Apps

iPhone apps from both sides of the pond

While airplanes are still having trouble traveling from one side of the pond to the other, apps can still come from both sides of the pond at the speed of download. Whether it's cooking or singing, playing or parking, this week brings the iTunes App Store plenty of new and notable apps. Here's a sampling, after the break!

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UPDATED: iPhone OS 4 SDK beta 2 now available

Apple has just released iPhone OS 4 SDK beta 2 on developer.apple.com for developers. Update: Here's the official word:

iPhone SDK 4 beta 2 and iPhone OS 4 beta 2 are now available from the iPhone Dev Center. The new iPhone SDK introduces an auto-provisioning feature that allows you to add a new device in a single step from within the Xcode Organizer, making it even easier to enable a device for testing your applications. View the Xcode 3.2.3 Read Me for more details on this feature.

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Quick Review: UNO HD for iPad

UNO HD for iPad [$4.99 - iTunes link] by Gameloft brings the classic card game to bigger, bolder life on that 9.7" screen. At first blush, UNO more so than something like NOVA feels like it could have been a universal binary, sparing existing owners of the iPhone version from having to buy it twice. However, Gameloft wisely upped the anti based on the iPad's-size, offering a 4 player option that makes it eminently more suitable as a true board-game replacement -- you can realistically sit 2 or 4 people around an iPad and start up the multiplayer version of the game, share the screen, and get your UNO on.

You can of course also use single-player mode, or multiplayer between devices either locally or online. The graphics look prerequisite-ly great on the iPad, though we did find the controls a tad challenging (choosing and playing cards weren't quite as buttery smooth as we'd like).

A side effect of the game being run on an iPad instead of with real cards is that it's almost impossible to make mistakes or (gasp) cheat. The game only allows you to play cards you're allowed to play, when you're allowed to play them. Whether that's a good or bad thing we'll leave up to you and your consciences to sort out.

If you like UNO and you want to bring a little bit of real world social interaction back to your family and friends, grab an iPad, fire it up, pass it around, and let us know what you think.

Video of me taking on a challenger, after the break!

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Top 5 iPhone travel apps

Today's top 5 is directed towards iPhone users who travel for work, for fun, or for a little bit of both. From booking to preparing, finding your way to finding your food, and keeping yourself entertained while go, the iPhone really does have plenty of apps for all of that. Just like our other top 5 must-have iPhone app posts, all of these applications are available in the App Store. For the full run down, follow us after the break!

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Quick Review: PCalc for iPad

PCalc [$9.99 - iTunes link] is one of the leading calculators for iPhone and now its computing power has been updated (as in universal binary) to include support for iPad.

PCalc is an (optional) RPN calculator that is great for scientists, engineers, programmers, and students. It includes a list of common constants, an ample amount of conversions, a paper tape that can be shared via email, and support for binary, hexadecimal, and octal calculations. You can also customize the look of PCalc with different themes and digit fonts.

The interface on iPad is rather beautiful in both landscape and portrait. The buttons are nice and big and everything is easy to read. Navigation between the menus is a much more pleasant experience than on the iPhone.

To see PCalc in action, watch the video after the break!

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Quick Review: Epicurious for iPad

Epicurious [Free - iTunes Link] from CondeNet is one of the best cooking apps you can get on the iPad. It has almost everything you could ask for including over 28,000 recipes, with the number growing daily.

The interface is beautiful with the recipes neatly organized depending on main ingredient, health restrictions, nationality, what's new, and more. The cookbook section of Epicurious is even easier to navigate on the larger iPad screen. You can have the recipe instructions displayed on the side while looking at the ingredients, photos, user reviews, and nutritional information. There is even a little bookmark so you can keep your place as you look at other sections.

Finding what you want in Epicurious is also a breeze. It has a search tool which allows you to find your next meal by keyword. On the sidebar you can simply click or un-click ingredients to filter the results further and match any dietary restrictions or keep the choices narrowed to just the ingredients you have in the house.

Epicurious also has a wonderful shopping list button and if you want to share your latest recipe with your friends you can email it.

For screenshots and video of this must-have iPad cooking app, stay with us after the break!

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UPDATED: Pulitzer Prize winning satirist can't get into App Store

UPDATE: According to the WSJ, Apple has contacted Fiore:

Apple called the cartoonist Thursday and suggested that he resubmit the app, Mr. Fiore said in an interview. “I feel kind of guilty,” he said. “I’m getting preferential treatment because I got the Pulitzer.”

Preferential perhaps but not uncommon. Several controversial app rejections have been reconsidered when publicity brought them to the attention of higher-ups at Apple. Unfortunately, the "review team rejects, executive team reconsiders" is not a scalable or likely desirable strategty for Apple.

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Highly addictive iPhone and iPod touch games

If you're suffering from over-productivity lately, the iTunes App Store has your highly addictive, time killing cure -- just load a few games onto your iPhone or iPod touch and call in late in the morning! (If you can call in at all!) Below are some examples, but we want to know -- what are your most highly addictive games?

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Opera Mini for iPhone: good for extremes, not extremely good

So we've had a couple of days to play with Opera Mini for iPhone and it's clear why the new proxy browser is so divisive -- it's got a fantastic feature set, and is fast for people on slow EDGE connections and cheap for people on roaming data, but its UI is kludgy, it doesn't render HTML as well as Safari, and it has trouble with dynamic websites.

Whether you love it or hate it will likely depend on a couple of things:

  • If you roam a lot
  • If you're on 2.5G/EDGE a lot
  • If you love Opera's features like in-page search and speed dial
  • If you don't mind weird interface behavior like popping zoom and crazy scroll
  • If you're not a typography nut whose eyes bleed at poorly rendered Helvetica
  • If you're not an HTML aficionado who notices things like missing rounded corners and imprecise box-models
  • If you're not interested in the upcoming HTML5 video support and don't mind getting redirected to Flash videos which won't play either

The more of the above that applies to you, the more you'll want to keep Opera Mini handy. And hey, even if none of it applies to you, it's free so you can stick it on a back page (or in an iPhone OS 4 folder) for emergencies.

It's also a 1.0 release, so Opera will no doubt improve it going forward. Either that or complain to the EU and try and force a browser-ballot onto the iPhone... (We kid! They invented tabbed-browsing, we heart them!)

How's Opera Mini working for you?

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Quick review: Flight Control HD for iPad

Firemint's Flight Control HD for iPad [$4.99 - iTunes Link] let's you try your luck at setting the flight path of dozens of aircraft and getting them to their designated landing areas. Seems simple but as the number and variety of airplanes and helicopters increase so does the difficulty -- and the fun.

They say air traffic control is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and as we found out in our interview with Firemint at GDC, that's exactly where the idea for the game came from.

On the iPad, just like the iPhone, you use your finger to trace the path of the plane to its landing strip and ensure that it does not crash. You have 8 single player maps, 10 aircrafts and the choice of single play or multiplayer. Want to play a friend on the same iPad? You can choose between co-op or vs. modes. Have two iPads? Play over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The game also offers fast forward for those impatient types (me!) and even a 3D map (bring your own glasses!).

Flight Control for the iPad is the perfect game when you need a bit of distractions from life's stresses... by taking on the stress of air traffic.

Check out the video after the break and tell me if I should have made another career choice...

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