Among the announcements when Apple released iOS 5, a couple of downloadable apps became available at the iTunes App Store. One of them, Cards (free), lets you create fold-in-the-middle greeting cards on your iPhone, then Apple sends them on real paper via snail mail.
While other services have greeting and post cards in the past, Apple's method is very intuitive and convenient with several designs to choose from, and the cost is about what it would be to go buy a greeting card in a store.
Immediately upon launch, you're given an intuitive interface for selecting the exterior … Read more
Are you the type of gamer who likes to get the perfect run before moving on to the next level? If so, then stunt bike games are for you. This collection of games challenges you to navigate past obstacles, avoid exploding barrels, and make death defying jumps--all while trying to get the best time possible.
This week's collection of iOS apps are all stunt bike games. The first gives you a wide view of the track so you know what's coming up. The second offers smoother graphics, and some nice effects that add to the game. The third … Read more
Yet, this comparison must be done. For one thing, Google and Apple have both recently unveiled huge changes that respectively make their mobile operating systems far more powerful, and in some ways more similar to each other. For another thing, weighing the pros and cons of each platform against the other is a scenario that's played out daily among many people who are deciding which phone to buy.
Just a few parameters before diving in. First, I'm overwhelmingly looking at software, not hardware, but I'll point out where hardware does factor in. iOS 5 runs on multiple devices, but is the most powerful right now on the iPhone 4S. Ditto Ice Cream Sandwich. The unreleased Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the one phone that can currently show off the OS update's full spectrum of features, since it was purpose-built to be compatible with them all. That will change for both operating systems as additional future devices are built with the hardware to support the new software.
Second, I'm not just talking about new additions, but trying to look at the OS in its entirety.
Third, I'm looking at what each OS can do natively. Yes, there are scores of third-party apps you can download to do just about anything to satisfy something that one OS lacks that another has, but what we're looking at here is what Apple and Google have decided to bestow, not clever external developers. And I'm not talking about anything you can achieve only by jailbreaking or rooting. Official, but optional apps created by Apple and Google are OK--like Find My Friends and Google Voice.
Third, I'm throwing in two "fun" features for each (these will be the last two). I wouldn't recommend buying an iOS 5 or Ice Cream Sandwich device solely because of them, but they're pleasantly show-offy conversation pieces unique to each platform.
Fruit Ninja was one of the early hits at the iTunes App Store, and continues to endure as a perennial top-10 favorite in the paid apps category for its simple, but satisfying game mechanic.
Today Halfbrick--the makers of Fruit Ninja and hit game Jetpack Joyride--released another version of Fruit Ninja, but this time with a movie tie-in. Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots offers the same fruit-slicing action, but adds a new game type that fans of the game will definitely want to check out.
Though Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots is an obvious promotion for the upcoming Dreamworks Animations … Read more
commentary Like it or not, chances are that one of your most prized relationships is with your smartphone.
You love a phone design or you viscerally hate it; you can't stand this wallpaper, so you add that one. Your phone's design or color is a statement of your identity. Like all products it says something about you: you're hip and edgy, you're a top-notch professional, you're more subtle and value utility. If you invest in custom cases or stickers, is it only for protection, or also an act of self-expression?
Then there's the wallpaper you choose, the ringtones and alarms you set, the apps you download, that all create an environment uniquely shaped by and descriptive of you.
All this is a good thing, at least if you make or sell smartphones, and it's a tacit principle that the mobile industry thrives on. People don't just like their phones, we need them. And if you lose or leave behind your phone, you mourn every minute it's outside of your possession. Have you ever thought: my life is on my phone?
Yep, it's not for nothing that cell phones are called the most personal of consumer electronics.… Read more
A little-known feature in iOS 5 is the new option to create free, custom ringtones and text message alert tones.
The iTunes store is flooding with tones for $0.99 to $1.29, prices that are high enough to make you stick with the iPhone's default tones. But now, with a few easy steps, you can make unique tones that set your phone apart from the many others who share the same standard tones.
With the iPhone picking up steam as a gaming platform, one of the biggest announcements for gamers was that the iPhone 4S' graphics would be seven times faster than its predecessor's. Even though no developers have released a game optimized for the device so far (Infinity Blade II is set to launch December 1), I decided to put some of the more high-quality current games side by side on the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S to see if we could spot any difference.
The reason for all the extra speed is the iPhone 4S' dual-core A5 processor, which supposedly has enough horsepower to render complex 3D graphics with significantly high frame rates. This bump in processor power should become particularly apparent once we see some of the new games being developed for the device, but I simply didn't want to wait that long.… Read more
The "S" in iPhone 4S can stand for anything you want it to, be it Siri or Steve or super. However, after finally spending some time with the iPhone 4S this week, I'm choosing to believe that the S does in fact stand for speed, but you probably already knew that, given the title of this piece.
The iPhone 4S' biggest performance advantage over its predecessor is the dual-core A5 CPU inside, replacing the iPhone 4's single-core A4 chip. When I upgraded from my iPhone 3G to the 4 last year, the speed difference between the two phones was obvious and welcome. This year, I'm not eligible for a subsidized iPhone 4S through AT&T, so I won't be getting one.
Discovering that bit of bad news immediately made the 4S less appealing to me as my mind--doing its best attempt at damage control--scrambled for good excuses as to why I wouldn't want one anyway. Chief among them being, "Well, it's probably not that much faster." … Read more
Adobe says that the app works just like the desktop version, letting you read and interact with the widest variety of PDF files on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
You'll be able to open PDF files from the mail app, the Web, and any app that supports the "Open In..." option. You'll be able to access ePortfolio (PDF Portfolios), PDF Packages, annotations, and drawing markups. You'll also be able to open and view … Read more
When it comes to GPS-based friend-finding apps, you either love them or you don't.
Google has been a big believer on its Android platform for some time, integrating Google Latitude into all of its Android phones. Apple's iOS 5 update brings a separate downloadable app, Find My Friends (shortened to Find Friends once it installs).
In many cases, it's another iOS 5 feature that's very similar to those existing on rival mobile platforms, but there are some features all its own. This weekend, I buddied up with some CNET friends to see how Find My Friends … Read more