Netflix, Fotopedia, The Citadel and More

| Free on iTunes

Steve Job hosted his annual September Event and, well, there you have it; a new version of iOS 4 (two versions actually), new iPods, and new Apple TV. If you live by the rumors then there wasn’t much in the way of surprises as Steve Jobs wound up pitching his new gadgets and services, except, perhaps, what didn’t get announced. And that may be more telling than what did.

There will be plenty of time to cast disparaging comments about any and all of the new and improved stuff from Apple, for now, at least, I want to look at some of the cool things that we can get now and poke at while we’re waiting for iOS 4.1 and 4.2, the new Apple TV, and other announced goodnesses.

Top on my list of interesting things mentioned during the event is the inclusion of Netflix on Apple TV. I think it’s a stellar move for Apple, and I’d like to see access to other services as well, like Hulu Plus and Pandora. Netflix has also released a freebie app for iPhone and iPod Touch earlier this year, and it’s an app you should have.

First, don’t be fooled into thinking this is the same Netflix app found on the iPad. Fire it up and you’ll notice many features missing, prime among them is the ability to look at and adjust your DVD queue. This missing feature left me raking fingernails across my stubbled pate in miffed wonderment. It’s Netflix, after all. Putting stuff in your queue for viewing is what it’s suppose to do. But then it struck me that streaming is the way of the future, as Mr. Jobs alluded to in his presentation, which is why Apple changed Apple TV in the first place. Makes sense even if it is a bit premature.

You can adjust your “Watch Instantly” queue in the iPhone Netflix app, and it is smart enough to remember where you left off the last time your were watching, even if you watched the show from another Netflix loaded device. This is a great feature, it’s like bookmarking, only with movies.

Netflix

Hopefully Netflix will add more features to the iPhone app over time. iPad users already know they’ve got the real deal in their Netflix app, and it’s free as well.

You should know that while the app is free, the content is not. Netflix is only useful if you have a subscription, which gets you access to all of their content, including DVDs and streamed shows, for as little as $10 a month, and not everything Netflix offers is streamable.

Another feature that will appear as soon as iOS 4.1 shows up is AirPlay, which will let you wirelessly share content playing on one iOS device with other AirPlay running devices, including the new Apple TV. Sharing my photos is one thing, but I want to also display the photos found on Fotopedia, a free iPad/iPhone app that shows purdy pitchurs of some of the more interesting places around the world. It’s a virtual travel log with photos compiled from various contributors and linked to Wikipedia information about the sites pictured.

The photos are top notch and the information offered is just enough to sate casual curiosity. I’m hoping I can show this on my big screen TV via AirPlay when I want to share the discovery, or if I’m planning a vacation to one of the spots listed. (Wishful thinking)

Fotopedia

What I like is that all the photos are geo-indexed, and you can get to them by touching one of the pins on the included map.

Fotopedia

What I also noticed was that there are not enough pins in the U.S. I wonder why? We certainly have places here that are worthy of a pin in Fotopedia.

We can remedy this situation by taking some pix of landmarks when we travel and offer the best of them to Fotopedia.

This is a nice apps and a freebie that shouldn’t be. Grab it today.

This last app will knock your socks off ( if you’re wearing any).

During Apple’s media event Steve Jobs invited Mike Capp from the game maker, Epic Games, on stage to demo an upcoming title being created for iDevices that’s codenamed, “Project Sword.”

In the game your avatar is a medieval knight decked out in heavy armor and carrying a big sword. You compete in sword fights, slicing and dicing your opponent as he (or she) attempts to do the same to your avatar. The demo was amazing. These battles take place in and around a castle and the environment is rendered beautifully. The game looks absolutely stunning, and I can’t wait to play.

Epic says Project Sword won’t be out until later this year, but we can get a closer look at the environment Project Sword is set in by downloading The Citadel, a free app from Epic that lets you wander freely in and around the castle in Project Sword.

The Citadel

I can’t stress how wonderful The Citadel environ is rendered. Trees sway and lose orange leaves to the wind, water murmurs and chuckles softly over rocks in the stream ambling beneath bridges, signs above taverns and shops protest each breeze. And the lighting…

The Citadel

It’ll will only take you a few minutes to explore The Citadel, but it’s worth the time. Available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

The Citadel

That’s a wrap for this week. More free stuff below with direct links.

Comments

Aberstan

One major limitation with the Netflix and Apple iTunes store is that the large majority of quality content is only available to those living in the USA.

Netflix is available to those in the USA (But for those abroad, you can get a US IP address with a VPN service)

Also, if you are abroad it can be challenging to setup a US ITunes account without a US credit card.

Yet I did find a work around solution for accessing the the iTunes US from abroad by using iTunes Gift Cards at http://www.VPNTelevision.com

I don’t understand why Netflix, Apple and the media companies don’t just let people have worldwide access to media…wouldn’t it mean more profits for them?!?

Vern Seward

Hi Aberstan,
I sympathize with you and understand your plight, but I don’t believe the problem you are seeing is a fault of Apple or Netflix.

The same reasoning behind regional DVDs and CDs is likely reasoning behind regional iTunes access. Different countries have different rules dealing with the distribution of media, and Apple, Netflix, and any other company looking to do that have to adhere to these often stupid rules.

Just saying that you shouldn’t be quick to point at Apple or Netflix for how complicated the system is.

Vern

Lancashire-Witch

The problems of media distribution may not be Apple’s fault, but Apple sets the price.  For example, 99 British Pounds for a 99 US Dollar box with fewer functions seems a little steep to me -even allowing for duty and tax differences.

Vern Seward

Hi Lancashire-Witch,
If you compare Apple TV with the current crop of media boxes then I would agree with, Apple’s offering is a little light on features, but there’s one feature that the other boxes will have a hard time matching, and it’s Apple’s ace-in-the-hole, apps.

The same thing that made the iPhone what it is today and changed the mobile phone industry forever is the same feature that will make $99 (US or Brit) seem cheap.

I expanded on this before the event in this a recent Just a Though and I still believe apps on Apple TV is where Apple is going.

Would you pay $99 for a box that does what Apple TV currently does AND runs a boatload of apps?

Vern

Log-in to comment