” although Alaska’s GCI is actually one of those rare carriers whose network includes both GSM and CDMA technology. MacRumors was able to confirm that GCI will be introducing GSM models of the iPhone 4S, as well as the older iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. If you’ve spotted any other regional carriers about to uncork the champagne on April 20, give us a shout in the comments!
Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative are hitting the App Store running today with a pair of Pocket God-related updates for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. First up is Pocket God Comics No. 15, the first in a new four-part story arc called “Gem Cell Research” which finds both tribes finally making it back to the girls’ island. “However, the pink elephant in the room remains,” the app description teases. “Just how long the boys will stay there is a matter of contention.” Meanwhile, the original Pocket God game that spawned the comic has also been refreshed with Episode 44: The Perfect Swarm. “What’s that buzzing noise? Is that a low-hanging cloud coming in? Oh, it’s just a plague of locusts descending on the Pygmies of Pocket God!” the app explains. “The Aztec calendar on Apocalypse Island continues to count down in Pocket God Episode 44: The Perfect Swarm, opening a new room in the island’s temple that houses the plague’s source - the locust queen!” Both updates are now available in the App Store, and each app costs 99 cents.
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