Monday, November 29, 2010

My Take On AirPlay

With the coming of iOS 4.2, AirPlay is now enabled on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.  Here's a little demo from Apple about AirPlay:

Looks good right?  Well, it's not as easy as it seems.  There are some important limitations to AirPlay that, in my opinion, makes it not-ready-for-primetime.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Final Thoughts On The Element Case Vapor 007

I guess my YouTube video has set off a little firestorm about the Element Case Vapor 007.  The video I made was not a review - it was just my initial thoughts after taking it out of the box and making one phone call.  I even updated my video with an annotation saying that others have reported signal issues with the case and I updated my original blog.  It was getting so nasty on YouTube I had to pull the video.

With that said, I am no longer using the Element Case as my everyday case, which is sad considering how much I paid for it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We Farm Goes To The Safari!

Just as ngmoco did with We Rule, We Farm is now upgraded to We Farm Safari [iTunes link] and We Farm Safari for iPad [iTunes link].  But unlike We Rule Quests, there is no real change in game play mechanics (yet).

You get a free expansion of land called the Savanna and the ability to buy extra parcels of land.  There's also two new animal enclosures:  the Reptile House and the Big Cat Habitat.  Other than that, the difference are mostly cosmetic.

So, you can delete that old We Farm app.  It won't work anymore.  Only We Farm Safari works now.

If you want to keep up with the latest We Farm news, check out its blog.

Monday, November 22, 2010

iOS 4.2 Update To Be Released Today

Apple says that iOS 4.2 is being released today.  The official press release doesn't give a time but The Unofficial Apple Weblog says it is coming at 10 a.m. PST (8 a.m. HST, 11 a.m. MST, 12 p.m. CST, 1 p.m. EST).

I'm glad I have my days off on Mondays!  Most of you will probably still be at work.  So, I'll be updating my iPad and iPhone and I'll post my thoughts back here after I get to use it a little bit.

Don't forget to update to iTunes 10.1 before installing iOS 4.2.

UPDATE #1:  TUAW is also reporting that Apple TV 4.1 is also coming out around the same time as iOS 4.2.

UPDATE #2:  I'm downloading the iOS 4.2 update for the iPad.  If it tells you the 3.2.2 update is the latest keep trying.  Also, "Download only" seemed to work for me.  If I tried to "Download and install" then nothing would happen.

UPDATE #3:  One thing I learned today:  you cannot simultaneously download the iPad and iPhone iOS update on the same computer.  You also cannot install iOS while iTunes is downloading another version of the iOS update.  Might be here for a while.  Also, I'm downloading and installing iOS 4.1 for the Apple TV.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pro Music Apps Exploding On The iPad

Back in April, I talked about one of the apps that convinced me the iPad was worth getting and it was the Korg iElectribe [iTunes link].  It was $9.99 at the time (it's $19.99 now) so I grabbed it.  I still haven't used it to its fullest potential but it's an awesome app.  Check out this video comparing the real $500 professional gear with the iPad app:

Recently, professional apps and hardware for the iPad have been exploding.  Here's a rundown of my favorite:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Games, Games & More Games!

I guess instead of whining about why iOS 4.2 isn't here yet, we can play some GAMES!

A hot one is in the App Store today.  RAGE HD [iTunes link] is the first of a new generation of games for iOS that really shows off what a mobile phone can do.  Check out this video:

For $1.99 and being a universal app, meaning it is optimized for the iPad, this game is awesome.  However, for you veteran first-person shooters, this may be a bit of a letdown because the whole game is on "rails."  You can't just explore the world - you have to follow the story.  But for me, who really sucks at FPS rails are fine.  Rage HD is also optimized for the retina display.  I just wish you had the option of using the gyroscope on the iPhone.

Actually, a new game that does use the gyroscope is Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner [iTunes link].  Now, I don't remember a Falcon Gunner game that was actually in the arcade.  This not only uses the gyroscope but it is also an augmented reality game:

Falcon Gunner also supports the retina display and Game Center.  If you don't want to look silly spinning around, you can disable the gyroscope controls and you can disable the AR view.  It's $4.99 but it's Star Wars.  I got it anyway.

Here's a few more games and apps that are noteworthy today:

GravBot [iTunes link] - FREE - Plus+ Network
Guitar World Lick Of The Day [iTunes link] - FREE
Harry Potter:  Spells - Free [iTunes link] - FREE

Also Street Fighter IV [iTunes link] for the iPhone has an important update.  You get two more characters:  Sagat and DeeJay;  Game Center is now supported;  there is a new fight request feature and you can buy Street Fighter II backgrounds and music for $.99.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Official Google Voice App Hits App Store

You may not have liked today's iTunes announcement.  But, there is hope.  The official Google Voice [iTunes link] app for the iPhone just hit the App Store.  I don't really have much use for Google Voice, but I know many people who do.  Maybe I'll just get a Google Voice number so I can receive and send free text messages.  Or maybe the new Facebook Messages can help me in that department.

Here's a few other noteworthy iPhone apps that have come down within the last day or so:

Apple Can't Buy Me Love

Okay.  We knew this was coming.  Still doesn't make it easy to digest. That's because we know what we don't have:  iOS 4.2, iTunes cloud streaming and iTunes cloud syncing.  It was nice to dream for a while.  And we'll probably get them in due time.  But, Apple was right about one thing:  today is just another day that I'll never forget - how disappointed I was.

The Beatles on iTunes

Monday, November 15, 2010

New iTunes Announcement On Nov. 16

Whilst we all wait for iOS 4.2, Apple has decided to sidetrack us a bit by posting a cryptic announcement of an announcement:

So, that'll be at 7 a.m. PST, 10 a.m. EST, 3 p.m. London, 12 a.m. Tokyo (Wednesday) and 5 a.m. HST.  Thankfully, it won't be another keynote but rather we just have to check back at

Usually, announcement of keynotes are done months in advance and we kind of know generally what the topic will be.  But this is not a keynote.  Normal Apple announcements with less pomp and circumstance are done normally on the day of.  So why this "big" announcement done in a "small" way?

The tech blogs are furiously speculating what will be in the announcement:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What To Expect From iOS 4.2

It seems that everyone and their grandmother knows that the iOS 4.2 update for the iPhone and iPad is coming out this Friday.  Although iTunes 10.1 is not out as of this writing (the current version is 10.0.1), I am fairly confident we will get an update by Friday.  This really is a landmark update because the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad will all be on the same page.

UPDATE 11/12/2010:  iTunes 10.1 just came out today and here are the new features:

What's new in iTunes 10.1
• Use AirPlay to instantly and wirelessly stream videos from iTunes to the all-new Apple TV. 
• Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2. 
• Provides a number of important stability and performance improvements.
iOS 4.2 is scheduled to be released on November 24th, the day before Thanksgiving or as early as Tuesday, November 16th.

This won't be that big of a deal for iPhone and iPod Touch owners since iOS 4.1 came out back in September.  This is a major iPad update.

Let's start with the features that will appear in all of the Apple mobile devices:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hasbro To Unveil 3-D Accessory For the iPhone/iPod Touch

Hasbro will be unveiling Tuesday a device that will bring 3-D contest to the iPhone and iPod Touch.  It's called the My3D.  It will offer a 360-degree experience in gaming, virtual travel, and other entertainment content aimed at both children and adults.  It looks like a set of binoculars with your device at one end and the viewfinder at the other end.  It will be priced at $30. It's interesting that Apple partnered with Hasbro to bring out this product.

I'm not sure how the gaming experience will be since there is no discernible buttons.  So, we probably won't be playing HALO-type games with this.  Still, it could be fun.  You know I'm getting it.

The Washington Post For The iPad Has Free Limited Subscription

The iPad version of The Washington Post [iTunes link] is now available for FREE in the App Store.  However, to see the full articles you will have to register for an account and you will get a FREE subscription until Feb. 15, 2011.  You will have to put up with ads during your free subscription.

I think this is a GREAT idea and more newspapers and publications should do something like this if they really want to increase readership.  After Feb. 15, print newspaper subscribers will pay $.99/month for the iPad subscription.  Non-print subscribers will pay $3.99/month.  Actually I think print subscribers should get free iPad access but $.99/month won't kill you.  I love the $3.99/month non-print subscription.  In a 30-day month it works out to about $.13/day.  And you don't have to recycle your old newspapers.

The Washington Post has a full article about the features of its new iPad app here.

The Washington Post also has several iPhone apps.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Facebook For iPad... Go Friendly!

Since yesterday's Facebook mobile event, the internet has been in an uproar over Facebook CEO and President Mark Zuckerberg's statement that "iPad's not mobile... it's a computer."  Well, here's the complete video in context.

After seeing the entire exchange, I am totally satisfied with Eric Tseng's and Zuckerberg's explanation.  It's not that the iPad isn't mobile - it's just that the iPad has no bearing on what has been already discussed at this mobile event and Facebook is not willing to spend time and money on a platform that is still growing.

With that said, we know Facebook for the iPad isn't coming anytime soon.  So, go ahead and spend the $.99 for Friendly for Facebook [iTunes link].  I know I've been holding off on getting it since I know Facebook could make a free app that's even better than what's in the App Store right now.  While a lot of people are content about using Facebook in a browser, we know an iPad app could be downright awesome.  While Friendly for Facebook isn't perfect, it's very usuable and, according to user comments, it has been getting better with each update.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Adobe™ Flash Coming To iPhone, Sort Of

Hate seeing that warning (pictured, left) that you need to either upgrade or install Adobe™ Flash on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch?

Well, our pain may be somewhat soothed when the Skyfire browser will hit the App Store on Thursday, November 4th at 9 a.m. EST.  In the past year, Apple and Adobe have been in a war of words over why Flash isn't on iOS devices.  Steve Jobs wrote a letter about it earlier this year.  Adobe responded.  Whichever side you're on, you will almost want to buy Skyfire for $2.99.

UPDATE 11/5/2010:  It's back in the App Store.  It works nicely on the iPhone.  It works okay on the iPad.  It would be nice if there was an iPad optimized version or if it was a universal app.  I guess I'm lucky this works at all.

UPDATE 11/3/2010:  The Skyfire browser actually came out a day earlier than expected.  And guess what?  The demand drove Skyfire's servers into the ground and the app is currently "sold out." I'll update this when Skyfire gets more servers up and it's back in the App Store.

There are some caveats, though.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Look: Element Case Vapor 007 for the iPhone 4

UPDATE 11/2/2010:  Since doing the video I stumbled on a bunch of reviews and comments by owners of the Element Case Vapor and found at least the first batch of cases severely blocking cell phone reception, in some cases killing it altogether.  A YouTube commenter had a great idea to test the Vapor 007's ability to block reception using the infamous Field Test.  I did a quick Field Test in my bedroom, a place where there is very bad reception but I still don't drop calls there.  Here's my unscientific results:
  • With Vapor 007 and Carbon Fiber Back Plate: -110 dB
  • With just Vapor 007 bumper: -100 dB
  • With no case: -100 dB
Hardware expert Anandtech says that the iPhone 4 should be able to hold calls and stream data even when reception is down to -113 dB.  So, even though the carbon fiber back plate is appearing to affect cell reception by -10 dB I am not dropping calls.   Someone on an AT&T network that is not as good as the one here in Honolulu could conceivably drop calls.  Obviously, I need to do more testing on this.

Element Case Website
Vapor Extreme Metals
Previous posts about the Element Case: Liquid Edition for the iPhone 3G/3GS