Apps

Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney for iPhone- app review

Phoenix Wright is Capcom's latest game for the iPhone. It's a port of a port (GameBoy to Nintendo DS to iOS) that still retains it's fun factor through the years and is a great addition to any iOS gamer. The concept behind Phoenix Wright is simple; you are a new a attorney and you have taken on your first criminal case as a defense attorney for your best friend from high school, Larry Butz, and he is accused of murder!

The main game play takes place in the court room. Just like any court case, you are given evidence that you can reference at any time from the court record. And you WILL need to reference it as your clients future depends on it.

Your first case deals with Larry's girlfriend's murder. The witness pins Larry as the killer... but is he? This is where the fun begins. It is up to you to prove his innocence. In the courtroom you listen to the witness testimony and try to find holes in it based on the evidence you have in your possession. Regretfully, I can't give away too much more without spoiling the story... There are additional levels though and each one gets more and more challenging, you even move out of the courtroom to gather evidence yourself.

As fun as the game is, the writing is geared towards a younger audience. Even though the subject matter is adult, it often uses "childish humor" to get points across at times. Though I shrug this off, it may bother some adult gamers, kids will love it. But I do admit, I chuckled from time to time. It is important to note that this game is not 3D but instead kind of like one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. The game is based primarily on reading and critical thinking skills and lends itself as a quick pick up and play game, but you will be spending some quality time with it. The good news is that you can save anytime and it usually places you right at the spot you were last at in the story.

In the end I found Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney very enjoyable and fun. Was it challenging? Yes. Was the crude humor at times? Yes. Will I play it again? Most definitely.

[$4.99- iTunes Link]

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Apple Store app for iPhone now in App Store

Looks like Apple has finally released an Apple Store mobile application for the iPhone.  I would have thought we'd see this a lot sooner but we all know Apple.  Looks like you can not only browse the store, but search for Apple Stores close to you and even make appointments with the Genius Bar.

As of now, it's only showing up in the US app store, so those of you in other countries, feel free to let us know when you see it show up in yours.  Given iPhone 4 pre-order madness is upon us, I can't access the Apple Store to test it so if it gives you problems just wait a while and try again when the the pre-order insanity dies down.

Jump to the break to see some basic screenshots, and I'll add more once the Apple Online Store is up and running again.

[iTunes link]

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Official Apple retail store application for iOS set to launch?

MacRumors says they are recieving several reports from their sources claiming that Apple is ready to debut their official retail store application for all iOS devices.

"Apple is planning to launch a new iOS application tomorrow that will offer customers access to the company's online store and iPhone pre-ordering, as well as the ability to book Genius Bar appointments at brick-and-mortar retail stores."

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MindNode for iPad- app review

I am always looking for tools to help me be more productive. I am very excited over discovering MindNode. MindNode is a suite of mind mapping products across multiple Apple platforms that allows you to brainstorm or mind map out thoughts and ideas. MindNode is available as a universal app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad as well as a free and paid version for the Mac. Today I will be looking at the iPad version, but functionality is the same across apps.

You start off with a simple node. That node can be an idea or thought, perhaps an object. You can rename the node to what ever you like. From here, you can add another node by tapping the plus icon. You can really start to branch out quickly too. You can branch from the main node, any children nodes, or just make a new node from scratch. If you find your ideas are taking over on a particular node, you can detach it and make it a new node.

To help differentiate nodes and thoughts, you can change colors of the connector lines and the node itself. You can even setup the colors that will be used and what order they appear if you like. If you need to move around a node, simply drag the title to a new location, or you can cut, copy or paste by double-tapping on the node. To help keep your mind maps organized, MindNode gives you the ability to search within your document and look at a list of all of the existing nodes and their parent-child relationships in your document.

Sharing documents is a snap in MindNode. You have several options at your disposal:

  • Mail to MindNode
  • Freemind
  • png
  • Text Outline
  • OPML Outline

Desktop:

  • WiFi sharing with MindNode Pro only
  • Websharing, provides URL, port and user name/password

For all that MindNode does it is an incredible value. The ease of exporting is a particular plus in such a specific type of product. If you enjoy visually brainstorming ideas, concepts and more, MindNode for iOS is a fantastic product that helps to make us more productive.

[$5.99- iTunes Link]

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How-to build or edit a custom iPhone theme

The jailbreak community offers an abundance of tools that allow you to make your iPhone fit your personality and mood.  If you're anything like me, I can be pretty picky about layouts and exactly how my phone is set up.  I want all my most frequently used apps in one place, neat and tidy, and ready to use.

For some iPhone users, that plain black background and all the stock icons get pretty boring.  I change my theme on my iPhone a couple times a month, if not more.  There are several jailbreak tools that can help turn your iPhone from boring, to brilliant.

There's always one problem with paid and free themes, you get what the theme developer gives you.  There may be some theme elements you don't like at all, or ones that are missing that you'd like to add.  There are several ways to edit themes and customize them to fit you individually. Today, we'll show you how to do just that.

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Apple Slightly Changes Terms in Section 3.3.2 Dealing With Cross-Compiling and Use of Interpretors

The iOS 4 GM seed (gold master) released during WWDC 2010 once again made changes to Section 3.3.2 of Apple's licensing agreement -- specifically the part that deals deals with the use of cross-compilers.  The changes this time around may not make things all better, but it could make things slightly better for some developers.  Matt Drance had this to say about the change to Section 3.2.2:

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1Password on Safari 5 extensions, designing for iPad, and iPhone 4 - TiPb at WWDC 2010

During WWDC 2010 I had a chance to sit down with the team from Agile Web Solutions -- Roustem, Dave, Jamie, Dan, and Chad -- to talk not only about their newly launched 1Password for iPad, but about the big news of the show including official browser extension support from Apple in Safari 5, and of course iPhone 4 and iOS 4.

Apple called Agile about their new Safari 5 extensions before they debuted in hopes of having a demo ready for the show. Dave found the preview was polished and well documented and it took them only a few days to put something together. That sounds like good news not only for developers but for Safari users as well.

Agile also said making the iPad version was a chance to start from scratch and figure out how users were going to interact with the larger, wider display, and with the ability to do things like scrolling independently with each thumb.

While I used 1Password on Mac long before the iPhone debuted, Roustem pointed out they now have a whole new user base introduced to their product via the iPhone and iPad and with no Mac-based preconceptions. While the iPhone and iPad versions [iTunes link] are great for Mac or Windows users as an extension, Agile is also working to help iPhone and iPad-only users get more out of it as well.

As for iPhone 4 -- they want it. (Even if Dan has to re-render his artwork at higher resolution to support it). Chad's also looking forward to iOS 4 multitasking and like the way it runs select API rather than full apps in the background.

(Though I suspect they were just humoring me when I asked for Game Center integration so I could see where my 63 character pseudo-random passwords place on the leaderboard compared to Leanna's!)

You can find out more about 1Password for Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad, and the newly acquired Knox, via Agile's web site, below. Video after the break.

[Agile Web Solutions]

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Apple's magic developer numbers: 100, 100 million, and 1 billion

We've all heard huge numbers thrown around as measures of iPhone and iPad App Store success -- over 200,000 apps and 5 billion downloads being some of the most recent and most impressive. There's a couple of other numbers that are even more interesting when it comes to iPhone and iPad development: 100, 100 million, and 1 billion.

Roughly 100 million iOS devices have been sold to data and they are all broadly software compatible. There's some fragmentation to be sure -- older devices are slower, there's no cameras (yet) on the iPod touch and iPad, no GPS in iPod touch, iPad Wi-Fi, and the iPhone 2G. Apple mitigates this somewhat by offering services such as CoreLocation where, if no GPS is found, it gracefully degrades down to cell tower triangulation or Wi-Fi router mapping. Even the iPad with its odd-device-out 1024x768 display will frame iPhone apps or pixel double them, which is awkward but still workable, still compatible. When iPhone 4 ships, it will be precisely double the vertical and horizontal pixel count of previous generations, meaning older apps will simply look the same as they did before (using 4 pixels in the space they used to use 1).

Likewise, most iOS devices tend to get updated to the latest version of the OS, or at least fairly recent versions. While iOS 4 will drop compatibility for iPhone 2G and iPod touch G1, it will also be free for all other devices for the first time, ensuring iPod touch G2 and G3 owners are more likely to update.

Everything isn't perfect, but for a vast majority of apps it doesn't need to be. They just work.

The sheer size of that install base is stunning. Code an app once and deploy it to a theoretical 100 million devices -- and growing -- all with a drop-dead-easy to use icon on the home screen to help them get your apps?

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Guitar Hero for iPhone - app review

During the WWDC 2010 keynote, Activision announced and released Guitar Hero on the iPhone. This game is well made and provides a lot of enjoyment for players as they strum, tap, slide and whammy to the beat of popular rock songs.

The gameplay of Guitar Hero is fun, unique and includes much more than tapping notes. An arrow pointing left or right indicates that you need to tap the note where the arrow begins and slide your finger to where the arrow ends. This action needs to happen fairly quickly. If two or more notes are connected by lines, then you must tap the first note and slide your finger to the next notes. Your finger needs to reach each note connected in the line at the appropriate time that corresponds to the beat of the song. A vertical line means that you must hold down the note until the line ends. Sometimes these appear at the end of an arrow which mean you must slide and hold. The last thing that comes up is an orange bar that is the length of all four notes. This bar simply needs to be tapped at any location.

Some notes have stars on them. Successfully hitting all these notes in a sequence adds to your star power. There is blue bar on the right of the screen which indicates how much star power you have. Once it reaches half-way, a blue bar will appear above the note catchers. Tapping this activates your star power and doubles your score multiplier. The more star power you have, the longer it lasts.

Guitar Hero also offers character customization, leaderboards, Faecbook sharing, and in-app purchases. If you want more than the 6 songs included with Guitar Hero, then you must purchase songs in bundles of three. Each song pack costs $1.99. There are no free songs available for download.

Guitar Hero includes the following 6 tracks:

  • Queen – “We Are The Champions”
  • Rise Against – “Savior”
  • The Rolling Stones – “Paint It Black”
  • Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”
  • Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So”
  • The White Stripes – “Seven Nation Army”

The downloadable song packs via in-app purchase are grouped by the following artists:

  • The Faint, Minus the Bear and Silversun Pickups
  • Band of Skulls, Obits and The White Stripes
  • Darkest Hour, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Protest the Hero
  • A Day to Remember, AFI and Breaking Benjamin
  • Vampire Weekend
  • Queen

I have thoroughly enjoyed the short time I've spent playing Guitar Hero and don't plan to stop playing anytime soon. The game runs great, looks great, and is very well designed. It's only a matter of time before I become a famous rock star!

Videos and screenshots after the break!

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Palm webOS and Google Android after iPhone developers

It should come as no surprise that both Palm webOS and Google Android want iPhone developers on their platform. Mac developers have long been as passionate about their platform and incredibly talented in the apps they've delivered, and a lot of that has transferred over to iOS devices like the iPhone and now iPad.

Whether or not Apple is engaged in a platform war with Palm and Google it's inarguable that the current generation of users want apps and right now Apple has an advantage in that area. Part of getting people to switch to another platform is making sure the apps they love are on that platform, and that means big name apps and fan favorites alike.

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