Tag: Square »
Welcome, one and all, to another 148Apps holiday shopping guide! Are you having trouble figuring out what to get for a distant relative, new neighbor, or estranged second cousin? Thankfully there are people like us putting together handy-dandy holiday shopping guides for you! Whether you’re looking for new hardware and accessories, or just something a bit less impersonal than an iTunes gift card, we’ve got you covered.
Today’s guide is for those creative types in your life. These are the people who like to draw, compose music, sculpt, or otherwise make things with their iOS devices. So long as they enjoy creating, and you’re in need of some gift ideas, you should check out our list below.
Pocket Gamer reports that two new free-to-play Final Fantasy games from Square Enix have sneaked their way onto the App Store in Japan - Final Fantasy: Record Keeper and Final Fantasy: World Wide Words.
In Record Keeper, players take on the role of an Apprentice that jumps into paintings that take them to famous scenes from previous games in the series. The battle system is similar to that found in Final Fantasy: All The Bravest, with players getting to fight alongside Cloud Strife, Zidane Tribal, Luneth, and more.
Meanwhile, the word-battling RPG World Wide Words features the same art style as Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, with players given the task of typing out words to perform attacks against monsters and fast typing rewarded with more powerful attacks.
Nothing has been announced regarding the release of either of these games outside of Japan, but both can be found on the Japanese App Store now and are free to download.
Square Inc has updated their Square Register app, adding in the ability for users to take swiped card payments whilst offline. Once a user opts into offline mode, payments taken offline can be queued up by the app and be processed when connection to the Internet is re-established, allowing businesses to continue operating even when signal has been lost.
Square Register is available to download for free.
CES 2014 - Square and Griffin Technology Reveal Their New Merchant Case for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s
Square has been around for a fair bit now; making digital transactions on-the-go and generally allowing small business owners a convenient way to charge customers using nothing but their iPhone and a tiny add-on. The new Merchant Case they've created in conjunction with Griffin Technology looks to improve upon that convenience.
Aside from simply securing your phone in a sturdy non-slip case, it will also make toting the reader and using cards even easier. There's a spot in the corner of the case allows the Square Reader to slip right in without having to take the case off, and a groove along the bottom that allows credit cards to slide through easily and consistently. And once you're done processing transactions for the day you can simply tuck the Square Reader into a compartment on the back of the case and forget about it until it's time to use it once more.
The Merchant Case + Square Reader set won't be shipping for another couple of weeks, but you can preorder it now for $19.99 on Griffin's website.
Writing has always been a passion of mine because it allows me to express myself. Although while writing is something that I'm passionate about, I also enjoy expressing myself through various other forms like drawing, scrapbooking, and graphic designing. Recently, one area of interest in particular has caught my eye: embroidery. Not just the process of actually embroidering items, but creating digital embroidery designs for others to stitch out with their machines.
Since I own virtually everything Apple, iOS apps have become a major part of my life. There are many apps that I use for my own personal amusement, but most of the apps that reside on the home screen on my iPhone and iPad are there to help me run my small business online. Not only have these apps helped me to get started in doing what I love, they continue to help my business to grow larger.
My main go-to app is Etsy. I set up an Etsy shop a little over a year ago, and it has helped me to achieve more than I could imagine. Most use the Etsy app to browse for unique and handmade items to buy, but there’s another side to Etsy that few know about. With Etsy, I am able to view the essentials about my shop such as orders, revenue, and views, and I can also communicate with buyers through conversations directly on my iPhone. I receive notifications instantly, which ensures that my customers are always getting quick responses. Etsy even allows me to add new items to my shop, change its appearance, and do virtually everything the website offers. My favorite feature is that the app makes a “cha-ching” sound with each sale that I make, which always brightens my day.
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Every week, the 148Apps reviewers sort through the latest apps, 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.
Photoshop Touch for phone (yes phone, not iPhone) is essentially the same app as Photoshop Touch for iPad, which Adobe released last year. Optimized for the iPhone 4S and 5, the same features are present, but the UI has been redesigned for the smaller screen. The app works well, but the small screen size is limiting, even for those of us with small fingers. Still, for Photoshop devotes, the integration of Adobe’s Creative Cloud makes it easy(ish) to start a project on one device and finish it later on another or import it – layers intact – to Photoshop proper on a PC. --Lisa Kaplan
Console and PC/Mac gamers might recall the franchise, Mini Ninjas, the loveable if slightly too simplistic adventure game geared towards the younger end of the market. Unlike its older sibling, the iOS version doesn’t offer anywhere near as much exploration, instead focusing on a very popular genre: the endless runner. Players control Hiro, as he runs from left to right in his bid to rescue animals and survive as long as possible. Obstacles such as boulders and explosive barrels must be jumped over, while enemy ninjas must be taken out with a well timed tap of the attack button. A choice of two control methods are available, the default method involves tapping on the left hand side of the screen in order to jump, while the right hand side initiates an attack. It doesn’t feel quite as natural as it should, so I’d recommend switching to the other form which involves tapping anywhere to jump and a specific button to attack. --Jennifer Allen
Just when it seems like it’s time to give up on a repetitive mobile gaming template, a game like Shadow Escaper comes along and makes up for the next months’ worth of uninspired clones. It’s not a reinvention of the endless runner by any means. However, it is such a beautiful, well-executed take on the genre that players will remember why it keeps sticking around. At the beginning of the Shadow Escaper players pick a creature of the night, either a boy werewolf or girl demon, and then have to guide them through daytime chases from fascist angels and other heavenly beings. Using the silky smooth controls, they’ll seamlessly go from sliding under gates to jumping over falling barrels to running down twisting town roads to even gliding over bodies of water thanks to the occasional power-ups. Players are also encouraged to gather energy during each run because once the sun goes down the characters change into their powerful night forms and unleash whatever energy they have back at the enemy. --Jordan Minor
Since I’ve been playing games for the majority of my life on consoles, I’m fairly awkward and clumsy when it comes to playing them on a computer. Well, it’s mostly the action games. I just can’t adjust to the controls. This is why I never managed to play Capsized when it first came out. I tried, believe me I did, but the keyboard controls were too much for me. On the iPad, though? Much better. Even if it’s a little “floaty.” Stranded on a mysterious alien world, a lone space explorer must locate his surviving crew mates and survive long enough to get back home. Easier said than done when a decent portion of the planet is either carnivorous. Capsized+ takes all the exploration and combat of the original and reworks it to fit on the iPad. The virtual controls are similar to most twin-stick shooters with a few exceptions, so it shouldn’t take players long to acclimate to the new interface. Then they can use commendations earned through play to upgrade their arsenal, their jetpack’s fuel tank, or even unlock new suit designs. --Rob Rich
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of kids' apps and/or Android apps, just head right over to GiggleApps and AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews these sites served up this week:
I Need My Monster is an interactive storybook app based on the children’s book of the same name, now also including a few extras such as a memory-styled matching game and a “Simon” styled mini-game. I know this title well, as I Need My Monster is a story that is often read out loud at our local library’s story time, and when borrowing this book, the pages are worn from being enjoyed by many children. --Amy Solomon
Sofia the First: Story Theatre is a delightful, interactive app based on the children’s animated series on Disney Junior. We are not familiar with Sofia the First in our home so I did not have any expectations about this book. I am happy to say that I am very pleasantly surprised with what this app has to offer. The plot of this story is both very traditional but also has a modern sensibility to it as this tale opens up with Sofia’s mom marrying into a royal family. In this blended family, at first Sofia feels very out of place by becoming newly royal as well as not being treated very well by her new siblings – especially her step-sister. --Amy Solomon
Wildlife Jigsaw Puzzles 123 – Fun Learning Puzzle Game For Kids is a new puzzle app from GiggleUp, a wonderful developer with a hearty library of apps including a very nice selection of puzzle applications.
Wildlife Jigsaw Puzzles 123 is a delightful collection of seven scenes with themes such as Jungle Friends, Forest Critters, Desert Folks or Snow Buddies. --Amy Solomon
Wordsplosion from (Concrete Software) is a word guessing game that taxes the patience, gets fingernails bitten and raises blood pressure. In a good way. It was a pulse-racing game of pick five with a limited amount of tries set against a clock. To win, I had to take the opening hint (I got the first letter) and figure out the remaining four. A wrong guess or a time out counted as a try, so it kind of made sense to guess valid words with the hope of picking up a few more right letters. The correct letters were set aside even if I guessed a word that had them in the wrong position; to explain, if the correct word was “BURST” and I guessed “BRAWN” instead, the “R” was retained in a hold space above the guessing grid. In this way, it was possible to narrow down the alphabet and create a word scramble of sorts. I also got hints, and success yielded more hints. --Tre Lawrence
Platformers may be one of the oldest and simplest forms of video games; so it makes sense that they are the most widely auditioned game type on KickStarter. Even more common are the pixel art varieties because of their ease of production and popular appearance. What we have here for today’s KickStarter Spotlight is something that does not deviate too far from the formula, and yet still manages to impress. The project’s name is Another Castle, and the Mario references and similarities do not end there. The overarching plot of the game involves an intrepid, accidental explorer in a quest for some randomly chosen artifact; be it his girlfriend or a flaming sword. The game is very self-aware and makes it part of the story that it blatantly sends the player from castle to castle because, of course, the item is always “in another castle”. --Joseph Bertolini
[img id="sc03-180x300.png"]Zach Gage’s SpellTower is a game that is a long time coming to Android; released initially in 2011 (and winner of the 2011 Best App Ever award for word games, with a 2012 runner-up finish), two years later it’s now available for Android devices. The goal is to spell words on the board by connecting a line between letters that are adjacent horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Forming a word eliminate the tiles on the board, the important thing being that the tiles will fall when a match is made. Thus, the game becomes not just about forming words, but about the interplay of the tiles as well. Thus, the game is more than just a word game, it’s a puzzle game as well. The game reportedly had its genesis in that the creators of another game, Puzzlejuice, described the game to Zach Gage and he made his interpretation of it, despite not being a fan of word games. --Carter Dotson
While credit card readers like Square are targeted toward end users who may want to collect occasional credit card payments, for those who are looking to make the iPhone a major part of their retail business, Cashier Live is hoping to fill that void.
The app can transform the iPhone into a full point-of-sale device. Barcodes can be scanned with the camera to be added to an order. Receipts can be emailed to customers. Inventory can be managed with the app, and the app can be integrated with Milo to help keep track of inventory. Reports can be tracked with the Cashier Live website from any computer’s web browser. While cash and check payments can be handled through the app, adding a Linea Pro scanner can add credit card payments along with a traditional barcode scanner to the iPhone. This all works with the iPod touch as well. Cashier Live is free to download, and new users can sign up for a free 30-day trial to use the service.
We've all used the old fashioned clunky cash drawer in a store, but how about a future where this expensive and heavy item is no longer needed? The release of Square Register has made that a bit more likely, thanks to the app's ability to accept card and cash payments via an iPad.
Square Register is ideal for the small business owner. Once the user signs up to the service, they're provided with a free Square Card Readee. With a compatible cash drawer and receipt printer, it's possible to take cash payments at a tap of a button. While card payments invoke a fee of 2.75% a transaction, cash payments are free to take making this an ideal app for those business owners dealing with small yet regular sums of cash.
It's quick to sign up for, as well. Numerous analytical services are then made available so that the user can track their sales, what times of day are their busiest, how many tips have been accrued, and even tax-based inquiries.
It's possible to keep track of what items have been sold and for how much, as well as create a loyalty program for customers. Electronic receipts can be provided instantly via SMS or email, but paper receipts are still an option.
It's all very clever stuff and a great space and money saver for the business owner.
The Square Register app is available now for free.
We’ve been closely following the buzz surrounding Square, the latest tech startup from Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and Chairman of Twitter and now it’s live worldwide with its app available on the App Store.
Square is an ingenious app and payment service that allows anyone from a single user to businesses to accept credit card payments anywhere using just an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Those who sign up to the free Square service available at Squareup.com will receive a free card reader that plugs into the audio jack of your device and allows for cards to be swiped. Card details can be entered into the app manually if no reader is present. Receipts and photo verification are included with the service so users are sure of secure transactions with signatures signed on the iPhone screen.
In an open letter on the Square website, Jack Dorsey said:
“Square intends to bring immediacy, transparency, and approachability to the financial world. We want to enable all people to accept payments instantly, with access to all the information they need, in a way that feels amazing and engaging.”
This service will come as a great benefit to smaller businesses or mobile vendors who no longer need to put complex payment systems into place to complete transactions on the road or in person. Square is also keen to point out that, while attractive to the business market, the service is ideal for personal use too and uses the example of a man selling a sofa to his friend using his iPhone and Square.
The environmental benefits of the service are also clear with no paper bills or receipts created from any transaction. Square also points out that it can inform businesses of its repeat customers meaning loyalty cards may be a thing of the past.
So what’s the catch for this free service? It seems there really isn’t one. By comparison to other payment services, Square is a very reasonable option with no contracts or monthly minimums. Square takes a small percentage of each transaction, currently 2.75% +15 ¢ with the card present and 3.5% +15¢ when the card number is keyed in. That’s it!
Of course, a service like Square may take a little time to grow but, if it’s as easy to use as is promised and continues to offer the environmental and financial benefits it does currently, we could likely see Square becoming the default payment service in stores around the world.
After all, it’s not like Mr Dorsey’s other company is doing badly right now.
It began with a Disney Store pilot program where staff would ring out customers via an iPod Touch. A system that was so successful Apple rolled the handhelds into all of their retail stores replacing their well weathered Windows CE-based EasyPay system. Recent reports are indicating Apple is even considering opening this up to widespread commercial use. While great for large retail businesses, the EasyPay Touch units are simply too bulky and overpowered to really be useful for all of the small businesses out there.
Thus the Square is born! A company brought to life by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has created a adapter for reading "payment cards from any device with an audio input jack, including your mobile phone," as stated on their website. Still in beta testing, the Square is expected to launch sometime in early 2010. They certainly aren't the only ones eyeing this highly untapped and potentially very profitable market though.
Morphie, the company which has been mainly focused battery packs for the iPhone, is the newest player to the game and they are certainly going to be steep competition. Released today was information on a Credit Card Reader which will be specifically designed for the iPhone/iPod Touch that will be accompanied by its own specially made app to run it. Details are still sketchy right now with more being promised at CES 2010 but based on the mockups alone its already creating a stir in the community. Make sure to check back early and often next week for our coverage of CES and hopefully more info on this guy.