Posts Tagged apple

Rob Rich and I enjoyed the seemingly short Apple event yesterday when they unveiled the new iPad Air and iPad Mini. I currently run with the first model iPad Mini while he does his thing with an iPad 3. We both came away from the event impressed with the Air, but with the new power of the Mini I had to ask the question: which one to get? We figured a lot of you would have the same question, so we had a nice little discussion that might be of benefit to you as well.

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Andrew Stevens: What makes the iPad Air more desirable than the iPad you currently use? Of course the overall power of it is most impressive, and needed.

Rob Rich: Well I’m currently using an iPad 3, so the technological leap is a bit more significant for me. In my case, I really like the decreased bulk and weight as well as the overall better performance. I’ve had issues with apps and games chugging a bit on the 3 and imagine they’d run a lot faster on the iPad Air.

Andrew: That’s my same issue with the current iPad Mini. I have multiple games lagging behind just enough to where I need to upgrade right away. The iPad Air looks very impressive and I was originally thinking I would be getting the newest iPad rather than the Mini. However, with its similar performance to the iPad Air I’m really intrigued once again by the Mini.

Rob: This is true. I mean ultimately the iPad Air and new Mini aren’t all that different.

Andrew: Yeah, it actually comes down to size this time around where previously I felt like I made the wrong decision by going with the first generation Mini instead of the latest iPad. I love the size, but its lack in performance has been noticeable as of late. This time around might be the best time to get the Mini and really enjoy all the benefits of a regular iPad but in a miniature size.

Rob: The problem I have with the Mini, which I’ve always had, is that it’s in this weird middle ground between an iPhone and regular iPad. It’s too small to allow users to truly benefit from a full-sized screen and it’s too big to be as conveniently portable as the iPhone. I mean, if I can use my iPhone 5 for portable stuff, then set my iPad up for some almost-but-not-quite computing stuff, what do I really need the Mini for?

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Andrew: I think the Mini’s size is brilliant for me, especially as a gamer. I look at the Mini as a slightly larger console controller. I have bigger hands so it’s easy for my thumbs to navigate the screen as I hold it like a controller. This was the biggest factor for me buying a Mini instead of the regular iPad. The iPhone screen is too small, and the regular iPad is too big to handle the way I want.

Rob: I suppose that’s a good way of looking at it, although I still prefer the portability of the iPhone even if I have to bring the screen closer to my face. But I do sort of see the value in the Mini as a gaming device.

Andrew: I see what you’re saying, but sometimes with games there are objects that are just too small to handle even with putting the phone right up in your face. Plus, I don’t want to hold a phone close to my face; I like a little bit of distance. The Mini is a good in-between that isn’t too big, but also isn’t too small. It’s is great as a mobile gaming device, and the new iPad Mini really improves upon that. I can also (barely) fit the mini in my jeans! It’s totally portable!

Rob: Riiiiiight. Anyway, I think it’s interesting how Apple has been updating a lot of its apps, seemingly in preparation for the updated hardware. I mean all that stuff about iWork and collaborative projects over multiple devices seems like the sort of thing that the Air and new Mini would showcase really well.

Andrew: This November really leaves Apple users with an interesting decision to make. All year I would have told people to go with the regular iPad rather than the Mini just because it’s a more powerful device. Like you’ve seen, I love the size of the Mini but its performance has lacked. Now that the new Mini is basically a miniature iPad Air, it really comes down to size this time around. It also comes at a minier price: $100 cheaper than the Air. Hmm!

Rob: Yeah, personally I think the $100 savings might be more of a deciding factor for the average consumer than the dimensions. Of course that also means that Apple is effectively cutting into their own sales by pricing the Mini at $399 while keeping the iPad 2 at the same price. I mean who’s really going to want to spend $400 on something that outdated when they could easily buy something better, lighter, and smaller for the exact same price? Then again, that may have been their intent all along. By keeping the iPad 2 at $399 and making it their “default” tablet, it makes the new Mini look MUCH more attractive.

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Andrew: Maybe the new Mini will be the highest selling iPad yet!

Rob: I don’t know about that. I mean it certainly seems more appealing when considering the price point and all, but people are going to want the iPad Air something fierce. It’s the newest Apple thing, you know?

Andrew: That’s true. I’m just enjoying my pro Mini, praise the ewoks discussion. The iPad Air certainly has much appeal, design, and name. I bet there are people out there that get the Air just so they can say “I have the iPad Air” That’s usually how it goes with something new.

Rob: Exactly.

Andrew: So what are you getting? The iPad Air or the new Mini?

Rob: Considering I don’t have $400~$500 laying around, neither. However if I were to choose between the two it would probably be the Air because the larger screen would be ideal for what I typically use my iPad for (i.e. document editing, etc).

Andrew: As a gamer, I love the smaller screen and how I am able to handle the Mini. It’s tempting for that reason and the fact I love my previous Mini so much, even though it lacks in power. However, I want the best iPad that’s out there so I can enjoy every little bit of what every app has to offer. Plus, it’ll probably be a good device to have while skipping the next generation of iPads. The new Mini is a huge improvement over the previous, and it’s comparable to the Air, but it’s time for me to make a move to the larger iPad. I want some Air time!

Rob: Oh lord.

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And that’s what we see between the iPad Air and iPad Mini; hopefully it was sort of educational for you. Both are clearly fine options as they each sport the same processor, graphics, camera – everything. The difference is in the size. What do you think? Are you going with the iPad Air and its regular size screen for $100 more or the slightly smaller screen for a better handle with the iPad Mini?

Discuss!

videosWe were all expecting some big things from Apple’s conference today – Mavericks, details on the new iPad and possibly iPad Mini, and so on – but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the big bombshell. I am, of course, talking about Apple’s videos.

The keynote was accentuated throughout by a series of beautifully constructed and masterfully presented videos showcasing the technology giant’s latest and greatest achievements. And what about that iPad Air video? Did you see that iPad Air video? Holy jeeze! At one point it had a truck jumping over sand dunes in it!

We won’t know how the world will receive the new iPad Air and iPad Mini until November, but I think it’s safe to say that those of us who were able to catch the live stream of the presentation will be forever changed. Apple is a fantastic hardware and software developer, but their video creation skills are nothing short of mind-blowing.

If you wept openly the moment the word “Video” popped up on the big screen, or if you had to pause the presentation for a moment to collect yourself, please chime in below!

iMovie gets update on iPhone and iPad, giving users more control of editing their videos. That’s always a good thing, yes? This means users can now create split screen and picture-in-picture effects with just a few simple taps. The same goes for advanced audio edits. It also received a new redesign that makes browsing and sharing videos from a user’s library even easier.

Get to it, directors!

iMovie

via: Our Review

iPhoto Update Adds Photobooks, Enables Faster Browsing and Editing

Posted by on October 22nd, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

iPhoto for iOS has been updated to 64-bit, making it faster for browsing and editing your work. It also comes with a new iOS 7-inspired design, along with new tools and effects that let you toy around even further with your images. The iPad version also gets Photobook in the update, which lets users upload their photos to Apple so that they can be printed and shipped back to you as a photo book. Nifty!

iPhoto

via: Our Review

The next version of the iPad Mini was announced today, which will be available sometime this November.

The new iPad Mini features a retina display and comes with the same number of pixels as the iPad Air, giving users beautiful visuals on-screen. It’s also powered by the A7 64 bit chip, and has a CPU that’s 4x faster, along with 8x faster graphics, 2x faster wifi, and a 5 mega pixel iSight camera. All of this will be enjoyed with 10 hours of battery life.

The new iPad Mini comes in silver, white, space grey, and black, and will be available for $399 for the 16GB version, $529 for the LTE-enabled version.

Gimme my new mini, now!

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ipadairA new iPad announcement isn’t exactly a shock, but Apple’s new iPad Air is still quite impressive. As the name implies, the new tablet is both thinner and lighter than other full-sized iPads. The Air is 7.5 MM thick, only weighs one pound (as opposed to the iPad 4′s 1.4 pounds), and features a 9.7″ Retina display. It’s pretty much the lightest full-sized tablet ever, so there’s that. And this is with all the added features; such as a 5 MP iSight Camera, 1080p HD video, dual microphones, and improved backside illumination. It will also maintain the expected 10-hour battery life.

In addition, the iPad Air uses the new 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s, along with an M7 motion coprocessor, making the CPU twice as fast as the iPad 4. This means big files will open noticeably faster, and games will perform even better. The WiFi has also received some TLC with the incorporation of MIMO technology that uses multiple antennas, which equates to faster overall speeds. Couple that with the expanded LTE coverage Apple also announced and we’ve got ourselves a party!

The iPad Air will be available in Silver/White and Space Gray/Black starting November 1 and set you back $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for the super-storage 64GB model. Although if $500~$700 still seems a bit steep for you, you’ll still have the ability to get your hands on the iPad 2 for the standard price of $399 and up. Plus there’s the iPad Mini, but we’ve got that covered in another post.

Seems pretty slick to me, but what do you all think? Will you be trading in your iPad 4 come November or would you rather stick with what you’ve got a little longer? If you don’t already own an iPad, do you consider the iPad Air a good place to start? Chime in below and tell us what you think!

Apple has just announced an update to their iWork suite of apps; including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Now all of these apps allow users to share files across all their Apple devices over iCloud. Whether it’s on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, you can instantly toss your projects into the cloud and immediately start working on another platform. In addition, collaboration with other users is also a possibility, as was demoed with Pages earlier today. So now two users across different platforms (even PC) can work on the same document at the same time.

But of course that’s not all. The entire suite of apps is also going free later today [Editor's Note: the iWork suite is actually going to be offered for free with the purchase of new Apple hardware. We apologize for the confusion], so what are you waiting for?

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Despite issues with the company’s live recording equipment back in September, reportedly preventing the firm from being able to provide a true live-stream of its iPhone-focused media event to its iOS customers, Apple has today announced that its October 22 event will be streamed live around the world.

2013-10-22_02-58-48-stream_2The stream will be available for those who own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, as well as through a web browser on your Mac and for those who own an Apple TV. This will notably be the the first live-stream that the company has provided for its special media events held throughout this year.

Set to showcase all of the announcements we can expect to see when executives from the company take to the stage later today, for those devices which support web browsing the stream will be accessible around 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern, through a specially-designed page which went live on the company’s website just a few hours ago.

To access this exclusive live-stream from your chosen iOS device, all you need to do is ensure that your Wi-Fi setting is ‘On’ (Settings > Wi-Fi > ON), open Safari, and head over to this page. The stream will take advantage of Apple’s QuickTime video technology, so it’s worth noting that in order to view the stream from your Mac, you’ll first need to have Safari 4 (or later) installed, and ensure that your system is running on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (or later).

Alternatively, if you’re planning on tuning-in to the event from your iPhone, or iPad – which we imagine most of you might be – you’ll need to be running iOS 4.2 (or later). Streaming the event to your big-screen via the Apple TV will require either a second or third-generation Apple TV, and the TV-connected device must also be running software 5.0.2 (or later).

The iPad-focused media event is expected to focus on what’s next for the company’s 9.7-inch tablet, alongside the firm’s smaller and more compact 7.9-inch option – the iPad mini. In recent weeks, the web has been positively alight with reports surrounding both the form-factor and functionality that the next iteration of these products could bring to consumers.

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(credit: MacRumors)

Here’s my take on what we could see happen at the event:

New iPads



It’s pretty much a given from the amount of reports we’ve seen relating to Apple’s next-generation iPads over the last several weeks, and Apple’s recent switch to a fall timeframe for announcements relating to its iPad product line, that we’re almost certainly in for some new tablets.

First, let’s talk about the full-size 9.7-inch iPad. Originally introduced in January 2010, Apple’s iPad has – over the last several years – systematically found its way into nearly every sector of our society. Revamped with a completely new design in March 2011, and gaining a quad-core graphics processor and Apple’s signature super-high resolution Retina display along the way, the latest iteration of Apple’s iPad is a powerhouse and features Apple’s internally developed system-on-a-chip A6X processor as well as the company’s new Lightning Connector.

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 18.36.34As for what we can expect see in the next iteration of the iPad? Well, the jury’s out on that one. Considering we haven’t seen a hardware design refresh since the second generation, I’m expecting that Apple will show a change in appearance for the device on Tuesday, possibly in an effort to match the same style as the iPhone 5S. The device will likely be available in the same 16, 32, 64, and 128GB storage capacity options, and there’s a good chance we will also see the device include the new 64-bit compatible A7 processor chip – now also found in the iPhone 5S.

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(credit: Unbox Therapy)

If Apple is serious about eventually letting its developers out there take advantage of its brand-new Touch ID system, then I would bet strongly that we will also see the next iPad(s) feature this technology. Heck, we’ve already seen a number of purported photos which suggest the cut-out for the “home button” on these (rumored) devices was designed to fit Apple’s Touch ID module – perfectly. Transplanting the inner workings of this system to a new iteration of the full-size iPad shouldn’t prove that difficult for Apple, considering the production lines churning out devices carrying Touch ID are already there and waiting.

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 18.39.15And then, of course, we have to address the recent chatter about the iPad mini. Introduced as the company’s more affordable iPad, the iPad mini first saw its public introduction in November of last year. The device is capable of pretty much everything Apple’s current-generation full-sized iPad is capable of achieving, with the added benefit being that the device is more portable. In addition, compared to the iPad’s starting price of $499, the iPad mini arrived starting at just $329.

In terms of what we could expect to see if Apple where to choose to reveal a new iPad mini at the event, the device could see a complete revamp to its hardware design. Personally, I’m expecting that we will see the device gain both Apple’s new Gold and Slate Grey color options – although it’s worth noting that a recent report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests this won’t be the case. Apple’s second-generation iPad mini could also arrive featuring a Retina display. This is an aspect of the rumored device which has been speculated about quite heavily over the last year, with the main focus of discussion being on whether Apple can actually afford to keep the iPad mini at its tantalizing price point and offer expensive upgrades such as the jump to a 326-pixels per inch display.

This argument also extends to other recently introduced upgrades such as Touch ID, which again would make sense for Apple to include in the next-generation iPad mini, but whether or not the company would be able to keep the same price point if it did so is unclear. Granted, there’s always the chance that Apple could position the next iPad mini as its “high-end” offering, and leave the existing generation of the tablet to serve as its entry offering as it does currently.

As for other internal upgrades, the question has to be asked as to whether Apple can afford to keep the iPad mini’s dual-core A5 processor for another year, taking into account the new graphical requirements of its iOS 7 operating system. Personally, I’m going to wager that Apple will have no choice but to upgrade the processor on the iPad mini this year – perhaps (at least) to the A6, or A6X.

Things We’re Not Expecting



With all that said, there are some things we’re not expecting to see at Apple’s media event. For instance, Apple’s long speculated about ‘wearable’ product is likely only to see its public introduction (at the earliest) sometime next year. Likewise, Apple’s ‘television’ product is highly doubtful to see its introduction at this event, simply due to reports in recent weeks suggesting the product’s development is a long way off from being final.

Apple’s media event on Tuesday will take place at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, in San Francisco, and is set to begin at 10am (Pacific), 1pm (Atlantic). We’ll be sure to bring you full coverage regarding any products that may be announced at the event. Stay tuned!

Expert App Reviewers

 

So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just check out the Reviews Archive for every single review we’ve ever written.

Device 6

 
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I love what Simogo is doing in 2013. While the studio has always been a purveyor of a different kind of experience on iOS, this year their releases have been centered around story-telling and puzzle solving. It started with Year Walk and now continues with Device 6. They’re creating unique and intelligent experiences that deserve to be seen and heard. Now, much like Year Walk, this is something that is best when not spoiled so I’m only going to touch on cursory details of the plot and scenario: this is a sort of interactive piece of fiction that players read through that frequently wraps around the screen, requiring players to rotate their device to keep up with where everything is going. The story is about a woman named Anna, who wakes up in mysterious circumstances. To advance the story, certain puzzles, whose hints are embedded in the narrative and visuals, must be solved. The challenge comes from solving the puzzles and putting together the hints – have some pen and paper or some kind of writing app on a computer or other device open to take down notes to solve everything and to advance the story. –Carter Dotson

Soul Gambler

 
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Faust is the protagonist of a classic German legend. A successful scholar who, dissatisfied with his life, makes a pact with the devil and exchanges his soul for unlimited knowledge and worthy pleasures. The legend of Faust has been retold throughout history via many forms of media, and has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works. Soul Gambler is the remake of the original free unfinished interactive visual novel inspired by Goethe’s famous German tragic play, “Faust,” that has had a complete revamp; and with the success of its Kickstarter, has been made into a fantastic-looking interactive graphic novel that combines the art style of comic books with playable mechanics most commonly found in video games. –Lucy Ingram

Fist of Awesome

 
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An unlikely hero. Bears. Lots and lots of plaid. A talking, time-traveling fist. These are only a handful of examples as to what players can expect when they jump in to FIST OF AWESOME. It’s certainly a weird, wacky, and wild beat-em-up with old school brawler roots and a few modern concessions. There are a few not-so-awesome issues nestled in with all those homicidal talking bears, however. Tim Burr is just a hard-working lumberjack with simple aspirations and a close group of friends. His is a happy life, and he envies no one. That is until the timeline is inexplicably altered and bears become the dominant species of Earth. Tim’s hand begins speaking to him, identifying itself as the FIST OF AWESOME and taking him on a journey through several eras in history – all overrun with bears – as the unlikely duo set out to fix history. –Rob Rich

OmniFocus 2 for iPhone

 
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OmniFocus 2.0 for iPhone is a to-do list and task management app that’s built for the person who’s deadly serious about tracking what they need to get done and when. After all, the app for iPhone is $19.99, which is well above what most apps are priced, but OmniFocus has a wealth of features and syncing options to help justify it. Still, it’s a cost that just may be worth it, because this is comprehensive yet still somewhat simple. It’s like fishing with grenades. –Carter Dotson

PumaTrac

 
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PUMATRAC may sound like just another fitness app at first, but it provides a unique user experience that others like it currently don’t offer. PUMATRAC is designed to keep runners motivated by giving them insights on conditions that affect running performance so that workouts are actually more fun and rewarding. This means that the app can tell whether users run faster to pop music or longer on Fridays just by analyzing many different conditions thanks to Tictrac technology. –Angela LaFollette

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

Cavemania

 
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Free-to-play match-three puzzles are as inescapable as bathroom issues after an all-you-can-eat night at Taco Bell, and are just as expected. Although I know I should hate them for their complete lack of originality, or artistic merit, my primitive synapses still get their share of enjoyment, just from matching things in the right order, without any particular reason and reward. Perhaps, my mom was right, and I should have gone in accounting. In any case, Cavemania tries to introduce some new mechanics, but it’s unclear whether they help overall game, or just get in the way. –Tony Kuzmin

Lumber Jacked

 
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It’s too primitive that lumberjacks are always seen as the most manly of all people. So what if they have muscles of iron, and spend days at a time, uniting with nature and flinging mighty axes all day? Internet critics also have cramped up muscles, unite with nature every five to seven hours, and fling mighty keys up and down. Still, I’m yet to see a single game that gives the credit where it’s due, and features the mighty and the powerful, as the ultimate example of manliness. But, while the ungrateful, primitive culture moves down the familiar road, we get Lumber Jacked, another game, where lumberjack is the mighty hero yet again. It’s not like I remember any other games with lumberjacks, but there have to be lots of them, or this whole paragraph makes no sense. –Tony Kuzmin

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws

 
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Drift Mania: Street Outlaws is the latest in the series of Drift Mania games by Ratrod Studios, with the scene shifted to street racing. But is it worth playing? There isn’t much content available without a lot of gameplay in Drift Mania: Street Outlaws. From the start of the game one car and one track is unlocked. Unlocking additional tracks is far from a simple task. For each track you can race on there are a number of achievements, such as drifting a certain distance or finishing in a time limit. Once enough of these are achieved, the next track is unlocked. Cars can be bought at any time, but are very expensive. –Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer reviewed DEVICE 6 and compiled a complete walkthrough to the game, went hands-on with Dungeon Keeper and Tiny Death Star, and made some bold predictions for next week’s Apple press conference. Head to Pocket Gamer for their weekly wrap-up.

All Things D reports that invitations have been sent out by Apple for their next big event that’s expected to unveil the latest model of the iPad and iPad Mini. The event is scheduled for October 22nd at the Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts, and the invite reads “We still have a lot to cover.”

I’m ready!

Credit: All Things D

Credit: All Things D

source: All Things D

Still looking for an iPhone 5S? Well, you’ll probably keep looking for a while as 9 to 5 Mac reports that even with the return of the in-store pickup option, most Apple stores are reporting that the devices are unavailable. At least you can keep yourself busy by continuously trying the in-store pickup option until the day comes that it is available at your local store.

I wonder how many people are still perfectly happy with their iPhone 5.

Credit: 9 to 5 Mac

Credit: 9 to 5 Mac

source: 9 to 5 Mac

ios7designiOS 7 is a great update to Apple’s venerable OS. Not only does the visual overhaul bring a fresh take to the experience, but there’s lots of great little tweaks that just make the experience better. Heck, the ability to add Newsstand to its own folder is worth the download and installation on its own. But iOS 7 is not perfect: here are some things that could be added to the OS to make it better.

Better game save management

If Apple wants to make sure that iOS is a great gaming platform, they need to ensure that gamers can ensure that their progress in games can be preserved and transferred across devices. iCloud is so fraught with reliability problems that developers still dread using it. Finding a way to separate out a game’s save data from it being deleted would be a killer feature for iOS 8, especially since games with large file sizes and the longest experiences are the first to go when space needs to be freed up.

The return of quick tweet and Facebook posting buttons

TapToTweetConspicuously missing from iOS 7 is the ability to tweet and post to Facebook from Notification Center. They weren’t a primary way to share things, but to share while in another app or to just quickly fire off a tweet, the feature was great. Unfortunately it’s been cut down in the first release of iOS 7, when improvements like image posting would have been great.

Interactive notifications

AndroidInteractiveNotificationSay what you will about Android, but the ability to immediately reply to a text message or a tweet, or archive an unwanted email without switching apps is great. iOS could really use such a feature – it’s the kind of multitasking that’s non-intrusive and incredibly useful.

The ability to set third-party apps as default

If I want to open links in a third-party browser, use the built-in email sending feature to send from my email app of choice, or even just use a third-party photo management app, why can’t I? Apple’s own apps are generally very good, but third-parties who focus on certain features can often do better. Apple should allow users to set third-party apps to achieve certain actions, instead of still having to use awkward workarounds.

Custom notification sound options for all apps

Some apps still think that it’s okay to use the default notification sound. Some apps use custom sounds, and choose poorly. Yes, that car engine revving sounds cool but it also freaks me out. iOS manages notifications centrally, so why not have the ability to set custom sounds like I can with ringtones?

These are just a few of the features that could make the iOS experience better. Considering how iOS 7 was all about doing just that, I think there’s still a bit of a ways to go before it’s fully there.


Continue reading iOS 7: How Could Apple Improve It? »

iOS 7 is arriving tomorrow and Apple has extended some love to owners of older iOS devices, reports Engadget. Apple has added a new compatibility feature that allows users to download the last version of an app that is still compatible with their phone. So, for users running around with an old iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, they’ll be able to use this compatibility feature to find the latest compatible version and use it on their device.

Credit: Engadget

Credit: Engadget

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source: Engadget

This Week at 148Apps: September 9-13, 2013

We Know Our Apps

 

Sorting through the gigantic swarm of apps out there can be daunting. 148Apps is here to help. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs

 
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The age-old battle between samurai and ninjas has been told throughout time across several forms of media, but Eutechnyx has taken it to a whole new level with Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs. Ninja Cats vs. Samurai Dogs is a tower defense game in which the field of battle is divided up into five lanes. There are a variety of towers available to build that each have various functions and resources, but there are only five spaces in which to place them so it has to have some sort of strategy. Otherwise it’s just a case of trial and error. Units are created and deployed from these towers, which are generated as cards that all have different abilities. Once the decision to deploy a unit has been made it is then possible to choose where to place the character, with the aim of getting them across to the other side to destroy enemy towers. If a character, be it a ninja cat or a samurai dog, passes an enemy on their path (or adjacent to, depending on abilities) there will be a face-off to the death and the victor will advance forward. –Lucy Ingram

Heroes of Loot

 
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Distilling a genre down to its basic elements isn’t necessarily a difficult task, but doing it well absolutely is. Just cutting gameplay and other mechanical elements out at random won’t do; it really requires surgical precision. And yet, Orangepixel pulls it off so well with Heroes of Loot they make it look effortless. Heroes of Loot, at its most basic, is what happens when a game like Gauntlet is combined with Roguelike elements. The four adventurers (Elf, Warrior, Wizard, and Valkyrie) are in it for the money and not much else. Once players select their character, it’s on to adventure! Or in this case something akin to an arcade dungeon crawl. Randomized dungeons, quests, and special items make an appearance along with permadeath, but it’s all been streamlined to the point that dying is merely a (very) temporary setback. –Rob Rich

Junk Jack X

 
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The 2D mining and crafting genre is becoming a crowded one on iOS, with The Blockheads leading the way (in this writer’s humble opinion), Terraria making the jump to iOS, and now Junk Jack X – a follow-up to the 2011 2D crafting game that launched on iOS. And for those looking for a fun 2D crafting game can’t go wrong with Junk Jack X. Now, as someone intrigued by the genre but not an expert on them per se, I find the way that a game like Junk Jack X decides to just leave players in the middle of nowhere to start off with, left to fend for themselves, absolutely fascinating. In a world of handholding it’s kind of refreshing to be left to fend for myself. Of course then nightfall comes and I’m being assaulted by zombies, slime monsters, and spiders constantly, and I’d kind of appreciate some hand-holding! The ability to zoom way out to see where one has been and what the upcoming landscape may hold is great, especially handy for after a death, trying to make it back to the place one worked from. –Carter Dotson

Disney Princess Royal Salon

 
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Disney Princess Royal Salon is a very nice universal application that allows young children to dress up Disney princesses as well as style their hair with a tap or drag of a finger. Having only a son, we never got into the princess theme the way some children do, but I did spend a few years looking for a moderately-priced styling head that was not attached to Barbie as my boy showed interest in trying to style my hair and apply pretend makeup to my face, so I think he would have fun with this kind of pretend play toy. It is these kinds of styling head toys that came to mind as I tested the Disney Princess Royal Salon app as after choosing among Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Ariel one gets to decide which of four invitations to select, and one has a chance to style a princess’s hair with the tap of a finger. –Amy Solomon

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

SimpleRockets

 
rockets

Space. The final frontier. The strange, black mass around the Earth that’s calling out to us, daring to come at it with all the technologies we could think of. As the space exploration in real world is stalling behind the schedule, videogame spacemen are orbiting on the countless devices, including mobile phones. The most popular among the “realistic” space exploration simulators is, undeniably, Kerbal Space Program. It’s a whole another topic, worthy of a hundred of articles, but it’s quite obvious where SimpleRockets took the inspiration from. Although it’s a lot more simple, it’s fitting perfectly into the mobile screen. –Tony Kuzmin

Wordcraft

 
wordcraft

Wordcraft is a combo word game from Littlebigplay. The game is an interesting mix of word games like Scrabble and crossword puzzles. The playing area is a rectangular grid made up of squared letter tiles set up in 8×13 fashion. The letters are random, and contain all the letter of the alphabet with varying probabilities. As in Scrabble, each letter has a number value that seems to be based on the use of the letter in the English language. Thus, E, T and A have the lowest values, and K, X, Q, J and Z have high values. –Tre Lawrence

Daddy Was A Thief

 
thief

Isn’t it strange that a game is only perceived as mature when the developers consciously try to make it so? By all accounts, Daddy Was A Thief is a hardcore circus of violence and destruction, but since it has nice music and cute graphics, it feels like a completely peaceful game. And I’m definitely digging its style. I’ve already reviewed it a while ago on iOS, and since Daddy Was A Thief got an update, I figured it would be a great time to also review this great game on Android, as well. –Tony Kuzmin

Also this week, Pocket Gamer went preview crazy, with first impressions of Infinity Blade III, Trials: Frontier, Gunner Z, Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, Pocket Trains, Valiant Hearts, Fist of Awesome, and Rayman Fiesta Run. Get more reviews, news, and videos in Pocket Gamer’s weekly wrap up.

And finally, in this week’s AppSpy News Wrap-Up, James talks you through the Infinity Blade III trailer, and shows you the first gameplay video from Trials Frontier, Assassin’s Creed: Pirates, and Rayman Fiesta Run. He also talks in a pirate voice for longer than is strictly necessary. Visit AppSpy.com for more video reviews, news, and previews.

The Apple event today seemed a bit light on content. Could be part of the reason they had the event at the Apple Town Hall on the Cupertino campus to a very small and intimate crowd. We got pretty much just what we expected, two new iPhones, and bits of other things. Here’s a quick recap of what we know:

iOS 7 – a quick recap of iOS 7, not showing anything we didn’t see at WWDC. It looks good, but doesn’t go far enough.

iOS 7 is out for the iPad 2 and later, iPhone 4 and later, and iPod touch 5th gen and later on next Wednesday, September 18th.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.39.47 AM

iPhone 5C – the new colorful and cheaper iPhone 5 — that’s not really that much cheaper. Just $100 cheaper than the current and new iPhone 5 models. It’s basically the same as the current iPhone 5 but with a plastic back and a slightly better FaceTime camera on the front. It’s $99 for the 16GB model on contract. Not a great savings.

The iPhone 5C will be available in red, yellow, white, green, and blue.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 11.40.29 AM

iPhone 5S – the new flagship iPhone adds a few interesting things, faster processor that also happens to be 64bit, 2-5x faster than the current model (both were quoted), motion co-processor, and fingerprint scanner.

The camera is faster, better, with a better flash. Does slo-mo video and burst photos. Cool, but not revolutionary.

A fingerprint scanner is hidden in the home button and it is great for security, if it works. Fingerprint scanners are notoriously unreliable. The scanner allows the phone to be unlocked and approval of iTunes purchases. That’s about all we know right now. Hopefully it will allow locking of other things and lead to a multiuser system in the future.

The motion co-processor is a big deal as it allows apps to accurately track motion at all times. Think of it as turning an iPhone into a Nike Fuel band or Fitbit with a huge brain. Should mean a bunch of much better fitness tracking apps.

The iPhone 5S will be available in white, black, and gold.

The iPhone 5C only is available for pre-order on this Friday, September 13th and available in-store on the following Friday, the 20th.

iWork – is now free with a new iOS device purchase. Not sure what that means for current devices. We’ll know more once the dust settles. That means Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iMovie, and iPhoto, but oddly not Garageband.

What’s Missing – and that was about it. Nothing unexpected, nothing new, no mention of game controllers or Apple TV updates or iPads or a multiuser system to support family use of an iPad. Overall I was rather disappointed in the announcement. Not expecting too much more, but hoping there were some nuggets hiding in iOS 7 that hadn’t surfaced yet. And the iPhone 5 to 5S update is a minor one that won’t be needed for all but the most hard core iPhone fan.

This means we should expect to see more from Apple before the holiday rush. But what will it be?

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.13.00 AM

Wondering where you can watch the announcements from the Apple announcements today? We’ve got details below.

It doesn’t look like Apple is going to live stream the event today, so live blogs will be the only way to follow along with the announcements. As usual we’ll tweet the highlights to our Twitter stream, you can follow along there.

And while not there in person, our friends over at Pocket Gamer are pseudo-live blogging the announcements.

Engadget usually has really good coverage but they don’t seem to be covering the event this time are covering the event, just slow about it. The Verge is usually another good option.

Don’t get your hopes up for anything too exciting. The event is being held at the Cupertino home base of Apple in a theater that is rather small for an important event. The small scale signifies that nothing too huge will be announced. My guess is the two new iPhones we have read about (iPhone 5S and 5C), updated iPod touch, revised Macs, and maybe an small update to Apple TV. And of course we’ll hear about the release date for iOS 7.

Check back here later and we’ll have more thoughts on the announcements made today. And we’ll post the video as soon as it’s up.

 

Announcement Recap

 

We’ll have more in the coming days, but here’s our recap of the event today where the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C were officially announced along with the release date of iOS 7.

 

Early Thoughts on the Apple Announcements

 

Tuesday is a Very Important Day for Tim Cook, and For Apple – Jeff looks at how Apple may be trailing behind it’s users sophistication level when it comes to mobile devices.

iOS Is Falling Behind For Family Users – Jen takes a hard look at how iOS has failed to respond to the needs of multiuser families.

How to Prepare Yourself for iOS 7 – Carter looks at some things that will help get an iOS device ready for iOS 7.

Tuesday should see the announcement of the next iPhone. Purportedly the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C (Details on what is known thus far at iMore) with modest improvements over the current iPhone 5.

There’s no doubt that the next iPhone will be the best iPhone Apple has ever created. And I am nearly certain that it will be the best smartphone available on any platform. But an increasing number of users are relying on their smartphone to do more and looking for more than what the iPhone offers.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.13.00 AMOnce Apple disrupts a market by releasing a new product, it generally makes incremental changes to that device to make it better and better, but never really making large jumps in technology or features. We can see this in the iPhone, iPad, even iMac product lines. The initial products were revolutionary in every right, the updated products were just evolutionary. That’s good for most users, but I’d argue that in the case of smartphones Apple is being left behind. In this instance, the smartphone user base is maturing faster than Apple is innovating. And that’s costing them users and mindshare.

iPhones in particular and smartphones in general have rapidly become the number one computer used by a large number of people. Those people want more and more features, faster devices that do more in every way, and integrate with their lives to a greater extent. And let’s be honest, everyone likes to have the fastest, best, most lust-worthy device out there.

Well if what we know about the to-be-announced iPhone 5S – the flagship of the iPhone line – is true, Apple is certainly falling behind other options in innovation. As great as the iPhone 5 was (and is), it was met with tepid response as many saw it as just a refresh of the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5S is less of a change and will surely see many of the same comments. Many users are maturing faster than the iPhone line and looking more and more at other platforms. Many have already jumped and as contracts end, many more are likely to. There are many reasons for this; here are just a few of the bigger ones.

Cloud Services – To be honest, iCloud is a bit of a mess. It’s under-featured, years behind, and stuck in this odd once-per-year update cycle. It’s way overpriced, underpowered, and under featured. Many users of iPhone also have Mac desktop/laptops. There’s no reason, three years on, that all of my data isn’t available everywhere, all the time, on every device. Dropbox can do it, Sky Drive can do it, Google can do it, why can’t Apple?

There’s also no reason that all photos, all videos, all music, all data, all everything isn’t seamlessly available on all of my devices, anytime, anywhere. The current system of Photostream, iTunes in the Cloud, iCloud, iTunes Match, etc. It’s just too fractured, too many rules, too many exceptions to the Apple credo of it just working.

iOS 7 – Whether you like the new look of iOS 7 or not, it is a good first step toward a new iOS. Perhaps too small of a step for as late as it it. There are many great features under the hood for developers, but most still want more. I rely on my iPhone, it’s never more than 2 feet from my hand. Why doesn’t it integrate better with my life and the way I use it?

In the past it has seemed that Apple pushes many of these life integration features off to app developers and that’s fine. But if that’s the way forward, app developers need better access to core OS features like the start screen and multitasking. Some form of widget/home screen update is vastly overdue as well to allow access to data quickly without the need to launch an app. And why can’t users replace the pitiful built-in apps like Calendar, Reminders, Calculator, etc. with third party apps? Seems silly to continue to restrict that.

Multi-user access – iPads are used in families by multiple people. Why hasn’t Apple created a multi-user system to allow better, restricted, and safer access when used this way? Android does, Kindle does, even Windows Phone does. Apple has the number one family computing platform, this is two years overdue.

Android has taken off respect to new interactions and interfaces, with mixed results it must be said. But the ability to communicate with your device in new ways and new ways for your device to communicate with you is something that the iPhone is way behind on.

Hardware Choice – right now you can buy an iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPad, or iPad mini. iOS users, like users of any platform, want choice. Why not offer something in the 6″ range? How about something with a larger battery? I’d take something thicker for 2x battery life.

So does all this mean that the iPhone 5S will be a failure? No, not at all. It will be the best smartphone available, for most users. It just won’t be held in the high esteem that some of the previous models have been. That will hopefully be a wake up call for Tim Cook and Apple.


Continue reading Tuesday is a Very Important Day for Tim Cook, and For Apple »

Apps Are Us

 

How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Zombies Ate My Friends

 
IMG_0593[1]

Zombies and video games go great together. We tend to forget this, especially as zombies in general become increasingly played out, but it’s a fact regardless. While Zombies Ate My Friends is no The Walking Dead, or Zombies Ate My Neighbors for that matter, it still showcases why this combination is so strong in the first place. As a zombie apocalypse tears through the town of Festerville, players loot and scavenge just to survive. However, since this is an RPG, that is only the beginning of the lengthy, 8-episode story. Throughout their quests, players will reconstruct helicopters, recruit new survivors into their camp, and desperately search for cures for their infected teammates. Sharp writing keeps even the grind-heaviest missions from getting stale. Complimenting that is the excellent art style best described as “Scott Pilgrim” but without the video game aesthetic. Raiders, boss zombies, and other characters have big, expressive, chibi cartoon heads and fluid animations that energize the presentation. Meanwhile dark, moody colors and macabre background details like “Murphy’s Law Office” constantly reinforce the funny yet bleak tone. –Jordan Minor

Cloud Spin

 
cloudspin1

Cloud Spin is a quite gorgeous game to look at. Never skipping a beat visually, it uses the Unreal Engine well to provide a fast-paced and enjoyable racing game like few others already out there. Do be aware of slightly flaky controls, though. Keeping it relatively simple, Cloud Spin offers a delightfully uncluttered interface. Straightforward instructions early on provide everything one needs to know. Flying around the screen is just a matter of swiping a finger in the relevant direction. Holding a second finger to the screen gives the player a speed boost, and that’s pretty much all that needs to be taught. Then it’s just a matter of gliding around each arena, collecting stars, dodging obstacles, and hoping to gain a precious medal at the end. –Jennifer Allen

Donna, Manage Your Day

 
donna

Donna, Manage Your Day is an app that’s designed to get its users to their scheduled appointments and events on-time in an intelligent way, but it’s definitely not flawless. Donna links in to contacts and calendars; automatically adding events scheduled for the next 3 days and letting users specify where they are and how to get to them. By default only one calendar is added, but the settings offer ways to toggle other calendars on the device. Users can specify in the settings their home and work locations, as well as handy shortcuts for common starting and stopping points. Destinations can be searched for by address and venue name. When getting directions, users can specify which transportation method they’re going to use – perfect for those in big cities who might switch between walking, public transit, a bike, and/or car as necessary. It also shows the weather! Then, when it’s nearing time to leave, a notification pops up to head out. –Carter Dotson

Bramble Berry Tales: The Story of Kalkalih

 
Bramble Berry Tales-House

Bramble Berry Tales – The Story of Kalkalih is an important interactive storybook app as it incorporates the oral histories of Canadian indigenous people of many, many generations past. An app of undeniably high quality, I enjoy the palette of warm earth tones and stylized animation that include interactive hot spots that one can trigger with a swipe or a tap, as well as how the words to this story are highlighted when read by optional narration; always a nice touch. This tale is a story within a story. First, siblings Lily and Thomas get dropped off to spend time at their Kookum and Mooshum’s house, which is Squamish for grandmother and grandfather. Lily can be a handful, however, as she is too excited to stay in her bed at night, sneaking into the kitchen to help herself to next morning’s homemade jam, and even turning on the radio and waking up the others who are sleeping. –Amy Solomon

Asphalt 8: Airborne

 
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Gameloft’s Asphalt series returns to take arcade racing pleasantries to a new height. Asphalt 8: Airborne features everything players are familiar with, especially the vehicle handling during each race. There are numerous cars to purchase and upgrade, and multiple objectives to accomplish besides the typical potential three star earnings by placing in the top 3. However, what it really brings to the table – besides an overhaul of the user interface and graphics, which look nice – is a new way to launch vehicles in the air while performing stunts. Airborne. That’s the key word in the title and the main focus in the game, and it elevates the entertainment that it provides by letting players watch their vehicles go flying across the screen. Plus it’s pretty awesome when the boost is activated and players come crashing down on top of other vehicles for a takedown. I’ve always had great fun with arcade racers and enjoyed the previous Asphalt entries, but something as simple as adding ramps and a few stunts to the action has really taken this series in a new direction. Up! –Andrew Stevens

Mynd Calendar

 
mynd

The App Store is flooded with productivity apps and calendars, but each of them is a little bit different from the rest. Mynd Calendar is trying to break away from the mold by presenting users with a smart calendar that doesn’t just record things but helps users do them. It’s easy to get started. With the user’s permission, Mynd asks to integrate with any calendars, add contacts, use location services, and send push notifications. With just a few quick taps and some edits in the Settings menu, users are ready to use Mynd to help them get through their daily tasks. –Angela LaFollette

Timeline WWI

 
timelineww19

Much like Timeline Civil War, Timeline WW1 is a fantastic resource of information for those interested in certain periods of history. Capturing the essence of the battles involved, as well as how the Great War affected the people wrapped up in it, Timeline WW1 is both a fascinating and bleak reminder of what our ancestors struggled through. The interface is much like Timeline Civil War; proving immensely simple to browse through for young and old alike. Using a multitude of different types of media users can read through the interactive timeline to gain snippets of information on each event, while also choosing to delve further in and discover pertinent facts through video, audio, and photography. With 500 images and over 100 film clips and newsreels to explore, there are hours upon hours of content here. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

Fleet Combat

 
fleet

Tower defense in a new, sea-bound world is the name of the game in Fleet Combat. This adventure is set on the high seas, and I admit that I did not mind the intro backstory: no zombies in this apocalypse; just good old Mother Nature in the form of engulfing sea levels. The resulting disaster leads to a restructuring of power, and our game story revolves around resistance against invading enemy forces. The game developer was prudent enough to put in an interactive tutorial, which helps explain the game “pieces” and general strategy. The defending pieces will be familiar to US Navy aficionados, taking the form of different types of warships (the whole setup when looking at the ships is somewhat reminiscent of Battleship, but I digress). –Tre Lawrence

Fantashooting

 
fanta

Some titles don’t really need explaining. Some games just simply throw you into the action and give you the experience you’re after right out of the gate. Fantashooting is one of those games and, following its example, I’m going to get right on with the review. Fantashooting is a ‘dual-joystick’ shooter where instead of joysticks you use the touchscreen. Most of you will know how this works, but for those that don’t be aware that there are two on-screen ‘joysticks’ that you move around by touching the screen. One joystick moves the character and the other shoots a weapon or throws a magic spell. Shooting at what and magic spells at who? Well, quite simply, you’re killing monsters. A lot of them. Fantashooting is simply a wave survival game where you aim to kill as many monsters as you can before being killed yourself. The more you kill, the more money and points you get. Some of you may have guessed this already – the money and points can be spent on upgrading your character. –Matt Parker

KungFu Quest: The Jade Tower

 
kungfu

I am an old timer. I used to go to the 7-eleven and pump all of my paper route money into the arcade games. Usually there was to of them so there was some choice. KungFu Quest : The Jade Tower reminds me of an old game I used to play there, so I was excited to do this review. The tutorial dojo is a good place to get and idea of how KungFu Quest : The Jade Tower is played. The side scrolling method of game play helps eliminate the need for an on-screen D-pad. I was glad about that because I am not a fan of those. Instead, on the bottom left side of the screen, there are left and a right arrows that work well. On the bottom right side of the screen are the attack buttons. The action button will punch and kick, the other is to jump. –Trevor Dobrygoski

Logic Remote – Apple Launches Logic Pro X Companion App

Posted by on July 17th, 2013
iPad Only App - Designed for iPad

The Next Web reports that Apple launched Logic Pro X, a replacement for the Logic 9 audio production software.

To accompany Logic Pro X, Apple released the Logic Remote companion app that enables musicians to control the new software from their iPad, even while away from the computer. The app is designed to make full use of the multi-touch on iPad, offering new ways to record and mix music.

logicremote

source: The Next Web


11,747 posts on 148Apps
900,000 live apps and games
600,000,000 iOS devices
$10,000,000,000 paid to developers
50,000,000,000 app downloads

5 years since the App Store launch

On Wednesday, July 10th, 2013 the App Store will celebrate it’s fifth anniversary. Five years of apps. 50 Billion downloads of well over 900,000 apps and games. To say that the App Store was a sea change would be a bit of an understatement. The impact it has made on the software market is immense.

So, all this week we want to look back on the App Store’s five year history, talk to the movers and shakers, get the insight of the veterans, and maybe even look ahead a bit to see what’s next.

 

App Store Insiders

 
We’ve got a full week talking to the biggest App Store insiders, some of the people that have been around since the beginning and have helped shape the App Store into what it is today.

Friday, July 12th:

As our week long look at the App Store turns 5 comes to a close, we have a full list of great interviews and posts to go up.

First up we talk with Keith Shepherd of Imangi, developers of the smash hit Temple Run. It wasn’t always top of the charts for Imangi.

Jamie Gotch is the CEO and co-founder of Subatomic Studios, developers of the great Fieldrunners. We talk with Jamie Gotch about their history in the App Store.

With a 30+ year career in video games, William Volk, COO of Playscreen has more experience in the industry and perspective on the App Store than most.

John Casasanta has never been one to hold back a strong opinion. We find that out in our talk with him, John Casasanta of tap tap tap, maker of Camera+ tells us what he really thinks.

David Frampton, the creator of Chopper and The Blockheads talks about his life on the cutting edge, as one of the first developers to not only be on the App Store, but to later experiment with TV gaming.

Being featured as a Staff Favorite on launch day is a pretty good way to start your mobile app company. Jiva DeVoe tells us about advice that he luckily ignored.

 
Thursday, July 11th:

Sega was first on the App Store at launch with Super Monkey Ball, a tilt enabled game that still holds up pretty well five years later. We talk with Ethan Einhorn about the App Store launch and how Sega approached the $9.99 launch price.

Jason Citron, co-founder of OpenFeint is one of my favorite people to talk to in the industry. He’s done and seen it all and is always ahead of the curve. Hint: he’s now working on games for core gamers on the iPad.

Gedeon Maheux from Iconfactory shares some interesting thoughts on how a traditional company transitioned onto the App Store.

Rovio launched a little game called Angry Birds onto the App Store in 2009. That little bird flinging game would turn into a multi-billion dollar company with over 1.7 billion downloads, more than any other game in history. We spend a few minutes with Saara Bergström, VP, Marketing & Communications for Rovio to find out their secrets.

EA could be considered the old guard in video games. It’s been around since 1982 yet has successfully transitioned from home console to digital downloads almost completely in the past couple years. Not without issues of course. We talk with Nick Rish, VP of Mobile Publishing for EA about the transition from console to digital.

Doodle Jump is one of the most known games in the world. We talk to Igor Pusenjak about Lima Sky and the App Store.

 
Wednesday, July 10th:

First up today we have Jani Kahrama of Secret Exit. Secret Exit makes some of the most original games on the App Store, we talk to Jani about adapting to the changes that have taken place in the past five years.

Namco’s Alex Adjadj is one of the few old guard at Namco Bandai Games still around from the launch of the App Store. Alex gives us a very open look at Namcos experience with the App Store.

Kepa Auwae, Rocketcat Games, the long-time developer of pixel art games with their own unique style discusses why their games are so original, and what their future on the App Store will be.

One of the App Store’s most creative minds, Adam Saltsman of Semi Secret Software discusses the impact of his games, his thoughts on current business models, and the future of the App Store.

Tapulous co-founder Mike Lee talks history and responsibility on the App Store 5th anniversary.

 
Tuesday, July 9th:

Our first interview today is with Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Creative, creators of Pocket God. We talk with Dave about the serial update model and that not every app needs to be freemium/free to play to make a profit.

Next up we have Ian Marsh of NimbleBit. NimbleBit created the game of the year in 2011 with the massively successful Tiny Tower and they know how to do IAP with the highest percentage of sustained IAP conversion I’ve ever heard of.

Colin Smith, co-founder of Freeverse has a lot to say about the frightening transition Freeverse made from premium to free to play. One that, in the end, didn’t work out too well for Freeverse.

ngmoco:) purchased Freeverse in 2010, just as the free to play ecosystem on iOS was kicking off. Clive Downie, CEO of ngmoco/DeNA West recounts the transition to free to play as one that was the right one for ngmoco.

 
Monday, July 8th:

We speak with Brian Greenstone of Pangea, possibly the person responsible for driving game prices down to $0.99. Read the article for the full details on that and his inside story of how app prices started out at $9.99 even though Steve Jobs told him they should be lower.

We also speak with Ed Rumley of Chillingo about how Chillingo has approached the App Store and adapted over time.

We’ll have many more interviews throughout the week.

 

Even More

 

How much have things on the App Store *really* changed over the past five years? A lot, actually. Here’s a quick history.

If you were looking for a needle in a haystack. And that needle is an underrated app in the 900,000 apps in the App Store, Rob has you covered in 10 Unfortunately Underrated Apps on the iOS App Store.

“The App Store was the beginning of a long process that changed who I was and made me the person I am today.” Carter Dotson looks back at five years with the App Store.

There’s a theme here – the App Store allowed Rob Rich to start living the dream and become a freelance writer.

The App Store is a great marketplace, but it has its share of quirks. Here’s what a number of long-time, new, and potential developers think about Apple’s digital venue in Ups and Downs of iOS Publishing.

Rob digs out his Ten Biggest iOS Surprises in a look at some of the apps that have surprised us.

Our writer Jordan Minor talks about how video game journalism means business and how the App Store gave direction to his journalism plans.

Jennifer Allen rounds of a few thoughts from the new kids on the block (no, not the New Kids on the Block), the new developers, the first timers, and the future stars in The New Generation Of iOS Developers Spout Off.

Rob LeFebvre talks about how the App Store gave him the opportunity to do what he wanted to be, a full time writer in Five Years Of The App Store: Rob L’s Career Change, Soul-Search, And More.

Jennifer Allen gives us a heart felt look back at here favorite apps and games from the past five years in Five Years of App Store Favorites.

Rob LeFebvre takes a look at some the Top 20 Landmark Games on iOS. All of these games extended and improved the true state of the art in mobile gaming.

Rob Rich recaps the Best App Ever winners from the past five years in 5 Years Worth of Winners.

Rob LeFebvre takes a look at 10 Landmark Apps released in the past 5 years.

Apple is celebrating the five years of the App Store by giving away five apps and five games, both small screen and iPad versions.

Our friends over at Pocket Gamer are running down their favorite (or favourite) 50 games of the past five years. Here’s part 1: games 50-31, part 2: games 30-11. Pocket Gamer’s top 10 all the way down to number 1 is up now with an interesting pick for number 1. And our friends over at AppSpy have their Top 5 Games from the past 5 years list up now.

 

Share Your Favorites!

 

Some of our writers share their favorite apps. Starting out Amy Solomon shares her favorite kids apps. Also favorite apps and games from Carter Dotson, Jen Allen, Rob Rich, and Jeff Scott.

We’d love to know your favorite apps and games. We’re posting some of ours over on the Best App Ever Facebook wall. Please post yours there as well.

 

Over the past five years, many thousands of developers have tried their luck in creating the next big hit for iOS gamers. While some were there right from the beginning, others have found success in only the last couple of years. I took the time to chat to four relatively recently successful developers to find out exactly why they were so interested in pursuing the App Store route, and how they’ve found the experience so far.

“First and foremost it was the ease of development and getting things…running quickly, with no development kits and long processes of approval,” explained Simon Flesser of Simogo (most famous for the rather exceptionally spooky Year Walk). “That coupled with us being interested in the iPhone as a gaming platform and the different features it provides, touchscreen interaction, motion controls, constant internet connection…”

Simogo's Year Walk

Simogo’s Year Walk

Barry Meade of Fireproof Studios (makers of BAFTA award winning The Room) had similar views: “As a small team with little resources to draw on, the fact you could self-publish on the App Store was a huge enabler for us…The Room might never have been made if we’d had to rely on a publisher as it was a bit too unusual…they would not have believed in the game like we did.” As he pointed out, “the App Store allowed a team from nowhere to make a small game and see big success.”

The Room‘s Fireproof Games is one such team made up of ex-AAA developers, with the studio formed by six ex-lead artists from Criterion Games’ Burnout franchise. Similarly, Warhammer Quest‘s Rodeo Games came from such a background. Formed from executives previously working for the likes of EA, Lionhead, Criterion and Codemasters, Rodeo Games were provided the opportunity to pursue something new, thanks to the App Store.

“Well, we’d been in the AAA games industry for many years and had been talking about how to take steps in setting up our own company. The App Store was just flourishing at the time. It was this awesome, new, bold place for smaller dev teams to put their games in-front of a huge audience. So we crafted a plan with the mindset of making the very best turn based strategy games on iOS, and Rodeo Games was the result,” Ben Murch, co-founder, explained.

Fireproof Games's The Room

Fireproof Games’s The Room

Neil Rennison of Fighting Fantasy developer, Tin Man Games, enjoyed a similar revelatory moment, after a move to Australia, gave him the chance of starting his own indie development studio, just as the iPhone and the App Store came to fruition: “I was originally running a small games art outsource company in the UK and then…I…moved to Australia with the dreams of starting my own indie and making my own titles instead of working on other people’s games.”

How different do they all think things would be if the App Store didn’t exist, though? “Very! Certain types of business models and certain types of games would probably not exist without the App Store,” Simon reckoned. Ben offered similar views, although noted the loss of the “middle tier” of gaming: “The gaming world would be a very different place right now. Just think about how many small companies and jobs have been created just from iOS gaming alone. Before the App Store, there was this surge towards “middle tier” gaming, i.e. titles coming out in the £10 – £20 bracket. I guess that market would have grown more and become an eco-system in itself. However, thanks to the App Store, creators who were interested in that model shifted into the mobile market, effectively crippling the whole “middle tier” gaming sector.”

Rodeo Games's Warhammer Quest

Rodeo Games’s Warhammer Quest

Mention was also made, by Neil, of the fragmentation of the mobile phone operator universe, something that was a significant problem before the advent of the App Store. “Apple’s stock would be worth a lot less”, noted Barry. All quite rightly pointed out that none of them would be in the position they’re in today, if it wasn’t for the ease of the App Store.

For the most part, all four of our interviewees were very positive about the App Store’s impact. Each citing how it’s “paved the way for many small developers”, as Simon eloquently put it, and enabled them to try riskier material. As Ben pointed out, “Without the App Store, it would be nigh on impossible to get your strange little game idea in front of….well, thousands of people would be a struggle. Suddenly, anyone can release something that has exposure to HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of potential buyers. Just thinking about that blows my mind.”

Financial barriers are also lowered, as Barry explained: “The relative cheapness of mobile games development allows niche ideas to thrive.” Neil reinforced that point, citing how the games industry “was slowly becoming a bloated AAA only console game market and traditional game developers were beginning to struggle as the mid-point of the market was getting squeezed. The app revolution helped give developers options and in a way created its own new market in which everyone had the same opportunities from the big publishers to the lone bedroom coder…[it] was a perfect springboard for budding entrepreneurial devs like us.”

Tin Man Games's Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom

Tin Man Games’s Fighting Fantasy: The Forest of Doom

Simon was slightly more cautious, enjoying the risks that were possible to take, but also citing how it’s “paved the way for some very questionable money-grabbing schemes… the market place has been somewhat flooded with low-quality software. It might have lowered the quality bar for what is considered to be a release-able piece software.”

That’s clearly a thought that runs through each of the developers’ minds, given that each recommends changes that make it easier to find good apps and games. Ben would appreciate a better quality Related Apps section and a twist on the Genius section, “Some form of “We recommend these Apps for you based on what you’ve downloaded already” type thing.” Discoverability is a big thing for Barry too, “There should be a lot more ways to format the lists of games when browsing the store. A chart by user rating is very needed for those smaller companies who make great games but get buried by the marketing clout of richer but arguably less skilful publishers.”

Higher “quality control” is an important wish for Simon, while Neil would appreciate a way to reply to App Store reviewers.

Rodeo Games's Hunters 2

Rodeo Games’s Hunters 2

For the most part, though, all four developers were, understandably, happy with how the App Store is performing, both in terms of business and personal use.

“I think Apple does a marvellous job at finding and promoting good games. It’s so nice that they can give small developers, such as us, a big spotlight if they find something that is good…it’s almost…unbelievable that something as strange as Year Walk can get the same type of exposure as a mainstream game from a big publisher,” beamed Simon.

The “open territory” of the Store was appreciated by Barry, also, “You can upload a game to the store and be published in 150 countries within 24 hours – this is really quite incredible when you compare it with how difficult it was to get a game onto other platforms only a few years ago. It’s pretty much a revolution in terms of enabling creativity,” with Neil offering similar views.

Simogo's Bumpy Road

Simogo’s Bumpy Road

As a consumer, it’s also proved quite the hit with Ben pointing out, “it’s that feeling of being able to browse a huge catalogue of games from your sofa, eventually finding something that’s right up your street. They have great landing pages in the App Store making it easy to find great games that you may not have heard of previously.” Neil appreciated the vast wealth of games, too, “it’s enabled me to play games that I haven’t played in over 20 years and also experience new innovative game designs from some truly talented people that wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to shine.”

While it’s clear that the App Store isn’t perfect, mostly in terms of offering great visibility to the titles that deserve it, these four developers have clearly found it an overwhelmingly useful experience. Each of them, from different backgrounds, have found great and deserved success, highlighting the best of what can come out of the App Store in terms of original efforts.

We’re certainly fascinated to see what will come next from these relatively new developers, part of the next generation of exciting game makers.

Thanks to Simon Flesser, Ben Murch, Barry Meade and Neil Rennison for taking the time to answer our questions.

$3.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-02-21 :: Category: Games

FREE!
$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-05-30 :: Category: Games

$0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-09-19 :: Category: Games

$5.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2013-06-11 :: Category: Games

 

Being asked to sum up the past five years of the App Store, on a personal level, is tough. Partly, because I have the memory of a goldfish, but also because so much has happened in those few years. How do you highlight what’s so great about a device and service that you can’t imagine being without? My iPhone and the App Store, by proxy, has been immensely important to me in this time. It’s given me so much information, enjoyment and even been a great outlet in times of need. Here’s a feeble attempt at trying to sum up how vital it’s all been for me.

Memories

Launch day: Despite the goldfish analogy, I do remember when the App Store first launched. I’d had an iPhone for a couple of months previously and had dabbled in jailbreaking, but didn’t feel too comfortable with it. The day the App Store started was genuinely exciting stuff. It’s hard to believe, for those newer to the Store, but it was possible to browse from start to finish, thanks to there being a mere 500 apps available. I did that, regularly, until it got to a point where there were just too many titles to look at. Like with any launch day event, these apps didn’t show off everything the technology could do, but they did offer a glimpse of a thrilling future.

FlightControlHD-ss3

Flight Control: Excluding a dabble with the no longer with us, Bejeweled 2, Flight Control was my first great iOS love. It showed me how great the touch controls of the iPhone could be, and how quickly one could gain satisfaction from a phone game. My past experiences with mobile gaming had been fun, but lacking that certain something that made me think it could rival handheld consoles. Flight Control changed that, for me, and I loved spending ages battling to improve my high score. Not that I was any good at it, though!

Exploration: I like apps that enhance my life, and I’ve used many in the past. Star Chart sticks in my mind, however, thanks to it enabling me to learn more about an area. While at the summit of an ancient ridge, Cefn Bryn, I could load up Star Chart and work out exactly what stars were above me and where. It was pretty magical.

Highlights

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A career path: It’s a pretty significant one, but if it wasn’t for the App Store, I wouldn’t be writing this. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what I’d be doing, given throughout my freelance career thus far, the App Store and iOS have played a very big role. It’s changed my life for the better. It’s been nearly three years since I wrote my first review for 148apps, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, and I’m immensely grateful for how far I, and the site, have come.

The indie uprising: I always passively appreciated the efforts of indie developers, before the advent of the App Store, but my love for them has definitely grown. Perhaps more excitingly, I feel enabled to give it a go myself at some point. While I haven’t yet found the time spare to really pursue it, Xcode, Stencyl and Gamesalad are waiting for me, reminding me that the era of the bedroom coder has returned. That’s got to be a good thing for creativity, right?

Beloved Apps and Missed Titles

KOTOR_5

Favorites: I’ve struggled to narrow the list down. Really struggled. The memories of one Saturday morning avidly playing Game Dev Story in bed, before realising it’s practically lunchtime are particularly strong. Much the same as my hundreds of hours spent with Fairway Solitaire are fond, if tarnished by the time it inexplicably lost all my data and progress. Or how about the time I demonstrated the power of the iPad to my mother with the double whammy of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and XCOM: Enemy Unknown? The former being one of my favorite games of all time.

Out of them all, though, a select bunch are used nearly every day. I take photos each day to track my life and have some fond memories to look back on, so Instagram is a must have for me. I like to back up such things, as well as my social networking sharing, so Momento is always at the forefront of my recently used apps. As a writer, iA Writer completes the selection, thanks to its cloud syncing ensuring I can always write up a quick idea, no matter where I am. New Star Soccer remains the key game that I regularly find myself returning to, living my fantasy as a world class soccer player.

image_9

Apps I miss: There are a couple of apps I miss, though. Puzzle Quest being one such title, given my love of the Match-3 genre and the fact I’ve played it to death on all other formats. Similarly, I adored Big Blue Bubble’s use of the Fighting Fantasy license, although at least Tin Man Games is doing a brilliant job of taking over that mantle.

It’s been a fun five years, and given how far the App Store has come in that time, I’m excited to see what the next five years will bring. It’s looking like a pretty rosy future to me!

 

Update: 11:00am The time that Apple took the original 10 free apps live has come and gone. Perhaps this isn’t an Apple promotion after all. But, it’s still some great free, and historic apps.

We told you Sunday of the first round of apps and games set free in celebration of the App Store 5th Anniversary. Early indications look like Apple is about to swap those out for 10 new apps and games as the following have just gone free.

Peggle HD - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Peggle - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Dead Space™ for iPad - price returned to $9.99, was on sale for FREE!

Dead Space™ - price returned to $6.99, was on sale for FREE!

Flight Control HD - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for FREE!

Flight Control - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Mirror's Edge™ for iPad - price returned to $9.99, was on sale for FREE!

Mirror's Edge™ - price returned to $0.99, was on sale for FREE!

Make sure you head here and grab the first round too, if you haven’t already. There’s a chance they could go back to paid soon.

Apple is celebrating five years of the App Store by giving away five of the best games and apps. For a limited time, to celebrate the five year anniversary, you can download Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Tiny Wings HD, and Where’s My Water? for free. Also, the following apps have been made available for free to download; Barefoot World Atlas, Day One (Journal/Diary), How to Cook Everything, Over, and Traktor DJ. That’s a pretty sweet deal and a nice way to celebrate!

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 10.43.22 AM

Expert App Reviews

 

Every week, the 148Apps reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Magic 2014

 
IMG_0522

Fantasy based card games are very much an acquired taste. Some have been drawn to the genre since grade school, while others join later in life, but one thing remains the same: Magic the Gathering is by far the most popular example of the genre. On the heels of last year’s Magic 2013, it would only make sense for Wizards of the Coast to follow up their smash hit, for a new year. Can Magic 2014 manage to meet the same bar of excellence raised by the original installment, or is this essentially a glorified re-skin? Fans of last year’s Magic installment have a very similar experience awaiting them when opening Magic 2014. Most of the game’s core interface has remained fairly unchanged, but it really was never broken to begin with, so there was no need for a fix. Newcomers and veterans alike will find more than enough card based shenanigans to keep them busy for countless rounds. –Blake Grundman

JetScanner

 
jetscanner

The App Store is loaded with many apps that scan documents, but most of them seem to take an eternity to process files. Additionally, they aren’t always accurate. I’ve scanned business cards and manuals, only to go back and enter additional information in manually. There’s a new app that promises users that they will no longer have to wait and it boasts that it can produce PDF documents from any photo at a very high speed and at the highest image enhancement quality. It’s easy to get started with JetScanner as a quick start guide helps users learn the ropes. There are two ways to create documents. Users can either tap the camera icon or tap the album icon. Once a document is created, users can make adjustments by tapping on the wizard icon to adjust the smart crop or edit additional processing options like adjusting color, making the image black and white or quickly reverting back to the original. Additionally, users can tap the information button in the upper right corner to change the paper size of the PDF. –Angela LaFollette

Cling Thing

 
image 3

Cling Thing starts off with some great, but little, moments. They feel fleeting. However, then another great little moment appears and another and another. Eventually, these seemingly small yet neat tricks cling together to form a superb whole. In Cling Thing, players guide wacky Madballs-esque creatures to the end of each stage by using their slimy, stretchy, sticky tendrils to move around. The action resembles World of Goo but with just one ball to manage instead of dozens. Those two games also share a similar creative drive to get the most out of their deceptively simple yet deep mechanics. Early levels are pretty straightforward where all the creatures have to do is slime-swing to the end of the stage Spider-Man style. However, later stages introduce doors that need keys, blocks that need moving, wheels that need to be spun, and underwater areas with new physics that need new approaches. –Jordan Minor

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Talking ABC

 
abc

Talking ABC… is a delightful alphabet app which includes charming and impressive claymation animals that will engage adults and children alike. I do love this kind of animation, so I was eager to see the claymation included within, and I can say that these bright and quirky animal creatures do not disappoint, as an estimated 770 pounds of clay was used to create the animals and letters – impressive to say the least. As one may expect, there is a main section of this app which includes 26 letters, each with its own corresponding animal seen to the left of the screen. –Amy Solomon

Pango Imaginary Car

 
pango

Pango Imaginary Car is an app that allows children to create cars and other vehicles by combining various parts together. I enjoy this app. It is a concept that is not exactly unique, yet this is an app that is of very high quality and utterly appealing. The first thing one will notice when opening this app is color. A bright, sophisticated lime-green color makes up the background of the center screen where one builds his creation, dragging vehicle elements from the tabs seen left of the page. Eight tabs are included, with details that will create the body of the car, such as the front ends of a few differently shaped cars, trucks and a train as well as basic shapes that can be used to create a larger vehicle as well. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Cubed Rally Redline

 
cubed

Most endless runners inspired by Temple Run take the standard behind-the-back perspective. Sure, Pitfall had a more dynamic camera angle, but that’s the exception. Cubed Rally Redline steps things up and does it from an isometric perspective, similar to developer Jared Bailey’s original version of Cubed Rally Racer that Android gamers sadly don’t have. However, where the game also differs from most 3D endless runners is in the number of lanes: there’s five to deal with here. Good luck. –Carter Dotson

Bombcats Special Edition
bombcats

Bombcats Special Edition is Radiangames’ entry into the casual physics-puzzler genre after an assortment of action-oriented titles and block-based puzzle games, and it stands out as a fun and addictive title. The gameplay can be best described as a hybrid between Angry Birds and iBlast Moki. The goal is to free all the bombkittens from their electric cages by launching the bombcats around the levels, eventually using their ability to “tele-splode” (so they don’t actually die) to free them from the cages. However, there’s a fuse on the bombcats, so getting them from point A to point B in a timely fashion is key! –Carter Dotson

Spelling Monster

 
spelling monster

Spelling Monster is a gift from heaven to parents with kids in the early school years. it incorporates several learning tools and exercises into the gameplay, which is wrapped in the pleasing veneer of an Android game. The main menu breaks the game into an adjustable word list and a bunch of mini games. The word list allows for the addition of just about any words, which is great for accounting for, say, vocabulary or multiple kids of different abilities using the app. The game list had five different games: Letter Pop, Missing Letter, Letter Catch, Word Traffic and Word Jumble. –Tre Lawrence

So, now that we know more about iOS 7 and it’s new design and features, a lot of us might be wondering what it would look like on our iPhone. Well, to make it easy on you, we’ve posted links to a few videos that you can watch on your iPhone to give you an idea of how it will look. Check it out!

Video Links –
Control Center: Swiping up to see the control options.
iTunes: Swiping through music and selecting an artist.
Messages: Typing a message about a friend who says hello!
Mail: Checking out the inbox and selecting an email.
Notification Center: Scrolling through notifications.
Multitasking: Swiping through multiple open apps.
Photos: Looking through photos of friends forever!
AirDrop: Sharing items with two friends nearby.
Camera: Getting ready to take a photo, selecting different options. And did that guy close his eyes at the end? Ugh! Retake!
Safari: Surfing through the Safari and scrolling through multiple websites.
Siri: Asking Siri about what movies are playing nearby and getting the answer.
Weather: Watching the heavy snow fall. So pretty!

iOS7iPhone

via: Apple

The Latest App Reviews Are Here

 

Need to know the latest and greatest apps each and every week? Look no further than 148Apps. Our reviewers comb through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

 
KOTOR_7

Ten years ago, BioWare released the revolutionary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KotOR). This took the Dungeons and Dragons combat that BioWare were masters of in the PC niche they had carved out, placed it in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and had a non-linear story where decisions have a major role in what happens. BioWare made all this complexity accessible in a way that both new and existing audiences–including console gamers–fell in love with KOTOR. The success propelled the gaming company to become one of the most important game developers of the past decade, with wildly successful original franchises like the Mass Effect series. Flash-forward to today, and a new generation of gamers gets to play KotOR thanks to renowned port producer Aspyr, known for bringing many titles to the Mac. While the game isn’t always a perfect fit for the iPad and shows its relative age in spots, KotOR is still as transcendent an experience as it was a decade ago, thanks to its sheer depth. –Carter Dotson

Warhammer Quest

 
warhammerquest09

Rodeo Games knows strategy. Hunters was a fantastic game that seemed to come out of nowhere, and Hunters 2 pretty much set the bar for a lot of iOS strategy RPGs that would follow it. In fact, they set the bar so high I was worried that Warhammer Quest wouldn’t quite measure up. Either that or end up feeling like more of the same. Turns out I worried for nothing. Warhammer Quest puts players in charge of a group of warriors as they travel the realm seeking fame and fortune. Mechanically the gameplay is similar to Rodeo’s earlier titles with its top-down view and simple but intuitive tap interface, however there’s a much bigger emphasis on close quarters combat since there aren’t any sniper rifles or machine guns to be found. There’s also a liberal sprinkling of more traditional RPG elements such as extra dungeon encounters or even random events, such as a hero getting partially digested by a slime monster, that can keep even the most well prepared players on their toes. –Rob Rich

Wake Alarm

 
wakealarm4

Find it tough to wake up? I know the feeling. While I struggle to get to sleep at night, I have as much trouble trying to wake up. That snooze button is all too tempting. Wake Alarm is out to stop any such problems and ensure that one gets up at the time they want to. Immediately simple to look at, the app works on a scroll wheel basis, one that’s immediately reminiscent of the classic iPod interface. Simply spin the virtual dial to set the alarm and away it goes. That’s the most basic way to use Wake Alarm, but there’s a little more to it. –Jennifer Allen

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

 

Crayola Light Marker

 
crayola

Recently, I was given the chance to try out the Crayola Light Marker. This piece of hardware, as the name may describe, allows children to use this chubby crayon-like tool – part laser pointer of sorts – to draw and in other ways interact with the free app associated with this Light Marker. Included with the Light Marker is a simple but nicely functional green plastic stand for the iPad that is thoughtfully included as this app is used on a propped iPad, with children standing between two and three feet away from their target. –Amy Solomon

 
jazzy

Jazzy World Tour is a delightful exploration of music around the world, including the same characters and watercolor stylings as seen in the earlier companion app, A Jazzy Day. This app opens up with different countries marked with a flag on a world map. Tap to select a flag to explore the related country. Three sections are included, specifically Learn, Play, and Create. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

The Conduit HD

 
conduit

The Conduit HD is probably the finest console-quality FPS available on mobile because it actually is a console FPS on mobile. Originally released as a Wii game by High Voltage Studios, they have now brought it to Android with a fresh coat of paint for HD devices, but with the same gameplay. On mobile scale, it’s quite an achievement, but does the title actually work on mobile? It’s a mixed bag. Players control Michael Ford, a government agent who soon finds himself facing down an alien invasion after being betrayed by a shadow government, and forced to work for the ‘terrorist’ Prometheus who may not be as bad as he seems. Players swap between a variety of weapons and use the “All Seeing Eye” to activate switches, unlock doors, and find hidden items and messages spread throughout the game world. –Carter Dotson

Swype Keyboard

 
swype

I’m a brave man. I believe a couple centuries ago, I would have been an explorer of sorts. I love a challenge, and few things scare me. Except spiders. In any case, the prospect of switching from a device with a physical keyboard to one with a virtual one made me nervous. I was okay with switching from from one OS to another; I had done my research, liked the new ecosystem and liked the hardware available to me. The thing that really bothered me was the eventuality of having to peck on a touchscreen. I’m here to tell folks: Swype made the switch possible. –Tre Lawrence

10000000

 
10000000

“And lo, the hero’s adventure did come to an end because he couldn’t unlock the chest in time.” This is something that does happen in 10000000, the indie match-3 RPG from EightyEight Games (aka Luca Redwood) that has been brought to Android. Sometimes it’s not the enemies that fell the player, it’s the inability to get the keys to unlock doors and chests, leading to one’s doom. Wait, why? Well, in the world of 10000000, players exist on a horizontal scale where they need to keep moving, and anything that slows them down or keeps them from advancing it a threat. Sure, the enemies are greater threats because they’ll actually knock the player back, stopping them on their quest to get ten million points and free the protagonist from his mysterious imprisonment. –Carter Dotson

ios7

At 148Apps, we use iOS a lot. I mean, a LOT. What may be an inconvenient feature to the average user is possibly a daily chore to folks like us, who use their iPhones and iPads every day, hour after hour.

As we sat and talked about our hopes and dreams for the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 7, we figured it might be cool to get a couple more folks in on the conversation, like Aaron Watkins, a public relations guru with Appency, and Tim Harris, currently President of Industrial Toys, developer of the much anticipated upcoming core sci fi shooter game, Morning STar.

Aaron WatkinsAaron Watkins, Appency
One of the trends I’ve seen recently is brilliant software developers coming up with much improved versions of native apps. Better mail, better calendars, better contacts apps… yet it’s still impossible to get rid of the apps that came with the device (Newsstand can’t even be put in a folder!). We’ve had better maps now for quite a while – Apple’s own attempt at maps has been a bit of a disaster and I would venture to guess that more people use third party map apps like Google for their navigation needs. 
That being said – Apple needs to give the maps app a feature face-lift. Automatic routing when you go off course has huge room for improvement, and searching for items along a route would be a great cure for my Starbucks habit. 

Along the line of phone organization for the OCD – as the hard drive space gets larger and larger in progressive phones, more and more apps end up on our phones and I would love to see folders within folders to do additional subdivision of content. The same goes for contacts, where the ability to create contact groups needs to be available on the phone itself. 

The app store itself has plenty of room for update. The native phone app store on its last major redesign went from a place where the top 10 apps were readily visible to  a system where its really the top 4 that get all the visibility. A combination of the best elements of the last version and this version would be an ideal solution.  With the problems associated with app discovery, it would be great to see more categories – but my pie in the sky hope would be a system in which third parties could create white labeled app stores that used an iTunes based system and billing mechanism, but allowed others to create their own curated content stores that they could locate on their own websites. Why cant a travel magazine have their own iPhone app store where they highlight the best apps they have looked at, and sell them directly on their website without all the current redirection. 

Oh – and one last thing – developers need to be able to respond to reviews in the app store. Its basic customer service!

roblefRob LeFebvre, 148Apps
Good stuff, Aaron. There is lots of room for improvement in discovery, including categories and stuff. A curated app store for different groups would be cool, too.

Personally, I’d like to see the iOS update to include a lot of the stuff we’re seeing from Android, like more customizable home screens, widgets, and the ability to define default apps, even if they’re not Apple ones.

I’d love to be able to turn wireless and Bluetooth on and off without having to dig for the Settings app, and for gods sake, let us login to multiple accounts on the App store. Sigh.

I’m also really hoping for a better, more unified look and feel. The skeuomorphic stuff gets a bad rap, and while I don’t think it’s that big a deal, I’d love to see a flatter, less faux-anything look and feel. 

I’d like to see Game Center improved, as it just feels kind of tacked on, right now. And lets get it on Android, or just give up and embrace Google’s new push.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, I’m sure I’ll chime in more as the discussion gets going. 

carterCarter Dotson, 148Apps
What I really want to see from iOS 7 beyond just a new visual look is something that significantly streamlines and de-clutters the user experience. Are we so sure that the standard grid of icons is still the best way to go about using the multitude of apps on our phone, especially with the sheer number that’s out there? Why must I still go to Settings in order to turn basic settings on and off?  As well, for those of us that have used iOS for years and have gotten used to the incremental changes, it’s easy to forget that for many people, iOS has a lot of complex aspects to it.

Considering that Android and Windows Phone have experimented with different ways to display important content in creative ways, I would love to see an Apple take on making the experience more user-friendly and intelligent. If there’s a better way to use our myriad devices here in 2013 with everything they’re capable of, shouldn’t it be Apple leading the way? iOS has felt static for a while, and I hope there’s more than just a new coat of paint coming.

Tim Harris FaceTim Harris, Industrial Toys
I agree with the sentiments about management of apps, and my main hope is along those lines.
 
The running app tray needs work. There should be a more user friendly view to see what apps are running, and a better way to close them. The search screen and the pull-down screen are underutilized for this type of thing. The current “double tap the home button” sucks, and manually closing everything to free up the device suxxors. Toggles like Wifi, Do Not Disturb, and Airplane Mode should be easier to find and one click and allowing users to bring their most-used out of Settings and into “normal” screenspace would make life easier.
 
I’m also going to pile-on Rob’s Gamecenter thing. We’ve seen slight improvements to Game Center over the versions, but it’s never gotten to a level that game developers can get excited about (or users, for that matter). I’d love to see friending, challenging, incentivizing and deep-linking get better. Achievements should be able to be integrated into the games innards rather than being tacked on so that we have to write our own systems to make it all work. Points should mean/do something. Gimme gimme.
 
jeffscottJeff Scott, 148Apps
I think my big hopes are around openness. Rob mentioned this a bit with the ability to choose default apps, like Maps, email, browser. But I think it goes beyond that. App to app communication needs to be enhanced. We’ve seen really interesting things done with Audiobus, and Apple must love it since Garage Band was one of the first apps to support it. More of that for all media types or in general, data. Open up Siri, the notifications tray, basically loosen the grip. It can be done without making the phone look like some 13 year old kid has designed it.

Apple also need to open up with the App Store. Give developers the tools they need to sell, support, and grow. The App Store economy is larger than the GDP of most countries in the world. It’s time to give it the support it needs. I have a gut feeling the reason not as much has been done is because iTunes is still based on the now ancient java based WebObjects. It’s ancient, fragile, and a beast to change. It needs to be replaced, but that’s no easy task.

And I agree with Carter on the look and the grid of icons. That hasn’t changed since the first user interface, the Xerox Alto in 1973. Forty years is too long. Some may say that it works, but when you have 500 apps installed, it just doesn’t work. We need a new interface, other than a grid of icons.

Search may be the answer to some of these issues. And I expect Apple to make some big advances with Siri, hopefully in iOS 7, but certainly going forward.

Now, the big one. The one I have been hoping for since the iPad was announced. Multi-user logins for iOS. In particular an iPad that is shared in a family. It’s a must. Parents don’t want kids in their email, kids don’t want parents in their Clash of Clans villages. There is so much that could be done with a good multiuser system. I have too many ideas, but we’ll save that for another time. But, to me, this is a must have, and it must be in iOS 7 because it was needed in iOS 5.

Basically, Apple really needs to bring it with iOS 7. I personally think they have been left in the dust by Google and Android. Even Windows Phone and Amazon have shown some insights and features that Apple should have and could have done first.

Tim Harris, Industrial Toys
Oh, yes– I’d like to take a moment to be a crybaby. The existence of app updates destroyed my sanity, thus my tears. It’s not that I hate updating much-loved and much-used software. Quite the contrary, I get excited about the latest and greatest from my favorite developers. However, the current iOS visits two very specific evils upon me, turning me into a compulsive update checker/reader/clicker:

1. it won’t let me choose apps to automatically update when updates are available, and 2. it won’t let me update as many applications as possible when I am short on drive space.

Every couple of weeks, I find myself with over 100 update notifications and when it gets to that level, I’m stuck updating every app click by click. Some intelligence to the app update process would save users tons of time and self-loathing. It would save developers angst, too, making valued updates more likely to reach their install base.

Rob LeFebvre, 148Apps
Alright, I’ll whine a bit, too.

Please let me take care of the stupid red number at the top of my apps that use the badge notification icon. I’d really like a “mark all as read” option in Mail. I’d love to be able to have the red badge of shame go away when I open an app and close it – not just when I open an app, take care of all the stupid stuff, and then close it, 30 min later. 

Also? Let’s make it a lot easier to buy in-app purchases with one account when we originally “purchased” the app with another. Does it really matter which account we’re using to download an app, vs. buying smurfberries for?

Aaron Watkins, Appency
As someone with kids, I dont know if making in-app purchases too much easier is a good thing- I dont want my 10 year old, or my 4 year old for that matter, purchasing things. That being the case, I would love to have kid modes where I can hand my iPad over to my youngest and only show for her apps that I have pre-selected as appropriate, and then do the same and have a different set for my 10 year old son. Maybe even a “play mode” and a “homework mode” that could be used in schools or for when you give your kid the device to look up vocab words and end up discovering he has been playing RoboKill the whole time.

Thanks to one and all for their time on this topic. Will Apple give any of us what we want? Only time will tell, as Apple is set to announce iOS 7 for the first time at WWDC this June. Keep your eye peeled (ew, gross) on 148Apps for all the lowdown when we know more.


Continue reading 148Apps Roundtable: iOS 7 Hopes, Dreams, and Blue Sky Wishes »

The App Experts

So many apps, and so little time! Just look to 148Apps for the best app reviews on the web. Our reviewers sift through the vast numbers of new apps out there, find the good ones, and write about them in depth. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Want to see what we’ve been up to this week? Take a look below for a sampling of our latest reviews. And if you want more, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol

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Ace Patrol is the latest title from Sid Meier and the team at Firaxis Games. Set during World War I, it’s the player’s job to guide a squadron of pilots in strategic turn-based gameplay. The free-to-play version features one stage from the British campaign with six single-player missions for players to engage in. If they want to play and beat the full campaign, which is three additional stages, they’ll have to purchase it for $0.99 cents. Players are given a choice of three missions to choose from at the start of the game. Missions have a wide range of objectives, such as having players attack an enemy train, protect a surveillance plane, attack an enemy bomber, and dogfight in ace vs ace action. Players are able to decide on what mission to select based on the objective or how many points it offers. Those points are multiplied depending on the four available difficulty levels and help provide better scores for the leaderboards. –Andrew Stevens

Infuse

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A particularly situational app, some users will look at the feature set of Infuse and wonder just why they need it when the built-in Videos app does everything they want. Infuse is for those users who want to play videos from other sources, without the need for conversion first. That covers quite a few different needs, from those wanting to watch family videos taken on a different device to those wanting to watch their converted DVD or blu-ray collection, while on the move. It’ll even allow users to view video attachments that have been emailed through. Regardless of one’s needs, Infuse is an attractive and useful app. Covering many of the more important bases, Infuse offers support for over 14 file formats, such as AVi, M4V, FLV, MOV and OGM. Plenty of audio formats are catered for too, such as the increasingly elusive Dolby Digital Plus format. Infuse works smoothly too, with little significant slowdown noticeable during my time using it on either my iPhone or iPad. –Jennifer Allen

Las Vegas!

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One of the biggest constants in casinos is also a very simple concept: the house always wins. Sure somebody might hit the jackpot or win a few Blackjack hands against the dealer, but statistically (and by an overall average) the house always come out on top. Not so with Las Vegas, Ravensburger’s iOS port of the board/dice game. In this particular casino the player always wins, even when they lose. The rules of Las Vegas are fairly simple; players (and possibly AIs) take turns rolling right dice. The numbers each one lands on represent one of six casinos on the board, each with a range of cash values up for grabs. They then have to “bet” their dice by placing them in their casino of choice with the highest bid earning the pot. Conversely if there’s a tie all matching bids cancel each other out. Naturally larger bids have a better chance of winning but the toss up is that it means fewer and fewer dice each following turn. There’s a certain amount of strategy to placing each bet and it’s possible for savvy players to sneak in and grab a 90,000 casino with a single die while other players vie for the top spot and negate each other. After four rounds all the cash is added up and a winner is declared. –Rob Rich

Star Command

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Star Command is a sci-fi simulation game that clearly takes cues from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe. Although the game takes a few missteps in parts of its design, the whole package is so charming that it hardly matters. Anyone wanting a good Trek-like combat experience should stop reading this review and go buy it now. For everyone else, here’s how Star Command plays: Players begin by choosing a captain and a ship to command. From here, an in game tutorial gives just enough information on hiring crew members, building rooms on your ship, and how combat works, and then promptly throws you into the thick of it. Before you know it, you’ll be commanding your engineers to put out fires by sick bay while your weapons crew has to abandon their battle stations to combat enemy aliens that have beamed aboard. –Campbell Bird

Other 148Apps Network Sites

If you are looking for the best reviews of kids’ apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:

GiggleApps

Little Red Riding Hood

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Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow is a universal app that I have eagerly been anticipating for quite some time, and I can say with much excitement that this app is worth the wait.
This is a re-telling of the classic story with a few great twists along the way. A special app, Nosy Crow has added some wonderful new elements to a classic story, specifically allowing children to choose one of many paths they would rather take as Little Red travels through a forest on her way to Grandma’s, collecting numerous objects along the way as well as meeting new characters. –Amy Solomon

Zoe’s Green Planet

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Zoe’s Green Planet is an interesting universal application about diversity. This is the story of Zoe, an inhabitant of a green planet with a demographic of entirely green people, seen vividly with the use of illustrations with heavy paper mache elements creating a subtle 3D effect, as well as a tactile, slightly distressed feel that I find appealing, as I do the numerous shades of green that make up the palette of this app. One day, a red space ship lands on the green planet. Inside is a red family who would like to visit other planets and makes a home on the green planet. They have a daughter who is Zoe’s age, and they go to school together and become friends. –Amy Solomon

Brains My Body

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Brains My Body is a very nice interactive app for children which teaches about basic anatomy and diversity and includes fun facts about the body. The look of this app is crisp and clean, with colorful, textured woven fabric used as the background for these activities. Also of note are the layered ambient sounds heard throughout, consisting of a beating heart, blowing wind and wind chimes – interesting choices I have enjoyed listening to. –Amy Solomon

AndroidRundown

Goomy: to the Rainbow Land

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Goomy: to the Rainbow Land is an interestingly styled platform running game with a unique set of characters. Goomy came personified as ball that took nine different forms. Legend has it that he wants to make it to the mythical, happiness-filled Rainbow Land. However, the journey is not without dangers but of course, how could we have expected anything less? The playing area was an expansive end-to-end platform, with Goomy traveling from left to right. The traveling area was irregular in design, with land masses of different heights interspersed with deep, lethal canyons. The graphics were rich in color, with playful artwork highlighting the elements of the game. The animations were smooth, and did a good job of adding to the fun factor. A lot of time seemed to have been put into creating the six or so different playing environments. –Tre Lawrence

Punch Quest

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One of my favorite games of 2012 was undoubtedly Punch Quest. Rocketcat Games’ endless puncher’s only flaw? It wasn’t on Android yet. Well, Noodlecake Games, in their first published title after the launch of Super Stickman Golf 2, have rectified this situation. And oh how sweet it is to be playing this amazing game on mobile. Unlike most endless runners where there’s little to no combat, this is all about punching one’s enemies. It’s more of a beat ‘em up with automatic running instead of an endless runner. The fighting is surprisingly complex despite there only being three different inputs: forward punching, uppercutting, and blocking, though each has different functions based on different situations. For example, uppercutting in the air is actually a dive punch. Upgrades can tweak the way that punches work, or give them special functions. But it’s the interplay of the attacks and the way that each enemy has a particular strategy that works best – and ones that don’t work quite so well – that players need to learn and master in order to do well at the game. –Carter Dotson

Modern Snake

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Snake is one of those games everyone knows. It’s popularity was forged in the mall arcades of the 70s, and it has been ported to almost every platform. Ever. Everyone has redone it, and so any developer that touches it best come correct. Modern Snake, at the very least, excels in the area of minimalist design. I liked that there were no extraneous elements; it kept enough familiar designs, like the segmented snake, and tossed in colors and touchscreen compatibility to differentiate it from the original forms. The green worked well on the stark white playing area. The developer did well to add options to spice up what would otherwise be a one-dimensional game. There were options to speed up or slowdown game speed, to have a two-player local game, to play with or without walls and to play with on-screen directional buttons or by swiping. –Tre Lawrence

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