News | iLounge

2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

News

Apps: Animal Band, ESPN SportsCenter, Logitech Harmony Control + TouchGrind Skate 2

Animal Band — Nursery Rhymes ($1) is a new music app for young children from Storytoys. Kids can interact with eight animal characters to get them to join into a song, with each animal acting as a separate instrument. The four initial songs are classic nursery rhymes, including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. It’s a simple concept, and a section with a third background for extra songs is shown as “coming soon,” but younger kids might find it entertaining.

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ESPN’s ScoreCenter has just become ESPN SportsCenter (free) in an update to version 4.0.0. The popular sports scores app has a whole new clean look. It’s also easier to navigate through the app and access the scores of your favorite teams. A news section is still intact, as well as a new “now” section, which is really just a curated ESPN-centric Twitter feed. Though there are other sports scores apps out there, this is probably still your best bet, especially if you’re into more obscure sports and leagues.

Clumsy Ninja released in App Store

Clumsy Ninja, which was featured in last year’s Apple media event for the fifth-generation iPod touch and iPhone 5, has finally made its way to the App Store as a free download. One of two high-profile game demos from Apple last year — the other being Infinity Blade Dungeons, which was shown at the third-generation iPad event in March 2012 and later canceled — Clumsy Ninja’s release was delayed for more than a year without explanation.

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The freemium game lets users interact with a kid ninja, letting you teach him a variety of tasks. He improves, learning new tricks and moves through his training. Impressive kinematic animation and cartoony graphics add to the fun factor of the universal release.

Apple Store for iPad released as standalone app

Apple has released an Apple Store for iPad app today, oddly separate from the iPhone/iPod touch Apple Store application released years ago. The new iPad version of the app puts a greater focus on high-resolution photos showing off the products, serving as a stripped down and reorganized version of the Apple Store web presence.

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Item selection screens are able to change quickly to provide topic-specific information on products, helping users to quickly see differences in cellular options for iPads and iPhones, capacity choices for multiple devices, and individual product availability by store location. The Apple Store app for iPad is available now.

Apps: Epoch 2, Find My Friends 3.0, GT Racing 2, Southwest Airlines + Word Girl

An anticipated sequel, Epoch 2 ($3) from Uppercut Games offers more Terminator apocalypse-inspired robot battles. The third-person shooter will likely appeal mostly to fans of the first Epoch, but it may not expand the audience much more than that. New weapons and features have been added, most notably including moving backgrounds and varied types of simultaneous attackers to fight against, all within an Unreal Engine 3-generated environment. But the gameplay remains relatively shallow and repetitive.

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Apple has finally updated its free Find My Friends app for iOS 7 with version 3.0. The new design is more iOS 7-esque, of course, losing the skeuomorphic leather stitching, and switching to a lighter, orange-accented design. Friends are now seen on the map in tiny picture circles, as opposed to just dots, and the prior version’s font excesses are gone.

Apps: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, KOF ‘97, Nest 4.0 + Oceanhorn

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving ($6) from Loud Crow Interactive features everyone’s favorite sad sack, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts crew for this interactive book. Dialogue, music, and sound effects all come straight from the 1973 animated special, and the iOS interface has been substantially improved from prior Charlie Brown holiday apps. Three reading modes are available, and word highlighting and touch-to-speak technology are also included in the app.

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SNK Playmore has brought its classic fighting game The King of Fighters ‘97 ($4) to iOS. The fourth game in the classic KOF series, the ‘97 edition features 35 characters and new teams — hidden characters Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona are included from the get-go. Both the extra and advanced fighting modes are available, as in the original game. Both a four-button and six-button control scheme are available, and it’s possible to move the controls around the screen, and change the joystick/button sizes as well. Due to a bug in the control-moving system, it’s harder to set the buttons up properly on an iPad, but hopefully SNK Playmore will fix the issue.

Google Play Music released for iOS

Google has released its Google Play Music app for iOS. The free app provides access to a standard music streaming service and All Access service, which costs $10/month. Google’s standard service lets users add up to 20,000 of their own songs, and listen to the music from all iOS devices and Google’s web player.

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All Access lets users listen to unlimited songs, and includes an ad-free radio service. Radio stations are customizable, and there are no skip limits on listening. The app was originally expected to launch much earlier this year.

Apps: Modernist Cuisine at Home, PlayStation App, Strangebeard + Tilt to Live 2

Modernist Cuisine at Home is indeed an $80 app, but if you’re a cook, you’ll understand why it’s actually a bargain. An interactive digital version of the $140, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook Modernist Cuisine at Home, the app from Inkling includes 260 more recipes and 359 more photos than the print cookbook; it’s also been reformatted to read more easily on screens much smaller than the gigantic original volume. The app also features 37 cooking technique videos, including how to execute the water displacement method or how to use a blowtorch on steaks, as well as interactive versions of Modernist Cuisine’s famous photographs, and calculators to let you scale recipes up or down for your needs. A free demo chapter is available through Inkling’s own app; the book can be downloaded in full through Inkling and added to the app’s library, or kept as a standalone version.

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Sony’s free PlayStation App has made its way to the App Store just before tomorrow’s release of the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation App lets users interact with friends, receive notifications, game alerts, and invitations. An iOS device can also be used as an onscreen keyboard. Among other features, the app also lets users buy games from the PlayStation Store to push to the PS4.

Apple updates iBooks, iTunes U for iOS 7

Apple has released updated versions of its iBooks and iTunes U apps with new designs for iOS 7. The new versions replace the older wood textured design with a new white shelf look consistent with the built-in iOS 7 Newsstand app and new iOS 7 icons.

Like most of the new iOS 7 design philosophy, the updated apps depart from the prior skeuomorphic textures and book-like visual elements such as wood shelves, covers, and page depth, the visual page turning animations remain in place much as they were before, although expanding the animation to include on-screen controls and intersecting into the status bar.

Apps: IFTTT 1.2, iTeleport 6.1.8, Ramp Champ + Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies

IFTTT — also known as If This Then That — has upgraded its free IFTTT app to version 1.2. The updated app now has actions for iOS Photos and Reminders, meaning IFTTT can now automatically add photos to iPhone albums, and create new to-do items in Reminders. Swipe gestures have been added for iOS 7, as well as improved background syncing.

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iTeleport ($25) updates its popular universal remote desktop app, giving it an all new layout for iOS 7. Hardware keyboard support has also been added, while version 6.1.8 fixes additional layout issues. The iPad-only app ($20) was updated, as well.

Apps: Anomaly 2, Cobra iRadar 4.0, Google Search 3.1 + Penultimate 5.0.1

Chillingo’s Anomaly 2 ($5) has arrived on iOS after debuting on the Mac earlier this year. The graphically intense tower defense game has an online multiplayer mode which lets gamers play as the alien towers or attacking humans, as well as a standard offline single-player mode with “one million tactical combinations,” according to Chillingo. We’re pretty blown away by the fine detail on the Retina displays of iPads, and although the gameplay is very similar to Anomaly’s, developer 11 Bit Studios has added the ability of units to transform into different configurations for specific situations such as long- or short-range attacks, plus some other tweaks. It’s a very cool sequel to the prior Anomaly titles.

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Cobra iRadar (free) from Cobra Electronics Corporation has a revamped map and a number of new features. A follow-me mode makes it easier to see alert locations on the road ahead. Simple navigation options and live traffic info have been added, as well as map controls and a macro map view. Some of the app’s features are only accessible when using a Cobra iRadar Detector.

Pebble watch receives full iOS 7 notifications

Pebble has announced today that its smart watch “is now fully integrated with iOS 7 and works seamlessly with Notification Center.” All enabled notifications will now be pushed to the Pebble — meaning app notifications beyond calls, emails, and texts. A new iOS app will enable the functionality. Pebble claims the app is currently “under review” by Apple, and will be available in the iTunes Store “soon.”

Apps: Asphalt 8 1.1, Basecamp, Fantastical 2, Jake’s Never Land Shapes and Patterns + Nike+ Move

Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 has gone free to play in version 1.1.0. The game has also added the Clio R.S., and Gameloft claims “new cars will appear at any moment.” New limited-time cups and boosters are now included, and a multiplayer world series introduces seven new reverse tracks. Touch controls can also be customized now, with the quiet addition of support for “Apple gamepads” also nestled inside the update.

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Basecamp (free) from 37signals now supports iOS 7. The project management app lets team members access everything in a project from the app, from anywhere, providing comments while they collaborate on the project. Basecamp lets members view progress and upload files, as well. The latest version 1.4.1 fixes a blank screen bug.

Apple updates Remote app to version 4.0

Apple has updated its Remote app to version 4.0. The app has been considerably redesigned for iOS 7 and adds support for iTunes 11.1.

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While users shouldn’t expect a huge number of new features, the revamped UI is cosmetically a big change. Remote is a free download and a universal app.

Apps: Infinity Blade III 1.1, My Little Pony, Paint and Play + Pet Bingo

Infinity Blade III ($7) from Chair Entertainment Group has upgraded to version 1.1, bringing gamers Infinity Blade III: Soul Hunter. A new quest, location, and enemy await players on their journey to find the missing Infinity Weapons. More than a dozen new items have been added, and a new explore feature lets players return to unlocked areas to grab loot and boost XP. Those playing through Infinity Blade III a second time after beating the game will now be able to skip cinema scenes, credits, and the tutorial. Support and optimization have been added for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

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PlayDate Digital’s My Little Pony: Party of One ($3) is an interactive iPad storybook app that uses the ponies to teach reading and vocabulary. Social skills are also a big part of the app as Pinkie Pie looks for friends to attend her party. All the popular characters are included, and the app’s content is aimed at children — primarily little girls.

Apps: ABC Actions, Delivery Status touch 5.0, Seene + Tweetbot 3

Peapod Labs is back with another alphabet app — this time, it’s ABC Actions ($3). Unlike prior noun-focused editions, the latest ABC app concentrates on teaching children verbs and action words. More than 150 photos, 100 videos, 50 interactive games, and 50 action words are featured within the interactive app.

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Delivery Status touch ($5), a package tracking app from Junecloud, recently updated to version 5.0. The app has been redesigned for iOS 7, and with the redesign comes a host of new features, including background notifications, calendar support, search, archive, AirDrop sharing, text and iMessage sharing, iCloud sync, and much more. Barcode scanning has improved, and 1Password can be integrated for easy password access. Delivery Status touch supports dozens of delivery services, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, and more.

Apps: Badland 1.6, Gangstar Vegas 1.2, Podcasts 2.0 + Rosetta Stone

A favorite of one of our editors, Frogmind’s Badland ($4) has received a Halloween update in version 1.6. The addictive physics-based side-scroller now has a Halloween theme and a new multiplayer level. Four new multiplayer characters have also been added to the game. Badland is $1 for a limited time, due to a special Halloween sale.

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Gameloft has added a number of new features to Gangstar Vegas (currently $3) in version 1.2.0. The Gangstar Superhero update brings five new hero costumes to the game, in addition to nine new vehicles, and three new weapons. Gameloft also added 14 new missions and some limited-time events to the game.

Apple updates Find My iPhone for iOS 7

Following today’s release of iLife and iWork updates for iOS 7, Apple has also released an update to Find My iPhone providing a complete redesign for iOS 7. In keeping with the new iOS 7 design ethos, Find My iPhone 3.0 removes all of the traditional skeuomorphic elements in favour of the flatter iOS 7 user interface. The new update is primarily focused on UI redesign; a prior update already delivered an iOS 7 styled icon along with the new iOS 7 Find My iPhone features supporting Activation Lock and Lost Mode improvements.

iLife and iWork app updates now live on App Store

The anticipated updates to Apple’s iWork and iLife suite of apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are now live on the App Store. Announced at the company’s iPad Event earlier today, the entire set of apps have been updated for iOS7 along with 64-bit support for the A7-equipped iPhone 5s and new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display models. All of the apps now include tighter iCloud integration, with iWork supporting new features to allow users to collaborate on documents across devices and platforms.

All of the apps now sport a 2.0 version number, and are a free update for existing users as well as available for free for anybody activating a new iOS device after September 1, 2013. Garageband is now available as a free download for anybody, with additional sounds and instruments available via in-app purchase.

Apps: ABC for Little Space Explorer, Hangouts 1.3, Riptide GP2 1.1 + Travelocity 1.3.3

ABC for Little Space Explorer ($2) from Common Extract is a new alphabet and science learning app for young children: A is for astronaut, B is for black hole, C is for crater, and so forth. Conceptually, the app is a bit odd — alphabet lessons are typically for kids aged 2-5, and the science content here is more for kids 6 and up—but parents who want their kids to learn about space might find it to be worth a peek. As tested, we didn’t always find the app’s interactive activities to be intuitive; in some cases, you’ll see 3-D cosmic maps or satellites that can be zoomed in on, while in others, the screen will flip to telescope and other views that don’t completely make sense. Even the alphabet selection screen is spread over two pages, which may confuse some kids. Our feeling is that Common Extract will benefit from polishing the app up a bunch, but the raw materials here are compelling.

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Google’s standalone Hangouts has updated to version 1.3.0 with a major new feature — users can now make and receive telephone calls to land lines from an iOS device. The free app also now lets users send and receive animated GIFs, and it’s now possible to see which friends are using Hangouts, and who’s currently available.

GarageBand to go freemium, new iLife, iWork icons shown

Apple accidentally disclosed all of the icons and several new features for its upcoming iLife and iWork updates last night, while also noting that GarageBand will become a free download with in-app purchases. An updated Apple.com web page for “built-in apps” has since changed back to its previous state.

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While new icons for iPhoto and GarageBand appeared briefly last week, the leak revealed an updated iMovie icon, as well as some seriously downgraded icons for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It appears that some changes will come to the apps, as well, including photo books in iPhoto, and a new iMovie Theater feature in iMovie. [via MacRumors]

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