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The Apple Watch isn't Great as a Fitness Tracker, but it has Potential

Posted by Jennifer Allen on May 21st, 2015

As someone keen on wearable technology encouraging me to get fit, it felt a little too easy to be cynical about the Apple Watch before getting my hands on one. The battery life sounded poor, it looked kind of bulky, and the lack of built-in GPS made me wonder why I’d want one to go alongside my iPhone. Those issues aren’t miraculously solved, but it turns out the Apple Watch has grown on me a lot already in my short time with it. There are a few good reasons for that, partly due to stock apps and partly due to some of my old favorites.

Top 9 Apps for the Summer Blockbuster Season

Posted by Rob Rich on May 14th, 2015

’Tis the season for movies with obscenely large budgets, and often obscenely larger explosions. There are a lot of big films that have just come out, are coming out, or will be out soon - to the point where it can be difficult to keep up. But don’t fret! 148Apps has got you covered with our list of nine apps to make your moviegoing experiences easier.

Just How good a *Watch* is the Apple Watch?

Posted by Jennifer Allen on May 14th, 2015

Innovations at Apple are great, of course, but how does the Apple Watch perform as an actual watch? It’s something that few of us have probably given much thought because we were too busy wondering if this would be the next big thing for Apple in terms of gaming and app design.

Turns out it works much better than you’d expect.

The Apple Watch Could Revolutionize the Way We Travel

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 19th, 2015

It’s not here yet but there’s that developing sneaky feeling that the Apple Watch, despite its price tag and low battery life, might yet change quite a lot about how we conduct our lives. While I don’t think it’s going to be an overnight transformation, I can see it being a slow but steady process. One such area where the Apple Watch could make all the difference is when it comes to convenience while traveling. Here are a few ways in which it could simplify our traveling life.

4 Features We Want to See From the Apple Watch 2

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 15th, 2015

I’ve had an iPhone since they first launched back in 2008. When the original first came out, it had a ton of potential but very little had been realised at that point. Heck, it didn’t even have the App Store! So excuse me while I mutter about how the Apple Watch will be great one day, but probably not until its second hardware revision has been released. Following that logic, here are a few ideas of exactly what we’d love to see the second time around.

Apple Watch Fitness - Why Apple's New Smartwatch May Not Live Up to Expectations

Posted by Campbell Bird on April 13th, 2015

The end of this month will see the release of the Apple Watch, a product that was officially announced late last year that has many people speculating about how having an extension to your phone that you actually wear will change how we operate. As someone that tries to withhold judgement about products until we know what they are - rather than what they promise to be - I have held off on figuring out how the Apple Watch could or should fit into my lifestyle.

Recently though, early reviews of the watch have come out and - upon reading them - I've been pretty disappointed. As a runner that enjoys the outdoors, I was hoping the Apple Watch would incorporate all of the things I would need to abandon all of my current running tech (namely an iPod and Garmin GPS watch) but the Apple Watch's current form just doesn't seem up to the task. Here's why.

4 Ways the Apple Watch Could Improve the Shopping Experience

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 8th, 2015

We all shop, right? Heck, even those of us who adamantly declare all we need is online shopping tend to end up in a store at some point in our lives. It’s kind of fun to browse around, and sometimes it’s more straightforward to seek something out by looking around. The Apple Watch has a ton of potential for changing how we shop. Some developers and retailers have already leapt upon this idea, such as Woolworths in Australia launching an app soon and Retale announcing a similar app. What else do you want, though? We take a look at some neat potential ideas.


Something like RedLaser

RedLaser is a great app for the avid shopper, allowing you to search for plenty of products, coupons, and deals near you. Expand that to the Apple Watch and things could get even simpler. Glances and Notifications could mean you could easily see what deals are available at a store while you’re nearby. You could quickly use Siri to look up a review, saving you from getting your phone out and generally looking way cooler. It’s going to need some backup from your iPhone, but it’ll save you plenty of time and effort.


Amazon

Nothing’s been confirmed yet, but there’s got to be an Amazon Apple Watch app coming, right? Being able to search quickly would be great, plus there's the potential from its 1-Click ordering system. I remember one stressful Christmas shopping trip last year where I stood in a mall and used my iPhone to buy the stuff I couldn’t find in a store. An Apple Watch method of doing this would be so much smoother and it just makes sense.


Groupon

So many deals! Groupon is bordering on overwhelming these days with the offers it provides - from cheap gadgets to massages. Having these all accessible and scannable from your wrist would be a real time saver. Tied into your iPhone, it could have great location-aware capabilities for when you’re near somewhere with a great deal on.


A grocery list app like Grocery iQ

I wander around grocery stores with my iPhone out, looking through what I need to get. It’s cumbersome, and once I dropped my iPhone on the ground and got a nasty dent in it. That sucks. Having my shopping list on my wrist would be far better in this instance. As anyone who’s used a stock app can tell you, there are far better grocery list specific apps out there. Something like Grocery iQ on your wrist would be convenient, and you could easily tap on an item to say you’ve gotten it and so forth. Being able to keep regular lists would be great for when you’re buying the same thing often, too.

The Apple Watch Might Impact Our Daily Lives More Than You’d Think

Posted by Rob Rich on April 6th, 2015

I know I’ve already theorized on how the Apple Watch could change mobile, but this time I’d like to talk about how it could affect our day-to-day lives. And make no mistake, there’s a good chance it’s going to change a few things around here.

One of the biggest changes we’re going to see because of the Apple Watch is company policies for retailers, restaurants, and pretty much any other place that caters to the public. Most places already prohibit their employees from bringing phones onto the floor since, for example, it usually doesn’t look good if a cashier is fiddling with their iPhone when they should be ringing people out. Now that people are going to start wearing the Apple Watch, you can bet a lot of places are going to ask workers to keep their timepieces in their lockers or otherwise off the floor. I don’t imagine having a theater usher ceaselessly messing around with their watch would go over much better than if it were a phone, do you?

By extension, the Apple Watch could end up affecting employee productivity to the point where businesses that don’t directly interact with the public might still have to institute some kind of limit. Granted I imagine most offices discourage using one’s iPhone while on the clock, but it’s going to be a lot easier to sneak a peek at your wrist and jump back to work once the boss shows up than it is to hastily tuck a phone back into your pocket or desk drawer. Conversely, the potential functionality of the Apple Watch could end up becoming such a boon that some offices encourage their use or even issue one to their employees. It really depends on the business.

Reminders will also be far more useful, since it’s much easier to accidentally (or purposely) miss a notification if your phone is silenced or in another room. When your watch is tied into your itinerary it’s going to be a lot harder to ignore the blaring alarms coming off your wrist. Whether or not this leads to an era of never forgetting to pick up milk on the way home ever again remains to be seen, since it still relies on people making the effort to set up reminders in the first place, but the potential is definitely there.

I also touched upon the unfortunate side of things last time when I contemplated the idea of thievery a bit, and despite it being a depressing topic I think the Apple Watch will affect things here as well. For better and for worse. What I mean by “worse” is that you can’t really hide an Apple Watch like you can an iPhone. Telltale earbuds aside, if you’ve got an iPhone in your pocket it won’t really be attracting the attention of potential thieves. An Apple Watch though, that’s going to be on your wrist for all to see. Of course it is more difficult to remove a watch than it is to yank a phone out of someone’s hand. On the “better” side of things, the near-constant health monitoring could be used to automatically call for help if you’re in trouble (medically or otherwise), as I’ve mentioned before.

Then there’s the issue of how we physically move through a space. Yeah, I know, it’s weird to think about but anyone who’s ever worn a wristwatch can tell you that you’ll need to start paying attention to where you swing your arm. Banging your watch against things is an extremely common occurrence even if you’re used to wearing one, and people are going to want to be extra careful not to whack their Apple Watch against the corner of a desk or something. It’s not going to lead to a country-wide baby-proofing (padded table edges, etc) or anything like that, but Apple Watch owners are going to want to be a lot more conscious of their movements once they’ve strapped their wrist-phone-thing on. And they’ll want to make sure not to forget to take it off when they take a shower or otherwise have to douse their hands in liquids.

4 Games We Really Want to See on the Apple Watch

Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 2nd, 2015

So, the Apple Watch launch is very nearly upon us, presumably changing our lives in ways that we can only imagine, much like the iPhone before it. Failing that, hopefully it’ll be a cool and useful watch to own. We thought we’d take a look at four of the games we’d love to see make their way to the device, bearing in mind the limitations that its size might offer.

How the Apple Watch Could Change the Face (har-har) of iOS

Posted by Rob Rich on March 31st, 2015

The Apple Watch is still a ways out, but my previous musings on the wearable’s various features got me thinking: what might it be like a year after launch? Two years? Five years? What if it becomes a symbiotic part of the iOS framework to the point that it practically comes packaged with the iPhone?

Of course it’s going to be a while until we know for sure whether Apple’s latest piece of hardware will be considered a hit or a miss, but for argument’s sake let’s fast-forward a few years and pretend the Apple Watch was a resounding success. This is how I think it could permanently change the way we mobile.

For starters, I expect that we’ll see a big divide between the types of software available for the Apple Watch versus just the iPhone. The Apple Watch, due to its small screen and the fact that it’s pretty much designed to be interacted with in short busts, will probably have far more apps and far fewer games - I’m thinking weather, message alerts, maps and GPS functions, and all sorts of stuff nobody’s thought of yet. I’m sure there will still be games for it, but apps will serve a much more significant purpose.

Four Years of 148Apps, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love iOS Games

Posted by Jordan Minor on March 24th, 2015

There's a good chance that, unless something crazy happens, this post is the last thing I'm writing for 148Apps. I feel odd writing a personal essay for a website with no real “community” to speak of, but if you invested four years of your life into something wouldn't you want to say a few words when it's all over? Besides, it's not like I haven't done it before. In fact, if you care at all about how working here has improved my career as a young games journalist, the thoughts I expressed in that post are pretty much the same thoughts I have now. So the rest of this piece will be other post-mortem musings.

The Nintendo/DeNA Partnership May Not be so Exciting After All

Posted by Jennifer Allen on March 19th, 2015
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Since the announcement on Tuesday that Nintendo and DeNA are going to start developing mobile games together, everyone’s gotten a bit overexcited. Will it be a disaster? Will it be amazing? Will the world end? Well, probably not. At least, I hope not. While Rob got quite excited about the possible games that this could bring, I feel a little more cynical about what’s going to happen.

I don’t think we’re all doomed by any means. First party Nintendo games on their respective consoles will continue to be awesome because, well, they always are. There’s no need to worry on that front. However, I’m not so sure that the Nintendo/DeNA meeting of minds will really come to that much worthy of note from a gamer's perspective. The more important part is the business and financial side of things.

DeNA are best known for freemium games like their collectible card game, Rage of Bahamut, and oddly distracting and compelling titles like Tiny Tower. Plus, there’s the dabbling in franchises like Star Wars: Galactic Defense and that awkward thing with Godus that no one really likes to talk about any more. They’re all reasonably well made games but are they the stuff that legends are made of? Nope.

Instead, I think this partnership will produce gateway games. Games that are there to highlight the potential of Nintendo to people who don’t normally game. A lot of smartphone owners dabble in games on their phones, but wouldn’t necessarily own a console. Introduce the concept of Nintendo to them and when it comes to considering a console, the name is already in their heads.

Is that a bad thing? Of course not. More people enjoying themselves with games is always a good thing. There’s no need for snobbery. Games have developed to the point that, much like cinema, there’s something for all tastes now. Whether you want a quirky indie darling or a mindless but distracting five minute session of a Match-3 game, you’re covered.

Nintendo won’t be coming up with revolutionary ideas through DeNA’s output, but they might just give you the chance to play a Match-3 game with the faces of Mario, Luigi, and co, or enjoy a card game made up of other familiar faces. Maybe we'll even get to see a Tiny Tower style game with a tower full of Nintendo characters? It'll be shallow but cute.

Regardless, these titles will be the tasty morsels while you’re out and about, before you go home and settle in front of your Wii U and play Super Mario 3D World. You never know, even if you have no interest in mobile gaming, such a deal might just help support your love of console games instead.

Here Are 14 Nintendo Licenses We Think Could Actually Work on Mobile

Posted by Rob Rich on March 18th, 2015

Now that Nintendo has decided to throw their hat into the mobile ring, it's only a matter of time before we'll start seeing Mario and the gang on the App Store. And we're already well past the point where people make free-to-play jokes. But if you really think about it, there are actually a fair number of mobile games that could do well with a Nintendo coat of paint.

With that in mind, we've taken a look at DeNA's current catalog (as well as a couple games from other developers) to try and pair like with as close to like as possible. And we came up with a list of 14 combinations that could actually be pretty interesting once the Big N gets their hands on them.

Nintendo and DeNA Will Be Developing Mobile Games Together, and That's Okay

Posted by Rob Rich on March 17th, 2015

By now most of the world has probably heard about the partnership between Nintendo and DeNA. While it's reasonable to be nervous about this prospect (free-to-play is still something of a slippery slope, and Nintendo's never really done it before), there's really nothing to worry about. In fact, there might even be room for some cautious optimism.

First of all, while Nintendo made it abundantly clear that they aren't going to be porting any of their games to mobile, there's a decent chance that resolve could waver in the future. Now I'm not saying it's a definite, but Nintendo did say that they'd never be bringing their IPs to mobile. And look at them now. So while they might be insisting that there won't be any ports, that tune could change.

Secondly, Nintendo hasn't been doing so great, financially [Editor's Note: Although they're a bit more optimistic about this year]. Assuming this partnership works out, the developer could stand to make quite a bit of money (everybody loves Mario, right?). If nothing else, the potential income from their new mobile library will let them keep making console/handheld games.

Nintendo has also stated that every single one of their properties and characters could potentially see their own mobile games. That's a pretty big back catalogue to pull from. Ignoring the obvious ones like Mario and Donkey Kong, because you just know they're a given, that still leaves all sorts of nostalgic goodies like Balloon Fight, Hogan's Alley, Excite Bike, Clu Clu Land, Gyromite, F-Zero, and so on.

But the biggest reason you shouldn't let any of this worry you is that Nintendo's current and previous games aren't going anywhere. No matter what comes out of this partnership - good or bad - none of it will invalidate the Nintendo games you already know and love.

8 Features the Apple Watch is Doing Very, Very Right

Posted by Rob Rich on March 10th, 2015

The Apple Watch is almost here - you can preorder it on April 10, and it'll start shipping on April 24 - so naturally people are getting all up in a tizzy about it. And the thing is, it might just be worth the tizzy.

Sure the Apple Watch is about as much of an extravagance as an iPhone or iPad, but it sports a fair number of cool features. Many of which may in fact become a requisite for future smart devices (tablets, phones, and now wearables) once we get used to them.