By Nate Adcock on Mon, 06/29/2015
By Siva Om on Sat, 06/27/2015
I love spending time outdoors. Wherever I am, I always make it a point to explore the natural surroundings. For me there's no better way to unwind, stay fit, and learn about new environments. These days I tend to have my iPhone with me on my adventures, which allows me to stay connected and enjoy multi-media, even when trekking in the wild. There's certainly no shortage of useful and practical gear available to assist the tech-savvy adventurer; from communication and navigation apps to charging gear and portable Bluetooth speakers. Here's a sampling of the great gear and apps I've been putting to use these days.
By Siva Om on Fri, 06/26/2015
I've been playing Super Evil Megacorp's Vainglory since the day it was released, and what a phenomenal game it is. I've been impressed by this highly competitive and rewarding game of strategy, reflexes, and well-coordinated teamwork. If you are a core gamer, you owe it to yourself to check out this groundbreaking iOS game. Sure, other developers have tried to bring the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre to iOS, but none with anywhere near the success, critical acclaim, and high levels of professional competition that Vainglory has seen. As Vainglory prepares to "come out of Beta" and officially launch on Google's Android operating system on July 2, it seems as though the ride has only just begun for this game.
By Todd Bernhard on Fri, 06/26/2015
I first met Mark Lentry last year at Stan Lee's Comikaze, and was very impressed with his woodworking skills. Lentry actually appeared on the original Star Trek TV series and brought that experience to his woodworking efforts under the name Wood That I Could. He makes beautiful Star Trek themed works of art, such as a $100 working Phaser (by working I mean it has a colored LED that works like a flashlight—it won't stun, let alone kill any aliens) and a $1,250 scale model of the Enterprise NCC-1701, also with working lights.
By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 06/25/2015
While AT&T is making it harder for consumers to get a subsidized phone on a two-year contract, T-Mobile is making it easier to get a new phone as often as three times a year. The "uncarrier" just launched a new version of "JUMP!", their monthly financing plan, called "JUMP! On Demand" and it brings a new twist. Instead of a set time period between upgrades, the new plan allows a user to walk in to a store, turn in their old device (assuming it meets their three-point checklist) and walk out with a new device, up to three times in a 12-month period.
By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 06/24/2015
I love it when Piel Frama comes up with a new case. They always use the best quality leather and offer a wide variety of colors and finishes. Admittedly, their Wallet Case ($100) is more suited for the purse-carrying crowd, as it is too bulky for my pocket. But I can see how great a case it could be. It has four slots for credit cards and IDs, plus a clear insert for photos, business cards, receipts, coupons, etc. A flap separates those items from the iPhone itself, which is ensconced in a form-fitting enclosure.
By Siva Om on Wed, 06/24/2015
By Todd Bernhard on Fri, 06/19/2015
WWDC is over, the Apple Watch is in stores, and it looks like an updated Apple TV might not be released for a while, so thoughts turn to the next iPhone. Apple Insider is reporting that Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities believes that Apple will address two perceived flaws in the current design. The first issue Apple is addressing is "Bendgate" which caused a minor ruckus at first because some people were able to bend, intentionally or not, their iPhone at the weak point around the volume button. To fix this, the next iPhone, most likely the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, will use a slightly stronger form of aluminum, dubbed Series 7000 aluminum. This could be up to 60 percent stronger than the aluminum in the current model while one-third the density of stainless steel.
By Siva Om on Fri, 06/19/2015
Now that use of Google's Cardboard VR app is supported on the iPhone, I couldn't wait to order the Cardboard for my iPhone 6 Plus and see what it had to offer. Never having browsed the App Store for Virtual Reality apps that were not previously supported, I was surprised at the breadth of iOS apps that are already available—including many great free offerings. In this week's Game Centered, we'll take a look at a some of the best early entries into the world of VR app on iOS.
By Becca Ludlum on Thu, 06/18/2015
It's that time of year again—summer is here and it's time to celebrate Dads and Grads! Whether you're looking for that perfect gift for your iPad loving Dad or the gadget-loving Grad in your life, there's a little on this list for everyone in every price range!
By Nate Adcock on Wed, 06/17/2015
The IBLAZR ($39.99), previously featured in our CES coverage, has gone on to rave reviews and something like a billion units sold (OK, I don't really know how many, but a lot.) So get ready for the next portable camera light you didn't know you needed: the IBLAZR 2 (crowd roaring and fireworks)!! It hasn't yet been officially announced, but a new Kickstarter effort is coming that ups the flashlight camera ante yet again; the second generation includes Bluetooth remote control, and an even more sophisticated app for taking great pictures in any lighting condition (well, maybe not at the bottom of the ocean, for that we might have to wait for the iBLAZR 3.) Read on for more information on this upcoming add-on flash unit.
By Siva Om on Mon, 06/15/2015
The band beyond description is back at it, and while I may keep my fingers crossed that it's not really the last time these phenomenal musicians play together, it finally seems like we are at the end of the road on what has been one heck of a long strange trip. But hey, we've still got the Grateful Dead's final shows in San Jose and Chicago this summer to look forward to! The Fare Thee Well mini-tour (June 27 and 28 and July 3, 4, 5) celebrates 50 years of transformational, life-changing music as well as the end of an era. In appreciation of all that the traveling circus that is a Dead show has given my life and the lives of millions of others, I figured I'd put together this here little roundup of some of my favorite Dead-related iOS apps to help celebrate the occasion.
By Todd Bernhard on Fri, 06/12/2015
The great thing about Android is that there are so many choices. The bad thing about Android is that there are so many choices. In the iPhone world, you decide the size of the phone, then the color, then the storage. But there aren't that many decisions to make (unlike the 54 combinations of the Apple Watch!) Android has literally thousands of different handsets from dozens of different manufacturers. The decision process can be overwhelming.
By Todd Bernhard on Fri, 06/12/2015
Laut gave me the opportunity to try APEX Mirror Case ($29.99). It's hard to impress me with a case, because I am asked to review so many. But Laut has come up with a clever offering. The APEX Mirror case, as you might imagine, includes a mirror on the inside flap. This will be great for makeup checks before hitting the town, or for a quick look before taking that selfie. As professional photographers often say, the best camera is the one you have with you. The APEX Mirror Case makes sure you always have a mirror with you as well.
By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 06/11/2015
Continuity is a great feature that Apple introduced last year. It lets you answer phone calls on your Mac, iPad, or iPod touch, instead of fumbling for your iPhone. The catch is, you have to be on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone. Still, it's great for me if I'm upstairs working on my Mac and I get a call on my iPhone, which is charging downstairs.
By Siva Om on Thu, 06/11/2015
Vainglory (free) has been sending shock waves through the gaming world ever since it was revealed on stage at Apple's iPhone 6 event in September 2014. Before it was even released, core gamers everywhere had taken notice of this amazing game, one of the first to bring a genuine and unapologetically core gaming experience to iOS. But I suspect it would've been difficult for the Vainglory devs to fully anticipate the tremendous reception their game would receive. In less than a year since its global public release, Vainglory has taken the international gaming community by storm. Now, following much critical acclaim, impressive download rates and even an ESL-sanctioned and sponsored international championship, the praise continues, most recently in the form of the highly-coveted Apple Design Awards which were announced at this week's WWDC conference.
By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 06/10/2015
Winner Gear gave me their MONTAR ($29.99) car mount to try. While the MONTAR is billed as a universal car mount, there's no reason you coudn't use it for a desk mount as well. The base has a powerful suction grip which should work on most flat surfaces. Winner Gear also bills the MONTAR as World's Strongest Mount and that is a believable claim. In fact if there were any downsides to this mount it's that it might be too strong. You can remove your phone from the mount with one hand, but it takes some effort. That's the point, though, so your phone will stay put.
By Todd Bernhard on Wed, 06/10/2015
Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of Marketing, normally plays a key role in Apple Keynotes, but this year's WWDC had very little in the way of hardware, so he sat in the front row, enjoying his birthday with one less responsibility. Had an Apple TV been announced, he likely would have been the one to introduce it. But Schiller did take the time to chat with John Gruber of Daring Fireball.
By Siva Om on Mon, 06/08/2015
For the first time Jimmy Iovine publicly took the stage at an Apple event as an Apple exec. And with the music industry veteran's stamp of approval, Apple proceeded to unveil Apple Music and Beats1. Apple strongly emphasized three main points of the new music platforms at the WWDC keynote: A revolutionary music service, 24/7 global radio, and the ability to connect fans with artists. The theme of the day quickly emerged; "one place, one complete thought around music", and it was a star-studded affair, with special guest appearances by Nine Inch Nails front man and Apple employee Trent Reznor and the immensely popular Hip-Hop star Drake, and despite the fact that I think we would've all preferred to see Dre up there on stage along with Iovine, I'd imagine Drake is nonetheless, a huge promotional asset.
By Nate Adcock on Sat, 06/06/2015
I played two off-beat, but totally fun games this week. Robotile ($2.99) is like a weird version of Reversi that involves turn-based combat in a King-of-the-Hill type robot struggle on a checkerboard (so it's like and not really like Reversi, too). Doofly (in pre-release testing) is a Flappy Bird wannabe that goes up and up forever. They are both tons of fun.