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.
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.
- November 19, 2013
Apple is planning on debuting a 12.9-inch iPad “early next year,” according to The Korea Times. The previously rumored device is said to have improved picture quality — near ultra high-definition quality, which would place it in the range of 4 million pixels versus the current iPad Air and Retina iPad mini’s 3 million pixel displays. “Apple’s local first-tier display supplier” in Korea is already reported to be working on the larger iPad. The company’s claimed interest in additional iPad sizes is an acknowledgement that tablets are replacing PCs in the market, according to a supplier source. Claims as to the release dates of first-generation Apple products should generally be taken with a grain of salt, given the frequency of production-related delays.
A number of iOS users have noted that some of the photos they’ve taken with iOS 7’s Camera application have disappeared without a trace, an issue that we’ve confirmed firsthand. Posts in Apple’s number of Apple discussion forums show how some users are experiencing the issue, while struggling to explain why it’s happening. Based on what we’ve seen, the problem appears to be sporadic, affecting only a small number of photos shot over a period of time; the photos are taken as indicated by a snap of the device’s shutter, but then do not appear in the Photos application’s Camera Roll. An Apple community specialist suggested closing all apps and restarting the device to fix the problem, a solution that has not worked for us, with backing up and restoring the device as a next possible option.
Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta to developers. The download is available within Apple’s developer portal. Initial indications are that the software addresses bugs in the original iOS 7 release, however, additional features may have been quietly added.
All prior iOS 7 device models can run 7.1, however, the release is not yet intended for general consumption.
- November 18, 2013
New reports on color within the iPad mini with Retina display’s screen have corroborated what we found in our review of the device. During testing of multiple iPad mini units, we discovered that some colors looked notably faded and less vibrant on the Retina iPad mini when compared to the same colors on the iPad Air. Through a series of detailed measurements, DisplayMate notes that the iPad mini with Retina display has a 63 percent color gamut, roughly the same as the first-generation iPad mini. The color gamut “produces noticeably subdued image colors,” which DisplayMate says is “inexcusable for a current generation premium tablet.” DisplayMate ranks the iPad mini with Retina display’s screen as a “distant 3rd” behind the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7.
Anandtech also noted the iPad mini with Retina display has the same color gamut as the original iPad mini. While the site does say the Retina iPad mini has a much better panel overall than the previous mini, the Air holds a “display advantage.” Apple notably has marketed the iPad mini with Retina display as “identical to iPad Air in every way,” a claim that was parroted by the company’s hand-picked reviewers.
Apple is currently offering free Smart Cases to customers who are still awaiting shipments of their Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display. Via telephone at 1-800-692-7753, Apple customer service representatives are offering either the free case or a free Smart Cover to customers who have been waiting for a new cellular Retina iPad mini, and call to inquire about the delay/status of the shipment.
Following forum reports, iLounge has confirmed that Apple representatives are offering the Smart Case to customers. Most iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular pre-orders placed on the first day of availability appear not to have shipped, however, many Wi-Fi-only units have shipped in varying capacities and colors.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 has released iOS 7.0.4. The update is listed as including unspecified bug fixes and improvements.
Notably, an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail has been fixed within the update. The update is available now over the air.
Update: iOS 6.1.5 was also released for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The update fixes the FaceTime bug on the device.
iLounge has posted our full review of Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina display. The comprehensive nine-page review covers a number of important and previously unknown details about the Retina iPad mini, including improved battery life and issues with color performance, which are quite noticeable when compared to the iPad Air.
Also under the microscope are the performance of the new mini’s A7 processor, and slight differences in the device’s front camera compared to the previous iPad mini. Read the full Retina iPad mini review today.
- November 13, 2013
iFixit has completed a teardown of the iPad mini with Retina display and has found a 24.3 Watt-Hour battery, which is slightly larger than the 23.8 WHr battery Apple claims is in the device. The first-generation iPad mini had a 16.3 WHr battery. Interestingly enough, iFixit previously found the iPad Air also had a battery that was slightly larger than Apple claimed.
The A7 chip in the iPad mini with Retina display is the same A7 found in the iPhone 5s, rather than the faster A7 found in the iPad Air; this isn’t a big surprise, especially considering recent benchmark test results. iFixit also found an LG display in its Retina iPad mini.
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.
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.
- November 12, 2013
iLounge has posted its unboxing and comparison gallery of Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display. Photos show the iPad mini with Retina display packaging, and a number of comparison shots between the new mini, iPad Air, and first-generation iPad mini.
Close-up feature shots of the newest iPad mini are also included in the gallery. A full review of the iPad mini with Retina display will be posted in the near future.
- November 12, 2013
A benchmark test posted at Geekbench reveals the new iPad mini with Retina display is slightly slower than the iPad Air. The new mini clocked in at 1.29 GHz according to a test, about the same speed as the iPhone 5s, which came in at 1.3 GHz. Meanwhile, an iPad Air test showed a 1.39 GHz processor speed. [via 9to5Mac]
Without so much as a day’s warning, Apple has started online sales of the new iPad mini with Retina Display, offering an extremely limited set of units for near-term shipping. Only 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi models are available for shipment in 1-3 days, with all other models shipping in 5-10 days, including higher-capacity Wi-Fi units and all cellular models from any carrier in any capacity.
Recent reports suggested that major screen-related manufacturing issues have constrained the initial rollout of the mini, with one report claiming that the launch would be delayed due to the scarcity of defect-free screens. Apple instead notified resellers via a late Monday message that it would begin sales on Tuesday, then opened its online store to orders at midnight Pacific Time. The Retina iPad mini starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and climbs to $829 for 128GB LTE models; it is available in the same two colors as the iPad Air.
Update: Apple has officially announced availability of the iPad mini with Retina Display. The press release notes the device will be sold online for shipping or personal pickup at Apple retail stores, or through carriers and select resellers — it’s still unclear when the devices will be sold in Apple stores. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller alluded to the suspected lack of inventory for the device, saying in the press release that “...we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.”
An iPad demo model recently caught fire in an Australian store as a “burst of flames” appeared from the charging port, news.com.au reports. The Vodafone store in Canberra was evacuated after the incident, and no one was injured. Though the report only refers to the device as an iPad, other reports — such as this report from the Daily Mail — claim the device was an iPad Air. Apple reportedly sent a representative to investigate the incident. Two shock incidents earlier this year involving iPhone chargers in China prompted Apple to add a power adapter page to its Chinese website, as those accidents were allegedly caused by counterfeit chargers.
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.
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.
Apple is preparing to add Asian manufacturing partners to increase iOS device production, the Wall Street Journal reports. iPhone 5c manufacturing will reportedly be outsourced to Taiwan-based contract manufacturer Wistron Corp. later this year, while Compal Communications will manufacture the iPad mini “starting next year.” The shifts are being made to meet consumer demands.
Apple’s main supplier, Foxconn (Hon Hai), is focusing on making the iPhone 5s, which is in short supply. The report notes Apple’s frustration with Foxconn, stemming from scrutiny of its labor practices and defective iPhone 5 units produced by the manufacturer — Apple declined comment. An unnamed Foxconn executive said, “Apple has raised this quarter’s iPhone 5s orders from Hon Hai as demand has been stronger than expected. But it takes time to boost production capacity and Apple can’t find other assemblers to increase production to meet demand immediately.” Foxconn is taking a “cautious stance” on increasing production of the 5s, the executive said.
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.
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.