Posts Tagged iphone
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Week-in and week-out, the 148Apps reviewers search through the 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.
Sucker that I am for retro-inspired visuals, I was immediately interested in A Ride into the Mountains. It’s not just a visual throwback, however. The fluid animations, beautiful backgrounds, haunting melodies, and simple-yet-complex gameplay come together to make something more than just a retro themed time waster. It’s actually pretty special. Zu and his family have protected the land from evil forces for generations. One day the sacred relic keeping it all at bay is stolen, so he jumps onto his horse and sets out to get it back. A Ride into the Mountains is centered around one main gameplay mechanic: firing arrows. Players must tap and drag their finger across the screen to draw back Zu’s bow and release to fire, with the time spent drawing determining the shot strength. Little by little more mechanics are introduced – such as tilting the device to move the horse or tapping the screen while drawing back on the bow to focus and slow down time – until eventually it becomes an unexpectedly solid little arcade/action game. –Rob Rich
I admit to not having spent much time playing the Sky Gamblers series. I’ve never been a huge fan of airplane warfare games, and I don’t think that the real world is either – has there been an actual aerial dogfight in the past few decades? I hope not, because war is bad! But yet, aerial dogfighting winds up popping up commonly in games. So when duty called, I decided to give Sky Gamblers: Cold War a shot, and I can see the appeal. This is aerial warfare that’s got a light learning curve to it. Sky Gamblers: Cold War does the one thing that I think every other online multiplayer game needs to have at their main menu: a quick start button! This promotes quick, casual online play by making it super-simple to jump in. There’s still options for creating games (including private matches with Game Center friends), but this subtle little feature goes a long way toward ensuring that people will actually play a game with online multiplayer! I found matches even in the dead of night. –Carter Dotson
Keeping a well organized calendar is a crucial part of a good workflow for many, and on the iPhone there are already several great calendar apps available – but is Agenda Calendar 4 different enough to make a splash? I’ve been using Fantastical for all my calendaring needs over the past few months, but Agenda Calendar 4 has a seriously good chance of becoming my new default. –Ruari O’Gallchoir
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Tunnel Trouble is a creative and fun universal educational app that to children preschool age and above will seem like a simple and interesting game application, with adults all the while appreciating how terrific this app is for teaching problem-solving in a way that is engaging and full of whimsy. Tunnel Trouble allows players to help a chicken run through a series of maze-like tunnels of an underground passageway, in later levels avoiding a monster who needs to be trapped to let this chicken pass by unharmed. Each of the 25 levels includes a cross-section of the tunnel this chicken is trying to run through. This tunnel is actually made up of a series of pieces that each need to connect to allow chicken free access. –Amy Solomon
PLAY-DOH Create ABCs is a new universal app that allows children to enjoy this popular modeling compound, now 55 years old, on their devices as they also learn their letters. Needless to say, I was interested to see how Play-Doh, which is such a tactile toy, translates into an application. There are three sections to this app with its main area being Write and Craft where children, after choosing from a large variety of Play-Doh colors, can trace each letter with the drag of a finger. –Amy Solomon
It must be tough being a vampire. You’ve got a limited time of day in which you can be up and about. You can’t check yourself out in the mirror. There’s the whole ‘having to drink people’s blood’ thing. It sounds like a right hassle. On top of that, there are some vampires that have the added burden of parenthood, as in Le Vamp. In Le Vamp you take control of a troublesome vampire who’s barely out of nappies. Assuming vampires use nappies. This cheeky little terror of the night has decided to skip his bedtime and run amok in what I assume is a village outside of Paris. This hasn’t gone unnoticed though, as the petit vampire has managed to upset many French stereotypes meaning an angry mob of farmers, mimes and Napoleon lookalikes will be chasing down our blood-sucking friend. –Matt Parker
Mad Dragon is an interesting side-scrolling runner that features an almost lovable fantasy character. A hitherto sleeping dragon is our angry protagonist. In this side-scroller, action proceeds from left to right, and the enraged dragon possesses an exhaustible set of attributes that assist it in its desire to wreak as much havoc as possible. Wreaking havoc, in this game, mostly refers to destroying as many buildings as possible, while avoiding the bombs that are spread out around the place to stop the dragon. –Tre Lawrence
War. Often we’re asked what it’s good for and a common response is “nothing”. In fact, some have even gone as far to say “absolutely nothing”. That none-too-subtle Edwin Starr reference is a heads up that Jungle Heat is a game all about war. A war which takes place in a jungle that happens to be full of oil and gold. The game places you in control over an ever-expanding base that you launch attacks from. You can think of Jungle Heat as a Farmville style game where instead of harvesting crops your training soldiers to go and do battle. It’s the training and the battles that make up the two main parts of the game. –Matt Parker
Apple’s iMessage is great. Sending messages without using up text plan messages or over wifi? Brilliant! Plus, typing out messages on the iPad or from a Mac is so much better. But there’s plenty of little settings that can modify your experience, or make it difficult if you ever switch phones. Here’s our guide to helping clear up how to use iMessage.
From your device, to enable or disable iMessage, go to Settings -> Messages. The very first switch will allow you to disable iMessage if you’d rather not deal with it altogether.
Send Read Receipts will send a mark that a message was read to your conversation partners after you read a new message. Don’t want others to know? Turn this off.
Send as SMS will allow you to send messages as standard messages over cellular if data is not available. This way you can seamlessly transition between iMessage and SMS without a beat. If a message fails to send over iMessage, tap and hold on it in the Messages app. That will pull up an option to resend it as a Text Message.
Now, it’s possible to send and receive iMessages from not just your phone number but your email address as well. To add a new email address, go to the Send & Receive section. Tap Add Another Email… and then type in the email address you want to add. Open the email in your account to confirm the email. A notification will be sent when it is added.
If you want to customize which address your iMessages are sent from, choose the phone number or email address from the Start new conversations from: section. Now, when you send a new message, your message will be identified as the email or phone number that you’ve chosen. If you’ve just switched phone numbers, this can prevent confusion.
If you have an iPad, you can set your messages to be sent from your phone number once it is added from an iPad.
Now, let’s say that you switch over to an Android, and you want to make sure that when iPhone users send you a message, it is sent as a text message and not as an iMessage that you wouldn’t get on your phone. The easiest way to handle this is to go to Apple’s My Support Profile page and delete your old device. Open your device’s page and Unregister the device. You can also reset the password of your Apple ID account from the web which should cause iMessage to log out on your old device, not allowing it to be used for your old phone number any more.
Of course, you’d never leave the iPhone, would you? Right? Don’t tell anyone, but I won’t judge you.
iOS’ devices volume settings are anything but straightforward, what with the different volume levels, switches, and inconsistent rules of what plays sound and what doesn’t when it should be silent. Hopefully this guide will make controlling the volume more clear, so as to understand why some things are loud, and some things are not!
There’s two different volume settings to be aware of: the ringer volume and the sound volume. The ringer volume controls phone ringtones and notification sounds. The sound volume controls the output of sound from games, videos, and music.
Now, it’s possible to control the ringer volume either manually or to have it set to a specific volume. The latter might be handy for those who don’t want to accidentally make their ringer quiet, or just like to have one set volume. Go to Settings->Sounds. Set Change with Buttons to off. Drag the volume slider to your desired setting. Disable Change with Buttons to make the volume buttons always control the sound volume.
Now, music and especially videos run into a fairly annoying problem: they don’t respect the iPhone’s mute switch for playing sounds. Sitting in a meeting, and suddenly that baseball game’s sound starts playing? Awkward! The prevailing thought on Apple’s side seems to be that by playing one of these despite having the silent switch on, that the user wants sound to play. For music, sure, makes sense. For videos, especially live streaming of sports? Nope. Be careful: ensure that the sound volume is muted as well as the ringer volume before starting.
If you want to ensure that you are lowering the sound volume and not just the ringer volume if you have the volume buttons set to control both, double-tap the home button and swipe to the left until you see the volume control. This takes two swipes on iPhone and iPod touch, one on iPad.
This all gets especially confusing considering that the iPod touch and iPad have a virtual mute switch that is all-encompassing, meaning it will quiet music and videos as well. This is available from the multitasking bar as well by double-tapping and swiping left. This is not available on the iPhone, and it will not display on the iPad if your side switch is set to mute. You can configure what the side switch does in Settings -> General.
Finally, the Music section of Settings has some additional olptions for the built-in music app and volume. Sound Check will attempt to level the volume of all songs. Volume Limit will set a maximum volume for listening to music so as to ensure that you don’t blow your ears out with your headphones!
This should hopefully demystify what the different sound settings do. Turn it up to 11! Or don’t.
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 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!
Rob 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.
Carter 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, 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.
Jeff 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.