Gangstar Vegas ($7) is the latest installment in Gameloft’s Gangstar series. Like earlier Gangstar titles, it’s a sandbox-style action and driving game in the Grand Theft Auto mold, letting you walk, fight, steal cars, and fire weapons across multiple missions. This edition notably includes an impressive rendition of Las Vegas, featuring renamed versions of many of the famous Strip hotels, including the pyramid-like Luxor, Treasure Island, and Wynn. Within minutes of starting the game, you get to experience an updated melee fighting engine complete with kickboxing moves, a vehicular gun and rocket launcher battle on the strip, and the use of several different kinds of vehicles. Amazingly detailed human character models have some of the most realistic faces we’ve seen in any iOS title, and like the GTA series, full voice acting and radio-like music selections are included.
Man of Steel ($3) by Warner Bros. was released last week, just before the movie of the same name hit theaters. Developed by Phosphor Games — and unfortunately sold in separate iPad (HD) and iPhone/iPod versions — Man of Steel finds Superman getting into a series of one-on-one fights with opponents from the film, as well as other characters. The graphics engine is pretty impressive, with nice character models, textures, and destructible 3-D backgrounds that Superman can punch enemies through, but the gameplay is somewhat shoddy. Simple swipe and dodge controls make for fights that are like neutered versions of Infinity Blade battles, interrupted every time Superman hurls an opponent backwards through the air. Despite some impressive touches, Man of Steel feels rushed and not entirely satisfying.
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue revealed a number of additional details about Steve Jobs and the iBooks launch today while testifying in the DOJ’s e-book pricing conspiracy case. Cue said the “page curls” idea in the iBooks app when turning a page came from Steve Jobs, who also chose Winnie the Pooh as the free book to be included with the app. According to Cue, that’s partially because Jobs liked the book, and also because it showed off “beautiful color drawings, that had never been seen before in a digital book.” Also, Jobs used Ted Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass, during the first iPad demo because the Kennedy family “meant a lot to him.” Last week, Cue revealed a number of other details about the iBooks launch, most notably that Jobs had to be convinced of the idea of an Apple e-bookstore. [via AllThingsD]
A photo of what appears to be an iOS-specific gamepad accessory has been leaked. The controller is reportedly made by Logitech — a look at the gaming section of Logitech’s website shows the same “G” logo seen on the gamepad — and was apparently demonstrated following Apple’s WWDC keynote in San Francisco.
Apple’s recently posted guidelines for official game controller development show two types of controllers. The leaked gamepad resembles the first controller, made to fit an iPhone 5, with the control pad and buttons on each side of the inserted device. Given the similarities in shape between the iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch, it’s possible that both devices could work inside this accessory. [via Kotaku]
Microsoft Office has finally launched for iOS, through the Office Mobile for Office 365 subscribers app. Notably, the app is only compatible with iPhone 5, 4S, 4, and the fifth-generation iPod touch — there is no iPad version. Though the app is free, an Office 365 subscription is required for use, as is iOS 6.1 or later.
Users of the app can edit Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents. Other features include offline editing, cloud-connected documents, and the ability to create Word and Excel documents.
Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars ($1) has upgraded to version 1.3.0, and with it comes Lando Bird, a bird based on Billy Dee Williams’ famously suave Lando Calrissian. The game picks up at the point where Lando Bird is joining the Rebel Alliance, for those trying to keep their Star Wars and Star Wars Angry Birds timelines in order. Rovio has added 20 new Cloud City levels, new power-ups, new bonus levels, and a new boss fight — players can now take on Lard Vader. The same updates have been added to the iPad-only Angry Birds Star Wars HD ($3).
Myspace has completely revamped its free Myspace app to match the changes on its site. The new app now has a GIF creator and Social Radio, which allows users to create personal radio stations, like Pandora. It’s easier to connect with people through People Browse, and a number of other social sharing features have been added. There’s a heavier emphasis on music — will it be enough to get people talking about Myspace again?
Apple’s AirPort Utility (free) manages Wi-Fi networks and AirPort base stations — AirPort Express, Extreme, and Time Capsule — from an iOS device. The newly released version 1.3 lets users configure and manage the new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
PGA TOUR Caddie (free) by Shotzoon Software is an amazing app for golfers. TOUR Caddie offers GPS access to 500,000 greens across more than 40,000 golf courses worldwide, and a 3-D flyover preview lets golfers visualize each hole. Golfers can track and record each shot, including clubs used and round info, as well as comparing statistics to other golfers with similar handicaps. Additionally, the in-app TOURAcademy purchase ($10 per year) offers tips and drills video from instructors, and TOURCaddie PRO (free 30-day trial, $30 per year) gives golfers real-time distances to hazards and targets on each hole, and on-the-spot club recommendations based on performance.
Apple announced iTunes Radio, the company’s long-rumored streaming music service. iTunes Radio is a free, ad-supported service, and it’s ad-free for iTunes Match users. The Pandora-esque service lets users choose featured music stations, or create their own stations based on specific artists. iTunes Radio keeps track of played songs within its history. Initially launching in the U.S., iTunes Radio is built into the iOS 7 Music app, and it will also be built into iTunes for Mac, PC, and Apple TV.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced at Apple’s WWDC 2013 Keynote that there are now 900,000 apps available in the App Store, and 93 percent of those apps are downloaded each month. About 375,000 apps have been developed for iPad. Cook also said Apple has paid $10 billion to developers through the store, with $5 billion in the last year alone. There are now 575 million iTunes accounts.
Cook later announced there are 300 million iCloud accounts, 300 million users of iTunes in the Cloud, and 240 million Game Center users. iCloud has sent 800 billion iMessages and 7.4 trillion push notifications.
Curbed Network’s popular food blog Eater has introduced its free Eater app. Eater’s app offers dining recommendations from the site, allowing users to find the Eater 38 and Eater Heatmap restaurants and bars in their location. Keep in mind that only selected cities will have Eater recommendations, due to the site’s focus on major population centers. A list of all restaurants can also be perused, and Eater stories can also be viewed right through the app.
Zen Studios’ new Marvel Pinball ($1) is a prime example of how in-app purchases can work properly. The game begins by including a full-fledged Avengers pinball table in 3-D, complete with all of the 2012 film’s major characters — it’s a good game on its own. Another 14 extra tables are offered for $2 each, focusing narrowly on specific Marvel comic books (including Captain America, The Amazing Spider Man, Ghost Rider) or series (Civil War, The Infinity Gauntlet, World War Hulk). Every table adds enough new voice samples, art, and music to give each table its own distinctive theme and collection of 3-D models to see. Tables always have multiple levels thanks to ramps, intensity comparable to the best real-world pinball machines, and occasional opportunities for camera-zoomed close-ups on individual character models.
While there’s certainly $2 worth of value in each of the extra tables we tested, including X-Men, Iron Man, and Wolverine, fans of Marvel’s movies may find the comic-inspired source material choices a little iffy: for instance, the Iron Man table eschews War Machine/Iron Patriot references in favor of jokes about Tony Stark’s boozing history, while X-Men leans heavily on 1980’s-vintage characters and color schemes rather than the films’ darker versions. Additionally, though you can shift between several very different camera angles in landscape mode, the views in portrait orientation are substantially similar, and don’t show off the 3-D table models quite as well. Apart from those small issues, Marvel Pinball is certainly worth checking out if you love pinball or any of Marvel’s franchises.
Google’s Chrome (free) has been updated to version 27.0.1453.10. Voice search has been improved in the update, as the app now features faster voice recognition, with text results streamed on the fly. Answers are now spoken back to users, and web results are tailored to questions. Pages also reload faster now, even if the network is slow or unavailable.
Eye-Fi (free) has updated its app to version 3.0 with iPhone 5 screen support, as well as a somewhat redesigned interface, and support for the new mobile device-focused Mobi model of the Eye-Fi card. Bug fixes and stability improvements are also included in the update, along with in-app video playback.
Apple has released an official WWDC app, just ahead of next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The app notably features daily session videos for all Registered Apple Developers, enabling thousands of people to have access to the event’s tutorials despite the continued unavailability of tickets.
Users of the app can also browse the conference’s schedule, keep up with news, and view maps of Moscone West, among other features. Attendees can also add their information to Passbook for quicker on-site registration.
Google Multiplatform Chief Sundar Pichai announced that Google Play Music All Access will launch for iOS “a couple weeks from now.” Google Play Music All Access is Google’s new streaming music service, and currently offers unlimited access for $8 a month; the price will jump to $10 a month in July. [via All Things D]
Capcom’s Phoenix Wright has made his way to iOS in Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright Trilogy HD (free). The Ace Attorney games are visual adventures casting the player in the role of a defense attorney. Though marketed as a trilogy, the app is freemium; it’s notable that only the first two episodes of the franchise’s first game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, are free to play. In-app purchases are required to purchase the remaining games, either separately or in a bundle. However, even if you have no intention on spending money, the Phoenix Wright Trilogy is still worth a download for those first two episodes. The Ace Attorney games feature memorable characters and engaging gameplay.
Realmac Software’s Analog Camera ($1) is a new camera app with three camera modes — including manual focus and exposure — and eight filters. Designed to be easy to use and minimalist, Analog Camera lets users quickly add filters to the device’s camera, with simple Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail sharing. Analog Camera doesn’t have a landscape mode or orientation support — the photos are square. The app may be best for people who want to share filtered photos, but don’t want to sign up for Instagram.
Formerly known as Weather HD, a long-time favorite of iLounge’s editors, Vimov has re-released its weather app as Clear Day ($2). Clear Day is version 2.5 of the prior app, with a new layout that reduces obscuring elements to let you see more of the weather videos. A free version — Clear Day Free — is ad-supported and lacks push notifications for severe alerts. Users of the full version can add an unlimited number of cities, as well as advanced weather data using in-app purchases.
Photo editing app Halftone 2 (free) from Juicy Bits allows users to turn their photos into comic book pages. A sequel to the original Halftone app, Halftone 2 is freemium, offering many in-app purchases. Users can easily insert thought bubbles and words into their photos, as well as tweaking colors and comic book-style layouts. There are also plenty of sharing options, via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and more.
Foursquare Labs has introduced a number of new search features to its Foursquare (free) app in version 6.2, letting users filter searches by price, places that users have saved, places users haven’t been yet, places open at that time, and more new options. These advanced filters were added to the desktop version of the site a few weeks ago; now they’ve made their way to Foursquare’s mobile app.
“Fearless” isn’t the first word we’d generally use to describe brick-breaking games—the Breakout-inspired genre is so old and established that new versions can’t help but feel iterative. Yet Barry Kostjens’ new Hyper Breaker Turbo ($2) manages to feel genuinely fresh and even pretty ingenious, thanks to the developer’s decision to throw away some of Breakout’s most classic rules. Instead of requiring you to break every brick on the screen before moving to the next level, Hyper Breaker Turbo’s 75 stages continue scrolling upwards to follow the motion of your ball, which can be gently reflected off your curved paddle, or smashed with upward momentum. The paddle can pass through bricks, but the ball must break or dodge them, adding another interesting twist to keep things moving smoothly. You beat each stage by making the ball touch a goal that’s generally several screen lengths up, buried behind layers of destructible bricks and walls formed by unbreakable blocks. While the game’s graphics and music aren’t going to wow anyone, they’re competent enough to look and sound good on even the latest Retina iPads and iPhones, while the touchscreen is used ideally for paddle and ball physics. Breakout fans should consider this one a must-see for the price.
ABC Aquarium ($3) by Peapod Labs is yet another release in the company’s ABC family of universal iOS education apps. Each app has brought a new theme, complete with an alphabet’s worth of new photographs, videos, and simple rub-on-the-picture activities, plus small user interface improvements. Aquarium leverages all of the prior titles’ UI tricks to provide a relatively seamless look at dozens of different fish and animals you’d find at aquariums, ranging from sea lions to koi, lobsters to zebrafish. The photos in this edition are particularly compelling, thanks to high-res details and great colors, though as with prior editions, some issues slip through — two images of Emperor Angelfish are nearly identical, for instance, and some of the swiping activities feel a bit underdeveloped and stale. Once again, each letter of the alphabet includes multiple photos for one or more creatures, plus in-frame YouTube videos that teach kids more than just the letters and words for each animal. Parents looking for bilingual instruction can also switch on an optional translation feature that flips each word between English and Spanish.
Disney’s Disney Junior Appisodes app (free) is a new hub to hold interactive versions of full-length TV episodes. Recommended for ages 4 and up, Disney Junior Appisodes let children touch, tap, swipe, tilt, shake, and talk through Disney Junior episodes while completing activities. The app comes with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally Appisode—a standalone download we previously found incredibly impressive—and additional Appisodes are available for purchase within the app.
Apple is reportedly planning an “increased presence of third-party social networks” in iOS 7, and more specifically, a deeper integration of photo and video sharing services Flickr and Vimeo. According to a 9to5Mac report, users will be able to sign into Flickr or Vimeo using iOS 7’s Settings application. Users could log into and use Flickr and Vimeo as simply as they currently use Facebook or Twitter for iOS. However, the report notes a “very real possibility that any feature in testing could be removed” before iOS 7 is announced.
While a recent report detailed Apple and Yahoo’s discussion of a deeper partnership, it’s unknown if the Yahoo-owned Flickr was part of those talks. The proposed addition of Vimeo to iOS could conceivably further distance Apple from Google’s YouTube app; sources didn’t comment on Vimeo completely replacing YouTube.
Google’s new music subscription service Google Play Music All Access doesn’t yet have its own iOS app, but an existing app may add support for the service in the near future. An update for gMusic, a $2 Google music player app, has been submitted to the App Store to support Google Play Music All Access. If accepted, the update will let users access Google’s new service through the gMusic iOS app. [via Wired]
BlackBerry’s recently announced iOS app for its BBM messaging service is expected to launch this summer, but it apparently won’t be coming to iPad right away. According to a report, Vivek Bhardwaj, head of software portfolio at BlackBerry, said BBM will be coming to “iOS phones running iOS 6 and higher.” Bhardwaj said smartphone is the company’s “real focus” for BBM. “When you start looking at tablets, computers and other screens, the usage model changes and behaviour changes. For us right now the absolute focus is getting BBM onto smartphones,” he said. [via Trusted Reviews]
Each time there’s a new version of Can Knockdown, we stand up and take notice. On the surface, the universal iOS release Can Knockdown 3 ($2) is the type of super-simple game that once dominated the App Store—flick to toss balls at cans, knocking them over. Yet developer Infinite Dreams keeps raising the bar with each iteration, this time improving the realtime 3-D graphics to virtually photorealistic levels on Retina iPads, and adding puzzles to the 100 included levels. While the music is only alright, the sound effects, controls, and graphics otherwise work really nicely together, and the levels continue to evolve in challenge as you continue playing. Currently on sale for only $1, this should be a no-brainer download if you’re looking for something fun to occupy your spare time.
eBay has updated its free iOS apps for both the iPhone and iPad, bumping them to versions 3.0.0 and 2.3.0, respectively. The iPhone app has been redesigned, including larger photos for users of iOS 6 and beyond. Most notably, the app allows users of some US states to scan in their drivers licenses for fast and easy eBay registration. Last minute bidding has also been improved, and the new eBay Shopping Cart lets users check out multiple items at once. The updated iPad app makes a number of changes as well, including improved photos and easier browsing.