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SleekCode: improve the look of the Lock screen passcode interface

SleekCode

SleekCode is a brand new jailbreak tweak that just recently touched down on Cydia’s BigBoss repo. SleekCode allows you to change up the look of the passcode screen. You can alter the background of the blur, alpha, and passcode rings, along with hiding the emergency dial button and slide to unlock chevron.

I was fairly impressed with the look of the passcode screen after configuring SleekCode. Have a look at our video walkthrough for more information.

Once you install SleekCode, you’ll find a new preference panel in the stock Settings app. Inside the preferences, you’ll see 5 different switches assigned to specific settings along with a Respring button. Each switch can work independently of one another, and corresponds to the blur, alpha, and button ring mentioned at the outset.

Each change that you make to SleekCode’s switches requires a respring before the changes take place. Thankfully, that is easily accomplished due to the Respring button at the bottom of the tweak’s settings.

As you can see from the video, SleekCode lives up to its name fairly well, and results in a sleeker looking minimalist passcode view. I highly recommend turning off the button ring switch, and keeping every other switch enabled. To me, that’s the best look that you can achieve with SleekCode.

SleekCode works fine on devices running iOS 7 and higher. And yes, that includes the newly jailbroken iOS 8. You can find it free of charge on the BigBoss repo. Share your thoughts in the comment section down below.

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How Complete My Bundle works

WWDC 2014 (IOS 8, App Bundles slide 001)

The much-improved App Store in iOS 8 features a number of enhancements. Case in point: app bundles. App bundles make it possible for developers to bundle up to ten of their existing iPhone and iPad applications in a single purchase at a reduced price.

Borrowing cues from the “Complete My Album” feature for music that debuted on iTunes in March 2007, app bundles are great promotional vehicles to drive sales and can serve as a nice reward for loyal customers.

But for the vast majority of ordinary users, app bundles are one of the least understood new features of the App Store in iOS 8. That it’s still very unclear how the App Store’s Complete My Bundle works is Apple’s fault.

And it certainly doesn’t make its users’ lives any easier with cryptic feature descriptions and the App Store’s non-intuitive bundle pricing mechanism. But don’t sweat, here’s everything you need to know in order to understand how Complete My Bundle works.

“If you purchased one or more apps from an eligible bundle, you can now use Complete My Bundle to receive the apps you don’t already have,” explains Apple’s support document dedicated to app bundles. “When you complete the bundle, you won’t have to pay the full bundled price”.

So far so good.

So, if you go to the App Store’s App Bundles section dedicated to Apps, Games or Kids (bonus: a few bundles worth checking out), you’ll notice that bundle prices vary depending on apps you already own. What this means is that in most instances, any particular bundle price I’m seeing probably won’t be the same on your end.

iOS 8 (App Store, App Bundles teaser 001)

Folks who own all of the bundled apps will see the bundle listed as “Purchased”.

I’m a huge fan of Modern Combat shooters and Infinity Blade games and own them all. Therefore, the App Store lists both Gameloft’s Modern Combat Pack and Epic Games’s Infinity Blade Trilogy as “Purchased”.

Again, based on the fact that I already own the individual items included in these particular bundles. By the way, notice how the App Store smartly removes the Buy button on such bundles in order to avoid any possibility of user confusion.

WWDC 2014 (IOS 8, App Bundles 001)

As the screenshots attest, the Infinity Blade games would run me $19.97 if purchased separately, or $20.97 in the case of the three titles included in the Modern Combat bundle.

But sometimes, apps you don’t own may cost you more in the bundle, or less, than their actual prices and it’s confusing as hell. A good example — and again, it applies only to my specific case — is Atypical Games’s Sky Gamblers bundle, comprised of Sky Gamblers: Cold War and Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders.

Having previously purchased Storm Raiders but not Cold War, you can see that the App Store is offering to complete the whole bundle for $5.99? But wait a minute, something doesn’t compute here: isn’t Cold War listed as costing $4.99 just further below?

Clearly I won’t be completing this bundle.

iOS 8 (App Store, Complete My Bundle, Sky Gamblers 001)

And while we’re at it, what’s the deal with the App Store offering to complete the Worms Trilogy bundle for free? I mean, I’m not complaining but the original Worms game (which I don’t own) is unambiguously listed as a $4.99 value — so what’s up with that?

iOS 8 (App Store, Complete My Bundle, Worms 002)

As it turns out, developers over at Panic did their homework and were able to figure out precisely how Complete My Bundle works, even before Apple published its support document.

“Complete My Bundle takes whatever money you’ve paid for the individual apps and applies that towards the bundle’s fixed price,” the post reads.

“So, if you buy an app on sale, or use a promo code, your Complete My Bundle price can be different than someone else’s, and in some situations it might be cheaper to buy the remaining app(s) individually,” Panic explains.

So in the case of the Sky Gamblers bundle, I bought Storm Raiders on sale. But because the bundle’s fixed price of $9.98 is based off current app prices, completing the bundle would cost me a dollar more compared to simply buying Cold War outside the bundle for $4.99.

iOS 8 (App Store, Complete My Bundle, Panic Pack 001)

Panic offers an example of their own.

The user bought Transmit iOS for $9.99, Status Board for $9.99, and Diet Coda when it was briefly on SALE for $9.99. That’s a total of $29.97 worth of “credit” towards the price of the bundle. Now, the bundle’s fixed price is $39.99, based off current app prices. See where this is going? $39.99, minus $29.97 in credit, equals $10.02. Bingo. Don’t complete this bundle.

Apple’s support document specifies that a user’s Complete My Bundle price will vary depending on what they already bought from the bundle, “but it won’t be more than the price they’d pay to buy each app individually”.

The single most important thing you need to remember concerning app bundles: when buying apps from a bundle, the amount you pay for each individual app will be deducted from the total bundle price. And in case you downloaded an app from a bundle for free that now costs money, you won’t get any credit to put towards completing the bundle.

There, mystery solved.

Wrapping up, I really, really wish Apple put more thought into app bundles and made the pricing schemes and rules a lot easier to understand.

The App Bundles page at the Apple Developer portal offers more tidbits:

  • You can have up to 10 app bundles available at any given time.
  • An individual app may be included in up to three app bundles at any given time.
  • Apps contained in a bundle must also be available for individual sale.
  • If an app contained in a bundle is removed from sale in a particular market, the app bundle will also be removed from sale in that market.
  • For Kids app bundles, if all apps within the bundle belong to the same age band, the bundle will display that age band. If the apps have varying age bands, the bundle will not be assigned an age band.
  • App bundles are assigned the highest age rating of its component apps.
  • App bundles also support Complete My Bundle. Complete My Bundle credits customers for any apps they’ve already purchased within a bundle, so that they only pay the balance for the remaining apps.

Interestingly enough, sometimes the App Store won’t permit you to complete a bundle, mostly if an app becomes free or has been removed from the store. And yes, you can purchase a bundle as a gift for someone.

It’s my hope that this write-up will help clear up the confusion surrounding this much appreciated new App Store feature in iOS 8.

Thoughts?

[Panic Blog, Apple Support, Apple Developer]

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Amazing Looksery app changes your face in real time

looksery

Sometimes the capabilities in our iPhones amazes me. Looksery takes real-time video from your iPhone camera and detects your face’s geometry. It then overlays a number of effects, some creepy, so you can send spooky pics or wacky videos to your friends. It works surprisingly well and is here just in time for Halloween.

Looksery couldn’t be easier to use. Just lift the phone up, look into the camera and tap on the screen if you don’t see the red geometry lines detailing your face’s contours. From there you can choose a number of “filters” by swiping through the choices below the image area, much like Instagram. But these filters move with your head. Several are eye color replacements, which are freaky if you have dark brown eyes like mine. Seeing my eyes in purple was a strange experience. The real-time rendering of these effects is truly impressive.

One of the creators of Looksery also pointed out to me that the app does some creative filtering, smoothing wrinkles and generally making you look better. I woke up disheveled and with bags under my eyes and the app did make me look a little less worn for wear. You can also thin down your face in a still photo, just to see what that’s like.

photo of interface

There are a couple of truly creepy filters, however, like the flaming skull, X-ray and Monster, complete with scary sound effect. There’s also a couple of 3D characters, which you can mostly puppet by moving your head, mouth and even eyebrows. And then there’s a Lawnmower Man type polygon face that is a lot of fun. Oh, you can also make your face thin, fat or add a big chin. Like I said, it’s pretty fun.

Looksery can pull from your still photos, but obviously it’s designed for faces and is a lot more fun in real time. There are a number of still photo filters, all pretty pedestrian. In photo mode you can also slim down your face, but that’s about it.

The app can also share video clips, which is where the app will blow minds. Send a flaming skull greeting, or send a creepy video that screams, it’s all up to you! Of course Looksery videos support the usual sharing suspects: Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Messages, Email, and you can save to your photos. Twitter is only available for still photos. There’s a messenger service, but I didn’t try that as you have to sign up with your phone number. My bet is that won’t take off for a lot of users.

I found Looksery a lot of fun and it’s free, so give it a try. According to TechCrunch the company is working on partnering with other companies, so maybe you’ll find this tech baked into whatever selfie app you’re currently using. Until then, have fun sending spooky videos this month!

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Camera+ offered for free for the very first time

Camera+ 6.0 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Camera+ by Taptaptap, the award-winning iPhone photography app and one of the longest-standing camera and image editing apps in the App Store, is available free of charge for a limited time, but only through Apple’s sleek Apple Store shopping application for the iPhone and iPad. That’s a cool $2.99 saving right off the bat over the app’s regular asking price.

No matter if you’re only mildly into mobile photography or a seasoned photographer, you really shouldn’t miss out on this promotion because Camera+ has never gone free since its inception in August of 2011. Again, you can’t just follow the app’s iTunes URL to grab Camera+ for zero bucks because the offer is exclusive to users who have the Apple Store application installed on their devices.

Jump past the fold for the full instructions.

How to grab Camera+ for free

Step 1: Download the universal Apple Store application for the iPhone and iPad, it’s free in the App Store.

Step 2: Open the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad and hit the Store tab along the bottom. Scroll halfway down to the Camera+ promotion and tap the link. A new screen will appear with app description. Now tap the green “Download now for free” button at the bottom.

Camera Plus (Apple Store promo 008)

Step 3: You’ll be now taken to the App Store. Upon confirming your Apple ID password, the App Store will put up the Camera+ promo page. Tap the Redeem button in the upper right. If all goes well, your copy of Camera+ will begin downloading to your device.

Camera Plus (Apple Store promo 009)

Tip: Once the system has registered your free purchase, you’ll be able to re-download the app later and put it on your other devices through the Purchased tab in the App Store.

Caveat: the offer is valid only in the U.S. App Store and the code is not redeemable for any purchase made within the app.

Again, this limited-time offer expires on November 16, 2014 so you better hurry up and grab Camera+ for free before it’s too late. Note that only the iPhone/iPod touch edition of Camera+ is being offered for free. The legacy $4.99 Camera+ for iPad is still alive in the App Store as the team continues work on the all-new iPad build for iOS 8.

In my view, Camera+ is the ultimate iPhone photography. The software is jam-packed with incredible features that would take too much space to mention here. Camera+ received a substantial iOS 8 refresh last month so I urge you to read my article to learn more about it.

Just a brief recap: you get a new wheel control, handy white balance presets, a great macro shooting mode, the full range of manual camera controls such as ISO and exposure, a nice extension so you can edit images using Camera+ filters right inside the stock Photos app and much more.

The app sold more than ten million copies and has a rating of four stars from more than 30,000 ratings in the App Store. I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy Camera+ as much as I’ve been.

For what it’s worth, this app has to this date remained my go-to software for quick touch ups, precise camera control and powerful image edits, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Are you a Camera+ user and if not, will you be giving it a whirl?

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Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for Developers

Rami Ismail, Chief Executive of Business and Development at indie game studio Vlambeer, has created a new way for developers to keep track of press and distribution lists called distribute() (pronounced ‘do distribute’). Users can send their press contacts a distribute​() link and the program will organize their contact information into a list that the system manages and maintains for them.

distribute​() can also send out codes or token for games on platforms such as iOS, Steam, Xbox, PSN, and Humble, without all the hassle of spreadsheets. The program keeps track of who you are sending tokens to and how many you have left. If you prefer, you can create a simple link to the content and distribute() will send it out for you.

distribute​() values security. They encrypt their information and verify press contacts for you. This way users can avoid fake requests or leaked information.

Currently, distribute() is free for small and independent developers. If you are a developer who would like to be distribute​() verified, you can you can register for the service with their  verification form. The build is still in Alpha so there may still be some hiccups, but the distribute() seems like a smart new way to handle your press info.

distribute

Review disclosure: note that the product reviewed on this page may have been provided to us by the developer for the purposes of this review. Note that if the developer provides the product or not, this does not impact the review or score.

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iTunes music sales dipped sharply since start of 2014 as iPod turned 13 yesterday

iTunes 12.0.0.97 Beta (Music)

If you need another proof that Apple made the right move dropping more than three billion bucks on Beats’s audio accessories and music-streaming service, here’s one.

According to people familiar with the matter who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on Friday, the decline of digital music sales on iTunes is accelerating with latest data showing between a thirteen and fourteen percent dip globally since the start of this year.

By comparison, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry estimated that global revenue from music downloads fell just 2.1 percent in 2013. Clearly this development doesn’t bode well for iTunes, but can Apple do anything about it? Read on for the full reveal.

The digital music revolution that started more than a decade ago with the introduction of the iPod music player, which turned 13 yesterday, and the iTunes Music Store, hasn’t slowed down. What’s changing are consumers’  music listening habits.

For example, the aforementioned 2.1 percent dip in 2013 was successfully offset by the revenue increases stemming from ad-supported and subscription-based streaming services from the likes of Rdio, Spotify and many other.

Check out the very first iPod commercial, unveiled by Steve Jobs during Apple’s 2001 media event that saw the landmark introduction of the standalone music player.

Worldwide revenue from recorded music totaled $15 billion in 2013. In the United States alone, the world’s largest market for music, recorded music sales are now nearly fifty percent below their peak in 2000. Sales of music downloads in the U.S. fell an RIAA-estimated twelve percent in the first half of 2014. During the same period, revenue from paid subscription services surged a cool 23 percent.

u2

Nielsen SoundScan data shows that fewer consumers are buying albums, contributing to the eleven percent decline in sales of the format. Nielsen SoundScan also recorded a thirteen percent dip in U.S. digital track sales this year.

The iPhone maker has for a long time resisted launching an iTunes-branded streaming service that would allow customers to listen to any song from Apple’s catalog of tens of millions of tracks, in any order and without limitations, for a couple of bucks per month.

Apple and labels’ hesitance has created new opportunities for services such as Spotify, which makes low-cost music a reality in exchange for a monthly subscription fee of just $9.99 per month, or less than the price of a brand new album release on iTunes.

But Apple is not standing still.

Beats Music (Windows Phone, Android, iOS 001)

“Apple is rebuilding Beats Music and plans to relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, according to a person familiar with the matter,” added the report.

Beats Music, a free download for the iPhone and iPad, currently requires users to pay a subscription fee of ten bucks per month for unlimited streaming of tens of millions of songs from its catalog.

But if Re/code’s Peter Kafka is correct, Apple may be able to negotiate a discount with the labels that would see users paying half the price in the near future.

A rebranded Beats Music service could be unveiled in February 2015.

Which streaming service do you use and how do you get your music these days?

[The Wall Street Journal]

 

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Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets New Update – Say That Three Times Fast

Square Enix’s Hitman GO has received 8 new levels based on Hitman 2: Silent Assassin.

You be able to sneak around the snow-draped landscape of Varosnij Square while you line up your next kill. Players will be able to unlock the new content by either completing missions or by skipping all that and purchasing everything for $0.99. The update also adds cloud-saving functionality, so you can sync your completed levels between devices.

This update comes alongside a limited-time sale where fans can buy Hitman GO for just $1.99. The price will go back up after a week so if you want to check it out, now is the time.

hitman go


via: Our Review

Review disclosure: note that the product reviewed on this page may have been provided to us by the developer for the purposes of this review. Note that if the developer provides the product or not, this does not impact the review or score.

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Rival Stars Basketball Review

Rival Stars Basketball Review

Rival Stars Basketball is a fun mixture of basketball and card collecting but its energy system will annoy.

As a freemium-based arcade basketball title, Rival Stars Basketball suffers from a somewhat predictable flaw. It’s good fun to play, providing you can be patient when it comes to suffering those all-important energy timers. After a time they’re going to grate, even if they do improve a little as you progress.

The idea behind Rival Stars Basketball is that you collect various cards corresponding to your players, then combine and evolve them to become even better before pitting them at your opponent. Each match consists of you choosing a card to hopefully be stronger than your opponent’s choice with occasional interludes for more interactive gaming.

rival6rival9The more interactive moments involve you swiping to either catch the ball or pass it to another player. They’re pretty simple but break things up well enough to ensure that each match is quite appealing. Early on it seems like you can never fail, but you’ll soon realize that accurate passing and shooting does make a difference.

There’s a campaign mode but the focus of Rival Stars Basketball is its online tournament mode as the campaign mode isn’t hugely lengthy. Playing against other players and watching your rank steadily improve is reasonably satisfying anyhow. That’s also where you feel most proud of yourself as you put together an increasingly strong side to fight it out.

Rival Stars Basketball would be a pretty entertaining game but the aforementioned energy bars and timers really restrict what can be accomplished. You’ll soon find yourself limited in what you can do given that each match only takes a few minutes but can often take quite a lot of energy.

Patient gamers will still enjoy what Rival Stars Basketball offers, but those who want something lengthier will soon find their attention drifting elsewhere.

Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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Review disclosure: note that the product reviewed on this page may have been provided to us by the developer for the purposes of this review. Note that if the developer provides the product or not, this does not impact the review or score.

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Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen of Their Games Free For This Weekend Only


148Apps – iPhone app reviews and news. The best gosh darn iPhone app site this side of Mars.

http://148apps.com :: @148Apps


Android Rundown – Android news and reviews. Where you get the rundown on Android apps and hardware.
http://AndroidRundown.com :: @AndroidRundown



Best App Ever – Yearly Mobile App Achievement Awards.
http://bestappever.com :: @BestAppEver



Pocket Gamer – Mobile game reviews, news, and features.
http://PocketGamer.co.uk :: @PocketGamer



Pocket Gamer.biz – Mobile games industry news, opinion, and analysis.
http://PocketGamer.biz :: @pgbiz



AppSpy – iOS game news and video reviews.
http://appspy.com :: @appspy

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I Am Dolphin Review

I Am Dolphin Review

Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game.

A cursory glance at I Am Dolphin and you’re probably immediately going to think of Ecco the Dolphin. While that was a great game (and so very hard), I Am Dolphin isn’t quite like that. It’s more of a fighting game, despite how relaxed it might initially seem.

dolphin3
You work your way through a series of missions, each rewarding you with pearls that can then be put towards unlocking new missions and creatures. Unusually for a modern game, there’s a risk/reward system going on here because you can lose pearls if you fail at a mission. Fortunately once you get through the early stages pearls are often not too hard to come by, meaning being slightly punished actually keeps the game more balanced than it could have been otherwise.

Sometimes, you’ll be hunting down fairly harmless fish, but the bigger rewards come from picking on sharks and other more aggressive creatures. Given the variety of missions on hand, you’ll still feel in control of what you want to go after. The weaker fishes only need you to hit them once before being eaten up, while sharks require a few blows to succeed.

dolphin7I Am Dolphin looks quite gorgeous in its simplicity, but it does a falter a bit with its controls. It’s going to take practice to master movement with the a virtual button for charging and sweeps of your finger dictating direction. It’s not quite as easy to learn as a virtual d-pad, for instance, but it looks more stylish. Also, sometimes the camera doesn’t quite keep up with the action as well as it could, making it tricky to plan ahead. It doesn’t ruin the fun but it is a slight niggle.

On the surface, I Am Dolphin seems like a game that should turn quite tedious but given its variety of missions and gentle yet structured play, it’s refreshingly entertaining. It builds up nicely, tempting you into playing for just a little longer. Being so different from other games really is a boon here.

Posted in: Games, iPad Apps and Games, iPad Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Review disclosure: note that the product reviewed on this page may have been provided to us by the developer for the purposes of this review. Note that if the developer provides the product or not, this does not impact the review or score.

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