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Archive for iPad

longest-journey-ios

If you like games that are equal parts book, movie, and game… The Longest Journey is something to be excited about. Described as being an interactive and beautifully created universe, The Longest Journey is told from the perspective of a young art student named April Ryan who possesses the power to pass between worlds (like others are able to pass between being awake and asleep).

Feel free to get yourself addicted to this franchise. Developed by Ragnar Tornquist and his team at development house, Red Thread Games, The Longest Journey: Dreamfall Chapters sequel was recently brought to computer and console gaming platforms by way of a tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign (they set out to raise $850,000, and ended up with over $1.5 million) –so chances are good that mobile games won’t have seen the last of these characters!

The Longest Journey Remastered has already been available for iOS users in New Zealand with an $8.99 price-tag, but there are plans for a North American release very soon. If you are ready for a real iOS gaming adventure, prepare to purchase and download The Longest Journey Remastered from the Apple App Store.

Categories : Android News
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3037508-inline-ipadchart3

Following a swirl of Internet discussion that is trying desperately to suggest that the iPad is circling the drain (so to speak), Fast Company charted the growth of iOS and iPad apps between June 2010 and October 2014. The results of their research makes one thing clear: whether the iPad succeeds or not, the iOS app marketplace is growing steadily.

So why is it that iPad year-over-year sales have declined during the last three quarters? \Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests that existing users are upgrading more slowly, and other products (such as the iPhone and Mac) are cannibalizing the iPad. Those reasons certainly seem more likely than the reason being offered up by anecdotal bloggers telling us that nearly 675,000 tablet-optimized apps are disappointing to would-be iPad owners (not to mention the overwhelming evidence to the contrary showing that people using tablets are doing so in very limited ways: games, social media, surfing the web, and streaming media).

It is just as likely that the tablet market is becoming saturated, or that the larger 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus (nicknamed the phablet) is blurring the lines between smartphones and tablets enough that users don’t want both… regardless of the reason, news that the app marketplace is thriving is good news. Oh, and as everybody tries to speculate that Apple is going to be in some kind of financial trouble because they are selling fewer tablets, should remember that the 30% they are making off each iOS app purchase is a much larger margin than they typically make on hardware.

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sim

Apple intended for their new interchangeable SIM to work between carriers in the US and UK (including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and EE), but it seems AT&T had other plans. While the idea was that you could switch carriers using your device settings instead of swapping SIM cards, if you choose to get your data service with AT&T this won’t be the case.

According to an on-screen notification:

“Once activation is complete this Apple SIM can only be used with AT&T. You will need a new Apple SIM if you change carriers in the future.”

AT&T is quick to confirm that this news is true, but hasn’t yet announced why they have chosen to go against the nature of the new SIM card.

This kind of move certainly isn’t going to win any popularity contests for AT&T, and may make them look like bullies in the long run –especially if they are the only carrier to lock users in to their service in this way. I doubt it is impressing Apple much either, and it is likely safe to assume that they will make it well known this wasn’t their decision or within their control.

Are you less likely to choose AT&T after hearing this news?

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hearthstone

Smartphone gamers are going to have to wait a little longer for the popular Hearthstone card game developed by Blizzard. While the PC and iPad editions have been out for a while now, the acclaimed game creators need more time to best accommodate smaller screens (but don’t worry, this delay doesn’t include Android tablets –that version is still on track to be released by the end of 2014).

According to Blizzard, as noted on their official Hearthstone blog:

“Throughout the past year, many of you have been asking about the release date for Hearthstone on Android. The team has been hard at work to bring Hearthstone to that platform, and is making great progress. We’re taking things one step at a time and we’ve got our sights set on a release for Android tablets, our next new platform, before the end of the year. We’re also close to having Hearthstone out to our iPhone and Android phone users, but it’s become clear that we need a little more time to get that version right. While we have a build up and running internally, it needs a bit more work, and we don’t feel like we’ll be ready to share it with you until early next year.”

Hearthstone is a game that is well described as deceptively simple, but insanely fun. Using your customized deck of cards, you can “sling spells, summon minions, and seize control of an ever-shifting battlefield.”

As much as it sucks to wait, releasing a poorly executed version of the game would likely do more harm than delaying it and doing things correctly; especially true when you consider there are already 20 million players, many of which will turn to the smartphone version as well.

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ipad-air-2-

Unlike the intensely flawed process for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus a few weeks back, Apple is successfully offering pre-orders for their recently announced iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 tablets. Of course, calling it a pre-order is a bit misleading when customers can expect their tablets to ship within 2-4 days, arriving as early as October 23.

Pricing for the new iPads really hasn’t changed from previous versions, with a starting cost of $499 for the 16GB Air 2 and $399 for the 16GB Mini 3 models. If you want a little more storage, 64GB and 128GB models are also available in both sizes –all of which appear to still be available with a quick shipping time (and for once, colour doesn’t seem to play a part in how quickly you get your new device: with the silver, gold, and space grey all ready to go).

First impressions of the new iPads were pretty underwhelming, but it will be interesting to see if this changes at all once they are actually in our hot little hands. If nothing else, having Touch ID would be really nice –it’s amazing how that feature makes you wonder how you ever lived without it once you’ve given it a try.

It is pretty clear that Apple wanted these tablets out the door as soon as they were able, and while it seems they have done a good job… it may not be sitting as well with the hoards of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers who are still waiting for their smartphones to arrive after pre-ordering the devices over a month ago.

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android-oem-rank-640x577

According to the latest statistics released by Chitika, the LG user base has exhibited the greatest usage share growth as compared to any of the competing Android brands since June 2014. With a 1.7 percentage point gain and representing over 10% of the total North American smartphone and tablet Web traffic, LG should be counted as a significant player in the mobile market.

Samsung can rest easy for now, sitting comfortably at the top of the heap with 57.4% of the current Android market share –but it would be wise to keep at least one eye on their competition given their less substantial 1% gain since June 2014 (despite the release of an entirely updated line of mobile hardware during this period). Amazon is sitting precariously in the third spot (with a meagre .5% lead on Motorola), likely due in large part to their Fire tablets as opposed to their unremarkable smartphone sales.

Google was down this quarter, falling to just 3.6% –but these numbers should look a little better shortly with the release of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices.

Chitika’s report also indicated that smartphones continue to dominate the mobile Web traffic, with very little growth in this area being observed in the Android tablet space. Some speculation suggests that this is due to Apple’s dominance in the tablet arena, but it may also be due in part to the next-generation phablet type smartphones prompting users to invest in large-screen, smartphones instead of a tablet.

Founded in 2003, Chitika is an online ad network that boasts the delivery of “over four billion strategically targeted ads each month to a network of over 300,000+ sites.” Together with high profile advertising partners like Yahoo!, Chitika has developed proprietary optimization technology that promises to display the right ad, at the right time.

Categories : Android News
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apple-sim

After the anti-climactic Apple event yesterday, the tech community at large took a nap –which is why news seemed to slip between the cracks telling us Apple has built a SIM card that allows users to move between AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (plus EE in the UK) without having to swap it out.

Using the new Apple SIM card, you can switch between carriers in the Settings for your iPad Air 2 by simply selecting a new one from the list, and voila!

While it may not seem like a big deal to swap out a SIM card, it does involve a little hassle (getting them in and out of an iPad or iPhone involves a tool, unlike the spring loaded insert and eject usually seen with SD cards). They generally come at a cost as well, so you end up shelling out a little money with each carrier you use. With that said, the people who are excited by this news are those who tend toward short-term data plans –which typically points to travelers.

It doesn’t appear like you can purchase this new Apple SIM card separately right now, but it is standard issue on their new cell-enabled iPad Air 2 tablets… but many of us have our fingers crossed that this will be an option very soon!

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ipadAir

It was a lot of ‘yeah, yeah, we were expecting that’ at the Apple Event today… leaving many of us to wonder why they didn’t just do a soft launch. Brand-loyal Apple fans will be glad to see that the iPad Air 2 is a little thinner (at 6.1mm) and finally features the fingerprint ID sensor that has been present in the last 2 iterations of the iPhone.

Other updates for the iPad Air include a faster processor, more advanced wireless connectivity, better camera (with a new 8 megapixel sensor that captures images in 3264-by-2448 native resolution and continues to take 1080p HD video), and an anti-reflective coating for the screen (which they claim makes it 56 per cent less reflective). If this addition works as well as it appears, this might strike a fairly mighty blow against popular eReaders whose main benefit has included being able to be used in direct sunlight.

If it seems like I have forgotten about the iPad Mini 3, I wasn’t the first –Apple really had very little to say about their smaller-format tablet, other than to tell us that it also has the fingerprint ID sensor.

Proof positive that the upgrades for iPads being mainly cosmetic is reflected by the addition of a gold colour option (mirroring the iPhone choices) and brighter Smart Cases to match. While both certainly add curb appeal, it won’t go unnoticed that these were some of the biggest announcements today.

For those looking to grab an iPad Air 2, be prepared to hand over $499 USD for the 16GB Wi-Fi model (with a jump to $599 USD for 64GB, and $699 USD for 128GB). For those looking to add Cellular capabilities, the prices start at $629 USD for the 16GB model.

If your sights are set more on the iPad Mini 3, the price tag is a little more affordable at $399 USD for 16GB of storage (moving to $499 for 64GB, and $599 for 128GB). Cellular capability is available for this device as well, with an entry level cost of $529 USD for the 16GB tablet.

All in all, Apple’s news today was underwhelming. It might be true that the iPads didn’t need much in the way of updates, and I am delighted that every Apple smartphone and tablet now features the incredibly handy fingerprint sensor, but it all seems a little out of the ordinary. It might strike some as a little bit of a ‘conspiracy theory’, but if I were a betting woman I’d say that Apple just wanted to make sure they had some stage time and a few news cycles to (try and) keep their mobile devices front and centre following Google’s Nexus announcements earlier this week.

Is anybody else frustrated that the entry level iPad storage remains at 16GB, with a 32GB model distinctly and noticeably absent?

Categories : Android News
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ios-8-app-store-changes

There are plenty of complaints directed toward iOS 8, but there are plenty of good things too. One of my favourite new features (if we can call it that) is the ability to hide your app store purchases (a term which also applies to free apps) directly from your mobile device.

To remove an app from your list of purchases while on your mobile iOS device: load up the App Store app, select Updates, choose Purchased, swipe right-to-left on any app you’d rather wasn’t visible, and finish by tapping on the large, red ‘HIDE’ button that appears.

Removing an app from the list will not erase history. If you search for the app in the store, you will still see the little cloud beside it that lets you download the title again (which is good, I suppose… because some of these apps may have cost you money, and you don’t want to lose record of that in case you later change your mind about removing it).

Some of you may be wondering why this is an important feature in the first place. Well, some of us who have been using iOS devices for quite some time have likely amassed quite a list of apps that have been taken for a test drive. Some make the cut, some don’t. Those that don’t seem to haunt us forever. Every time we setup a new device that doesn’t start with a backup (like iPads for your children) means flipping through an endless list of apps, many of which you hoped to never lay eyes on again. Flash forward another few years and this list might become quite difficult to manage.

Sure you could do this from your computer using iTunes already, but these days I am delighted by any feature that means I can boot that thing up a little less… Besides, I install my apps directly on my mobile device and I back-up to the cloud –so this next stage of independence is a good thing.

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pokemon

The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online for iPad and iPad mini is a free release app available now. Based entirely on the existing PC and Mac version of the game, fans of the Pokemon franchise will enjoy choosing between playing against the computer or other online opponents (of course you can always still purchase physical Pokemon cards).

When you begin playing the game you can choose between Grass, Fire, or Water decks –from there you can expand your personal collection by earning cards, opening booster packs, and trading with other players… all in an effort to build the perfect deck! The interactive features are nice, but my favourite part is the ability to truly customize every aspect of the game: change the look of your cards, deck boxes, and avatar.

Whether you feel like reminiscing and spending time with your favourite Pokemon, or you’d like to give the game a try for the first time now –download a copy of Pokemon TCG Online for your iPad.

Unfortunately for Android users, there is no word on when a compatible version may be available.

Categories : Android News
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gpn

Android users have been using Google Play Newsstand instead of the older Currents app for quite some time, but thanks to an update this week, iOS users will get the same pleasure. Advertising itself as a way to “discover more of the news you care about,” Google Play Newsstand is more like a digital magazine and less like a traditional aggregator.

Now featuring the updated look and feel using Google’s new Material Design language, the redesign offers truly elegant navigation –though the interface isn’t always as quick and responsive as it should be (for instance, choosing to delete a category wasn’t executed and confirmed for almost 30 seconds after tapping the on-screen confirmation).

If you haven’t yet created a library of your own, begin by choosing to explore the suggested news feeds assembled by Google. You can add topics broadly for things like Art or Photography, or include individual feeds for more specific content. If you already have a favourite blogger or news site, you can add those individually as well. Once your library is assembled, flip easily through all of the new articles –choosing to read them now, share with your friends, open in a browser, or bookmark to review later.

Google Play Newsstand is trying hard to compete with popular news apps like Flipboard with the functionality of Pocket, and this new version is a good first step. In its current form, I feel that this app is best used for browsing news stories the way you would magazines in a waiting room and less useful for keeping current with your existing blog roll. I read a lot of news every day, and I need to be able to do it quickly –even if it isn’t always beautiful to look at. I also need something that properly syncs between devices and makes it easy to tell what’s already been read at a glance… and Google Play Newsstand just isn’t there yet.

If you already had Currents installed, you will be prompted to upgrade automatically –otherwise, download Google Play Newsstand now to give it a try.

Categories : Android News
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instapaper

With the arrival of iOS 8, apps are starting to release updates to take advantage of the new features. Instapaper is no exception, adding several new features this week but also moving to a freemium business model. What this means for users is that the universal iOS app can now be downloaded for free –with the old subscription package being renamed to Instapaper Premium.

Reviewing a list of the new key features should persuade you that Instapaper continues to be a productivity app leader:

    – Now featuring text-to-speech (using Apple’s text-to-speech synthesizer) will let you listen to saved articles while on the go. Consider this a way of making custom curated podcasts from the news you are interested in knowing but wish you had the time to read.

    – Save an article with a single tap (functionality that the Android and web versions of the app have enjoyed previously, but was noticeably absent in the iOS version until now)

    – Unified browse brings articles from your favourite editors or friends into a single feed

    – Link to your friends’ profiles based on the articles that they like

    – View your article saves from today which will now appear in the Notification Center (and read with a single tap)

Once you give Instapaper a try, you will likely agree that a Premium subscription is worth the price of admission (currently listed at $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year). Premium members will enjoy unlimited highlights (free users only get 5 highlights per month) and text-to-speech playlists of saved articles.

If you happen to be an existing subscriber, you will be automatically upgraded to the new premium service at your current rate. If you purchased Instapaper in the past, you will enjoy a free month of premium service as compensation.

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sonyxperiaz3

It almost seems like tablets can be lumped into two distinct categories these days: “iPads” and “other tablets”; so if you don’t have one, you have the other. Those in the know will tell you this isn’t true, and that there are plenty of quality contenders in the tablet game –whether you are interested in an iPad or not. To this end, Sony has released their latest contender, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is certainly portable, weighing in at 9.5-ounces (270-grams) and measuring only 0.25-inches (6.4mm) thick –while maintaining an 8-inch (213.4mm by 123.6mm) screen. Powered by basically the same technology as the Z3 smartphone, Sony’s new tablet features a quad-core, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 330 graphics, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage memory (that can be increased up to 128GB by using microSD cards). For those interested in photography, the Z3 Tablet Compact has an improved 8.1-megapixel imager.

Of course, if you happen to love console gaming, Sony devices support PS4 Remote Play –meaning you are able to use your tablet to control your games on the Playstation 4. Plus, Sony’s software comes with extras like their DSEE HX technology that will upscale the quality of your MP3 and AAC music files (plus, you can perform one-touch mirroring if you happen to have a Sony Bravia TV to pair it with).

Whether it competes nimbly with the iPad remains to be seen, but there is no question that Sony knows how to make an elegant device with value-adds… so for anybody already brand-loyal, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact provides a very reasonable option.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but the device will ship in black or white (with LTE or Wi-Fi only options) in the fall of 2014.

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