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This Week at 148Apps: August 25-29, 2014

This Week at 148Apps: August 25-29, 2014

Timelapse your way back to the fictional day of Andrew Ryan…or something like that. Read on to get the point…

Shiny Happy App Reviews

The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.

Hyperlapse

 
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As someone who’s been around for much of the internet’s mainstream rise to success, I’ve got a feeling our attention spans are depreciating quite quickly. Video technology has grown to the extent that YouTube stars are a reality, but there’s a side effect to that. People want things quicker, which is how we’ve ended up with six second vines and Tumblrs full of GIFs because they’re just so much faster than videos. Hyperlapse is the natural step forward from this. It allows you to very quickly make time-lapse videos before uploading them to Facebook or Instagram. It’s pretty great, too. There’s hardly any set up involved here. Hyperlapse knows you want to get on with taking videos and is very simple to use. Simply hit the record button and away you go. Once you’ve finished recording whatever it is, you can then use a slider to adjust how fast you’re taken through each snap. Finished there? Then hit the share button and you’re done. –Jennifer Allen

Bioshock

 
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Only a couple of months after the very first iPhone became available, Bioshock was let loose on an unsuspecting public. Okay, it was probably expected. Alright fine, it had an express ticket on the Hype Train. My point is that when Bioshock first started impressing the heck out of players and critics alike, smartphone tech was still in its infancy. Nobody could have expected that one day, seven years later, we’d be able to explore Andrew Ryan’s failed utopia on our phones. Now that we can, I have to say it’s rather cool. For the most part. –Rob Rich

Madden NFL Mobile

 
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Right in time for next week’s kickoff and following the example of its console brethren, EA Sports is taking another whack at the gridiron on iOS with their newly-released Madden NFL Mobile. Will this offering trump their past attempts at transitioning the pigskin, or will the result be another tragic punting situation? It seems like Madden NFL Mobile is the culmination of several years’ worth of fan feedback and tuning. That doesn’t mean that the freemium shenanigans are gone, but they’re certainly nowhere near as influential as in previous seasons – for example, plays are still locked behind a leveling wall. However, the need to pay in-game currency in order to use locked plays has mercifully been removed. Instead, the initial playbook has been bulked up significantly and the rate at which newer plays are unlocked seems accelerated. –Blake Grundman

Star Wars: Commander

 
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The handy thing about having the Star Wars franchise under your belt is that it’s essentially a free pass. I want to mutter about how Star Wars: Commander is a Clash of Clans clone in many ways because it kind of is. But it also captures the magic of controlling the Empire or Rebel Forces quite well and even throws in a decent narrative, meaning you’ll most likely end up forgiving it. At least, assuming you’re a Star Wars fan. Starting out, you can choose whether to go to the Light or Dark side with that choice affecting what heroes you can use (for a time, at least). It’s a neat move in making you feel like Star Wars: Commander is a different game from Clash of Clans and it does a fine job of using the Force to keep the illusion real. –Jennifer Allen

Pac-Man Friends

 
pacmanfriends_01

Pac-Man Friends by Namco Bandai does more than supply players with Pac-Man themed puzzles: it also serves as a reminder that the Pacster has a large network of family and friends. After all, when destiny calls on him to run through a maze and gobble up ghosts, he usually works alone. Not this time, though. Pac-Man Friends challenges players to solve dozens of mazes, all of which carry an action-based Pac-Man theme. Pac-Man Friends is definitely unique as a consequence, and there’s still enough variety to keep players engaged level after level. Some control issues keep it from the upper pantheon of Pac-Man’s greatest outings, however. –Nadia Oxford

Other 148Apps Network Sites

 
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:

AndroidRundown

Star Fleet Deluxe

 
starfleet

Star Fleet Deluxe is a tactical game that apes Star Trek more than a little. Taking command of a huge starship, the player stands alone against a huge force of murderous aliens, hell-bent on eradicating any and all humans in the galaxy. Star Fleet Deluxe is a very in-depth, turn based strategy game. The game takes place over a huge area, 81 quadrants of galaxy space to be precise, filled with stars, colonies, planets and starbases. –Allan Curtis

Notepad Reminder

 
Notepad-Reminder-2

Smartphones are predicated on convenience. The best apps are simple to use and make people’s lives easier. But for some reason, app developers have not harnessed the convenient potential of widgets. At least, that is the concept behind Notepad Reminder, a note-taking widget that is easy to use and easier to access. Rather than digging through menus and taking time to open an app, widgets offer a way to interact with an app right on an Android device’s home screen. This feature is typically used to relay emails or check sports scores at a moment’s notice, but Notepad Reminder takes it to another level, adding usability and productivity right to the home screen. –Ryan Bloom

Wipeout

 
wipe1

Years ago, I was flipping through the TV, and stumbled across a show that forever changed my TV watching habits: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC). The show itself was a irreverent Americanized version of the Japanese obstacle course show Takeshi’s Castle. The original show was a funny in and of itself, kind of like American Ninja Warrior on funny steroids; the added layer of deliciously re-edited and re-dubbed footage from the original took the show to hysterical heights. A “true” American-centric version of the show popped up on the scene a few years ago called Wipeout. It is very similar to the original Japanese shows, down to the pain inducing obstacles and the zany commentary by the hosts. It was only a matter of time for the game to hit consoles, and it has since come to Android. –Tre Lawrence

Finally, this week Pocket Gamer gave a Gold Award to three games: ALONE, The Nightmare Cooperative, and Appointment with F.E.A.R. Plus, get the lowdown on 2K’s Bioshock port, some Motorsport Manager tips, and 10 upcoming iOS games for September. Check it out right here.

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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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The best jailbreak tweaks for Notification Center on iOS 7

best-jailbreak-tweaks-notification-center-2-1024x518 copy

Compared to iOS 6, Notification Center has been upgraded a little in iOS 7 but there’s still some room for improvement. Just like iOS 6, there is a lot of jailbreak tweaks on Cydia that will bring new features to iOS 7 Notification Center and allow you to customize it. These range from providing additional statistics about your device to placing your favorite apps right at your finger tips.

This is why we have compiled a complete list of the best jailbreak tweaks for Notification Center on iOS 7 that will help you get the most out of it.

BetterNC7

BetterNC7 02

BetterNC7 comes with a bunch of toggles that allow you to enable or disable certain Notification Center features. These include hiding separators, Yahoo logo, or tabs, transforming the background in Notification Center to transparent, removing the blur effect and much much more. It’s more like an all-in-one tweak rather than serving a single purpose. Best of all, BetterNC7 is available on Cydia for free.

NCMemo

ncmemo-1

A nifty little tweak that acts like a sticky note and allows you to create notes or memos directly from Notification Center. An empty text box will be added under the ‘Today’ tab where you can type in your notes. The tweak also provides the ability to adjust the text box and font size, change background color, font color and much more. NCMemo is available for free and can be download from Cydia’s BigBoss repository.

AppTray

AppTray iOS 7

There are a few tweaks on Cydia that allow you to launch your favorite apps directly from the Lock screen or Control Center. AppTray is a similar one that allows you to add your favorite apps to Notification Center and be able to launch them directly from there. A new “AppTray” tab will be added to Notification Center and all your favorite apps will go in there. You can add as many apps as you want without any limits as well as adjust icon opacity.

AppTray is currently available for $1.49 on Cydia.

Notific8

Notific8

If you can’t wait to get your hands on iOS 8, you can at least port some of its features to iOS 7 using the various jailbreak tweaks available on Cydia. One of these is Notific8, which transforms your iOS 7 Notification Center style to that of iOS 8. If you’re interested to enjoy iOS 8 Notification Center style on iOS 7, you should probably install Notific8 which is available on Cydia for free.

CCMeters

ccmeters

CCMeters is a tweak that is for both Notification Center and Control Center. It displays the system and network stats in Notification Center such as RAM, free space, cellular data and more, all of which can be viewed from the ‘Today’ tab. The tweak also allows you to customize the icon and text colors.

CCMeters is available for free on Cydia and supports all iOS 7 devices excluding iPad.

Volume Mixer

Volume Mixer Featured

Volume Mixer is a jailbreak tweak that allows you to adjust the different audio sounds in iOS directly from Notification Center under the ‘All’ tab. You can adjust the sound of phone calls, Bluetooth headset, Bluetooth headphones, ringtone as well as the audio or video sound.  If you’re interested to take it for a spin, Volume Mixer is available for $0.99 on Cydia.

Share Widgets for iOS 7

share widget for ios 7

If you’re a big fan of social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, you might want to check out Share Widgets for iOS 7. As the name implies, the tweak adds share widgets for Twitter, Facebook, Weibo, and Tencent to Notification Center, all of which can be accessed from the ‘Today’ tab. Share Widgets for iOS 7 is available for free and can be downloaded via Cydia’s BigBoss repository.

NCFold

NCFold Today View

If you’re looking for a way to make your Notification Center cleaner, make sure to check out NCFold. The tweak places your notifications into similar groups to make it more simple and efficient to view them. Tapping on a section allows you to switch between the folded or expanded view.

NCObey

By default, when you swipe down the Home screen to open bring up Notification Center, it will display the last opened tab. With NCObey, you can set the default tab that you want to be displayed first when you open Notification Center and you can also set the ‘Today’ tab as the default tab when there are no pending notifications.

Additionally, NCObey adds three gestures that allow you to go directly to a specific tab: swipe down on the far left of the screen to open the ‘Today’ view, swipe down from the middle area to open the ‘All’ tab and swipe down from the far right of the screen to open the ‘Missed’ tab.

NCObey can be installed for free via Cydia’s BigBoss repository.

NCSingleTapClear

When you have a lot of notifications piled up, it takes some time to remove all of them from Notification Center. NCSingleTapClear speeds up the process by allowing you to tap the ‘X’ button only once to remove the notifications instead of tapping twice. This tweak can be downloaded for free from the BigBoss repo.

These are the best jailbreak tweaks that allow you to customize iOS 7′s Notification Center and enjoy more features. If we have missed a tweak that deserves to make it to the list, let us know in the comments section below.

Some of the best tweaks you should check out

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Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

Despicable Me: Minion Rush is highly addicting and if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent several hours running your minion through different stages in order to collect bananas, Gru tokens, and fruit. The further you get into the Jelly Labs, the harder the challenges become. Luckily that doesn’t mean you need to spend real world money in order to advance. From gift code combinations to using your Gru tokens wisely, here are our top tips, hints, and cheats for advancing in Minion Rush, no real money required!

1. Trade bananas for upgrades

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

The most obvious tip I can give you that will cost you nothing is to collect as many bananas as you can. Most character upgrades and level ups can be purchased in game with just the bananas you collect. Sometimes I’ll run through levels just to collect bananas and stock up.

If you aren’t opposed to spending some money, the one thing you absolutely should by is the Golden Banana. It will give you double points for each banana you collect, forever. That means you will be able to buy upgrades with your bananas twice as fast, indefinitely.

2. Connect to Facebook

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

Connecting to Facebook not only allows you the ability to send your entertaining friends taunts and challenges but also gives you extra Gru tokens just for connecting. So if you have a Facebook account, make sure you link it up. You’ll also earn a Gru token each day that you connect to Facebook through Minion Rush, and since tokens are hard to come by, 1 a day adds up!

3. Save the Evil Minion for especially tough challenges

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

Once you’ve unlocked the PX41 serum, you’ll be able to transform into Evil Minion. While in this mode, you’ll be able to destroy anything in your path. When you’re faced with a challenge that requires you to have an insanely high Despicable bonus, or you need to plow past a tough obstacle so you don’t have to cash in Gru tokens to continue, these are the times you’ll want to activate the Evil Minion. Just remember you can only use it every few hours so use it with care.

4. Upgrade your power-ups wisely

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

As you get further into runs, you’ll notice bonus items that you can use to help you along. Powering these up can be done from the main menu. You’ll have to cash in your bananas and tokens though so it’s important to choose wisely. For example, if you’re going into a challenge that requires you to break through a lot of ice using the freeze ray, level up the freeze ray by cashing in bananas. This will make the challenge a lot easier and allow you to advance faster.

There are a few power-ups that are always safe bets and always benefit you, and those are the ones that net you large amounts of bananas. So be sure to level up the Banana Splitter and the Fluffy Unicorn whenever you can. More bananas means more upgrades.

5. Different costumes are better suited for some challenges

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

You may notice that each level gives you suggestions on what costume you should wear. This isn’t for no reason. Different costumes have different powers or benefits and if you’re performing a challenge that requires you to have a huge Despicable bonus, it’s probably best you use the costume that extends the XXL Minion. This theory applies to lots of other challenge and costume pairs as well. So if you’re stuck on a challenge, re-evaluate what you’re wearing and see if a costume change will improve your odds.

6. Don’t use tokens to continue runs

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

Minion Rush isn’t like other games such as Candy Crush. You have an infinite amount of runs and for the most part, getting a super long run doesn’t do anything but boost your top score. You also only need one fruit item to unlock the next level so if you’ve already got that, don’t waste your precious Gru tokens. They are always better spent on costumes, items, and upgrades.

Instead, just start the run over in order to complete it. I can’t think of any scenario where you’d need to cash in tokens to continue a run, unless you’re really having a hard time. However, with the new Jelly Labs mode of play, most challenges can be completed in shorter runs as long as you choose costumes and upgrades wisely.

7. How to get to the Disco Room

While in Gru’s lab, watch for an area where you see bananas off the track and on a pipe off to the right. You can steer towards that for an awesome bonus portion of the game in the Disco Room.

8. Gift Codes

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

Minion Rush has a section in the settings panel for gift codes. Here are the combinations of minions to use in order to unlock the corresponding prize:

  • Baby Minion – Normal Minion + Fireman Minion + Baby Minion
  • 5x Banana Perks – Baby Minion + Fireman Minion + Maid Minion
  • Loser Taunt – Maid Minion + Normal Minion + Golf Minion
  • 3x Minion Launcher – Beach Minion + Fireman Minion + Mustache Minion

The codes above are verified as working as of the end of August 2014. If you find any more that work, feel free to leave them in the comments and we’ll check these regularly and update! If they don’t work for you anymore, please let us know that too!

9. Collect your silver prize pods

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

While you only need one fruit to advance to the next level, you can keep running in order to collect 2 more. Essentially, this is just like getting a 3 star bonus. Some items you’ll want to collect can be obtained through collecting enough fruits in each stage, like puzzle pieces to unlock costumes. You may be able to advance but you’ll need a specific number to collect a silver prize pod, even more for a Despicable multiplier. Both are worth having so trace your steps and be sure you’re completing each level to the best of your ability.

10. Log in daily

Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, tricks, and cheats

This goes along with my tip about Facebook but in case you didn’t realize, every day that you log in to Minion Rush, you’ll get a banana bonus. This isn’t dependent on Facebook so even users that don’t tie to a Facebook account will get the banana bonus daily. If you do though, you’ll also get a Gru token for coming back every day.

Your Despicable Me: Minion Rush tips, hints, and cheats?

Been playing Minion Rush? If you’ve figured out anything cool we haven’t mentioned here or have any other tips you think readers would benefit from, make sure to drop them in the comments below!

Note: Originally published, July 2013. Updated August 2014.

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Ninja Bunny – The Bad Egg Adventure is a short lived trip

Ninja Bunny screenshot

Ninja Bunny – The Bad Egg Adventure is a free game for iPhone and iPad that’s available for iOS 4.3 or later. It pits the hero, Ninja Bunny against the villain, Bad Egg and his army of robots. My expectation of this game was a little mixed after reading about it on the App Store. Ninja Bunny is dropped into various environments where he runs and jumps through an assortment of obstacles that never seem to stop coming at you.

The controls only allow you to jump up and throw ninja stars at your enemies. The actual gameplay is short lived at times. I didn’t like that it takes three taps to get back to the new game. It was tad bit confusing because you don’t restart on the same screen you were previously on. Additionally, each time you die Bad Egg’s annoying maniacal laugh can be heard.

The amount of enemies and obstacles on the screen at one time made it difficult to progress, so a good amount of persistence and determination are necessary when playing this game. When you kill an enemy, you’ll see a gold coin appear above them, so you have to quickly jump to collect them.

Ninja Bunny screenshot

When you accumulate more coins, you’ll have the option to visit the coin store to load up on items to add to Ninja Bunny’s arsenal. You can use coins to buy costume upgrades and weapon upgrades for Ninja Bunny. The costumes vary in color, but don’t appear to give Ninja Bunny any powers. The weapons available for purchase are ninja throwing stars, ice, fire, steaming poo, and a piggy bank.

As Ninja Bunny progresses, he gains power ups that gives him a crazy out of control ability such as Adrenaline Rush which speeds Ninja Bunny up so he can fly by the enemies. The downside to Adrenaline Rush is it typically ends in his demise due to lack of control because it makes it difficult to make the jumps in time. Ninja Bunny can smash through a crate, grab a tank, and he’s unstoppable for brief amount of time. The tank is a lot of fun because it fires ordnance at the enemies and obstacles to help clear the path.

I enjoyed the funny graphics of silly characters like the flying Dracula, a zombie dinosaur, flying robots, and a lot of other fast flying and running enemies you’ll encounter. The various settings such as Total Recall, Ice Ice Baby, Wall of China, Ancient Scars, and The Evil Dead, are pretty cool that they drop Ninja Bunny into. Overall, I would recommend Ninja Bunny – The Bad Egg Adventure if you want to be challenged in short bursts and don’t have time for a long drawn out game play.








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History of iPhone 5s: The most forward thinking iPhone ever

Leading up to the iPhone 6 event we’re updating and expanding our series on the history of the iPhone, continuing with the most forward thinking one ever — the iPhone 5s

Apple’s event on September 10, 2013 was unique in their history — they introduced not one but two new phones on stage that day. The first was a re-imagining of the previous year’s model in a new, more colorful form. It was the past made present. The second was all about the future. It was, as Phil Schiller called it, the most forward thinking iPhone ever. It was the iPhone 5s.

iPhone 5s is the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, delivering desktop class architecture in the palm of your hand. iPhone 5s sets a new standard for smartphones, packed into its beautiful and refined design are breakthrough features that really matter to people, like Touch ID, a simple and secure way to unlock your phone with just a touch of your finger.

The gold standard

The iPhone 5s, codenamed N51 and model number iPhone6,1, kept the same design as the previous year’s iPhone 5, something that had become a hallmark of Apple’s S-class phones. (The shift from uppercase S to lowercase s in the branding was likely a visual concession — 5S has a great chance of being confused for 55 than 5s does.) That meant the iPhone 5s kept the same 4-inch, 1136×640 pixel, 326ppi, 16:9 aspect ratio display, and the same in-cell technology that made the pixels look like they were fused right into the screen.

The same aluminum unibody was kept as well, with its ceramic glass inlays on the back for RF transparency and its diamond chamfered edges. And that was a problem. Apple was already dealing with a media and mindset that found the incredible advances in manufacturing used on the iPhone 5 boring. How could they change that sentiment if the design itself wasn’t changing? Turns out by giving people differences that were only skin deep. By giving them a new color.

The original iPhone had been available only in aluminum and black. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS had black front plates but offered both black and white back plate options. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s had come, front and back, in black or white. The iPhone 5 was two tone, but those tones were still black and slate gray, and white and silver. The iPhone 5s added white and gold. Jokingly referred to as Kardashian, a reference to the celebrity having had her iPhone 5 re-anodized in gold earlier in the year. Apple didn’t go for a deep gold, however. They went for a light, champagne gold.

While gold is the easiest colors to anodize, black remained the hardest. After dealing with scratches and chips on the black and slate gray iPhone 5, Apple switched to black and space gray on the iPhone 5s. It wasn’t a big change in terms of shade, but it proved to be a giant leap when it came to resiliency.

The moonshots, however, were all on the inside. Having previously taken a crack at spinning their own processor design with the A6′s Swift, Apple went all out on the Apple A7. They licensed the newer, cleaner ARMv7 instruction set and made the Cyclone, the world’s first 64-bit mainstream mobile processor. That they got to 64-bit before the likes of Samsung and Qualcomm, who manufacture chips, was as impressive for technologists as it was galling for those two companies.

The Apple A7 was 28nm, dual-core, and 1.3GHz, paired with an OpenGL 3.0 capable PowerVR Series 6 (Rogue) G6430, and 1GB of DDR 3 RAM. The RAM proved to little for demands of 64-bit apps, with Safari routinely reloading even a couple or a few tabs, and background apps being jettisoned more quickly than they might otherwise have been. However, more RAM means higher power consumption, and complaints about reloading might just as easily be dwarfed by complaints of lower battery life. Apple needs to strike a balance, or come up with a new equation…

Unlike previous S-class releases, and unlike the iPad, the solid state storage limit didn’t increase — 64GB remained the top of the line.

With the Apple A7 came the secure enclave, a coprocessor that handled encryption, including the brand new Touch ID fingerprint identification sensor. When a finger was placed on the Home button a capacitive ring detected it and a high resolution snapshot was triggered. That snapshot was converted to math and then destroyed. The math passed through a hardware channel to the secure enclave where it was compared again up to 5 registered prints and, if matched, triggered the release of a “yes” token to enable authorization for unlock or authentication for purchase. It was a clever solution to a real problem.

Security is always at war with convenience. Apple’s numbers showed only half of their hundreds of millions of customers used a 4-digit passcode on their iPhones. Touch ID would allow people to authenticate and their iPhones — and authorize purchases on the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store — simply by placing their finger on the Home button. Less secure than a long, alphanumeric password, but much more likely to be used than even a weak passcode, in the endless war between security and convenience, it was a good compromise.

There was some initial concern as to how reliable Touch ID would be. Fingerprint sensors on competing devices had been considerably less than stellar to date. There was also a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) spread right after launch. There were videos of people making fake fingerprints to spoof the system. There was also a problem with the method intended to improve reliability with each and every read of the fingerprint — sometimes it took a wrong turn. The FUD failed, the spoofs were understood in context, and Apple ultimately released updates to iOS 7 to fix the reliability.

Touch ID ended up doing what it was intended to do — make security easy enough that most people, most of the time, would actually use it. And according to Apple’s numbers, it worked. The number of people using a passcode leapt from 41% pre-Touch ID to 83% post-Touch ID.

The Apple A7 also included the Apple M7, a motion coprocessor, a type of sensor fusion hub. Codenamed Oscar, the M7 is believed to be an NXP LPC1800 micro-controller based on an ARM Cortex M3 processor that collects and keeps a week’s worth of motion data, including the built-in accelerometer, magnometer (digital compass), and gyroscope. It does this so that the Apple A7 can stay powered down and simply request motion data when and if it needs it, rather than staying powered on to collect it itself. In other words, the M7 saved us all battery life.

The image signal processor (ISP) in the Apple A7 also improved the built-in iSight camera, including allowing for 120fps slow-motion video, 30fps panorama capture, live video zoom, intelligent burst mode, dynamic local tone mapping, 2x faster focusing, autofocus matrix metering, and electronic image stabilization (EIS).

Beyond the chipset, the iPhone 5s’ iSight camera is still a Sony IMX145 and Exmor-RS CMOS sensor but size has gone up from 1.4 to 1.5 microns, and aperture from f/2.4 to f/2/2. This combined for a 33% increase in light sensitivity. Apple also added a bicolor TrueTone flash that had both yellow and white elements to better match existing color temperatures.

The front FaceTime camera also got a boost, from 1.75 to 1.9 microns, with backside illumination (BSI) thrown in for good measure.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi stayed functionally the same, though the radio changed to a Broadcom BCM43342. Near-field communications (NFC) remained missing in action (MIA). The Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE 4G radio, however, gave the iPhone 5s support for 13 bands, though it took 5 different models to get there.

Price, not surprisingly, stayed the same. The iPhone 5s launched starting at $199 on-contract for 16GB, with $299 and $399 options for 32GB and 64GB respectively.

More powerful than you think

The iPhone 5s launched on September 20, 2013 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K. It’s hard to say how many were sold that first weekend because the iPhone 5c was sold along with it and Apple doesn’t break down numbers per model. Apple did say they sold 9 million iPhones combined that weekend, and some analysts have estimated the iPhone 5s accounted for about 6.75 million of those. Tim cook, via Apple:

This is our best iPhone launch yet―more than nine million new iPhones sold―a new record for first weekend sales. The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.

People made fun of of the gold iPhone both after it leaked and when it was announced. Then they panicked when they couldn’t get one come launch day, week, or month. Funny things, we humans are. Best of all (or worst of all, depending on your perspective), going gold worked. Apple got little to none of the negative reaction to the iPhone 5s design that they’d gotten to the iPhone 5. Scratch the surface and what do most people want? More surface. As always, Apple wasn’t targeting iPhone 5 owners with the iPhone 5s — though Touch ID, iSight, and the 64-bit Apple A7 struck straight to the hearts of early adopters — but rather iPhone 4s and previous device owners looking for a more significant upgrade.

Reviews were good.

Anand Lal Shimpi for AnandTech:

At the end of the day, if you prefer iOS for your smartphone – the iPhone 5s won’t disappoint. In many ways it’s an evolutionary improvement over the iPhone 5, but in others it is a significant step forward. What Apple’s silicon teams have been doing for these past couple of years has really started to pay off. From a CPU and GPU standpoint, the 5s is probably the most futureproof of any iPhone ever launched. As much as it pains me to use the word futureproof, if you are one of those people who likes to hold onto their device for a while – the 5s is as good a starting point as any.

Joanna Stern for ABC:

The iPhone 5s is a great phone, especially if you are upgrading from the iPhone 4 or 4s, but it’s not as compelling if you have the iPhone 5 or even some competing Android handsets. When it comes to camera performance, the security convenience provided by the fingerprint reader, general design and app selection and quality, the iPhone 5s is at the top of the heap and does set the bar in the crowded smartphone market.

Yours truly for iMore:

Apple calls the iPhone 5s the most forward-thinking iPhone ever. Tock to the iPhone 5 tick, like previous S-class updates, that promise of the future is counterbalanced by an incredible amount of performance, optics, and special new features delivered right here in the present. When the iPhone 3GS launched with VGA video, I enjoyed the clever implementation even as I wanted more. Now I have 1080p and 120fps slow-motion in the palm of my hand. When the iPhone 4S launched, I enjoyed using Siri even as I dreamt of JARVIS. Siri still has far to go, but every year since it’s done more, and better. Now, with the iPhone 5s, I’m scratching in djay 2 and slashing in Infinity Blade III while imaging how far Apple can take 64-bit and OpenGL ES 3.0 on mobile and over AirPlay. And I’m buying them both with a fingerprint, even as I dream of everything else I’ll eventually be able to buy with biometrics, and soon.

The iPhone 5 was a fantastic upgrade that never got the recognition it deserved. iPhone 5s builds on that foundation, and thanks to both iOS 7 on the inside and some gilding on the outside, perception is better reflecting reality than it has in years.

From burning platforms to fire sales

Competitors based on Qualcomm processors were caught flat-footed by the Apple A7. Samsung, which both made their own chipsets and used Qualcomm (don’t ask), likewise. It would take them a year to even begin to catch up. That’s not to say they didn’t offer unique and compelling features all their own. Samsung made waterproofing mainstream with the Galaxy S5, and their Galaxy Note series, while not reaching the same popularity in North America as it did elsewhere, kept getting better at digitizers and bigger at screen sizes.

HTC continued to release good, if strangely branded, phones like the HTC One M8. Though consistently reviewed better than Samsung their sales haven’t come close to catching up. Google sold Motorola to Lenovo, though there’s every indication interesting phones like the Moto X will continue. Google also announced Android L, a preview of their next generation mobile operating system. Just as Apple has been moving from their foundation of excellent interactivity into new levels of functionality, so Google has been moving from excellent functionality into new levels of interactivity.

Nokia, it’s value crushed by former Microsoft executive Stephan Elop, ended up being bought by outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, ostensibly to prevent Windows Phone’s largest manufacturer from shifting to Android. The deal closed and Microsoft went on to ship Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana, their Siri-like virtual assistant. They continue to have some level of traction, especially with lower cost devices in emerging markets, but like everyone else not-Apple and not-Samsung, haven’t seen much increase in profitability in the rest of the market. New CEO, Satya Nadella comes from a cloud and services background, and Microsoft has been increasingly good at supporting the iPhone and iPad, so perhaps the future for them lies cross-platform?

BlackBerry, with Thorten Heins gone and former Sybase CEO, John Chen now in his place, shifted focus back towards the enterprise and doubled down on keyboards, announcing the upcoming BlackBerry Passport, a phone no one would ever mistake for just another post-iPhone slab. What and how much they can do with it, however, remains to be seen.

Seven years later

By 2013 Apple had gone from an early Project Experience Purple dream to as close to reality as technology would allow. The iPhone 5s took the physical form of the iPhone 5 and added internals that would set the platform on a course straight for the future. But what do you do when your original dreams have all been made manifest?

Why go on to better and bigger things, of course…

More on the history of the iPhone

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Best iPhone action games without in-app purchases

Skip the IAPs with these outstanding iPhone action games

Are you tired of being nickeled-and-dimed by freemium iPhone games? Had enough of gems and timers and boosts? That’s certainly the popular opinion we get when we talk about freemium, so we’ve rounded up our favorite action games in the App Store that do away with all of that, and provides the absolute maximum of product up-front.

We’re focusing on reflex-driven games here. Go ahead, dive in, and let us know what you think of our top ten action iPhone games without IAPs in the comments.

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Apps of the week: Bioshock, 8bit Doves, Walking Dead Pinball, and more

Apps of the week

This has been the biggest week in new apps and games I’ve seen in a while. It also came around just at the same time we found out about the upcoming iPhone event. The world is coming up Apple. If you are ready for a weekend full of epic games, retro fun, and sweet beats, we’ve got a list of apps and games that will fill you your restful hours.

8bit Doves

8bit Dove

What would happen if you were suddenly transported to an 8-bit video game? Sure, the chip tune sound track would make you want to dance, but everything around you would only consist of four colors, and they are not primary, either. In this game, you are living through a vintage game where you must fly around as a human/bird hybrid, searching for a way out of a never-ending maze. This two-button game will have you spinning in circles. Get the doves to follow you to collect bonuses. This game is available for $2.99.

Appointment with F.E.A.R.

Appointment with FEAR

Tin Man Games is back with an all-new Steve Jackson gamebook for those super nerds out there. This one is unique because it is more of a comic book than a role-playing book. Players (or should we call them readers?) create and customize a super hero, complete with costume and special powers that affect the outcome of various in-game fights. Pages come to life as comic panels animate and reveal new content. There are more than 30 villains, hidden achievements, and special trading cards that you can collect. This game is available for $2.99.

Walking Dead Pinball

The Walking Dead Pinball

With this game, you get two for one. The makers of one of the most popular pinball game series in the App Store has collaborated with one of the biggest choose-your-own-adventure story games. Put them together and you’ve got one exciting adventure. This table includes locations from The Walking Dead: The Game, including the dairy farm, the motel, the bell tower, and more. Hit the right bumper to hear lines by the voice actors from the game. Just like in TWD, you’ll be faced with making decisions on who to rescue from zombie attacks. This game is available for $1.99.

Tiny Tower Vegas

Tiny Tower Vegas

The same guys that brought you Tiny Tower, Pocket Planes, and Disco Zoo are back with a new hotel-building adventure. Become the Vegas kingpin you’ve always wished you could be as you manage your very own hotel and casino. Add new levels with slot machines, fancy rooms, and gift shops. Take some time to walk through your own casino and spin the machines to win chips or try your luck at a game of poker. Customize your tower with awesome rooftop parties. Find out which area of your luxury hotel your employees wish they could be working at the most and earn extra points for making their wishes come true. This game is available for free.

Bioshock

Bioshock

Holy poop. This may be the biggest port since Star Wars KOTOR. Head underwater to the beautifully, but dark utopia of Rapture and discover what went wrong. As you explore the mostly-abandoned city, avoid ravaging survivors. Shoot plasmids into your DNA to enhance your abilities and generate new powers, like lightning bolts and fire bombs. Wander though the dystopian hallways, looking for weapons. Upgrade your guns to max out your power. This port includes the art book that came with the original special edition and is compatible with MFi controllers. This game is available for $14.99.

CubicTour

CubicTour

This neon dream is surprisingly awesome. It doesn’t look like much on the surface, but that’s only because you have to play the game to understand its complexity. As you move along a corridor, you will be in charge of a group of cubes. Your goal is to make the cubes in your possession match the cubes that are approaching. The mechanics challenges your spatial reasoning as you rotate the cubes up, down, left, and right. If you complete the entire corridor fast enough, it will light up. The longer it takes to complete the puzzles, the less sections you will light up. This game is available for free.

Gumdrops

Gumdrops

This 32-step sequencer uses a series of 64 pads on a grid, which is made up of eight groups of samples. Each group has eight drum pads in rows of two. One pad represents what a drummer would do with the left hand. The other pad represents what a drummer would do with the right hand. Tap out the rhythm you want to get the sweet beats that make you want to boogie. You can upload samples from other apps through Inter-App Audio or send your beats to compatible apps through Audiobus. This app is available for $4.99.

More apps you should check out

These apps have been updated

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Share one Bluetooth keyboard between multiple devices with the Multi-Sync Keyboard

Kanex Keyboard multi-devices

Have you ever used a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad? Sure, you have! All serious iPad users have, at one time, tried to use a Bluetooth keyboard with their favorite tablet. I tried to use an external keyboard on several occasions with my iPad, not just for reviews either.

The same can be said for iPhone. In fact, at one time I was searching mini Bluetooth keyboards to keep on my desk, just to make iMessaging easier. That was before my OS X days. During the course of any day, I almost always keep my iPhone and iPad in a dock or stand next to my computer. Being a user of multi-devices, there are certain tasks I like to accomplish on each device.

Complicating my movement from device to device in a serious work environment is input. Typing on an iPhone or iPad’s virtual keyboard is not the best experience, and that is coming from a fanboy. What would be perfect, is a wireless keyboard that operates either devices without the hassle of re-pairing each time. What would be perfect is the Kanex Multi-Sync Keyboard.

The Device

Having used the Kanex Multi-Sync Keyboard for several months, I am very pleased with its overall operability. Switching from one device to another is instantly seamless. When it comes to pairing time from device 1 to 2 to 3, you will find it is similar to any other Bluetooth devices. A slight pause, and you are up and running on the other gadgets.

This is truly a solution for people that are multi-device users. Sometimes a desktop is the best option, but if you want to switch to iPad, why should you have to go through the pain of unpairing a keyboard with the desktop, then set it into pairing mode, and connect it to the other device? It is easier to have two dedicated keyboards. Taking it a step further, it is best to have one keyboard that connects all of your devices at once.

Kanex included all of the great buttons you would expect in a keyboard for OS X. A full number pad is the biggest attractor for me, because Apple does not make a wireless bluetooth keyboard with a full keypad. Additional dedicated buttons include Mission Control, brightness, audio/video control, volume, sleep/wake, fn, home, page up/down, delete and end. I also appreciate the spotlight and iOS Home button keys.

Personal reaction

img_keyboard_callouts

I like everything about the keyboard’s size and functionality. It has really improved my desktop experience. However, there are a few things I would change or point out to potential customers. Most annoying is the pairing. Each day I wake up my laptop and the Kanex must wake up and re-establish the connection. Most likely, this is caused by the keyboard going into a hibernation state when unused. But, there is just something really annoying about having to peck the Enter key and waiting before I can type in my user password.

Also, there is no Launchpad button. This is not a huge hindrance, but I wanted to note the only way to access Launchpad is through the Trackpad or dock icon. Finally, I think the key responsiveness is a little slow. Slow is not the best word for it, but I feel as if I must type harder on the Kanex keyboard than other keyboards, even a built-in laptop keyboard. I find myself missing capital letters a lot because the Shift key must be depressed harder than one might think.

Conclusion

Despite the items I referred above, I still use the Kanex keyboard every single day, for about 9-10 hours. Speaking of time, I cannot even remember the last time I changed the batteries. That should tell you the benefits far outweigh my concerns. The ability to instantly switch between iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Air is incredible. Added to that, the full size numeric keypad and wireless operability make this one a contender.

The design is white and gray, matching Apple’s aesthetic, but it only comes in a plastic variety. At $59.95 on Amazon, it is a reasonably priced accessory, especially considering a Logitech competitor retails for $80. I do wish Kanex would make a premium version that is anodized aluminum to give the keyboard a proper Apple fit and finish. I would easily pay additional dollars for metal housing, assuming it matched my other devices. Next go-round, I’m looking for a little more response on the keys and an aluminum housing.

Do any of you use multiple keyboards? Or, do you have a multi-sync keyboard to recommend to others?

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iPhone 6 allegedly leaks on video, might finally have NFC support

iPhone 6 logic board

An alleged image of the logic board in the upcoming iPhone 6 shows potential NFC support. For years the world has waited to see when Apple would include NFC functionality in the iPhone, turns out it might be very soon. On top of that, we might have our best video look at the iPhone 6.

The folks at Feld&Volk have shared images of the logic board in the 4.7-inch iPhone 6. They also were apparently able to piece together an iPhone 6 from leaked supplies.

In the images you’re able to see the A8 processor and an NFC chip. Looking at the images you can also see 16 GB of flash memory from Toshiba. Leading us to think that will be the lowest tier storage available with the iPhone 6. A storage option Apple has used as the entry-level iPhone for quite some time.

One way or another, we’ll find out soon on September 9. We’ll be there live bringing you the latest from Apple.

Do you want NFC technology included in the next iPhone?

Source: Sonny Dickson, Via: 9to5Mac

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New Snapchat update allows you to follow live events via Stories

Snapchat

Snapchat pushed out an interesting update for its mobile apps today, bringing the iOS client to version 7.0.6. Though the change log in the App Store only mentions ‘improvements and bug fixes,’ what went on behind the scenes is actually fairly significant.

Users will notice a new ‘Live’ section in the app, courtesy of Our Stories, a product Snapchat introduced during the summer that lets anyone contribute snaps to a single story. With Live, users will be able to follow events as they unfold, from various angles.

As noted by TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook, this kind of steps on Twitter’s toes in that it will allow users to follow major events—think sports, concerts, disasters, etc.—live. Snapchat hasn’t said yet how it plans to pick events, but it’ll likely factor in popularity metrics.

“When we launched Our Story at Electric Daisy Carnival we had our fingers crossed – we hoped the Snapchat community would contribute their unique point of view.” Snapchat said on its official blog. “The world has never experienced anything like this before.”

It’s not hard to imagine this becoming a hot spot for ads, too, as Snapchat continues to evaluate monetization options. Like I said, it’ll be interesting to see where this goes. If you want to check out the new feature, you can find Snapchat in the App Store for free.

[Snapchat via TechCrunch]

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