Welcome to the first installment of Game Centered 2014, it's good to be back in the swing of things after the holidays and CES! Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition, as well as any news stories that are particularly relevant to the iOS gaming community.
This week we’ve certainly got a lot games to cover; it's been almost a month since the last Game Centered installment and a lot of great new apps have hit the App Store since then! We've also got a new rumor stirring up interest in the gaming sector; if you’re a fan of Zelda or Mario, you won't want to miss it!
The new SteelSeries Stratus game controller ($99.99) is available to pre-order now and the website promises the controller will ship within 30 days. I've been working with the SteelSeries game controller a lot lately, and I have to say, besides the fact that it's the only wireless (Bluetooth) game controller on the market, it's ergonomic and it handles well. The sensitivity is finely tweaked making the controller quick and responsive, without much glitchiness or lag.
When I’m not evaluating the latest iOS apps, or experimenting with the newest iPad or iPhone accessories, I spend my time helping organizations think about their future. The Consumer Electronics Show included plenty of announcements that will influence the strategic choices made at Apple for years to come.
I wrote a report, CES 2014: Implications for Apple, that outlines seven areas in which CES “trends” will help shape Apple’s future. Here is a brief summary.
My colleagues and I at iPhone Life have written about the OlloClip several times, and it's a great clip-on accessory that adds different lenses for your iPhone camera. The fatal flaw, however, has been that it requires a naked iPhone, and I like to keep my iPhone in a case.
As you can imagine, there are plenty of docks and cables at CES, so it's hard to stand out. Yet, three vendors were able to do so.
First, HengeDocks offered the massive Gravitas. This is a great dock and a great name for it, as the first thing you will notice is the weight. This is a dock that is meant to stay put, and allow for undocking even an iPad with one hand.
The Tack Mobile team wanted to create an app with effortless note-taking capabilities. The final product is Noted (Free), a straightforward, gesture-based note app that derives inspiration from the simplicity of sticky notes.
You can find several note-taking apps on iTunes, but Noted tries to keep distracting interface elements to a minimum. Instead, gestures are used as shortcuts, with most of the actions only involving a finger swipe or two.
Cloud-based document storage services are a wonderful boon, and I'm a big fan of Dropbox. Any document I'm working on, I put it in my Dropbox folder. As I make changes, the most recent version of the file is automatically uploaded to the web. And because the document is in the cloud, I can access it from my iPads or from any computer connected to the Internet. The Dropbox app on my iPads lets me view most document file types. Box is yet another popular cloud storage service, and whereas Dropbox offers 5GB of storage for free, Box announced on Wednesday that for the next 30 days they're offering 50GB of free storage for life if you download the new Box for iPhone and iPad 3.0 (free).
It's easy to find high tech wonders at CES, but I have a particular affinity for items that are low tech or no tech... In other words, items that have no battery, no wires, and no chips but still manage to make our high tech lives better.
People always ask me what to get the person who has everything. My response? Something to hold it in! If you have tons of gadgets, as I do, you're always looking for the right bag, case, or container. Fortunately, CES was full of such gear.
Your iPhone is an elegant, beautifully designed piece of equipment. It deserves a case of equal elegance, and I finally found one. Actually, they have two models and they are available after their launch on Kickstarter, from Blacksmith Labs. Additionally, to celebrate their launch, for the rest of January, they are taking $20 off each holster during checkout with the coupon code:
Today I'm sharing the product that wowed me at CES. The product that left me thinking about the brilliant people behind the concept, the people who said, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if..."
The product is called Sensus. Nate wrote about it last week but I thought I'd add my thoughts to the mix, since I'm coming from a teen user and special education background.
Two or three times a week, sometimes more often, my iPad would inform me, that despite an apparently strong signal, it couldn’t connect to my Wi-Fi. The distance from my office to the master bedroom is 300 feet or so, as the Wi-Fi crow flies. Downstairs, the family room where my recliner resides, is almost as far. So I figured I should get a Wi-Fi extender. I started with the extender in a central place in the house. I configured it for both 2.4 and 5 GHz. bandwidth networks using WPS—which means I didn’t have to configure it, it configured itself. This particular Wi-fi extender created new networks with the name of the original network, followed by EXT. This set-up was designed to max out at 802.11N.
Recently, AT&T created headlines, raised suspicion, and set tongues wagging with its announcement that they are starting a new Sponsored Data program. This new plan will allow eligible 4G customers to access mobile content and apps without impacting their monthly wireless data plan. In simpler terms this would be like a toll-free service for wireless data where websites that sign up as sponsors will be free for AT&T wireless customers. As a result, no data will be deducted from a surfer’s monthly allotment of data. Data charges will be borne by the sponsoring company.
In Seattle, the Seahawks divisional playoff game was a big deal. So was the storm that arrived hours before the game. At 4:30 a.m. we lost power. The game started at 1:30 p.m. As the time drew near, it was clear that the power wasn’t going to return in time. What to do?
Let's face it, these days, you can't go anywhere without at least one smartphone being present. Especially if you're enjoying a night out on the town. It's getting so that your favorite happy hour might just feature one or two sad faces, upset that they can't get Wi-Fi access.
There were too many cool audio whatevers at CES to name in a single post, but will give it a feeble shot. I admit I did not get to even a smidgin of the great tech demonstrations out there at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas. The show is just too massive. We walked for miles and miles to bring you at least a glimpse of some great stuff, but alas there was much we probably missed. Here is a round-up of some new audio products worthy of note from iHome, Zagg, Velodyne, Pioneer, Nyne, and more, all coming in 2014!
There was no shortage of portable iPhone chargers at CES. It seems everyone has something to offer these days, but there were definitely some trends to be noticed. Shake to start options, built-in Lightning cables, color options, and rugged battery packs round out this list of CES 2014 portable charger trends.
Google yesterday announced a new version of their free Chrome web browser that has some great features. Plus, they launched a new app that lets you view movies and TV shows that you've purchased in the Google Play store. An important new feature of Chrome is an option for compressing data, meaning that you use up to 50 percent less of your data allotment when browsing the web. If you turn on this feature, the app uses Google's servers to compress the web pages that you're accessing before they appear on your iPhone or iPad. This new feature also enables Safe Browsing, which protects you from malicious web pages so you don't inadvertently download spyware or viruses. When you open the Chrome browser, it automatically explains this new option and presents you with a screen to enable it. You can subsequently toggle it on and off in the settings panel for Chrome. Tap the settings icon at the top right in Chrome, then select Bandwidth, and then Reduce Data Usage. You'll see a screen that lets you turn the feature on and off and that shows your data savings. (See screenshot.)
This is the official announcement of the iPhone life Biweekly Giveaway! Be sure to enter the giveaway at iphoneLife.com/giveaways to win prizes, which we'll announce January 27th! We are raffling off tons of great apps and accessories for FREE.
Here's how it works: Every other Friday we will announce the prizes we're giving away through iphonelife.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. To enter the giveaway, go to iphoneLife.com/giveaways. On the following Monday morning, we will randomly select the winners. If you win an app, we will email you the promo code to redeem the app for free. If you win an accessory, send us your address and we will mail it to you.
This weeks featured items are:
As new iOS apps flood the App Store every day — recently topping 1,000,000 — we know it’s tough to tell which ones are worth their salt. But thanks to our Weekly Scoop, you can have the best for free! Here you’ll find a weekly roundup of the coolest apps free or at a discount for a limited-time only. Each week features the best and brightest from websites like Free App Report, AppsGoneFree, appsfire, and more.
Hurry! Get 'em while they’re hot!
Over the years I've had a strong love/hate relationship with the Infinity Blade series. It has been by turns, a highly rewarding, premium game experience and also a very disappointing one. My issues with the IB series go back to my experience with the very first Infinity Blade, which at one point refused to even open (using an iPhone 4 and iPad 2 at the time) for over six months (in fact, I was never able to resolve that issue before I moved on to IB II), to the present day’s scandal. The game series, for all of its amazing gameplay, strong storyline, and stellar graphics, seems to have been plagued with consistently recurring development problems, bugs, and glitches. But this latest fiasco takes the cake...