Hey, I'm Arron. I'm a 23 year old freelance writer and graphic designer from Cheshire, UK who is very much tuned into the app space. Straight out of college I founded RazorianFly - a web-based publication aimed at providing its readers with the latest from Apple, and the technology industry. The publication now attracts 50-60K unique readers per month, generating over 100K page views per month.
When I'm asked for a review, I ultimately look for the design, presentation and clarity that product offers (or could offer) to its intended audience. If it doesn't cut it - I'll tell you straight.
Search is a big business nowadays, and up until today there’s been one prominent search engine giant which has dominated the App Store in it’s entirety. I am of course talking about Google. They first covered the need for immediate search by introducing Google Mobile onto the store, which also included the ability to search by voice. Later, we then had them introduce a mobile version of their widely popular Google Earth software.
With Apple having partnered with Google in the past to bring Google Maps out of the box on the iPhone, by all accounts it seemed Google had (and still has) things pretty much sown up! .. But let’s not forget, Google aren’t the only ones who want a piece of the iPhone’s ‘search’ market share. After all, Microsoft had already created numerous version of Bing for other mobile devices, however as noted earlier in the year it was clear if Microsoft wanted to complete with the major search giants like Google, they’d have to bow down to the iPhone – and they have ..
Yesterday, having already released a mobile version of their Seadragon software earlier this year, and later introducing their Tag reader software, we saw the debut of Bing. Microsoft’s own relatively new search engine. I have to say, I was surprised. Not by the fact we now have Bing on the iPhone; Surely that was inevitable, right? No, What surprised me the most is how well designed it is. It’s clear it was thought about beforehand, and I like that in an app.
Quite simply, Bing lets you search – and just like Google it does so in various ways, not surprisingly one of them being of course – voice. According to Microsoft, it’s key features on the iPhone are the displaying of the daily image from Bing.com, easy to access voice search, tips and tricks on the home page, “Locate Me” functionality, the ability to add pushpins and save locations. Represented by little Grey squares, Bing’s homescreen is home to some of the latest news stories of the hour, alongside some interesting facts, off set on the ‘Pic of the Day’.
The app lets you search by Images, Movies, Maps (which ironically uses Google Maps), Businesses and Directions. Search results are displayed in-app, with the app featuring a built-in browser. Sadly though, no option to switch out to Safari. Figures much? Searching for businesses is pretty cool. If the business has been rated by Bing users, Bing will display and break down it’s rating for you. For example, say you’re searching for a coffee shop, if it has the data, Bing will display rates for aspects like the atmosphere, drinks and menu quality. A nice plus. Directions in-app feature full Google Maps, plus location (if turned on), along with manual directions and the option to manually step through each turn on your journey.
I must say – it’s a good start Microsoft. One which I wasn’t expecting and definitely a pleasant surprise from you of all people. That said, I do have a small caveat. Turn by turn directions with voice overlay would have been nice.
They did it last year, and now it’s back. The Great App Bake Off 2009. Developers, put down your keyboards, xcode testing tools and virtual paintbrushes, and instead pick up those baking trays and oven mittens, because today my friends, you’re about to cook for your pride, your glory and .. cool stuff! Yes, the Great App Bake Off is back. A time of the year for App Store developers to stop, think and ask themselves that all important question: “Can I actually bake a cake?”
But it’s not just for developers! Oh no, you can enter too, and there are prizes involved – lots of them. Hosted by Gavin Bowman of Retro Dreamer, also the developer behind the App Store hit Sneezies, The Great App Bake Off is a (so far) annual event which sees anyone from anywhere baking for the fun of it! Here’s how it works. You pick an App Store application of your choice, and then you bake a cake which resembles that application. Whether it be in the shape of the app’s main character, or a mouth-watering version of the app’s current App Store icon – You simply have to bake it and take a few shots of it.
It’s simple: pick an App, bake it, send us the pictures, win prizes.
Checkout these awesome first entries into the contest below. The first depicts the cool App Store icon of the app Story Tracker, and the other sees one of the main character’s of Elf Command, come to sponge! .. I mean life!
Once you’ve done that, there are two ways you can send Gavin and the team your cake entries. You can either e-mail them to appcakes at retrodreamer.com, or you can tweet them as an @reply. You’ll find App Cakes on Twitter @AppCakes.
But your awesome bakery efforts will not go unnoticed. Far from it! Apart from the delicious reward of eating your (hopefully) scrumptious creation afterward, you’ll be entering to win yourself a tonne of cool App Store goodies, including all of this:
- A £50 iTunes Gift certificate provided by Chillingo
- A $50 iTunes Gift certificate, provided by Antair
- A $15 iTunes Gift certificate and promo codes for Sneezies and Eyegore’s Eye Blast provided by Retro Dreamer
- 2 promo codes for Story Tracker provided by Andrew Nicolle
- Promo codes for Rocket Santa and Star Fusion provided by Bytesize Adventures
- 5 promo codes for Serving Sizer, provided by Creative Algorithms
.. With more on the way!
I’m told by Gavin that he expects this prize pool to grow over the next few weeks, as more and more developers take to their kitchens and get involved, and the contest gets more coverage. Of course, all prizes will be distributed over the best entries when judged in January. The closing date for new entries into The Great App Bake Off 2009 is January 4th .. so get baking!
If you just love movies like me, it’s probably a dead given you know about the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb to the rest of the world. Cataloging one movie at a time, IMDb is an online repository and has grown to become the number one place on the web to find out about movie releases, who star in them, directed them and just about anything else you’d want to know. Last week, this online catalog of information came to iPhone, in the form of the official Internet Movie Database application.
IMDb for iPhone offers a variety of movie-based data, but just like the online version .. it doesn’t stop at movies. Opening the app you’ll find sections for both Movies, TV Shows, and People, with the app offering movie showtimes, titles which are coming soon, US Box office results, the top 25 most searched titles on IMDb and the top 250 movies. What’s interesting about the TV side of this app though, is IMDb for iPhone will ask for your location, and then using the iPhone’s built in geo-location feature, pull TV Shows which are actually airing tonight, in your state or region. So far, this feature only seems to be supported in the US though, but here’s hoping an update resolves that.
The ‘People’ section of IMDb for iPhone relates to the actors and actress that make our movies experiences, memorable. Again, the app will display the top 25 most searched people on IMDb, allowing you to see who is the most popular in search, with the world. What’s really cool though is, as well this, the app will also display an entire list of all the actors and actresses who were “born today,” according to today’s date.
Alongside these immediate features though, if you like you can just search IMDb as you usually would. I have to say that the way information is set out in IMDb for iPhone has clearly been well though out. Everything is clear, readable, and spaced – Making for an enhanced experience over the online version. In fact one app store reviewer commented they like the app more than the website, and I don’t blame them. My only caveat in this is that really, it’s a viewer rather than an interactive experience. The application won’t allow you to log into your IMDb account, it’ll just allow you to view the information as an outsider looking in.
Still, being FREE it’s definitely one for the movie lovers among us!
Blacksmith Games are about to debut onto the App Store with their first title for the platform. Submitted just a few days ago, Plushed is a platformer which will literally transport you to a fairytale world. The game takes the player on a dark-humored, Tim Burton-esque adventure roller coaster .. starting off with the story of a girl, who’s most favorite things in the world are her fairytale book, and her cuddly bunny – Plushie. One night while in bed, she notices a snoring noise coming from out of a mouse hole in her wall. Having never noticed it before, she goes to inspect the noise and grabs a piece of cheese from her dinner left overs, to entice whatever was making the noise, to show it’s face.
A few minutes later a mouse wearing a fairy costume appears in front of her, with a jealous-looking smaller mouse standing behind. Without a thought, the mouse grabs the cheese and devours it. As a reward the mouse offers the little girl one wish. Of course the girl wished to be a fairytale princess. Just as the spell was about to be cast though, a skull from the other mouse hits the wand, mis-firing the spell, causing it to hit the fairytale book. In an instant the book swallows up both the girl and plushie, and the adventure .. begins.
In-game, you play as the main character, Plushie the bunny. Guiding him through 9 danger-filled but fun lengthy levels, including; Ancient Ruins, Wild Plains, Mountain Trail, Batcow Stables, Cotton Candy Park, Cursed Wood, Graveyard Swamp, Princess Room and Evil Mouse Lair, you aim to collect as many golden ladybirds within each of these levels, as possible. Through the game you’ll also come across various weird and wonderful support characters, including a pizza eater, which when given pieces of pizza will close its mouth and let you jump on his back to reach those hard to reach places, a kubicorn which is like a unicorn, but square!, and many more. By default only the first level is available, with the game unlocking each subsequent level, after completion of the previous. Completion of a level seems to be deemed as reaching the end-of-level door, as opposed to collecting all the pickups available, and therefore I found myself re-playing the levels to try and beat my previous golden ladybird totals.
The games controls are fairly straightforward. Moving back and forth is controlled by a left and right arrow seen as in the bottom left of the screen, while jumping is performed simply by tapping the screen. You’ll be glad to know though that you can also control by tilt. To do this just select ‘Tilt’ from the ‘Options’ pane. As well as the game’s built-in levels, Plushed also features 3 mini-games, which you can play through. These include: Jackpack Master, Mining Expert and Defender.
Having gotten the chance to test Plushed out over this weekend just gone, I have to say that I have fallen in love with it. In my opinion, a great first debut. Vibrant visuals and polished hand-drawn characters all complete with their own realistic animations, I couldn’t help but not want to play through some of the levels again.
Plushed has already been submitted, and will be hitting the App Store soon. Watch out for this one!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted December 10th, 2009 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: SIMPLY GORGEOUS
The sequel to an overnight App Store hit, Illusion Labs debuts Labyrinth 2. With it's dramatically overhauled gameplay, slick graphics, mutliplayer, level creator and more you just have to pick this one up!
Are you sitting down? .. Okay here it goes. RockStar Games, publishers of probably the most loved multi-platform action title to have ever hit the market, Grand Theft Auto, have today finally made their debut on the App Store. But hold your excitement, for just a second ..
For anyone who isn’t aware (where have you been? .. Mars?), the Grand Theft Auto series is a heart-racing, exhilarating and action-packed gaming experience. Originally created by Scottish game programmer Dave Jones, throughout, the game sees you play the role of various figures of the criminal underworld, all the while having the title take you on a hardcore roller-coaster of action, adventure, driving, occasional role-playing, stealth and racing.
But don’t get too excited. Toni Cipriani, Donald Love and Vincenzo Cilli are nowhere to be seen on Apple’s store of dreams, just yet. In fact, RockStar have debuted without their flagship GTA franchise. Instead, the studio’s debut application is that of the musical variety. Partnering exclusively with multi-platinum producer Timbaland, Beaterator is a beat machine for both iPhone (and iPod touch), with the ability to record and play voice loops. More importantly it sees signature beats from world renowned DJ and producer, Timbaland, land on the platform.
Now, this is exciting and all, but being a graphic designer myself, I can’t help but think RockStar has short changed us iPhone and iPod users a little, with this. For example, if you take a look at the user interface on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) version which was released earlier this year, and then compare it to the App Store version (above), you’ll see that our version is as far from “graphic intensive” as you can probably get. That’s a shame really, considering it’s RockStar, and they’re launching the Beaterator title on a device as big as the iPhone for the first time, you’d kinda think they’d have made some substantial effort, right? To make that all important first impression?
But anyway, really I’m swaying from my original point of this article. Before today, an iPhone touch-based version of Grand Theft Auto seemed unlikely. Not because the type of game was deemed impossible on a device such as the iPhone, heck – we’ve already seen the likes of Payback and Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, both of which replicate GTA.
No, it was the sole fact RockStar wasn’t even on the App Store yet, to facilitate the franchise coming to the platform, which brought the critics to say it would probably never happen.
The BIG news today though is that RockStar Games, the well-known worldwide, adorned publisher of the million-dollar Grand Theft Auto franchise, has finally made it’s way onto the App Store .. and I’ll bet my money that a multi-touch version of Grand Theft Auto won’t be far behind.
We love Instaviz. In fact, we reviewed it in full back in January of this year proclaiming how good it actually was. Imagine a white board .. and then imagine all that creative power, in your pocket. You don’t need to bring anything with you. Simply you, your ideas, your thought-process, and .. your finger. Closely compared to the likes of Microsoft’s Visio, and based off the concept of Graphviz, an existing and open source software package which achieves more or less the same results, Instaviz is dubbed ‘graph creation software’ and it very cleverly uses the iPhone’s mutli-touch interface to harness the manipulation of mind-map environments.
A few weeks back now, Glen of Instaviz gave us the heads up on an update to the software Version 1.5. This new version sees a variety of new features added, some which were needed, and others which are just nice to have. The more noteworthy is this version includes an entirely new display architecture. It sounds fancy, but we’re basically told that this means that the zooming, panning and placement of objects is faster, smoother, and more reliable. Still all part of this new architecture, in 1.5 Pixelglow added animation, meaning now, any and all objects which you create morph into their final shapes, and once an item is deleted – it fades out. The update also adds two-finger panning and zooming in ‘Edit’ mode, Batch file operations in Graphs list, and complete help files and localizations in 10 languages. They’re small changes, but ones which I’m sure will make a difference.
“One of our goals with this update has been to make scrolling and zooming within Instaviz 1.5 so intuitive and smooth that you don’t notice you’re working on a small screen.”
As well as all that, they’ve also rejigged the sharing aspect of Instaviz, meaning you can now carry out features like export, duplicate delete and preview in one tidy interface, at graph level. Finally though, and probably most excitingly, is this verison adds the future foundations for Instaviz 2.0, with this verison introducing the ability to in-line edit, as well as adding CoverFlow-like views for your graphs.
INSTAVIZ 1.5 GIVEAWAY
Instaviz 1.5 is already available on the store, and courtesy of Glen and Instaviz we’ve got a whopping 10 COPIES of the application to giveaway to you creative lot! Being a creative based app, we thought long and hard about what we wanted to base this giveaway around. In the end we came up with this ..
We want you to tell us the most creative way you can think of, of how you (personally) would use Instaviz 1.5 in your day to day life.
Whether it be for business purposes, personal purposes or down right off the wall purposes, we want to know! Leave a comment on this post with your answer, and a prize for the most creative! Your answer can be as long or as short as you want it to be, and we’ll judge on creativity of your answer alone. Be quick though, we’re giving you up until December 9th @ 11am EST to get your entries in! All winners will receive one valid iTunes App Store promotional code for Instaviz 1.5, will be picked randomly, and announced here shortly afterward.
Update 12/10/2009: All winners have been notified. Check the email address your used when you commented to see if you have won.
Poor Mobigame. They’ve not had a day of rest, and have had a heck of a dog fight trying to keep their retro-based, multi-award winning 3D puzzler Edge, on the App Store. Read that Tim? Multi-award winning. Edge is loved by many, becoming a App Store hit overnight – so, as you can imagine, it was a shock to both Mobigame and the App Store crowd when Apple decided to pull it. But Why? I hear you ask. Well, a few months back Apple pulled Edge, and Mobigame became locked into a legal on-going battle against this man – Tim Langdell.
Claiming to own the trademark and worldwide copyright over the word ‘Edge,’ ever since he registered his computer publishing house ‘Edge Games’ back in the 80′s, called upon Apple to put a stop to what Langdell described as “copyright infringement”. See, the thing is, it’s not the first time he’s done this. In fact, after this case came to light, various well known news sources started scouring Langdell’s numerous websites, and found he actually makes a killing off threatening companies with lawsuits over this same trademark.
As described by David Papazian of Mobigame, back in May of this year ..
“We have legal issues with a man named Tim Langdell, and if you already asked yourself why Soul Edge (the Namco game) was called Soul Blade and later Soulcalibur in the US, you have your answer.” (via Fingergaming)
The situation got so bad that the International Game Developers Association got involved, asking for Langdell’s removal. It’s not just Mobigame that have had trouble though. Cult of Mac in November reported that ‘Killer Edge,’ a racing title from independent Nalin Sharma, was to also fall victim to Langdell’s copyrighting exploits. In fact, despite Killer Edge being released in 2005, Langdell reportely tried to register both Killer Edge Racing and Killer Edge Racers. Is this a sign of a man playing fairly? No.
If the fact that Langdell seems to think he owns the rights to one commonly-used word across an entire consumer focused industry isn’t enough to get the hairs standing up on the back of your neck, he also seems to have acquired each web address relating to the word Edge.
Edge (the game) actually returned to the store about a week back, as would you believe it – Edge (you can’t blame them for trying), and I think I’m right in saying it was up on the store for a matter of days, and then surprise surprise Apple pulled it. Again. Today though, it’s returned. Back in May Langdell told Mobigame that he’d drop the claims if they were prepared to change the game’s name to Edgy. The same week, Langdell filed a trademark on the very same name, and of course the claim was to cover ‘Computer gaming software’ – figures.
It’s unclear if Langdell did actually win the legal battle, or if this will be the end of the shenanigans for Mobigame. One thing is for sure, and it’s that Edge is back on the App Store – as EDGY.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted December 1st, 2009 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: SPOT ON!
Touch DJ is the world's first true DJing app. With a two-deck interface and the ability to mix two .MP3 or .M4A track simultaneously alongside each other, this app is a must for the amateur and professional alike!
There aren’t many people who don’t love Tweetie for iPhone. In mid-October of this year we saw Loren introduce to us his completely re-vamped version. Hyped to high heaven, Tweetie 2 saw a more simplistic UI, a new (coined revolutionary) way to refresh your timeline, better account management, a new tweet composing experience, custom URL endpoints, the ability to save tweets as drafts for later publishing and more. It was seen as a great step up to the original Tweetie.
But with recent changes to Twitter’s API, new service introductions, and with Tweetie 2 not having any support for these out of the box, it was clear it was in for an update, very soon. Cue, 2.1. If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably (almost definitely) know that I’ve been closely involved in the beta-testing of Tweetie 2.1, and I have to say it’s an update well worth attention. Most notably, this version brings support for Twitter’s new ‘Lists’ feature.
If you’re not already aware, Twitter Lists are the new universal way to categorize your followers, and for them to categorize you. It’s as simple as selecting which ‘list’ you want that person to appear on. Other people following you then have the option to follow that specific list, meaning if you make a list called ‘Favorites,’ and add all your favorite Tweeters, anyone who follows that list will essentially see the best content from your followers. The Twitter list feature has become so popular in the short space of time it has been live, that people are now starting to judge ‘influence level’ on how well you are listed, and in what categories.
In Tweetie 2.1, lists are pretty much the same as they are on Twitter.com, but it’s how they’ve been implemented which makes the experience a whole lot more user-friendly. Tapping the ‘More’ tab in 2.1, you’ll now see all the ‘Lists’ you belong to, or have been added to, including the one’s you’re not even following. Choosing a list will throw you into a specialized, scrollable time line which only consist of the members of that list. Want to see the stats of a list? In the bottom left you’ll see an ‘i’ info button. Tap it, and the current list being viewed will flip over to reveal the owner of that particular list (and tapping on him or her will take you to their profile page), alongside the list’s following and follower counts. Continue reading First Look: Tweetie 2.1. Brings Twitter List Support, Among Other Trippy Stuff. »
Dashboard. Introduced into Apple’s OSX operating system in late April 2005, allows you to manage various little programs dubbed ‘Widgets’ visually on the screen, arranging them anywhere and in any way you like. Each widget then has its own certain configurable preferences. It wasn’t anything new, but as always, it was the way Apple went about it that made it so popular. With iPhone OS running on Leopard, many people have looked into the possibly of bringing well adorned aspects of OSX, to the touch platform. With the recent release of ‘Orbit,’ (for jailbroken devices), from Ireland-based developer Steve Troughton-Smith, we saw ‘Spaces’ unofficially make its debut on the iPhone, for the first time. But .. What about Dashboard?
Developed by Mobile Pond, and designed by their lead Omer Shoor – also the designer behind Photogene, iGizmoz brings the fully-fledged ‘Dashboard’ experience, to iPhone – Only due to SDK restrictions, it’s an app and it’s not directly built into iPhone OS .. (I wish it was!). Here’s how it works. Opening the app will reveal your dashboard. Tapping on the bottom left-hand corner will slide two further section out from the sides of the screen. The first is your ‘Widgets Dock’. Just like Dashboard OSX, iGizmoz dims the background (your now in ‘Edit Mode’) and displays all the available addable widgets on a visual dock. This time though, the dock is Leopard-styled. Reflections and all!
In total, the app offers 11 widgets, with no obvious way to add more, yet. The widgets included are: Clock, Search, Calendar, Contact, Countdown/Stopwatch, Stickies, Picture Frame, A Swinging Cat Thingy, Os and Xs (naughts and crosses) and a Light Bulb. To add a widget to iGizmoz, simply tap and drag it from the bottom dock, onto any point on the dashboard. You know that shrink and grow animation you get when dragging a widget onto Dashboard? You guessed it. That’s there, too! Once you’ve added a widget to the Dashboard, activate ‘Edit Mode’ by tapping and holding any widget of your choice. From here, as well as being able to edit the current position the widgets, you’ll find two more options. Delete, and Settings.
Tapping the settings button will bring up the specific configurable options for that particular widget. For example, in the ‘Clock’ widget settings, you have 6 different clock styles to choose from, as well as options to configure your timezone and the seconds display. Once your happy just tap on an idea of the dashboard which is not taken up by widgets, and you’ll exit edit mode. Need to delete a widget? Simply enter edit mode by tapping a holding again, and hit the ‘X’ button (top left) associated with that particular widget. Now granted, the icons for each of these built-in widgets do need a little work, but graphically, the widgets themselves are (in my opinion) – stunning!
The second sliding draw in edit mode offers a few other configurables. Tapping the global settings button (top right) throws you into the main settings of the app which basically consists of letting you choose a different backdrop for your dashboard. iGizmoz offers 19 pre-set backgrounds, and the option to add your own custom image from your iPhone’s on-board photo library. Need to reset iGizmoz, under the ‘Maintainence’ section, just tap ‘Reset Gizmoz,’ and factory settings for your dashboard will be restored. Tapping the next button on the sliding draw will snap all your current widgets to grid. Exit edit mode? just tap that last ‘X’ button to return to your dashboard.
I know what your thinking .. “320 x 480 is way too small for this kind of thing. I mean, I’ll be able to fit like, What? .. 3 widgets on-screen?”. Normally you’d be right, but iGizmoz has a hidden secret. Swiping to your left (while not in edit mode) will reveal your true dashboard space, spanning roughly 3 homescreens wide!
So, there you have it. Dashboard on the iPhone. Personally, I’m hoping they’ll add widgets via in-app purchases. That would totally rock. Right? iGizmoz officially launches on the App Store tomorrow, Wednesday 25th for just $0.99
Update: iGizmoz is Now Available on the App Store. Get it here.
We all know Apple’s App Store approval process is less than perfect, and that sometimes their rejection policies seem down right crazy. We’ve seen app’s rejected for multiple reasons, but nothing quite like what happened to IUGO earlier this year. If you cast your mind back to June 29, you might remember Vancouver based development studio IUGO releasing their hilarious, quirky title A.D.D Lite. The idea behind the app was simple; to give the user short bursts of fast-paced, addictive and challenging (slightly risque), crazy, raunchy, fun. For example, tasks you may encounter include the waxing of a man, threading a pencil into a bum-crack, and un-doing a chick’s bra as fast as you can .. Just an regular ordinary day for me, then.
As with any developer, they too thought they’d be in for a smooth ride on the approval train, and unfortunately as we all now know, that wasn’t to be the case. IUGO submitted a ‘Lite’ version of thier A.D.D app, with the intention of submitting a more feature-packed paid version, at a later date. Monitoring the success of A.D.D Lite, shortly after releasing it they submitted the full version of A.D.D to Apple for approval. Now, although the game is raunchy (in parts), and it was meant to be .. they didn’t think that anything in it would break Apple’s App Store policies, because let’s be honest- it didn’t.
With all this in mind, (as you can imagine), IUGO was more than I little stunned when their approval wait time surpassed 2 weeks, then 4 weeks, and then 6 weeks. It was clear that Apple wasn’t going to let this through. With word from Apple simply stating “the game is taking an unusually long time to review and that they apologize.”, they drew their own conclusions and in August of this year IUGOME took the decision to pull ‘A.D.D Lite’ from the App Store in all countries. Their reason being was that the lite version existed only to sell copies of the full version of A.D.D. What’s even more baffling is that IUGO was actually prepared to re-think and change elements of the game at Apple’s request, but never once got word to do so. At this point, they just wanted the game approved and would do anything they could to help it.
After 6 months of the full version of A.D.D being stuck in Apple’s approval process, I can’t blame the guys and girls over at IUGO if they’d completely forgotten about the title. Yesterday though, out of the blue, their painfully long waiting came to an end, announcing via their Twitter stream that the game had indeed now been approved by Apple, and that we should wait for it to appear on the store!
“OMG OMG OMG!! A.D.D. has been approved! No I’m not kidding! Still waiting for it to show up on the App Store! Holy Crap! Six months later!”
A few hours after that, it did. In all it’s glory. Packed with roughly 80 mini-games, and updates coming with more on the way, A.D.D is now available for purchse in the App Store, for $2.99. There’s no lite version however, as mentioned that was pulled earlier this year. Will it return? I hope it does .. But, God help IUGO if they have to wait another 6 months for Apple to re-approve that ..
I’ve always been a fan of Google Earth. Ever since it was first introduced I’ve always thought the concept behind it, was incredible. Having the ability to virtually surf the globe, and search in any country, state, region, city, town or street and visually fly to it, get walking or diving directions to it, or simply see and read about the surrounding area via various Wikis, was (and still is) almighty powerful stuff – But really, Who am I kidding? You already knew that!
Up until October 28th 2008, Google’s ‘Earth’ service, a spherical flurry of thousands of satellite images which depicted the planet in 2D (and shortly after, 3D), was available on PC, Mac and a selection of chosen mobile handsets. When Google announced Google Earth for iPhone though, I was, like most of you, quietly excited. Not just because this was a mobile version of Google Earth, but that this was a gesture-based version of Google Earth, on the iPhone – and with its built in GPS unit, we now had location-aware mapping, tied into the largest search engine on Earth. That, was exciting.
When the app finally debuted on the App Store, many people including me thought Google had gotten it as right as they could. Spot on, in fact. A stable, feature-packed release which (without exaggeration) literally put the globe in your pocket. Okay it ran a little clunkier on the 3G than the 3GS, but that was to be expected.
If there’s one thing I like about the App Store though, it’s the update process. It forgets the old, and ushers in the new. Most of the time, updates to said app(s) happen fairly frequently. Google being Google though, their 2.0.0 update (a major milestone release) has been nearly 10 months in the making, and last Monday saw it’s debut on the store Has it been worth the wait? .. Well, somewhat. While this release doesn’t bring too many ground-breaking features, it does have some nice additions. For example, if you’ve been waiting to view maps you’ve saved on Google Earth Desktop on your iPhone, your sure going to like this release. A new feature in the software aptly named ‘My Maps‘ now allows you to view any and all previously saved ‘Maps’ on the software’s desktop counterpart(s), on your iPhone. Not only that, but these ‘saved’ maps can include layers upon layers of information. For example; itinerary, route lines, traffic, and other data. This essentially means you can no create truly ‘personalised’ maps – and it works well!
Another nice addition I liked was the use of greatly enhanced visual feedback when tapping objects. Before, it was kinda a guessing game of which ‘Wiki’ or place marker you were selecting, (especially if you happen to be selecting from a group of similar wikis or places). Now in 2.0.0, tapping on a wiki or object results in a light glow of that object, meaning you can differentiate, more easily. It’s still not perfect, but it’s a helping hand. Alongside this ‘icon glow’, you’ll also notice that the presentation of place information is much more streamlined, and easier to read.
And that’s it! Apart from those two main new features, the app is said to have had its overall performance enhanced – although I have to be honest and say it wasn’t really all that noticeable (to me anyway!), and of course Google took this opportunity to add support for a variety of new languages, brings the total supported up to 31 (from the previous 18)!
My only gripe now is I wish they’d update some of the satellite images in their database. Some of them are what? 2003? .. Ugh. You can read more about this update in detail over on The Official Google Blog.
Today, Visceral Games a studio which is a part of EA, are announcing a new ‘experience’ across multiple platforms, which boasts both a fun social aspect that involves the iPhone. The app is called Dante’s Inferno™ and centers around the aspect of sending people and or brands to ‘Hell’. Based on the original poem(Dante’s Inferno), the app calls upon you to ‘damn’ others to one of 9 preset ‘circles of Hell’. These 9 circles include: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud or Treachery. Once you’ve decided who you’d like to damn, and why, you can then ‘punish’ your victim and await a reaction (if any) from onlookers who are also using the social experience. The free application will also come with a ‘Hell Browser’. This extension will allow you to see a snapshot of all the activity in Hell, on a daily basis, as well as allowing you to see what essentially will be “The Demon of the Week”. Basically, at that point you’ll be looking at the number 1 most hated person, TV personality or brand, for that week. Sound interesting? It gets better ..
“Angry at your mom for grounding you? Send her to ‘Treachery’. Mad at your ex- for cheating? Send them to ‘Lust’.”
Today we have confirmation from EA that one of the new features to the service will allow you to send someone directly to ‘Hell’ from your iPhone. Using the iPhone’s camera you’ll just be able to snap of photo your victim, choose which circle of hell you wish to throw them in, and then punish them. Now although we know the basics of how the experience works, we don’t actually know the true mechanics of how this will play out on the iPhone yet, and admittedly the information given to us has been a little sketchy on that side of things. One thing we are certain of though is that Dante’s Inferno will be in the App Store shortly, as a FREE app! Continue reading Visceral Games, An EA Partner Studio Announces Their Multi-Platform Social Media Experience: Dante’s Inferno. Works With iPhone! »
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted November 19th, 2009 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: BETTER THAN I IMAGINED
Can't seem to get up on time? You probably need this. With it's great UI and a wide range of settings, it is a great solution for your waking needs. I really like Alarm Clock Pro... even if it DOES have a flashlight attached.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted November 17th, 2009 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: SUPERB
In association with Fox Mobile Entertainment, Two Tribes and Chillingo debut Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, a move tie-in to the million dollar Ice Age franchise. With stunning graphics, immersive gameplay, and rich animations, the game is faultless in my eyes.
If there’s one persistent problem with the iPhone, it’s its desirability as a device. That shiny black and glass fascia, and user intuitive software really does appeal to us. Unfortunately, most of the time it also appeals to a different group of people. A group of people with the sole intention to steal. With the introduction of Mobile Me, we saw Apple try to combat this age-old situation, introducing for every one of it’s users the ability to track their devices, directly from their online account from anywhere on the globe.
Before Apple showed it’s hand though, there was one prolific company who were set on making tracking stolen devices – specifically iPhone’s and Macintosh computers – their sole business. That company was of course Belgium-based software developers, Obicule. When their security software, Undercover, came to the iPhone, it hit the mainstream. But there were also the usual critics. See, the problem was that the software would only work as intended if the actual application was open on the stolen device. Today, Obicule are announcing what they deem to be a major update to Undercover for iPhone, version 1.5, and sees this exact launch-to-function issue, resolved. In a stark move, this update now adds adding the ability to remotely open the app on the stolen device.
So, How does it work? Well, Obicule have revealed that harnessing a clever use of push notifications, the user can remotely send the stolen device a push notification alert, (rather similar to ‘Find My iPhone’ on Mobile Me), therefore been able to ensure that the owner of the device can remotely open the application, allowing the tracking of the device. Upon registration at the Undercover Center, you’ll be able to access your ‘Undercover’ account online, from anywhere, and once the app is activated, this account will store the devices location and IP information, allowing you to track it under the radar.
To me, this update from the company really proves the true potential of and how powerful Apple’s Push Notification Service can be; and that if more developers put their mind to it, the service could in fact be used for more than just status updates and alerts. It seems the update is already live on the App Store, so if you are an Undercover user, I say go and grab it!
Universal Studios Home Entertainment have today announced their plans to offer next generation user interactivity on a selection of their upcoming Blu-ray titles. Arriving this coming holiday season, the studio will be focusing on bringing a variety of special features targeted for (and which will integrate exclusively with) both the Apple iPhone, and iPod touch. So, I bet you’re wondering what titles can be expect this functionality on? There are five new and upcoming titles, all on Blu-ray, which we’ll see include these special interactive experiences. These include: Bruno, Funny People, 9, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love, Public Enemies, and Inglourious Basterds.
Split up into two main sectors, this new announcement sees Universal as an entertainment studio shift focus into the iPhone space, and equally importantly at the same time, jump on the ever-changing, ever-evolving social networking band-wagon.
The first of Universal’s announcements is pocket BLU. Described as ‘Groundbreaking,’ this free application will connect through Wi-Fi to any network capable Blu-ray player, and will extend the Blu-ray experience in an variety of new and exciting ways.
Feature extensions to your Blu-ray experience will include the following:
An Advanced Remote Control. Not only is Universal Studios set on extending your visual Blu-ray experience, it seems they also want to enhance the the way you interact with it. Pocket BLU™ will see the introduction of a sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. You’ll be able to navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease, straight from your iPhone or iPod touch.
A little while ago I got the heads up on a small startup iPhone development studio based just up the road from me, in Liverpool (UK). Consisting of a team of both iPhone developers and 3D designers, Kisky Media have come up with a unique and interesting concept. Debuting this December, Little World Gifts will become a virtual ‘Gifting’ system for iPhone (and iPod touch) which will allow you to pick out, buy and send exclusive rich 3D interactive gifts to a special someone. The app will work off in-app purchasing, and each gift received or sent will be downloaded straight into the app itself.
Sending an gift to someone else’s iPhone is as easy as tapping the item, setting a delivery time, and hitting ‘Done’. Received a gift from someone else? You can store and organise your gifts too, on your own virtual shelve. Talking to the startup, the idea behind Little World Gifts is basically to let people experience ‘gifts’ in a more interactive and visually pleasing way, beating the static 2D object approach.
Over the weekend I got the chance to speak to Jonathan Deamer, community and communications manager at Kisky Media exclusively about the new service, to ask just what was Little World Gifts, how he and the team at Kisky Media thinks this concept might affect the App Store and its users in the future, and a little more about Kisky Media in general. Enjoy!
Camden, London based iPhone development studio Origin8 has announced that to celebrate this years Bomfire night here in the UK, they’re launching a special offer in which the first edition to their tower defense series, Sentinel: Mars Defense, will be discounted. Starting today, November 5th at 6PM GMT and originally priced at $0.99, Sentinel: Mars Defense will be FREE for a whole week!
“It’s Bonfire Night in the UK, and the thoughts of the nation turn toward really big explosions. Thanks to London-based development studio Origin8, iPhone/iPod Touch gamers worldwide can share in the joy of blowing things up today, as their breakout sci fi strategy game “Sentinel: Mars Defense” will be FREE for a week from 6PM GMT.”
Originally released in February of this year, and in case you’re not familiar with the game, Sentinel: Mars Defense is a 2D tower defense game which brings with it fully immersive 2D (but with sort of a 3D-effect) graphics. The game is centered around stopping ‘waves’ of creeps from reaching an end point. Along the way to aid you in this battle you’ll have to use different powered space-like weapons, each with their own specialties and strong points. The aim is to destroy all alien lifeforms, before they have to reach a series of ‘gates’. If your end defenses are destroyed, it’s game over.
Sentinel: Mars Defense has been described as: Incredible, with stellar graphics, and a great amount of ‘content’ in-game. Having played the game myself, I can add to the fact that that it was definitely worth it at the low price of $0.99, but now you don’t have any excuse. Sentinel: Mars Defense is now FREE, and I highly recommend you go and snap it up!
Update: While the offer doesn’t seem to have started yet, it’s well and truly past 6PM here in the UK, so I’m sure we can expect the change to propagate to the App Store soon!
There have been many recorders on the App Store since it’s debut. From nFinity’s Quick Voice to BIAS’ Pro Recorder and Polar Bear Farm’s sleek looking Record. But although they all do the job in recording background noise, spoken memos and notes, not one has introduced the one feature you’d expect, phone call recording.
Today, in what could be seen as a controversial move by some, the guys at Retronyms (also the people behind the iPhone music mixing studio Dopplerpad) have done just that. They have successfully integrated the ability to record audio from a phone call, straight from within their app ‘Recorder’.
The new feature comes in the form of a separate in-app purchase, and each full hour of recording will cost you $1.99. If you feel you need more than that though, there is also an option to purchase a staggering 8 hours of call audio recording time, although this will cost you $12.99. Of course with any app containing one-tap purchase abilities, the cost through in-app purchasing are sure to rack up – fast – especially for the odd power user. But, in the case of the general user just looking to record short amounts of in-call audio, this is a great addition to the usual bog-standard App Store recorder.
The update is already on the store, so what are you waiting for!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted November 4th, 2009 by Arron Hirst Our Rating: :: A GOOD PORT
id Software finally brings the Doom experience we've all been waiting for to your favorite iDevice. True and full, this port will replicate the experience that sucked up most of your childhood! But, just how are those controls?
Bloodmasque -ActionRPG- hit a new milestone by reaching half a million downloads. To celebrate, Square Enix has made the game available to download for free until midnight on December 16. Users can also enjoy the new special holiday edition of the Hunter’s Gauntlet where players pursue Rudolf the Red and Holly Mistletoe.