Snap That App: Tiny Tower

My favourite game of the moment has to be Tiny Tower from developers NimbleBit, who are well know for creating high quality ‘freemium’ games, with their last big release Pocket Frogs proving to be a huge success. Their latest offering, Tiny Tower for iOS devices, is a fun and highly addictive pixelated game that will no doubt have users hooked on its retro styled charm and simple yet engaging gameplay.

The main goal in Tiny Tower is to make as much money as you can through building new floors, opening new services and expanding your tower empire! The game begins with a quick tutorial of how to get started, which takes you through building your first residential floor and production floor, moving a Bitizen in and finding them a job. The game is really simple to play and the cute graphics and groovy music really help to keep the game fun and addictive.

Each production floor can offer a variety of shops or services, such as laundromats, coffee houses, clothes shops and so forth. You can employ a maximum of three Bitizens to work on each floor to serve the visitors that come to your tower, and with the money earned you can then restock your items that are running low to create further income. Like other games of this nature, time management is a key element with restocking usually taking anything from 10 minutes to an hour to complete. Whilst waiting for the items to restock there are other tasks to keep you occupied, such as working the elevator to take Bitizens to their desired floors, or locating particular Bitizens in return for cash. While these tasks are fun at first, they can become a little repetitive and I’m hoping that we’ll see more variety in future updates to the game (which is only on version 1.1 at the moment so I’ll cut them some slack!)

The game is integrated with Game Center with a good list of achievements to keep you busy, and you can even visit your friends towers to see how they’re doing (and compare!) One of my favourite (and slightly random!) features of the game is the inclusion of the Bitbook which, as you can probably guess, is the Bitizen’s version of Facebook! It doesn’t really aid your gameplay in any way, but it’s amusing to see what your Bitizens are getting up to! Each Bitizen has their own unique personality which can be viewed by selecting the Bitizens option in the menu (see image above). From here you can find out all sorts of information about that particular Bitizen (for example what their dream job is and how happy they currently are) along with other actions such as changing their outfit or assigning them a job.

Overall, I absolutely love Tiny Tower. I think it’s clear to see that a lot of thought and effort has been put into developing the game and I love the attention to detail that has been included (such as the Bitbook) which adds to Tiny Tower’s charm. If you’re after a new game this weekend for your iOS device then I would definitely recommend checking it out, you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s my video review for Tiny Tower:

And finally NimbleBit’s official video for the game:

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iOS 4.3.3 is Live, Fixing Those Location Bug Issues

Apple has just released iOS 4.3.3 through iTunes, an update for all iOS devices which fixes a number of problems relating to the iPhone location tracking fiasco. As promised by Apple, the update will change the iOS location database file in regards to how location data is stored and backed up. As stated in the release notes above, iOS 4.3.3 reduces the size of the cache, stops backing up the cache to iTunes and completely deletes the cache when Location Services is turned off (something that previously didn’t happen).

Apple came into the firing line recently when it was revealed that iOS 4 contained an unencrypted location tracking log file, that made it incredibly easy for any Tom, Dick or Harry to spy on your whereabouts either by jailbreaking your iPhone or accessing the file from your iOS back up in iTunes. This unencrypted file was logging your every move even after turning off Location Services with no obvious way to remove the file from either your iPhone or your computer. This of course caused a huge outcry and Apple responded quickly assuring users they were not tracking their locations and promised an update in the coming weeks. Well, the wait is over my friends so plug in your iPhones, iPads and iPods to rectify this problem quickly. Has Apple done everything to ease your worries about location tracking, or has this doubted your trust in the big A?

Source: Engadget, TheAppleBlog, Ars Technica

Apple’s WWDC 2011 Set For June 6th

Image Source: Engadget

In an official announcement this morning, Apple revealed that the Worldwide Developers Conference at Moscone West in San Francisco will commence on June 6th 2011. No real word yet on the exact hardware/software we’ll be seeing, but from the official announcement it mentions the future of iOS and Mac OS X so it can be assumed that we’ll (hopefully) see the iPhone 5 and Lion unveiled along with a preview of iOS 5. Check out my latest video to hear all the details!

iOS 5 Pushed Back for a Fall Release?

The Apple rumour mill has most definitely been working overtime this past weekend chugging out many rumours, most notably the possibility that iOS 5 will not be released until fall/autumn 2011. The news comes from two solid sources at TechCrunch who believe the latest update to the software will be a major revamp including a new notifications system and a more ‘cloud based’ operating system linking in with the launch of new servies such as music streaming and social networking location services. Check out my latest video above to hear more details. What do you guys think? Are you looking forward to iOS 5? Let me know what new features you’d love to see!

Source: TechCrunch

iPhone 5 Rumours: NFC, Aluminium Design and a Larger Screen?

Snap Gadget TV is back with a brand new episode all about the upcoming iPhone 5! Apologies again for the severe lack of videos recently, I just don’t have the time sadly to upload as often as I would like but more will be coming I promise!

I also want to ask (whoever is reading this) is there anything you’d like me to cover in my videos (tech related mind). It could be anything from how-tos to app reviews to unboxings! Please drop me a line and let me know, thank you!

Space Shuttle Discovery Launch viewed from above!

Take a look at this amazing footage of Space Shuttle Discovery’s last ever launch, filmed from a passenger jet flying near Kennedy Space Center. In what seems like perfect timing, we see the shuttle blast upwards into the sky leaving a bright white trail behind, contrasting beautifully against the deep blue sky. What an incredible sight this must have been to see first hand displaying the immense power of the shuttle. Have a look for yourselves and enjoy!

Source: Tech, Travel & Tuna

A few words on Japan

A wave approaches Miyako City. Photo taken March 11th 2011. (REUTERS/Mainichi Shimbun)

As I look through today’s news websites and blogs, I can’t help but feel a sense of disbelief at what I’m seeing in front of me.

A helpless hand emerging through the mud, cars balancing on top of houses and shipping containers tossed around as if they were children’s toy blocks. This is the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that has completely devastated Japan.

As the days roll by, we are seeing more and more terrifying footage surfacing giving us a real idea of just how horrendous this natural disaster was to experience.

I watched a clip this morning that was taken just as the tsunami hit. It was astonishing to see what first seemed like a small wave turn into this unbelievable force taking out numerous houses, cars and boats as it moved. The sheer scale of the devastation left in the wake of the tsunami is incomprehensible. Peoples lives have literally been washed away and the clean up operation will surely take years to complete.

My thoughts are with those all around the World who have been affected by this tragic event, it’s devastation like we have never seen.

I just wanted to take a moment out of my day to forget about the mundane things that we all bother with, and to remember that life is precious and we should appreciate every day that is given to us.

(Image credit: REUTERS, Mainichi Shimbun)

Source: REUTERS, The Atlantic, Gizmodo

And Boom! The iPad 2 is unveiled

Yesterday became national iPad 2 day as Steve Jobs unveiled the highly anticipated iPad sequel at a media event in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The new device features a zippy 1GHz dual core A5 processor, front and rear facing cameras along with a thinner and sleeker design. The new CPU is said to offer up to 2x the speed of the original iPad whilst keeping power consumption low to avoid eating up the battery life. Graphics performance has also had a impressive upgrade giving up to 9x faster performance when playing games or watching videos.

The first iPad was chubby and needed to go on a diet. Cue iPad 2 with its slim and slender body that’s 33% thinner than the original iPad and up to 15% lighter. It looks really nice and I can’t wait to hold one of these to see if the new form makes the iPad any easier or more natural to use.

As with the original iPad, Apple again released their own case for the new device, which at first glance had me perplexed but is actually pretty cool. A ‘Smart Cover’ is a magnetic flap which protects the screen and wakes the iPad from sleep when lifted / puts it to sleep when closed. It’s a pretty new concept and as a result, quite hard to describe so hit up the link here to watch Apple’s official video showing the cover in action!

The iPad 2 now comes in either white or black, and (don’t faint) the white version will be available from day one! So what are your thoughts? Are you impressed with the new specs or were you hoping for more? Personally I was really holding out for a retina screen but I understand it would be expensive to implement, plus they’re probably saving it for iPad 3 (dammit I can’t wait that long!)

Along with a hardware refresh, we were also given a preview into iOS 4.3 coming along with the iPad 2 on March 11th. Improvements feature Safari upgrades and FaceTime, Photo Booth, iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad 2 all designed to take advantage of the new built-in cameras. I’m excited to see Photo Booth in action which takes advantage of the faster CPU and shows effects and filters in real time.

So there we have it (in a nut shell). Will you be rushing out to get the new iPad 2? Or are you going to believe the rumours and wait till September to see whether the iPad 3 will be released then? I’ve wanted an iPad for the past year, so waiting any longer now seems like torture! If I do get one *correction* when I get one, I’ll be uploading an unboxing video and review so stay tuned to Snap Gadget TV!

When killer iPads ATTACK!

With the imminent release of the next iPad just around the corner, I thought I’d share with you some videos demonstrating some of the exciting new ‘features’ coming in the device. Personal favourites from the two videos include iMilk and iShotgun, along with the added bonus of being gunned down by your beloved product.

Source: TUAW

The Little Black Book – Now with hidden iPhone!

If you love dusty, old moleskine books filled with notes and memories of a time gone by, and you also happen to own an iPhone, then you are going to love this! I was trawling through the internet earlier hoping to find something inspiring when I stumbled upon this little beauty on TUAW. It’s a case for the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4 from Pad & Quill, which is “hand-crafted” from wood and cradles your iPhone in a protective frame, pretty swish!

There’s now an even slimmer version just for the iPhone 4 featuring a ‘camera portal’ on the back s0 you can take pictures without having to remove your phone from it’s case. I don’t know how practical these cases will be for day-to-day use, but you’ve gotta give these guys points for originality and creative flair!

Source: TUAW and Pad & Quill

Apple updates MacBook Pro line with lots of speedy goodness

As if you didn’t already know, today Apple announced their new 2011 lineup of MacBook Pros which feature all new faster processors, new FaceTime HD cameras and most importantly, integration of Intel’s Light Peak technology now called Thunderbolt. Looks wise, these machines are pretty much the same as the previous MacBook Pros except for the inclusion of the new Thunderbolt I/O port on the side.

Thunderbolt is a major upgrade to the MacBook Pros promising 10Gbps of throughput in both directions, which is one hell of a jump from the current technology in use today! Here’s the official description from Apple’s website:

“With 10Gbps of throughput in both directions, Thunderbolt I/O technology lets you move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800.”

But let’s dig a little deeper into the different configurations:

MacBook Pro 13-inch

Option 1

  • 2.3GHz Dual-Core i5 Intel Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM
  • 320GB 5400 RPM HD
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000

Option 2

  • 2.7GHz Dual-Core i7 Intel Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM
  • 500GB 5400 RPM HD
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000

MacBook Pro 15-inch

Option 1

  • 2.0GHz Quad-Core i7 Intel Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM
  • 500GB 5400 RPM HD
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB GDDR5 RAM

Option 2

  • 2.2GHz Quad-Core i7 Intel Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM
  • 750GB 5400 RPM HD
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5 RAM

MacBook Pro 17-inch

  • 2.2GHz Quad-Core i7 Intel Processor
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM
  • 750GB 5400 RPM HD
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5

There had been rumours that Apple would get rid of their lower end white plastic MacBook, but as of this moment it’s still kicking around so we’ll have to wait and see the fate of our plastic friend.

So, will you be rushing out to get these latest offerings from Apple? Or could it possibly be better to wait? If the latest rumours are to be believed, next year could be the real year that the MacBook Pros get more than just an internal upgrade.

Source: Apple, Engadget and TheAppleBlog

Facebook is down = the end of the world as we know it

If, like me, you’ve been manically refreshing your Facebook page for the past hour to no avail, then you are not alone. The official news along the Zuckerberg grapevine is that the company is experiencing “latency issues with the API” (whatever that means!) In other words, the whole site seems to be affected including Facebook’s Like button, which means that a good percentage of the web will be having problems.

Here’s the official statement from Facebook’s Platform live status page:

Current Status: API Latency Issues

We are currently experiencing latency issues with the API, and we are actively investigating. We will provide an update when either the issue is resolved or we have an ETA for resolution.

Apparently the company had the same problems yesterday, which caused the site to crash according to TechCrunch.

Keep checking Facebook’s Platform live status page for more news!

Source: TechCrunch

 

Apple holding ‘special event’ on September 1st

Now that me and Scott Forstall are such good friends I wasn’t surprised at all when I got an invitation in my inbox to a ‘special event’ held by Apple…

Well, I can dream, but in all seriousness Apple have sent out invitations for their annual music related event, to be held in San Francisco next Wednesday 1st September. As usual, Apple aren’t giving many hints as to what will be involved in the ‘special event’ but judging from the picture above and the fact that every September is music month for Apple, you can bet your bottom dollar that the main focus will be around the iTunes world. Other rumours doing the rounds is that a new Apple TV (iTV?) device may be released , along with a cloud streaming service from iTunes that will sync to all your devices. New iPods will, of course, be on the menu with possible FaceTime ready iPod touches and a new touch screen Shuffle.

Another puzzling question is why on Earth did Lady Gaga visit the Apple offices? Maybe she was trying to give Steve some wardrobe updates? Maybe she’ll be performing at next week’s keynote? Who knows, but whatever happens you know there’ll be a “one more thing” moment packed in there somewhere.

Source: Engadget, TechCrunch and Gizmodo

New PS3 System Models in 160GB and 320GB hard drives coming this autumn

Sony are releasing two new models of their PS3 system this autumn, the first being a standalone 160GB PS3 Slim which offers more storage for the same price as the previous model. The new Slim console is available now in America for $299.99, but us folks across the pond here in Europe will have to wait until October to get our hands on one of these, for a price of €299 (according to the GamesCom press conference).

The next release from Sony is this 320GB PS3 system, which will be included in the PS3 Sports Champions Move bundle. The new package is due to hit the shelves on September 19th for the US and September 15th for Europe. The bundle includes one PlayStation Move motion controller, a PlayStation Eye camera, a copy of Sports Champions on Blu-ray disc, and a bonus Blu-ray game demo disc, for a price of $399.99 for America and €349 for Europe. The 320GB PS3 system will be released in conjunction with the launch of PlayStation Move, and on the official PlayStation Blog Sony said, “The value included in this bundle is incredible and we know this will further add to the exceptionally high demand for the new platform.”

Source PlayStation.Blog and Engadget