Sure 148Apps is known far and wide for its diverse array of app reviews, but we also love to spotlight some lesser-known developers, review the occasional piece of useful hardware, and challenge developers to duke it out in their own games. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the past year:
Jennifer Allen:What’s your favorite thing about iOS development?
11 Bit Studios: We are producers of PC and console games too, and iOS development is pretty different. The entire design process begins (after typical dev brainstorm for game’s main theme is over, hehe) with thinking about how to make touchscreen gameplay enjoyable in the project. At least that’s our way. We believe this particular gaming platform is based on the controls in the first place. PC games may be pad-controlled, keyboard-controlled, mouse-controlled or even be turn-based in a model where controls are totally less important comparing to story. That, of course, does not mean we are not putting attention to story, visuals et cetera, but there’s something in the statement, that iOS development is very controls-oriented. And those controls are all about tapping and finger-swiping.
Jennifer Allen:What was the inspiration behind Zombies & Trains?
Tor Martin Kristiansen: We actually weren’t that interested in making a game about zombies, since it seemed like every other day, someone made a game about them. We were focusing on coming up with an idea that sounded cool when you shared it with other people. At some point, almost as a joke, we started discussing ways of disposing of zombies that hadn’t been used in games or movies, and the idea of a train blasting through a zombie-horde came up. It immediately struck us as an idea that we just had to try, and we made a simple demo that was so much fun to play. And it was incredibly challenging, something we liked!
Continue reading 148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up – Developers, Hardware, and Carter »
This is it – the end of our strange and wonderful shopping journey for the year. We know it can be tough to know what to get for someone for the holidays – anyone, really, regardless of how well you know them. We’d like to think that these shopping guides have been of some help. Even if you didn’t go after anything on these lists there’s the chance that something sparked an idea, which resulted in a successful gift. At least that’s what we’d like to think.
Other 148Apps Holiday Gift Guides: for the [Heath Nuts] [Socializers] [Creative Types] [Gamers]
Today’s guide is for the intense “power users” you may know. Business folks, diehard Apple fans – anyone who tends to push their device’s battery to the limits every day, mostly. If you’re looking for something to make their trips easier, help out at the office, or even just keep their iPad running for a few more hours, check out our list below for some ideas.
iKit NuCharge Battery Case for iPhone 5
The iKit NuCharge Battery Case ($89 – iPhone) is a compact, lightweight case that allows users to charge their phone on-the-go. It’s pretty much perfect for commuters, travelers, and anyone who spends large chunks of time away from their charger, really. It’s a great way to keep a phone working so no important calls are missed, or even allowing for enough time to watch Home Alone while waiting at the airport. [Our Review]
The NuCharge case is a great all-around piece of hardware to have, but it pairs particularly well with essential work-related apps like Triage ($0.99 – iPhone), Appoint ($3.99 – iPhone), and Reeder 2 ($4.99 – Universal). You won’t have to worry about running out of juice while answering important emails, last-minute changes to an itinerary, and keeping up on feeds.
ZaggKeys Cover for iPad Mini
If you’ve got an iPad Mini and plan to use it for anything other than basic web browsing, email reading, and gaming, then you’ll probably want to check out the ZaggKeys Cover for iPad Mini ($99 – iPad Mini). It’s well-built, has a sturdy hinge, is slim enough to be conveniently portable, allows users to place their iPad in backwards (i.e. they can use the iPad without awkwardly leaving the keyboard open or separating it entirely), and the keys are backlit. Kind of a no-brainer for any iPad Mini owner, really. [Our Review]
With a fancy iPad Mini keyboard like this, why not consider a writing app or two? Write for iPad ($1.99 – iPad) is a good coice for someone looking to write just about anything on the go, while Infinite PDF ($9.99 – iPad) offers up an extensive suite of PDF managing tools. It’s a combination that’s handy for presentations, setting up book layouts, and so on.
Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover
The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover ($99 – iPad) is one iPad keyboard that I’m particularly fond of. It offers some decent screen protection, pops on and off easily but is also strong enough not to accidentally fall off on its own, and makes for an incredibly sturdy stand. This is another one that’s idea for anyone who does a lot of writing for any reason, as well as for those who like to give presentations with their iPad [Our Review]
With those two factors in mind (presentations and writing), why not think about OmniPlan 2 for iPad ($59.99 – iPad) or Air Display 2 ($9.99 – iPad) as a digital pack-in with your gift? OmniPlan is ideal for organizing large projects and managing teams down to their smallest details. Air Display, on the other hand, would go incredibly well with the Ultrathin’s functionality as a stand and allow the user to turn their iPad into a second computer monitor.
Dodocase Folio for iPad
Let’s take a step back from all the super-intense stuff for a moment and appreciate the Dodocase Folio for iPad ($124 – iPad). It’s a very sturdy, functional, and elegant case that would look great on any professional’s iPad. It includes large pockets on the inside flap for notes and such, a little spot along the fold for a pen or stylus, and has this marvelous “old book” appearance when closed. It makes the iPad a bit more bulky, but it’s still ideal for anyone who prefers to stay organized (and look good while doing it!). [Our Review]
SanDisk Wireless Media Drives
The SanDisk Wireless Media Drives ($50 to $100 – iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) serve as an ideal alternative to cloud storage. They vary in price and available storage space, but any of them can be useful in a variety of situations. Loading up a bunch of movies to stream to an iOS device later (thus sparing the device’s own storage space) is only one example. The drives also allow users to upload their own media files from their device – so tons of photos from a family trip, video from an on-location film shoot, and more can all be transferred with little effort or fuss. [Our Review]
You might want to consider including It’s Playing Pro ($4.99 – Universal) with one of those drives, as according to our own Jeff Scott it’s actually a much better app to use for streaming video playback than the suggested official SanDisk app. Say&Go ($0.99 – iPhone) is another good fit, since users would be able to record all the voice memos and notes they could stand without worrying about using up their device’s storage. Photo apps such as FancyCam ($1.99 – iPhone) are also a great fit due to the photo/storage combo.
NeatConnect Cloud Scanner
Whether working from home in a personal office or on a trip with a portable one, the NeatConnect Cloud Scanner ($499 – iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) is definitely something to consider. This wireless document scanner doesn’t require the use of a computer of any kind. Instead, it can scan and upload documents (saved as PDF, JPG, and more) directly to cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive. This means it would be a snap for someone to scan a few receipts to load onto their iPhone for expense tracking, or important paperwork that they’d be able to transfer to their iPad and fiddle with. Greyscale, color, black and white, or two-sided – it makes no difference to this scanner. [Our Review]
So why not include something like Polaris Office ($0.99 – Universal) with it? This mini office-on-the-go app even supports Dropbox file transfers, so it’d be a snap to upload documents with the NeatConnect and then download them straight to Polaris Office. PDF Expert 5 ($9.99 – iPad) is another great fit, what with it being newly redesigned for iOS 7 and receiving a sizable amount of new features – namely the Review mode that allows users to edit and make notes on PDF files.
Dropcam Pro ($199 – iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) isn’t about productivity, but about peace of mind. The camera connects to a home network and can be accessed through an iOD device in order to watch the house while on a trip, keep an eye on the kids or pets from work, and plenty of other scenarios. Setup is easy, video streams can be kept private or shared with specific individuals (or made entirely public if one so chooses), and the app even knows to turn the camera off once the user comes home. Of course you’ll also want to grab the free official Dropcam app to go with it. [Our Review]
Feel free to peruse our Editor’s Choice selections for more top-rated office/travel/business-friendly app ideas.
Posted by Andrew Stevens
on November 21st, 2013
Logitech has announced a new iOS controller called the Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery, which works with the iPhone 5, 5s, and iPod Touch 5th gen and is now available for $99.99. It features a D-pad, two shoulder buttons, and 4 action buttons. Yes, that means that there are no dual analog sticks with this one.
The controller does feature powering capabilities that increases the length of time users can enjoy their game playing, though. It also lets users power the controller and phone while both are still connected. Current games that support the controller include Bastion, Galaxy on Fire 2 HD, Limbo, Lego Lord of the Rings, Asphalt 8, and more.
“We designed this controller to deliver a true console-gaming experience on an iOS 7 mobile device,” said Ehtisham Rabbani, general manager of the Logitech gaming business, in a press release. “With gaming so pervasive on the mobile platform – our research shows that 87% of iPhone and iPod touch users play games on their device – it’s time to revolutionize the experience.”
Alright, so I have to clarify: when I reviewed the K810 Bluetooth keyboard from Logitech this past December, I called it the best keyboard I’d ever used.
Today, I have to revise that conclusion, as the Logitech K811 Bluetooth keyboard is now, hands-down, my favorite keyboard, Bluetooth or otherwise.
This model has the same delightful feel as the K810, and really, it’s the same device with one telling difference: the Command key. While I used the K9810 fairly often, and still do if I’m connecting to a Windows device, the K811′s Mac-flavored keyboard layout is stunningly familiar, and enables me to stop fussing about with remembering what Windows-style button I need to press when I need a Command key (the Windows key) or an Option key (the Alt key, of course).
The Logitech Illuminated Easy Switch Keyboard for Apple devices is super easy to use and pair. I’ve got it connected to my Apple TV (go firmware updates!), my iPad mini, and my Mac mini (itself attached to my HDTV in my living room). The F1, F2, and F3 keys are switcher keys, meaning that in order to use one of the paired devices, I simply press the F key that corresponds to the device I want to use. I write with my iPad mini and my Mac mini running at the same time. When I need to chat with co-workers via Skype on the iPad mini, I hit the F3 key. When I want to type on the Mac mini (like I am right now), I hit the F1 key. When I’m bored with it all and want to relax with a little bit of Netflix, I hit the F2 key and the keyboard seamlessly switches to the Apple TV. It’s all wonderfully easy.
Pairing to any device is as simple as pressing the Connect button, which is recessed on the bottom of the keyboard, and then pressing the F key I’d like to pair a device to. I’ve never had to drop into Bluetooth preferences on any of the Apple devices I’ve paired the keyboard to, and it remembers its own settings even when I turn the K811 off with the rather lovely side toggle on/off switch. This switch is a life saver, too, keeping me from accidentally turning on iTunes, for example, or powering up an iPad when it’s in my messenger bag.
The look of the keyboard is very Apple through and through, with black keys, white letters, and a silvery background. The illumination is bright but not blinding, letting me see the keys in all sorts of lighting conditions. The keyboard charges with a micro USB cable, something I happen to have a billion of, and seems to not need a charge that often, even with continuous, heavy use.
I’d recommend the Logitech Easy Switch Illuminated Bluetooth K811 keyboard to anyone who wants a comfortable, ergonomic typing device that instantly switches from one Apple device to another. At $99.00, it’s a bit pricey, but completely worth it.
Posted by Andrew Stevens
on May 22nd, 2013
Logitech has created a wired keyboard for the iPad which is the first one made specially for use in the classroom. The Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad is designed for easy connectivity by simply plugging it in, making it easier on students and teachers, and has a key lifespan of more than five million strokes. With the wired keyboard, no longer will users need to put up with limited space on screen due to the touch screen keyboard, making it easy to type and read. I do like that!
“While tablets are enabling new ways of teaching and testing, there’s a challenge when a teacher needs to simultaneously pair multiple iPads with multiple wireless Bluetooth keyboards. We developed the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad to specifically solve this problem, so students can now simply plug it in and start typing.” said Mike Culver, VP and GM of mobility at Logitech, in a press release.
The keyboard is set to release in August for a retail price of $59.99.
When I received the Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810, I was excited. HEre was a keyboard that I could use with my iPad and iPhone, as well as my Macbook, on the go. I end up hanging out in quite a few places where I need to write, and a fuller sized keybaord makes that possible with the iPad mini I seem to be carrying around, as well. I’ve taken my Apple wireless bluetooth keyboard around with me, so wanted to see how this K810 illuminated model would do in comparison.
As a typing platform, the K810 shines. Pun intended. It’s solidly built, feels well-engineered and produced, and is a delight to type on. the keys are spaced far enough apart that it feels comfy to use in any configuration; even on my lap (which is how I’m typing this review right now: iPad mini on the arm of my recliner, Logitech keyboard in my lap). The battery is rechargeable, another leg-up on the Apple keyboard, via a micro USB port on the left hand side of the unit. The power toggle switch is on the right side of the unit on the vertical face. It’s a solid-feeling toggle, too; very well put together.
Where the keyboard really blasts past my previous favorite Apple bluetooth keyboard is in the three-device switching ability. ONce the keyboard is initially paired to one device, it can then be paired with up to two more at the same time. Switching between devices is then handled via the F1, F2, F3 keys. I was able to pair the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard to my iPad, my iPhone, and my MacBook Air all at once; pressing the corresponding F key allowed me to type first on the iPad, then the MacBook Air, then the iPhone in a text message, then back to the iPad. It’s no muss, no fuss configuration and wow is it useful.
The illumination is a nice extra, even in low light. It doesn’t seem to affect the battery life too much, as I’ve only charged this bad boy once in a two week period. I’d say it has aa much if not more battery life than the Apple keyboard, though I didn’t measure the specific times each needed a recharge or new batteries (in the Apple keyboard’s case).
My only niggling issue is the Windows-centric labeling on the bottom row–Alt for Option, Windows symbol instead of an Apple Command key symbol. If Logitech makes a version of the K810 with Apple symbols on it, then it would be my perfect keyboard. THey do, however, make something similar for the Mac, called the Easy Switch keyboard, but I was not sent that unit to review.
For now, the Logitech Illuminated Bluetooth Keyboard K810 is still my go-to keyboard for all applications: writing on the iPad, using my MacBook Air with an external monitor and mouse, and for answering text messages on my iPhone wile working on the computer at the desk, or using the iPad in my armchair. My accuracy and speed is not affected at all, especially since I’m used to using the smaller format of the Apple wireless keyboard.
Fresh off the announcement of their solar-charging bluetooth keyboard case for the iPad, Logitech is back with a new solar-charging keyboard, the Wireless Solar Keyboard K760. However, there’s one powerful feature in this keyboard that will make it extremely attractive to power users: it has the ability to pair and switch between multiple devices. This means that it could easily be connected to the Mac, then taken to another room with the iPad, and then on the go with the iPhone, with its ability to switch between three devices. The multiple device support, combined with the fact that it doesn’t need to have its batteries replaced, and its similar layout to the official Apple Bluetooth keyboard, may make it a more attractive option for anyone shopping for an Apple-compatible keyboard. Now, if only they could find a way to make the Magic Trackpad solar-powered. That thing eats through AA batteries like Pac-Man. The Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 will be available this June for an MSRP of $79.99.
Logitech has announced a new iPad accessory that’s a really bright idea – literally. The Logitech Solar Keyboard Folio is a folio-style case with a built-in Bluetooth keyboard that will work for typing on the iPad, with support for the iPad 2 and the new iPad. The internal rechargeable batteries are charged by light, whether it be the sun, or even light from indoor lamps. The battery capacity is such that Logitech claims that on a full charge, the battery will last 2 years at a rate of 2 hours daily usage. This sounds bold, but the Logitech Keyboard Case by Zagg can easily go months between charges as well.
The solar cells appear to be on the outer side of the folio holding the keyboard, so it appears as if charging while typing is not possible. The case is designed to hold the iPad in two ways: one for typing, and the other for media watching, where only the front row of keys which contains media keys is available. The case is expected to retail for $129.99, and can be preordered now from Logitech’s website.
Ostensibly, the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG is made for the iPad 2, which is how I received it for review. When I got my new iPad, I was ready for it to almost but not quite fit. Luckily, it fits pretty darn well–perhaps even better than with the iPad 2, which some users report as having a bit of looseness to it. So, here’s the review, taking into consideration both the iPad 2 and the new iPad.
Bottom line? This keyboard is a win, making it completely feasible to use an iPad as a laptop replacement. Of course, that really depends on the user, but as a writer, email & web surfer, the addition of a keyboard that is always with the iPad yet still easily removable is the key.
The keyboard itself is solidly built, with a rugged, non-flexible feel to it. The brushed aluminum finish perfectly matches the back of the iPad, and when the iPad is snugged into the keyboard case, face-first, it’s hard not to see it as an actual laptop. It’s like a Macbook Air, in fact, only a bit smaller.
The defining feature of a keyboard is, of course, the feel and usability of the keys. I’ve used several folio-type keyboards with mushy, too-small keys. The Logitech Keyboard Case is not one of those. The keys feel solid under my fingers, with just the right amount of resistance. I’d compare it to my iMac keyboard in feel, while it’s a bit smaller than the standard bluetooth keyboard Apple makes. It only took me a few minutes to get used to the different size of and distance between keys, and I have fairly large hands and fingers.
The New iPad Fits Snugly
I really like the protection offered by the Logitech Keyboard Case, though it does add a bit of weight to the iPad. In my unofficial testing of the weight difference between my 11-inch Macbook Air and the new iPad with the keyboard case attached (read that as holding one in each hand and balancing them, schoolyard-style), I’d have to say that it’s almost as heavy as the Air, if a bit lighter. Ultimately? It’s pretty darn light and useable.
The rubber bumpers on the inside of the case protect from impact damage, and hold on to the iPad when closed in. It’s a very nice way to keep the iPad safe, though I suppose the back of the iPad and the camera can still get scratched. That’s not something that concerns me, personally, though. I’ve not had any problem with either version of the iPad falling out when snugged in tight.
All in all, the Logitech Keyboard Case by ZAGG for iPad 2 is a solid investment for anyone wanting to use their iPad as more of a laptop. Our very own Carter Dotson used his iPad with the keyboard case to report from the show floor of GDC and found it very acceptable. It will snugly fit both the iPad 2 and the new iPad (sorry iPad 1 owners) well, with the advantage going to the new iPad for fit.
This week at 148Apps.com, site editor Rob LeFebvre took an in-depth look at the new Logitech Wireless Boombox. LeFebvre writes, “Logitech’s newest addition to the device genre is by far the best I’ve played with. The sound is amazing for such a small footprint; the lows are deep and rich, the highs successfully bright without becoming too brittle.
The hardware itself is smooth, sleek and rounded. The dip in the middle, where an old school boombox would have held a tape deck, is just right for a hand to grasp it, obviating the need for an extruded handle. The unit feels solid, like it would hold up to some roughness in handling. The plug and line-in jacks are thoughtfully covered with a rubber flap, protecting from dust or mist. In the back of the unit sits a flip out stand, one that folds flat against the boombox for easy travel.”
Read the full review on 148Apps.com.
GiggleApps.com celebrated what’s left of winter with Amy Solomon’s review of Into the Snow: A Stella and Sam Adventure. Solomon states, “Not only are these puzzles fun and interactive, but I appreciate how Stella creates a motif around each puzzle once created, also showing as a faint gray drawing in the snow, demonstrating what one can do with one’s imagination, as the stick man turns into a soccer player or as the additional details are added to the sailboat which are also made from sticks. They then include an ocean full of waves and a “show shark” that moves with the tap of a finger as well as birds seen in the distance. I really enjoy the basic style of art used in these snow drawings, childlike and reminiscent of the illustrations found in Harold and the Purple Crayon.”
Read more at GiggleApps.com.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-10 :: Category: Games
Read more on this developing story at 148Apps.biz.
That’s a wrap on another week that was. Join us next week for another week that has passed….or something like that. In the meantime, keep up to date on the latest app reviews, news and contests by following us on Twitter or liking our page on Facebook. Bye now!
Bluetooth speakers rock my world. I love being able to run music from my iPhone to a nearby speaker without having to tether it with a cable. While the BT connection does not keep my iPhone charged, the payoff in mobility is worth it.
Logitech’s newest addition to the device genre is by far the best I’ve played with. The sound is amazing for such a small footprint; the lows are deep and rich, the highs successfully bright without becoming too brittle.
The hardware itself is smooth, sleek and rounded. The dip in the middle, where an old school boombox would have held a tape deck, is just right for a hand to grasp it, obviating the need for an extruded handle. The unit feels solid, like it would hold up to some roughness in handling. The plug and line-in jacks are thoughtfully covered with a rubber flap, protecting from dust or mist. In the back of the unit sits a flip out stand, one that folds flat against the boombox for easy travel.
What’s brilliant about a bluetooth speaker system is the ability to play music from any source. I was able to send streams of music to the Logitech device from a Macbook Air, a Mac Mini, an iPhone and an iPad. Pairing is simple and consistent with other bluetooth devices; hold the button for pairing, marked by a big Bluetooth logo, until it flashes blue. Open the preferences on the sound source and choose the Logitech Boombox, already named and ready in the list of devices available.
The only small issues I noticed? The boombox did not wake from sleep when I used my iPhone to start playing again, even when plugged into a wall. It would be nice if, when connected to power, the boombox would wake and connect to the last connected source device. It was only a simple matter of pressing the power button on the Logitech device, though, and the music was restored.
The second issue? Battery life seems a bit short. The length of time the boombox lasts seems limited to one or two albums at a time when not connected to a plug. Enough for a short time out of doors, perhaps, but nothing to rely on for longer periods. The unit does, however, lower the folume and flash a yellow light when the battery life is low–a handy visual feature.
As of now, this is my favorite external speaker for all the Bluetooth capable gadgets around the house. I’ve been using it for gaming, playing music, and watching netflix on my iPad. The Logitech Wireless Boombox for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch got it right with its rich spectrum of sound response, great industrial design curves, and easy pairing of Bluetooth devices.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Logitech's Touch Mouse isn't the first foray into turning your iDevice into a mobile touch device for your computer, but it may be the easiest to use. Read The Full Review »