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Instant Queue Solves the Last Great iPod Dilemma

Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on January 28th, 2011
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

There's a lot of good to be said about the Music app. It makes managing massive music collections as painless as possible, and we can even create and edit playlists on the go now. But there's one feature that I keep quietly wishing for...a queue. Sometimes I like the current song, but not the one I know is coming next; I want to finish this song while being able to pick the next one. Instead, the Music app forces us to either cut off the current song or wait for the song to finish (and then quickly select the song we want next). It's a small annoyance, but still. I like my Apple gadgets to be perfect. I don't want to think about their limitations!

Hence: Instant Queue to the rescue! Instant Queue is a bare-bones solution to the "queueing problem." With Instant Queue, you can select one or more songs to be played next. And...well, that's it, really. Instant Queue will remain running in the background thanks to multitasking, and will automatically play the songs in your queue in order. Note that you can't import playlists or save queues.

I don't know if the "queueing problem" really warrants an entire app, but nevertheless—whenever I run into it, it's like an itch begging to be scratched. To continue the analogy, Instant Queue is a simple, efficient backscratcher. It doesn't try to replicate all of the Music app's features, though it mimics its appearance. Instead, it focuses on solving a single, irritating problem. And solve it it does.

If you, too, suffer from the "queueing problem," check out Instant Queue on the App Store.

Hooga Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Brian Hudson on January 3rd, 2011
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: UNINSPIRED
There's little that's new in Hooga, a by the numbers side-scroller that doesn't impress and suffers from some control issues.
Read The Full Review »

Google Voice Now Available on iPod and iPad

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on December 16th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

After a very long wait Google finally released its Google Voice app for iPhone last month. At the time the app was a true iPhone exclusive, incompatible with any other iOS devices. Now the service has been upgraded so it will work on iPod and iPad, doing everything but sending and receiving calls.

The app allows users access to all the traditional features, including free text messaging to all US numbers as well voicemail transcription for those who want to keep a log of important messages. Also, just because the iPod and iPad can't make phone calls doesn't mean the feature is useless, as Google has introduced a feature called Click2Call which will dial the number listed in Google Voice and then connect the call using the phone of your choice. Granted, it's not terribly convenient but hey, it's a feature nonetheless.

In addition to all this Google also made some general upgrades to the app itself. New features include the ability to disable text notifications when push notifications are already active, a "do not disturb" setting that sends all calls directly to voicemail and a dedicated contacts button on the dialer tab. Basically just a bunch of little improvements meant to streamline the experience and make the app that much more user-friendly.

We're happy to see the Google Voice app spread its wings and become available on other iOS devices, but at the same time we're not totally sure how critical this app is for non-iPhone users. While it's a nice text-messaging and chat service, the primary function of the app is to make and receive phone calls, but that's something the iPod and iPad simply can't do. While this is definitely a nice app, it might also be all but unnecessary for a large percentage of consumers.

[itmsapp: 318698524]

[via Google]

Black Friday Cyber Monday Sales Come to iOS [Updated x10]

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 23rd, 2010

In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition here at 148Apps, we have scoured the web to bring you all the latest and greatest info on Black Friday app sales that are going to be popping up starting this week. Here's the list of our favorite deals and discounts we have seen so far, and we'll keep updating this post with new info as it becomes available. Hide your wallet, because here comes a whole lot of digital goodness at ridiculously low prices.

We've split the list up into Games, Apps, and Navigation apps. There's lots of money to be saved here and we'll be adding to it throughout the weekend. We can't put every single sale app on the list. If you want to see every single app as it goes on sale, head on over to our App Price Drops page. There's a filterable list there that you can see the hundreds of apps that go on sale every day. You can even search just for the app that are now free.

Update 11/23, 1:30pm - Believe it or not we already have an update. Lots of titles from EA and Gameloft added. Also Quickoffice apps and a few others.
Update 11/23, 5:30pm - Lots more added. They just keep coming!
Update 11/23, 10:00pm - Found a few more to add, including a few new apps.
Update 11/24, 8:00am - Added many more games, TomTom apps, and more.
Update 11/24, 5:30pm - Added even more. Will it ever stop? 224 Total now!
Update 11/25, 8:00am - Happy Thanksgiving! Up to 270+ now. Added Activision, more EA, and a bunch of great indie games. Also Sketchbook Pro (for $0.99) and more to the apps list way down below the games.
Update 11/25, 10:00am - Bird is in the oven, what to do now? Update the Black Friday sale app list! 25 more added bringing us to nearly 300!
Update 11/26, 8:00am - Oh my. Turkey coma really took a hold of me last night. Gravy hangover in full effect but we still added 80+ new sale items bringing the total up to 389! And remember, leftover pumpkin pie is the true breakfast of champions.
Update 11/26, 10:00am - added a couple more and due to some issues reported, we've split up the post into multiple pages. Not something we like to do, but it's getting really long and overloading some browsers.
Update 11/27, 12:00pm - prices are still in flux. I've added a few new, noteworthy sales to the top. While many of the following are still available, more and more are going back up in price all the time. I've removed a few that have expired. Make sure you double check the price in iTunes before you purchase the app.
Update 11/29, 9:00am - Black Friday has now morphed in to a whole weekend and the following Monday. While lots of apps on our list below have gone back up in price, a few more have been added to the top of our list. Including the lowest price we've seen for GTA: Chinatown Wars and TomTom USA.

[appsale: 343289842,34.99,Nov 29]
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[appsale: 324804917,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
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[appsale: 336074670,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
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[appsale: 339318700,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
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[appsale: 343439096,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
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[appsale: 345439503,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
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[appsale: 352882640,1.99,Nov 21-25]
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[appsale: 391079920,4.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
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[appsale: 391932188,0.99,Nov 24-28]
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[appsale: 392266604,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
[appsale: 392785292,0.99,Nov 24-?]
[appsale: 392788790,4.99,Nov 24-?]
[appsale: 392915414,0.99,Nov 25-Dec 1]
[appsale: 392917018,1.99,Nov 26-?]
[appsale: 392988136,0,Nov 26-?]
[appsale: 393018687,0.99,Nov 25-?]
[appsale: 393088859,0.99,Nov 23-28]
[appsale: 393762944,0.99,Nov 26-?]

[appsale: 394920810,0,Nov 24-?]
[appsale: 395994024,2.99,Nov 24-?]
[appsale: 396172961,1.99,Nov 25-?]
[appsale: 396470742,1.99,Nov 25-?]
[appsale: 397500453,0.99,Nov 25-?]
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[appsale: 397769519,2.99,Nov 24-?]
[appsale: 397985723,2.99,Nov 23-?]
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Mr. Bill Gets Thanksgiving Update

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 22nd, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Poor Mr. Bill, he just can't catch a break. Next week, when most of us sit down to a gigantic meal and lots of football, he'll be bouncing off turkeys and trying to avoid scarecrows set up by Sluggo with the express purpose of killing him. That's right, Mr. Bill is getting a Thanksgiving update and his pain is your pleasure.

According to Capcom, the new update will add 14 Thanksgiving-themed levels to the standard game, as well as a Thanksgiving-oriented Endless mode which will let Bill bounce, flap and fly as far as you can take him until he meets a grisly end. This brings the total number of levels in the game to 56, alongside four different endless maps. Capcom has also promised that this won't be the last update they add to the game, so hopefully we'll be seeing a winter holiday edition of the title soon. I'm sure trying to maneuver Mr. Bill past reindeer would be quite a challenge.

I've personally got quite a soft spot for Mr. Bill, both because I loved the SNL skits and because it was the first app I ever reviewed for 148. Oh memories, sometimes you're all I have in this world! The game is the perfect mix of simple yet addictive, and it's a great app for those times when you've got a few minutes to kill and want to play a quality game without launching into more in-depth fare.

The new update is free and available right now. If you've already got the app installed on your device then the new "Thanks, but No Thanksgiving" stages will be ready and waiting for you as soon as you install the new data. Now, instead of talking to relatives you only see once a year you'll actually have something fun to do after you eat and before you take the traditional Thanksgiving nap.

[itmsapp: 391795143]

[via TouchArcade]

iOS 4.2 Arrives Today for All Devices, Find My Phone Now Free

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 22nd, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The long wait is finally over as Apple has officially announced that iOS 4.2 will be available for the iPod, iPhone and iPad today at 10am PST, 1pm EST. The new update brings features such as folders, multitasking and a unified inbox to the iPad, as well as AirPlay and AirPrint to all devices. For a full rundown of all the new features make sure to check out the tutorials we posted last week.

Specifically in relation to the iPad, Apple head honcho Steve Jobs said “iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season. Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit.”

One of the less publicized but still incredibly important features is the fact that Apple is extending the Find My Phone service to all users for free. The feature, which allows users to track down lost iOS devices remotely, was previously restricted to MobileMe subscribers. The feature is great for those afraid of losing their device and having sensitive data exposed to the world, as Find My Phone allows you to locate your device on a map, lock it remotely and even wipe data if it's been compromised. Granted, most of us don't really need such a service, but it still makes our lives feel just a little more like a James Bond film, and that's always awesome.

At any rate, we're mere hours away from Apple's next big major operating system update! How excited are you? Are you planning a party to have all your friends come over and you'll all eat snacks and download the update together? We'll bring the dip, but if Susan makes that awful casserole again we're totally leaving right away and will just keep running 4.1 until we get home.

[itmsapp: 376101648]

[via MacRumors and Apple]

Squashbug Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Brad Hilderbrand on November 16th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: SIMPLE EXTERMINATION
A standard squashing game that offers plenty of content but little incentive to care.
Read The Full Review »

iPad and iPhone Top Black Friday Lists

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 11th, 2010

November 26 is a dangerous yet thrilling day to be an American shopper, as it marks Black Friday. As US consumers know, the day after Thanksgiving is typically when retailers offer their biggest sales and best incentives in the hope of kicking the holiday shopping season off with a bang. Further complicating an already hectic day is the fact that if you're looking to buy an iPad or iPhone for a loved one then you'd best make the Apple Store or another electronics retailer your first stop, as they're poised to go fast.

According to a survey conducted by BlackFriday.com, the iPad is the most sought after holiday gift this year, and the iPhone comes in third. That means that if you're looking to buy either item then you might want to go ahead and get in line at your local Best Buy right now, because both are likely to be sold out about ten minutes after the store opens on November 26 and then remain MIA through New Year's. The upside to all this is that the iPod Touch isn't in the top 10 list of most-wanted items (it lands at number 11), so while all the other crazed shoppers are fighting over the other iOS devices you should be able to snap up an iPod with minimal fuss.

What's most surprising about the Black Friday predictions in general is just how tech-centric they are. Every item in the top 15 is some sort of gadget or gizmo, and nearly 60 percent of survey respondents said they wanted some form of electronics as a holiday gift. In fact, tech dominates the list, with most folks saying that they want things with microchips inside them under the Christmas tree this year. And remember, this isn't some tech site running the survey, but rather a general interest website which is devoted solely to helping people find good sales. In other words, its target market is the average American consumer, and it seems that such consumers really want iPads and iPhones. Looks like Apple is shaping up to have a very happy holiday season.

[via BlackFriday.com]

Apple Reentering Bluetooth Arena [Update]

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 10th, 2010

One of the main compliments typically paid to Apple is that the company does a great job of making sleek, attractive hardware that is generally easy to use. That's why it's such a surprise how badly the company has flubbed past attempts at creating first-party Bluetooth headsets for the iOS market. It seems that won't be an issue much longer though, as a recent acquisition should allow Apple to grow much more competitive in the Bluetooth market.

Update: Upon further review, it seems that Apple hasn't acquired Wi-Gear after all. Despite earlier reports, company CEO Mark Pundsack stated, "The rumor is false. Wi-Gear and its IP are still available for sale." What actually transpired is that Wi-Gear co-founder Michael Kim accepted a new position at Apple, but the company he started wasn't part of the deal.

The company has apparently bought Wi-Gear, a small, San Francisco based Bluetooth headset manufacturer which specialized in iOS devices. Wi-Gear created the iMuffs style of headsets as well as releasing a Bluetooth 2.0 adapter which allowed older model iPhones and iPods to play nice with newer gear. Now it seems that the company will begin creating Apple-branded headsets which will become the "official" Bluetooth devices for iOS machines (and possibly Mac as well). As of yet no firm timetable has been set for Wi-Gear's first official Apple product.

With an arrangement such as this the sky is the limit for iOS Bluetooth integration. With a new company brought in specifically to handle this aspect of the business, we may finally see Apple fully embrace the technology, which will be a huge boon to business consumers and those who prefer a hands-free setup. While the iPhone has always supported Bluetooth, making it a focus will likely be a net gain by improving functionality and building features with Bluetooth support in mind. Also, could this mean that future iPhones may even come with an official Apple Bluetooth headset? At this point it's just wishful thinking, but such a pack-in would definitely be welcomed by many consumers.

We'll keep an eye out for any official product announcements from Wi-Gear. We've got our iMuffs plugged into our ears and await their call with more official info.

[via 9to5Mac]

Demon Hunter Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Brad Hilderbrand on November 9th, 2010
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: BEAUTIFUL GAME
Demon Hunter is a deep and entertaining RPG, but the horrible translation makes it hard to enjoy the story.
Read The Full Review »

Fruit Ninja Gets Arcade Mode

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 8th, 2010

Fruit Ninja has consistently been one of the best-selling and most beloved gaming apps available on the iTunes Store, and now this super-entertaining game has gotten even more addictive with the addition of a brand new mode. The game, both in standard and iPad HD varieties is getting support for a brand-new Arcade mode, which looks to be highly entertaining. Among the new features included are:

Double Points – This banana will award you double points for a short period of time. Criticals and combos count too, so rack up those fruit for some massive scores!

Frenzy – If you’re not content with the amount of fruit on screen, the Frenzy banana will take care of that. A mammoth amount of fruit will begin flying in, but you have to stay focused to slice it all!

Freeze – The entire screen will slow down, allowing for maximum accuracy and combo potential!

Each round in Arcade mode lasts for 60 seconds, and at the end you can post your scores and see how you stack up with other members of the fruit slashing community. It's very similar to other Arcade style games such as Bejeweled Blitz, and we all know how ridiculously addictive and popular such games can be. When you're tired of cutting the rope why not go back to cutting the fruit, but this time with a frenzy?

Now that the mysterious "banana mode" which has haunted players for months has finally been revealed we have to ask, what do you think? Is this the sort of thing you had been dreaming of, or would some other new mode have suited the game better? From where I sit, you should be happy I stopped playing long enough to report this news, there are pineapples that must be frozen and then sliced and I'm wasting precious seconds typing instead!

[via TiPb]

Google Instant Making iOS Debut

By Brad Hilderbrand on November 8th, 2010
Google's time-saving search suggestion service is now available to those surfing the web on iOS devices.
Read The Full Review »

SAT Prep Game Available on iOS

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 5th, 2010
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Aspyr and Kaplan have announced that they're teaming up to bring their SAT Prep game, futureU to the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The game was originally launched on PC and the Nintendo DS, and features a number of mini-games which are designed to focus specifically in the reading, writing and math sections of the well-known college admissions test. The core version of the game is available for free on the iTunes Store, and four extended study levels are available for $1.99 each.

“As the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch play an increasing role in how students receive their information, it made sense for us to expand the futureU SAT test prep game to this mobile platform,” said Kaplan’s Executive Director of Pre-College Programs Kristen Campbell “Aspyr’s ability to deliver engaging games to students across multiple-platforms has enabled us to bring futureU to a new audience of SAT preppers.”

So in addition to traditional study books, courses and flashcards students can now cram for the single most stressful exam of their lives on their mobile devices. It's sort of ingenious yet horrifying all at once, as now you truly can take your test prep with you anywhere you go. Just looking at the screenshots of the app is bringing back a wave of sick nostalgia that makes me glad I'm not in high school anymore.

For technology-minded teens though this app may be a godsend, as it gives them a method to study that requires neither book nor sharpened number 2 pencil. Is a high school student more likely to pull out their iPhone to study than they are to text friends or update their Facebook status? Probably not, but at least it's something there to remind them, and maybe even spur them into expanding their vocabulary or working out a couple algebra problems while they're waiting to hear where everyone's meeting up for tonight. You've got to celebrate the small victories, right?

[via FingerGaming]

Infinity Blade Announced for Holidays

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 4th, 2010

Epic has officially announced that Infinity Blade, which up until now has been known as Project Sword, will be coming to iOS devices this holiday season. The game is powered by the Unreal Engine, and has been a hot topic of conversation ever since it was teased at Apple's keynote back in September. Some are expecting this to be the most visually impressive game yet for iOS machines.

Epic also dropped some new gameplay details, giving us our first taste of how the game will play. The company is promising that Infinity Blade will showcase "adrenaline-fueled sword battles and epic boss fights set in the realm of a fully 3D castle." There will be at least some RPG element to the proceedings, as players will gain experience, build stats and buy new items as they progress through the story. We also know that the final boss is called the God-King, which is either pure awesome or a shining example of how lazy some people have become.

One down note is that the game won't have multiplayer at launch, but the good news is that it will eventually come as a free update down the road. Since we don't yet have a firm release date for the game proper we also don't know when the multiplayer will show up, but we'd guess it will arrive in early 2011. There's also been no price announced yet for Infinity Blade, but given the production values and development costs it's likely going to retail for more than $0.99.

You may also want to invest in a convenient charging solution for your iPhone or iPad, as Infinity Blade will most surely be a battery hog. Enjoy playing the game in five minute spurts; that's likely about all you're going to manage to get out of something so resource taxing. Let's just hope your device doesn't die in the middle of the final fight with the God-King, because that would just be tragic.

[via TouchArcade]

The 7th Guest Coming to iOS

Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 4th, 2010

Classic adventure gamers will soon get to open up their inventories and combine excitement with anticipation in order to create pure joy, as Trilobyte Games has announced that they will be porting The 7th Guest to iOS devices. No specifics have been revealed, but the game's teaser trailer is touting a Christmas 2010 release. We'll keep our eyes peeled for any additional details.

Adventure gamers fondly remember The 7th Guest as a pioneering CD-ROM title that helped popularize the medium. The horror title moved over 2 million units in its lifetime, qualifying it as a smash success both for PC gaming in general and CD-ROMs in particular. There is some question as to how well the game will work on iOS devices, but given that the original was very puzzle-centric, the translation to touchscreens should be relatively smooth and painless.

Oh, and as if this news weren't good enough, Trilobyte is also hoping to release the game's sequel, The 11th Hour, as well. Right now the studio is claiming that they'll use 7th Guest proceeds to fund 11th Hour development, so if you want to see the sequel relatively quickly then you and all your friends had best buy up tons of copies of The 7th Guest.

While many casual gamers - or those who aren't intimately familiar with old-school PC gaming - likely won't find much to be excited about here, it's big news for fans of nostalgia gaming. The 7th Guest often stands alongside Myst as one of the twin pillars that built and supported PC-ROM gaming, so the title's return is a big deal if for no other reason as an homage to the games that brought us to where we are right now.

The other great news to come out of this is that we're seeing the resurrection of a studio, as Trilobyte shut down over a decade ago, but is now coming on strong to lead the charge on this port. We'd hate to see anyone else taking over the reins of such a venerated and beloved franchise, so it's great to see the original studio back in the saddle once more. Launch day of The 7th Guest is one we'll all remember, unless of course we come down with a crippling case of amnesia and have to solve a series of demented puzzles in order to remember. Man I sure hope that doesn't happen.

[via TouchArcade]