Curses. It's on the iPhone now. How will we get any work done?
Bad news for fellow addicts of the iPad game Sue Doku: it's been updated, and is now a universal app. You do hear that term a lot, and it often isn't explained, so let us clear that up now: a universal app means Sue Doku is now available on both your iPad and iPhone. Translation: distraction. It's just a sudoku app, we can stop playing any time, but it is a particularly well done one on the iPad, and enough so that we sidled back to our desk to quietly pick up our phones and download it immediately.
Get the good and avoid the irritating features of streaming music
There are other streaming music services and you can well argue that there are better ones, but Spotify is winning the war to become the Hoover, Biro and iPad of its class: the brand name that somehow becomes synonymous with the idea. At least, nobody tells you what their favourite iTunes Radio station is, no one in the world sends you links to Pandora and it's like few people have heard of Beats. Yet. However, Spotify is known even by normal people and it is a way in to streaming music.
Apple Game roundup for April 17, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at Halo: Spartan Strike for iOS, Amplitude Studios' free weekend on Steam, WWE 2K for iOS, and the shipment of Age of Wonders III alongside its new expansion pack.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 16, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we find great offers, discounts, sales, and deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of still-active deals from earlier this week comes alongside new items including the Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi enabled light switch, an all-in-one laser printer from Dell, and the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band.
Spacial reasoning puzzle may help you hone cognative ability
Puzzle games are considered casual gaming, requiring little skill to solve the problems presented. However, every so often we come across a game that poses an actual challenge, a game that is mind-meltingly difficult, and that's what we've discovered today. We took a look at Tapslide, a game that will give even the most battle-hardened puzzle players a mental workout.
File organizer and transfer app makes quick work of arduous tasks
We love using our iPhones and iPads as much as anyone else, but we do have a few issues with the process as a whole. Sometimes transferring files between our computers and our iDevices is a real hassle. What if we don't have iTunes on the computer we want to use? What if we need to do it quickly? What if we forgot our cables? That's why we checked out Mophie Space, an app that helps you out if you're ever in any of these situations.
MacNN and Electronista daily deals for April 15, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers to find discounts, offers, and sales for you, our discerning readers. A recap of still-active deals from the rest of the week follows the new deals batch, which includes one of the cheapest 3d printers we've seen, a great gaming monitor from Monoprice, and a six-pack of LED lightbulbs to save even more money!
Unique relaxation app offers calming sounds and eye-catching interactive visuals
We like our relaxation apps here, from our sound generators to our guided meditation apps. We're also open to trying things that are a little more "out there," which was one of the biggest reasons we took a look at Sunny, an audio and visual relaxation app that's pretty special.
Cute and challenging arcade game
Cute games often get a bad rap for being too easy, and we tend to agree. Cuteness is often one of the first bullet points on the list of things that make up casual games, and even the look alone tends to tell you what's in store, even before you begin playing. Well, fortunately for those of you who like cute games but wish they were a bit more challenging, Orisinal must have had you in mind when he designed Casanova, an absurdly challenging and absurdly cute arcade game.
Healthcare companies announcing plethora of new apps for Apple Watch platform
A number of healthcare companies, many of whom are just now working deeply with the HealthKit APIs from Apple to create health-oriented applications, are already pivoting to create complementary apps for the new Apple Watch platform as well, which creates new opportunities for handling certain kinds of results and notifications. More than a dozen applications have been announced in just the last week, ranging from a medication reminder for patients to a glucose monitor system for the Watch.
It's now on iPhone too, go buy it
If you've never heard of OmniOutliner before, then one thing you need to know is that is an outlining app -- you're not surprised so far -- which is so good that it will convert you to using outlines. It very much surprised us first, as it tricked some of our most outline-resistant reviewers into using it for planning complex pieces. Then it downright startled us, because we began using it outside writing: we've planned vacations on this thing.
Watson Health to provide analytics, secure cloud for medical app data
IBM and Apple, already in a partnership to service the enterprise sector, have announced an expansion of the deal that will see IBM utilizing its Health Cloud and Watson Health initiatives to support and secure data gathered or entered by users through apps using Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit technologies. The partnership will work with the Watson Health business unit to offer developers a secure place to store gathered health data, and analytics to help researchers analyze it.
Apple Watch hands-on reports, a look at Photos, new videos, more
Following a longer-than-expected submission process to Apple, we're pleased to report that episode 10 of The MacNN Podcast, along with all previous episodes, has finally arrived on iTunes. Listeners can now search for, subscribe to, and generally wallow in our backlog of tech news, app picks, and bad jokes. The latest episode has a couple of remote reports from Australia and the UK about the Apple Watch concierge try-on experience, the arrival of Photos with OS X 10.10.3, our new videos, and more.
Peaceful puzzler markets itself as 'meditative'
Meditation has been proven, time and time again, to be good for you. Even five minutes in the middle of a particularly stressful day can help lower blood pressure, clear your head, and prevent the onset of stress-related disease. But what if you're not used to meditating? What if you're not the type to sit in silence? The makers of Breath of Light have a solution for that, and it might not be one that you'd expect.
Tactical resource management title adds new improvements to the genre
Tactical games are popular these days, in no small part to how well they translate over to a mobile platform. Clash of Clans has seen substantial success, and since then the App Store has exploded into similarly-designed titles. We took a look at DomiNations, a tactical resource management game that attempts to put a new spin on a developing genre.
Crossword and Word Search collide in this attractive word game
There are simple pleasures in life. For example, a cup of coffee, the quietness of the early morning, and the daily crossword puzzle. While we still like our coffee, and we all probably enjoy a quiet moment every now and again, most of us probably don't sit down with the daily crossword, anymore. But that doesn't mean our love of word puzzles has dissipated into thin air, but more likely that an overwhelming amount of us have ditched our daily newspaper subscription. If you're the type who misses crossword puzzles, maybe you should check out Bonza, a beautifully designed word game.
Easy to use photo editing app produces professional, vintage-inspired results
Vintage is in. Retro is cool. Everything old is new again, and everything new is spending a lot of time trying to look like it's authentic to the 1960s. That's why there's such a big market for apps that promise to lend a vintage feel to your photographs. We sat down with Retromatic 2.0, an app that puts an interesting spin on the common vintage filter app.
MacNN and Electronista deals for Friday April 10, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the time of day when the staff of MacNN and Electronista trawl the Internet for offers and discounts for you, our discerning readers. A recap of earlier still-active deals follows, headed up with news offers, including a heavy sale on refurbished Linksys routers and access points, the Roku 3 streaming media player, and a rare sale on the Sonos:Play 5 streaming speaker.
Apple game roundup for April 10, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at Radiation Island on OS X, a "best of" MMORPG guide for our favorite operating system, the beta test for quick-to-play real-time strategy title Interloper, discovery title Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space, and the upcoming release of RuneBlade for the Apple Watch.
Frogger meets Burnout in this strangely fun arcade game.
We love arcade games. We love arcade games so much that it wouldn't be a stretch to say they're probably one of our favorite genres around these parts. There's something about the "beat the high score" mechanic, the simple controls, the overall nostalgic feel. That's why we were so excited to try Carnage Crossing, a funny little Frogger-type arcade game.
Unique and quirky camera app that offers a lot for beginners!
Photography apps are a personal choice to a lot of us, and what one person likes, another may hate. That is one of the biggest reasons we check out so many camera and photography apps here, as an attempt to give you as many options as possible. As a true labor of love, we checked out HelloCamera, a quirky little camera and filter app with some interesting features.
Make professional, fun, high-quality sound loops!
If you've ever spent a quiet day indoors with nothing to do, chances are you know how much you'd welcome a noisy distraction. But maybe it's the middle of the day, and there's nothing good on TV, or maybe you're feeling a little creative. That's why you should check out Keezy, a unique music-making app that just about anyone can master.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 9, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the time of day when the staff of MacNN and Electronista trawl the Internet for offers and discounts for you, our discerning readers. A recap of earlier still-active deals follows, headed up with news offers including the Slingbox M1, some open-box Vizio ultrabooks, and some Sennheiser Audiophile headphones.
Sign, annotate, read PDFs with this streamlined app
PDFs are wonderfully convenient ways to read eBooks, fill out forms, or just provide users with a high-resolution, easy-to-read format. Apple's iBooks allows users to read PDFs on their iPhone and iPads, but sometimes we feel like it's missing a few key features, like the ability to annotate the PDF you're reading. That's where apps like PDF Max 4 Pro come in, which allow you to do more with all those PDFs you've been stockpiling.
Case for iPhone brings 50% more battery, up to 128GB more local storage
Battery case manufacturer Mophie announced today the release of its revamped mobile application, Mophie Space 2.0, available in the App Store. Accompanying the latest version of Space is a new line of compatible Space products, including Spacestation, Space Pack for iPad mini, and Space Pack for the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.
Chack chack chack chack chack chack ding! Zzzzzzip!
A certain subset of our friends are currently obsessed with custom-making their own mechanical computer keyboards. Without going too much into how keyboards work, proponents of mechanical keyboards for computers argue that the tactile feedback, and the fact that each key is on its own individual lever, reduces the potential for incorrect keystrokes. I don't hold to that; I'm pretty sure it's the sound of a mechanical keyboard that really makes people enjoy it. Regardless of how a physical (or virtual) keyboard works, the sound of fingertips hitting keys is the sound of work getting done. Few things sound as industrious as the clatter of a mechanical keyboard or, better yet, the shotgun-like "chack chack" of a typewriter.
What if we dropped everything but the monolith bits from 2001?
Last Voyage by Semidome is a series of mysterious and visually-striking puzzles. The player is given little to no explanation or context for these puzzles, and figuring out the goal is as much a part of the puzzle as actually slotting everything into place. Throughout the experience, there seemed to be some kind of story that was always, tantalizingly, just out of reach.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 8, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista search the Internet for discounts, offers, sales, and other items for our discerning readers. Today, the catch-up of still-active deals is accompanied by a new wave of offers, including a large collection of notebooks, the Sony NEX-F3K/S for $200, and a 240GB SSD for $100.
Combining choose-your-own-adventure elements mixed with travel strategy
Is there such a genre as "Travel Strategy?" We suppose if there is, it would have started with Oregon Trail. In 80 Days by inkle, there's considerably fewer broken legs and people dying of dysentery, although at one point we were trying to stay ahead of a cholera outbreak. The game is, as the name would suggest, based on the book Around the World In 80 Days by Jules Verne. Everybody always talks about the English Gentleman, Phineas Fogg, but as anybody who has played 80 Days knows, the real brains of the adventure was his French Valet, Passepartout, and it's the role of the valet the player takes on.
Update intended for musicians, but has special needs utility as well
With its newest version, iOS PDF reader app GoodReader now enables musicians to turn their music pages with a remote page turning device. Any Bluetooth foot pedal can be used to flip pages, and the developer notes that a standard Bluetooth keyboard could be used as well. MacNN has seen some use in the feature for handicapped users as well.
Who doesn't love running through a high school full of zombies and guns?
Corridor Z by Mass Creation is about the last three living people in a high school full of zombies. Supposedly, there's a way to exit the building to safety, and the three characters must sprint through the hallways between fortified classrooms if they want to live. The game is free with ads, and includes in-app purchases. Thankfully, they manage to not be totally evil when it comes to either of those things, leaving the player free to actually ... you know ... play and enjoy the game.
A simple note app with a few advanced features and a few premium features
The full name of this app in iTunes is Notes Note-Ify: Colorful notes with Reminders, TextExpander and Dropbox synchronization by Sergii Gerasimenko. That's a bit deceptive, we think, considering most of the features listed there aren't available unless the user pays extra. Still, the base version of the app has some nice features.
Extremely powerful and comprehensive backup solution
Roll up your sleeves, get a coffee, and watch ChronoSync backup your hard drives. Or alternatively, roll your sleeves back down and nip out to lunch, because you're not needed here: ChronoSync has it covered -- and you can look in on it remotely, with the companion apps ChronoAgent and InterConneX. This is surely the most comprehensive disk backup and management application we've seen, and possibly that nature ever intended. That does mean it's complex, but you're not going to turn to this if all you've used so far is Apple's Time Machine.
Apple game roundup for April 7, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at data mining for the iPhone Hearthstone launch, Shadow Warrior on OS X, Professor Layton on mobile in Japan, and an outside chance of Hyperkin developing an iPhone 6 case for Gameboy cartridge use.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 7, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, where we scour online retailers for offers, savings, and discounts for you, our discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. As well as a recap of still-active deals from yesterday, today's new items include the Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 Neo, a 27-inch WQHD monitor, and the Sony Alpha A3000.
Vast library of current and previous HBO programming available for $15 per month
The standalone service HBO Now has launched on Apple TV in a new update, offering owners of Apple's set-top box the option of subscribing to HBO without an existing cable or satellite subscription as a requirement. Included in the deal, which includes a "first month free" trial offer, is all current HBO programming including movies, and access to all previous original HBO programming, including series such as Veep.
A literal hands-on that is like Twister for your hands
Most mobile games are exercises in what some like to call "lonely fun." In our totally unscientific survey of mobile games, we found the majority of them to be single-player experiences. A sizable chunk of mobile games with multiplayer options worth playing, in our opinion, tend to involve asynchronous play. There's nothing wrong with asynchronous play, or a single-player game, or even a near-real-time game with somebody else over the Internet, but playing games with people who happen to be in the same room as you is pretty great. Fingle is by Game Oven, the same development team that brought us Bounden. These two games involve playing with one other person, using a single mobile device. The players interact with the game and each other in real "meatspace," providing delightfully awkward experiences of genuine fun.
Small number, big, big update
We put this on our To Do list three months ago: "Write combined Hands On about both OmniFocus and OmniOutliner's new iPhone versions". The company said they were coming, they were quite clear about what would be new about them, we were quite sure it was an important update but also that it wasn't worth a complete re-review of them. We've covered both apps before, we've liked both of them a lot, they haven't changed. Except, in use the one big new feature in OmniFocus is bigger than we thought -- and much more has changed too.
Groups claim that YouTube Kids hosts content that wouldn't be allowed on TV
A series of children's and consumers advocacy groups have requested that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) look into Google's YouTube Kids app. The groups are claiming that Google is running afoul of laws restricting advertising to children, saying that "the videos provided to children on YouTube Kids intermix commercial and other content in ways that are deceptive and unfair to children and would not be permitted to be shown on broadcast or cable television."
Almost completely, but not quite, unlike a squidgy Pac Man
Microtrip by Arthur Guibert is the older sibling of ZoidTrip. The user plays a little single-celled organism traveling through the body of some kind of larger monster. As the organism glides down what we can only assume is the blood stream, it has to keep eating white blood cells to keep its health up as a cheerful electronic soundtrack bops along in the background.
A 5K training app with our favorite Season One Able Townshipers
Sometimes the idea of getting up and moving can be daunting. Two years ago, this reviewer was no stranger to exercise, but let's just say it had been a while. The Zombies, Run! (ZR) app really motivated us, and the story kept us interested in continuing to move, but we wanted something with a little more structure to push our boundaries to keep improving. Thankfully, developer Six to Start came out with Zombies, Run 5K Training (ZR5K), which is similar to a Couch to 5K program. Two things set this app apart from other 5K training apps and programs: Firstly is the connection to the Zombies, Run, and secondly it takes into account the needs of those of us who haven't been very active for a while.
View Microsoft Project plans on Mac
The standard application for project managers is Microsoft Project for Windows, but there are two big reasons why you would buy something else: you're on a Mac, and Microsoft Project is expensive. As we said in our review of OmniPlan, a very good Mac-based project management application, even the price of MS Project is complicated. It ranges from $250-$850, but whatever price you get it at, you can count on it being too costly to buy for everyone who simply needs to view the plans. Seavus Project Viewer 1.8 is a Mac app that opens Microsoft Project files, and lets you examine them for the details you need.
Staffers reflect on the fifth anniversary of the iPad, ponder the Surface 3
Presenting episode nine of The MacNN Podcast, which this week features a hands-on report on the new 2015 MacBook Pro, along with some chatting about the recently-revealed new MacBook benchmarks, well ahead of its April 10 debut. We also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the iPad by talking about the many ways, big and small, it has changed our lives. We discuss the new Surface 3 from Microsoft, the Doctor Who BBC bundle on BitTorrent, and more.
Quickly and easily add geometric elements to cell phone snaps
We do enjoy fiddling with the pictures we take with our phones and tablets; it's a great way to pass the time, and exercise a bit of creativity. Tangent by Pixite, is a relatively simple photo-manipulation app that provides a bunch of overlays and filters for users to play with. The primary attraction of Tangent are the geometric patterns and textures which can be used to increase of pull focus to a particular point in an image, and give it an interesting look.
New sources augment Yelp, may result from Spotsetter acquisition last year
New hotel reviews from TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com are now appearing alongside other local data from long-time partner Yelp in Apple Map search results, even though the two companies are not yet listed as official sources on the Maps attribution webpage. The feature expansion appears to have been implemented very recently, and reports say that some locations now offer additional photos and information on hotels from the two new sources.
An amusing idea that doesn't seem to work for us
Wakie - Social Alarm Clock is an app that lets a total stranger call you while you're sleeping… No. Hold on. Stay with us here. Wakie, pronounced "Wake-eee", allows the user to set an alarm and then matches them up with a community of users who are currently up and willing to give the user a wake-up call. The "Wakies" are not given the phone number for the "Sleepies", everything is handled through the app. It's a really cute and interesting idea, but we didn't have such a great experience with it.
Weather app that might just win the golden apple for 'prettiest one'
It's no secret this reviewer is developing an obsession with weather apps. Even though it was introduced to us by a friend nearly a year before we started working here at MacNN, Dark Sky -- Weather Radar, Hyperlocal Forecasts, and Storm Alerts by Jackadam is probably the one that planted the seeds of such an obsession. The UI is so clean it's Zen, and that makes the colors in the weather maps really pop. On top of good looks, however, there's a lot of substance in the form of useful info, with a focus on rain.
A nice quick mystery game with a few snags
The Trace: Murder Mystery Game by Relentless Software lets the user take the role of a detective in all the right ways. Clues are gathered, fingerprints are run, DNA is sequenced, and the clues are arranged to try and put them into context. We were really enjoying our experience with The Trace, until we met our nemesis ... Screwdrivers. More on that later.
Apple game roundup for April 3, 2015
On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. Today, we're looking at the update for Geometry Wars 3, the launch of free-to-play DomiNations on iOS, the discontinuation of server support for some Pac Man titles, the upcoming Elite: Dangerous beta release for OS X, and the availability of DiRT 3: Complete Edition.
Find that email even if it's not still on your iPhone
Searching for old emails on your iPhone used to be enough of a pain that you just didn't bother. Worse, it was also regularly pointless, as the search would take forever and often fail to find something you knew was there. It was bad enough that not only did you get into the habit of waiting until you were back at your Mac or occasionally re-forwarding mails so they'd be at the top of your inbox, you also forgot that things change. Things have changed. Since iOS 7, search is immensely improved. It's still not perfect, but there are ways to work around its remaining issues. This Pointers tutorial is specifically about using Apple Mail with an iCloud account.