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Flying Hamster and Flying Hamster HD are Free and Updated to Support MFi Controllers

Posted by Stephen Hall on April 9th, 2014

Flying Hamster brags that it has almost 2 million players worldwide, and I don't see any reason to doubt that as the truth. After all, this game is about flying hamsters. It features 6 unique worlds, 35 different enemies, and 8 "freaky" weapons that you can find throughout each level. Additionally you can control the game in four different ways, allowing the player to use either on-screen controls or the accelerometer.

Flying Hamster and its HD version were both recently updated with support for 4-inch screens, iOS 7 game controllers, and Game Center. But the best part about the recent update is that both games are now completely free to download. Head over to the App Store and grab one (or both) of them now.

iOS 7.1 is Now Available - Updated with CarPlay Along with a Number of Tweaks, Enhancements, and Fixes

Posted by Rob Rich on March 10th, 2014

The Verge reports that the newest update for iOS 7, which would be 7.1, has gone live.

Version 7.1 isn't necessarily a major change, but it does adjust and fix a few things that will most likely affect some users over others. First and foremost is a fix for the "reboot" issue that many have been having with the newest iOS devices (i.e. the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad Mini Retina). CarPlay has also been included, which will allow users to connect their device to their car and access various features such as music and text messages through Siri. So long as they drive a newer Volvo, Ferrari, or Mercedes-Benz anyway.

Other improvements include tweaked interface designs when dialing or powering off a device, better search functionality in iTunes Radio, and the ability to hold the Home button down as you talk to Siri to keep her from cutting you off in mid-sentence. Just make sure to clear off some space before you download it; it's a biggun'.

The iOS 7.1 update is available now.

Level Reacts to iOS Security Vulnerability, Requires Users to Update OS to Continue Using Level Money

Posted by Tre Lawrence on February 27th, 2014
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Level Money is taking proactive steps to ensure that its users are as secure as possible by requiring that they update to iOS version 7.0.6, which contains Apple's new security patch. According to Level Money's blog it was the responsible thing to do, even though it wasn't responsible for the breach.

"Even though this is not a vulnerably in the Level system, we knew we had to do everything in our power prevent exposure of the sensitive information our members trust us with. Last night, we implemented a requirement that Level members update to iOS version 7.0.6 in order to continue using the app. Version 7.0.5 is inherently insecure, and data on that iOS version cannot be protected. Members that update to the latest version should be able to resume use of Level Money without any further interruption. However, we know we are far from the only app entrusted with sensitive information, which is why we are calling on all other app developers — particularly those handling banking and payment information —to implement similar measures. Apps handling sensitive information have a responsibility to respond quickly to this type of exposure. Users must be required to update their iOS version if we are to uphold our promise to protect the information which we are entrusted with."

Level Money is available for free on the App Store

MLB.com At Bat Optimized for iOS 7 - Gets a New Look and Adds New Features

Posted by Tre Lawrence on February 26th, 2014
+ Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HOME RUN :: Read Review »

When we first had a look at MLB.com At Bat in 2012, we surmised that it was a good app to have for every baseball fan. Thus, it's great to hear that the 2014 edition has been optimized to work with iOS 7.

The app has been completely redesigned, and the new elements pay homage to Apple's latest major re-tooling of its OS. The re-design also encompasses the ability to deliver inline video playback, and new league-wide scoreboard functionality for single-tap expansion.

As before, the app allows for two subscription options ($19.99/year or $2.99/month), and content is free to MLB.com Premium subscribers.

MLB.com At Bat is available on the App Store

Robot Invader Reveals More Wind-Up Knight 2 Gameplay, Wants to Support ALL THE CONTROLLERS

Posted by Rob Rich on January 30th, 2014

The original Wind-Up Knight was a tour-de-force of level-based auto-running (there goes my hyphen allotment for the month). But that was before iOS 7 and MFi controllers. Apparently the developer intends to put the feature to good use in the upcoming sequel to a very thorough degree.

Check out the video below for gameplay footage of Wind-Up Knight 2, then laugh as you watch them test just about every game controller they could get their hands on. Especially the trance "controller" from Rez. I'm not sure I even want to know the story behind that.

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - 2013: The Year Of Apple, Inc. 2014: A Year For The Taking

Posted by Arron Hirst on December 27th, 2013

It's pretty fair to say that 2013 has been an incredible year for Apple. With the company's stock price currently reflecting upwards of $550 a share, it's clear that investors have renewed faith in the firm's ability to deliver on its mission to create some of the world's most desirable products.

One such investor is billionaire business mogul Carl Icahn. Publicly announcing back in August that he now holds a "large stake" in $AAPL, Icahn is perhaps most known for his reported hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines in 1985.

[image credit: CNN Money]

While Icahn is keeping quiet on exactly how big his stake in $AAPL is, the Wall Street investor is said to be in ongoing negotiations with company CEO, Tim Cook. These talks, if successful, could see Apple increase its recently announced stock buyback program for investors, resulting in Icahn potentially buying back as much as $60 Billion in stock options.

But it isn't just the arrival of newfound investors that has seen the company elevate itself to the point of operation we see today. New hires were also a large part of Apple's fiscal 2013. The most prominent of these being the confirmed hiring of Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts.

Clash of Puppets Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Carter Dotson on December 10th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: ON A STRING
Clash of Puppets is best enjoyed by those with a gamepad and patience.
Read The Full Review »

How To: Set Up and Use iCloud Keychain on iOS 7

Posted by Carter Dotson on November 27th, 2013

One of iOS 7's new features is the iCloud Keychain. What this allows is for passwords and credit cards stored in AutoFill to be shared between iOS devices and Safari on Mavericks so that you can easily retrieve them without needing to type them in again. It is also engineered to protect your data through an additional security key and two-factor authentication. Here's how to set it up, use it, and protect yourself.

iCloud Keychain can be set up when setting up a new device, when updating to a new iOS version, or from the iCloud menu in Settings. When setting up for the first time you'll be asked if you want to enable iCloud Keychain and to create a security code. By creating a security code, this will store the data in iCloud; if you don't create one it will still allow for data to be shared between devices, but it will not be stored in iCloud and you will need to authenticate a new device from another device with iCloud Keychain enabled on it. Authenticating from another device requires putting in the password to the iCloud account and choosing "Allow" on the dialog that appears.

To save a password or credit card to iCloud Keychain, just log in to a site or use a credit card in Safari. A dialog will pop up asking if you wish to save to the iCloud Keychain. Now, when you try to use a saved login or credit card from another device, Safari can automatically fill it in no matter where it was originally saved from.

It's important while using iCloud Keychain to have a passcode of some sort on your device. This treats you physically using your device as secure, so make sure that there's a security mechanism in place to ensure that your device is being used only by yourself or someone you trust. Otherwise someone can easily get access to your passwords and credit cards just by having your unprotected device.

What the security code for iCloud Keychain does is make it simple to sign in to the iCloud Keychain from a new device without needing to log in on that other device. This is a separate code or password from your login passcode, though it can be the same.

By default iCloud Keychain will prompt for a four-digit security key, though it's possible to either have an advanced security key that can contain letters and numbers, and/or one that is randomly-generated for complexity. If you forget this key, then you can use a second device in order to approve it. It also provides security so that even if someone compromises your iCloud account and wants to set up iCloud Keychain, they still can't get into your data unless they know the second password or if they have another device of yours that they also know the password to.

If you disable iCloud Keychain on a device by disabling it from the iCloud Settings, you can prompt to save the AutoFill data locally or erase it.

Hopefully this demystifies this very useful feature!

iOS 7.1 Beta is Now Available for Developers to Download, Includes Bug Fixes and Performance Enhancements

Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 18th, 2013

9 to 5 Mac reports that Apple has released the iOS 7.1 beta, allowing developers to begin downloading it today. It's also mentioned that it includes a number of bug fixes and performance enhancements, along with Notification Center features that include Weather and Stocks. We should be seeing the 7.1 update publicly in the near future.

How To: Use AirDrop on iOS 7

Posted by Carter Dotson on November 18th, 2013

Apple has introduced a way to share files locally with other iOS users in iOS 7, called AirDrop. This allows for users to share photos, documents, and text with other iOS devices with ease. Here’s how to use it.

There are two important things to know about AirDrop: One, it only works with supported devices. These devices are oddly-selected: the original iPad mini can use AirDrop but the iPad 2 cannot despite identical - and technically slightly more powerful - internals. Two, this is different from AirDrop on the Mac despite being named the same, so don’t expect to send files from Mac to iOS.

To use AirDrop, it must first be enabled from Control Center. Swipe up from the bottom and tap on the AirDrop logo. Now, set it to Contacts Only or Everyone. Everyone will allow anyone within Bluetooth range to share files with you, whereas Contacts Only allows only people in your Contacts list to see you when sharing to AirDrop. Note that enabling AirDrop will turn on both wifi and Bluetooth.

To share a file via AirDrop, go to an app that uses the built-in iOS Sharing feature. This is generally indicated by an arrow pointing upward out of a rectangle. You should see the AirDrop description text first. After a short bit, any nearby AirDrop users will appear. They may need to have their device on and unlocked to be discovered. Tap on their picture that appears to share the file to them. Tap again to cancel.

On the receiving end of the AirDrop process, an alert will appear to Accept or Decline the AirDrop. If accepted, the AirDrop content will open up in the appropriate app.

Some uses of AirDrop include sharing photos from Photos, with the ability to share multiple at a time. All photos are saved to the Camera Roll.

Share contacts from Contacts – it’s possible to just temporarily view a contact card to call or email a person based on the contact info given (but not to FaceTime), or to save it to your contacts. This is great in lieu of business card trading. See a cool link in Safari? Share it with AirDrop.

You can share documents from iWork apps like Pages with others, in a variety of formats like PDFs.

More apps will start to use AirDrop as time goes on, particularly as it is an extremely handy way to send files without having to tap devices or share via the web!

How To: Master the Intricacies of the Clock App in iOS 7

Posted by Carter Dotson on October 28th, 2013

The Clock app. Not much to it, right? Wrong. There's some little tweaks and intricacies that you should know about that can help make this core system app better to use.

The World Clock section can display the times from various cities. Just tap the + in the upper-right corner to add a city. Tap the time to switch between analog and digital clocks. City searching is a bit frustrating in that it only supports a limited number of cities. Thus, for comparing where you are to other world cities, you may need to choose a city in your time zone that isn't where you are. For example, Lubbock, TX isn't in the list of cities despite being where I got my start, and the home of America's dreamiest football coach, Kliff Kingsbury. So, you may need to put in a larger city near you in your time zone. You can also search by country, not just city name, if you just need to find a city in a country somewhere to compare your time to.

The Alarm section of course allows for various alarms to be set, but there's a variety of options here. Repeat allows for one alarm to be used on a regular basis, so you can set an alarm for weekdays, and one for weekends, or any combination of days, and not have to worry about setting it before you go to sleep. You can also label alarms individually. The Sound function works with songs, alert tones, and ringtones, so you can wake up to whatever you so choose. Snooze can be disabled for those who know that they'd get up way too late if they snooze too much. However, now when you snooze, the lock screen shows how long the snooze is for.

The Stopwatch is a stopwatch. You can use the Lap timer to list any lap times, though the data can't be copied and exported in any way, unfortunately.

The Timer can be used to set off an alarm a certain number of hours or minutes from whe it is set. It has one incredibly useful feature that you may not be aware of. Think that the When Timer Ends section is just for selecting which alert to play? Nope! Scroll all the way to the bottom and enable Stop Playing and when the timer ends, if you have a music app playing, sound will stop being played. Note that Spotify has a bug with it, but it works for the built-in music app and Pandora. This way, you can fall asleep to music without it wasting power your bandwidth.

And of course, the system time can be set by going to Settings->General->Date & Time. Here you can configure 24-Hour Time to show 13:31 instead of 1:31 PM for example, choose to have the network set the time automatically, and manually choose your time zone, though automatic time setting will try to locate which time zone you're in automatically. You can enable or disable this in Settings->Privacy->Location Services->System Services->Setting Time Zone.

Hopefully you now know all the useful little things you can do with this otherwise-straightforward function!

Skype Update Gets a Fresh iOS 7 Look and VoiceOver Improvements

Posted by Andrew Stevens on October 8th, 2013
iPhone & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: Highly Recommended :: Read Review »

9 to 5 Mac reports that Skype has received a fresh and cleaner feel for iOS 7, along with additional improvements and fixes. The new user interface is designed for iOS 7, though is still compatible with iOS 5 and 6. The update also adds voice over improvements for group chats and the announcement of a sender's name when messaging.

How To: Block Contacts in iOS 7 and Configure Contact Short Names

Posted by Carter Dotson on October 7th, 2013

iOS 7 contains two new options for managing contacts: blocked contacts and short names.

Blocking a contact will prevent that contact from calling, messaging, or FaceTiming you. Blocked contacts can be added in two ways: You can do it from a message by tapping the Contact text in the upper-right corner, and then tapping the (i). From Phone or from FaceTime in the Recents list, tap the (i) icon next to the contact.

After tapping the (i), scroll down to Block Caller. Tap this, read the warning text, and then tap Block Contact. This will block the contact. They don't inherently have to be in your contacts list, you just have to have received a message or call from the number or email address in order to add them to your list.

You can manage your blocked contacts not in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars section, but from any of the PhoneMessages, or FaceTime sections in Settings.

You can remove blocked contacts from this section, and add new contacts to the list from contacts already in your book.

For the blocked contact, their iMessages will show as delivered, but will not pop up on your device. FaceTime calls will ring on their device, but not on yours. Same with phone calls - your device just pretends that they don't exist.

Now, for the people that you do want to hear from, one of the new contact options in iOS 7 is the Short Name option. This controls the way that contact names are displayed in apps like Messages. It allows for names to be displayed in a brief way, as opposed to just displaying the whole name entirely.

You can configure Short Name by going to Settings and Mail, Contacts, Calendars. The Short Name icon is under the Contacts header. By default,Short Name is set to display just the first name only, and to prefer nicknames for contacts. The settings are all fairly self-explanatory: having First Name & Last Initial will show my short name as Carter D, for example.

These features should help you manage your contacts in a much better way and make sure the people you don't want to hear from are ignored, and the people you do are shown in the way you want!

How To: Use Notification Center in iOS 7

Posted by Carter Dotson on September 30th, 2013

Notification Center may be nothing new to iOS users, but iOS 7 brings a bit of an overhaul to the veritable notification bar. Here's a guide to what's new, what's different, and what's been removed.

The first big change is that there are now three sections to Notification Center: TodayAll, and Missed.

Today replaces many of the widgets that were originally displayed at the top of Notification Center. This shows the current weather in a human-readable forecast, saying what the weather today will be, what the current temperature is, and what the high will be. Below this, Notification Center will tell you what events you have today and show you which events are coming up in the next few hours. Below this, the Stocks widget is displayed. At the bottom, the summary of events for the next day is displayed.

All is the traditional list of notifications: based on how they are sorted in Settings, apps' recent notifications will all display here as they come in. Tap the X next to an app's name in this view to clear out all of that app's notifications.

Missed shows notifications as well, but only ones that appeared while the device was locked. These are not sorted by app, but are sorted purely by when they came in. Clearing the app's notifications out of All or opening up the app the notifications came from will clear it out of Missed.

As well, Notification Center is now available from the lock screen, so you can see the Today, All, and Missed notification views from this screen. As well, you must swipe on the notification itself to open it up - the bottom Slide to unlock bar will always unlock the device, not view the most recent notification.

Many of the settings for Notification Center remain the same as they were in previous versions, particularly arranging notifications for the All view, but there's new settings for the new features. You can control Access on Lock Screen to enable or disable access to the Today view and to view notifications while the device is locked. Disable both to disable the Notification Center pulldown on the lock screen entirely.

The Today View settings control which widgets appear in Notification Center. Most notably, the ability to share to Twitter and Facebook from Notification Center has been removed.

This covers the changes to Notification Center in iOS 7. Now go on, be notified! Be aware!

This Week at 148Apps: September 23-27, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 28th, 2013

Your App Experts


The furor over two new iPhones and the release of iOS 7 may have passed, but that doesn't stop the oncoming wave of new apps. If you want to know what's worth your time and what's not, just look to the expert app reviewers at 148Apps. And if you want more app reviews than you can shake a stick at, be sure to hit our Reviews Archive.

Big Brain Master

Big Brain Master is a pure puzzle game that tells a story whilst engaging the player in some enjoyable and challenging puzzles. A new and artful take on “mind” games, it’s simple and entertaining approach manages to keep players guessing without being too complex. The art style is highly detailed, with a nice, clean, and simple graphical outlook, and the puzzles are presented in an interesting format which gives it an interesting and refreshing feel whilst playing. Navigating the user interface is nice and straightforward, and the design layout is linear enough to not overcomplicate by looking too clunky or crowded. Each of the 250+ levels are divided up into seven puzzle styles that are each distinctive from the last. Although this might seem refreshing enough to most players, I personally feel that perhaps having less levels per style and more of a variety of puzzle styles would have made it slightly less repetitive, as after a while gameplay seemed to become a little tiresome and I felt like I was just repeating actions that had already become less of a challenge. --Lucy Ingram


Pocket Trains

NimbleBit has a clear formula with their bitizen-featuring simulation games, one that repeats with the third such title, Pocket Trains. They’re games that are fueled not so much by challenge, but by keeping the player interested in propelling the machine forward and not punishing them for playing the game – like so many other free-to-play simulations are wont to do. It’s why I find myself falling into the same pit with Pocket Trains where I check it regularly for weeks on end, the same as I did with Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes. This feels almost like a remix of Pocket Planes that’s been simplified a lot. Where that game had some complexity due to the free-form nature of air travel,Pocket Trains is forced to be simpler because of the fixed nature of rail lines. Only one train can own a segment between two cities, though of course multiple train lines can travel through cities on intersecting lines. The paths are thus largely pre-defined and there’s now no monetary cost for traveling to a city, only a fuel gauge that refills when a train is idling or when the player pays a couple bux to refill it. --Carter Dotson


Trouserheart

Trouserheart is an ideal game for the mobile format. It’s the kind of thing that can be jumped into for five or ten minute sessions, while still actually achieving something in that short space of time. In the vein of games such as Diablo and Torchlight, Trouserheart is a hack-n-slasher that’s very simple to learn. Using a virtual d-pad and one sole button to attack with, it takes seconds to master. What takes a little longer is learning to dodge enemies by moving around them quickly. It’s still all pretty simple stuff, though. Vibrantly animated, Trouserheart also maintains a charming and humorous take on events, right down to the player’s quest to rescue one’s trousers. Yes, really. --Jennifer Allen


Chainsaw Warrior

I’d admittedly never heard of the original Chainsaw Warrior tabletop game from the late 80s, but that’s probably due to a combination of me not being all that into board games back then and also being six years old. Regardless, the player-versus-game gore fest has made its way to iOS. And it is ridiculously awesome. Chainsaw Warrior is essentially every action movie in the 80s turned into a dice-rolling game. A dimensional rift has opened up, resulting in New York being overrun by horrible mutants and other monstrosities, with a shapeless dark being running the show. In about one hour’s time the rift will open further and swallow the entire city. So it’s up to the titular hero to wade through hordes of terrible monsters in a desperate attempt to reach the Darkness and put a stop to the otherworldly assault. They’ll have to fight through a deck of over 50 cards just to reach a second, which is the only place where the Darkness will appear. Dying happens a lot. --Rob Rich


Wombi Math

Wombi Math is a cute and fun app that will encourage grade school children to work on their math skills. Set in a charming urban landscape, a brick wall is used as the backdrop for different math equations and their answers to be displayed – be it with the possible use of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. Tap on an equation as well as the matching answer to clear the board. I admire how simple it is for parents to adjust the math questions used for the abilities of a specific child as well as how the questions and answers are represented – be it in uniform block boxes or more colorful and sometimes geometric shapes. One can also scroll through a few related brick walls that include each function, whether mixed, addition, subtraction, or division – each with a nice, different use of color yet maintaining an intentionally sparse background, keeping the focus on the math. --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

Terraria

Outdoor survival, nicely-rendered 2D graphs with whimsical monsters and… wait for it… zombies? People: Terraria is here! The gameplay takes familiar survival staples and rolls them into a fairly complex system involving manipulation, combination and strategy. The tutorial underlines the basic stuff quite well; the first grand explains how to use the left-set control to move on either direction, as well as how to jump, scale downward… and instinctive movements, like directing jumps in either aerial direction are logical. The tutorial goes on to walk through collection of materials, protection, creations and dangers. --Tre Lawrence


Tanktastic-3D Tanks Online

Porches. Lamborghinis McLarens. All infinitely cool, but I dare anyone to show me a guy who hasn’t wanted to rock a tank at least once. Go ahead. I’ll wait. For folks who can’t or won’t do a 4-year bid just to do some infantry driving, Tanktastic is a relatively safe alternative that brings team combat, tactics and good old speed of accurate firing to bear. Jumping into a random group battle mostly describes the gameplay in all its muscled glory. The task is dropped into a terrain with different types of structured obstacles, and several other manned tanks. It’s a shameless free for all that measures speed, accuracy and cunning. The controls are straightforward, and encourage quick movement and shooting; I felt most comfortable with dual thumb controls. --Tre Lawrence


Pivvot

Pivvot is nothing if not eye-catching. Its stark graphics and simple gameplay demand attention. But how does it play? Pivvot's concept is as simple as it gets. You control a rotating circle that moves along a line. As you move along you’ll see obstacles you need to avoid, lest you crash into them and die. To do so you use very simple two finger controls that rotate your intrepid circle left or right. While this sounds like an incredibly simple concept, in practice it is extremely challenging. The game starts off simple with easily avoided obstacles such as spikes that only take up one side of the course, but quickly adds in much harder ones that require exact positioning, like lines of small walls that move constantly. --Allan Curtis

And finally, this week Pocket Gamer demystified iOS 7 controllers, picked out the perfect games to show off your new iPhone 5S, reviewed hot new App Store games like Boson X and Trouserheart, and showed off this week's iOS games in video show What's New? See it all in PG's weekly wrap up.