Category Archives: Applications

Five fun games for iPad

Five Fun games for iPad

As we all know, the iPad can lend itself to pretty much anything; be it reading, browsing or typing, it’s a much better experience than on an iPhone or iPod touch. And the same is true with gaming.

Sure, games are good fun on the iPhone, and with the Retina display, they’re super-sharp and at an incredibly high resolution. But the screen is still far too small.

The iPad’s screen is great for gaming, but I’m not talking about Call of Duty or Gran Turismo here, I much prefer playing simple, clever games that don’t push the device to within an inch of its life, resulting it crappy graphics and shoddy gameplay.

I like my portable games quick to start, simple and fun. If it can’t be played for five minutes waiting for a bus, then it’s failed.

So here are five games that I love on the iPad because they’re simple and fun…

Angry Birds

This game was great on the iPhone and – even if the developer hasn’t added any new features at all for the iPad – I still bought it and completed it again. And it’s even better on the ‘pad.

Flicking birds into stuff which crashes down with a satisfying noise and kills green pigs is what Angry Birds is all about. It’s beautifully simple, quick to pick up and have a go and hugely, unbelievably, scarily addictive.

Seriously, if you could combine chocolate and heroine the resulting injectable goo wouldn’t even come close to Angry Birds. I have attempted a single level over and over again for hours.

Angry Birds HD costs £2.99

Flight Control

I’ve written about Flight Control a few times before and I was a big fan of this plan-landing game on the iPhone, but with the iPad we have extra levels (one of which is in 3D).

The game is, again, simple. You are given an airport with several runways and helipads. A range of planes and helicopters fly onto the screen and you’re job is to draw a line from each aircraft to the correct runway, making sure they don’t crash into each other.

Flight Control is another game that I’ve play for literally hours on end. It’s simple graphics and fun captions and music make it a joy to play. It gets stupidly difficult and sometimes stressful, but the range of aircraft and airports keeps it interesting for many hours. There’s also a two-player function on the iPad game, where you can play split-screen with a friend.

Flight Control HD is £2.99

Plants vs Zombies

Another game that will cause you countless sleepless nights and an irrational fear of the undead. Actually no, that’s not true, they may want to eat your brains but it’s ok, you have some pea-firing plants to save you.
Sounds odd, I’ll give you that, but it’s brilliant. A very big game – so it should be for six quid – but it doesn’t get too repetitive, with new plants and challenges every few levels to keep things interesting.

Plants vs Zombies HD is £5.99

MX Mayhem

Remember that game you played on school when the IT teacher wasn’t looking? That 2D one with the bloke on a motocross bike. You had to navigate over hills and stuff without falling off? Yeah, that one. This is that.
Need I say anymore? Go on then, you touch the right half of the screen to accelerate and the left to brake.

Tilting the iPad left and right moves the riders balance forward and back. That’s it really. It’s such a simple game and I love it. When you fall off there are some good rag-doll effects, which sees the rider fall on his head and slump at the foot of a cliff with the grace of a damp towel.

I did complete this in an afternoon – never managed it on the iPhone – but now I’ve written about it, I’ll be playing again right now.

Moto X Mayhem is £0.59

Need for Speed: Shift

Ok, I did say that I like simple games and anything too complex is a big, fat no. But I’ve changed my mind. I paid £7.49 for Shift, not expecting an awful lot if I’m honest, and was pleasantly surprised. Most racing games on the iPhone or iPad make me feel violently sick. It’s the motion of it. Why does the screen need to tilt around when I steer? Awful.

Thankfully, when using the – rather good – interior view in Shift, the horizon stays still while you turn corners. This changes everything. I find it very playable, and with a good selection of licensed cars from the VW Golf to the Bugatti Veyron and plenty of races and tracks, it’s a proper game.

Need for Speed: Shift is £7.49



Beejive IM for iPad

I always wanted to use my iPhone for instant messaging with Facebook chat and MSN messenger, but the screen was just too small to display contact lists, conversations and the keyboard all at once. I bought Beejive, and while I was initially impressed, I very rarely used the app because dealing with more than one conversation was a nightmare, not to mention the endless bugginess and the fact that my 3G sometimes struggled to run the app smoothly.

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Wired Magazine for iPad

Many have hailed the iPad as the savior of news, but as I discussed in my last post, news readers are hesitant when asked to pay for news that they can get for free elsewhere. But what about magazines? This is where I think the printed industry could thrive if it adopts the iPad quickly and effectively. Within a year I’m sure that we’ll see a magazine store with the iBook store, with all the major publishers offering digital magazines with embedded videos, interactivity and even games, as well as the usual printed content.

First out of the blocks to get the iPad magazine absolutely right is Wired. The magazine looks great on the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen as you’d expect, but it’s the content and navigation that makes Wired so much better than other magazines I’ve read. I’m looking at you, iCreate and Mac User; offering no new content and a shoddy navigation system will not sell digital copies for you.

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The Times app for iPad

With newspapers loosing hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, the iPad has been hailed by many as the saviour of the news industry. The tablet from Apple has been launched right at the edge of a huge change in the newspaper market, with the Times and Sunday Times to soon charge for access to their websites. While it seems that many will not pay for news online – 59 out of the 60 people I asked said they’d refuse to pay and would simple go elsewhere for their news – the applications market is huge and the consumer has been well-trained in the act of paying for them.
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iPhone OS 4.0 Brings Multitasking and Social Gaming

The newest iPhone operating system will bring multitasking, application folders, online gaming and a revolutionary new advertising platform to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad this summer.

iPhone 4.0 brings over 100 new features

4.0 was announced by Apple today at it’s Cupertino campus to a selection of journalists and while the new operating system will be available to the general public in the summer, developers will have access to it today.
Among 100 other new features, multitasking was the most anticipated in the tech industry. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said:”Now we weren’t the first to this party, but we’re gonna be the best. Just like cut and paste” as the feature was announced.

Open apps are displayed with two pushes of the home button

Multitasking will allow users to run several applications at once, so the popular music streaming service Pandora can be used alongside the Internet browser, or while a sat-nav application is in use. Pressing the home button twice reveals a dock showing which applications are currently active, from here users can tap which app they want to view while the others run in the background.
Video: shamelessly borrowed from Gizmodo:
Steve assured us that multitasking will not reduce battery life or cause the iPad or iPhone to run slowly and, when questioned, he confirmed that there will be no task manager and the user should “shouldn’t ever have to think about” what apps are running. No indication on how the devices will manage themselves with many applications open, but Apple sound confident that it’ll work.

The UI has been tweaked to firstly allow different wallpapers – just like on the iPad – but, more importantly, applications can now be arranged into ‘folders’. By dragging an application icon onto another, a folder is created containing both apps. So one folder – so a single icon – can be used for all of your games. This makes browsing much easier and now an iPhone or iPad can store more than 2,000 applications over its 9 pages, a dramatic increase from the original 180.
Today also saw the announcement of Game Centre and I believe that this will be an absolute game changer. Game Centre is, in layman’s terms, an Xbox Live-style gaming system for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It’s a social gaming network, where users can invite friends to games over the Internet, post high scores to leader boards and unlock achievements. This has the potential to be huge. Imagine playing Real Racing on your iPad against against 7 other players all over the world, to all enter a lobby and chat with each other between races. I’m really looking forward to this.
iBooks will be available in iPhone 4.0, so users will have access to the iBooks store just like iPad owners. This is nice and very expected, not much else to say here.
4.0 brings a few enhancements to the Mail application. You can now have a unified inbox, meaning emails from all accounts come into the same inbox.
Finally, Steve introduced a revolutionary advertisement system; iAd. Developers are currently putting adverts into their applications, but tapping these adverts often takes you out of the app and into the browser, which isn’t much fun. iAd allows developers to install adverts which are emotive and much more interactive. We were shown a couple of examples, one being an advert for the film Toy Story 3 – there’s a surprise, Steve is the largest individual shareholder in Disney.
Anyway, tapping the advert opened a miniature application on top of the app that’s already running. This mini app showed videos and information, even games and downloadable content. A neat feature was the ability to see on a map where the nearest cinema showing Toy Story 3 is; remember, the original app, this advert and the maps app can all be open at once, thanks to multitasking.
While iAd looks great and is without question better than most adverts, I’m not sold on the idea. I don’t want adverts on my iPhone or iPad and I certainly don’t want them interrupting  me while I’m playing a game. What’s more, when asked about an approval process for adverts, like there is for applications, Steve answered: “Um… well there’s going to be some process… but these people are paying to run ads. So, I’m not sure it’ll be anything other than a light touch.” This doesn’t sound too great to me, but I’ll reserve judgment until I see these adverts for real.
One feature that wasn’t mentioned directly but was shown on a graphic was the inclusion of bluetooth keyboard support for iPhone and iPod touch. I bet we’ll see a ton of 3rd party manufactures producing small, pocketable bluetooth keyboards for iPhone, probably also with a dock connection, which would be cool.
So there we have it, iPhone OS 4.0. Multitasking was begged for and has been delivered in a comprehensive package; Game Centre will be huge, I’m really looking forward to this.
4.0 will be available in the summer on the iPhone 3GS and iPod touch 3rd generation. Users of the original iPhone and iPhone 3G can upgrade, but will not be able to use some features, such as multitasking. We will almost certainly see a new iPhone in June to coincide with the release of 4.0.
The update will be available to iPad users in the autumn.

Yo, we put an iPad in your car, so you can multitouch while you drive. Etc etc

Xzibit would be proud.

Yo, Dawg...

Anyway, enough of the ropey Pimp My Ride link…

As well as having an unhealthy obsession with tech and all things Apple, I’ve had a life-long love of cars and all things automotive. Cars and tech seem to go hand in hand.

So when I stumbled across this video of a chap installing an iPad into a car dashboard, the 5-year-old in me almost exploded with excitement, and the 20-year-old on the outside mentally planned out how this could be done in my mum’s Corsa.

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iPhone OS 4.0 Preview; Thursday April 8

Email inboxes worldwide have just gone ping to the sound of an invitation from Apple to come and see a preview of iPhone 4.0. This will be the newest installation of the touch interface used by the iPod touch, iPhone and the iPad.

Previews of the new iPhone OS are usually scheduled for this time of year and we’ll probably see new hardware around June/July, but what’s interesting is that this OS will be previewed just days after the iPad went on sale in the US.

The invitation every blogger wants. I didn't get one. Sad face

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