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:

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

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

The Gadget Show Live 2010!

I know this was a while ago now but I thought I’d give you a roundup of all the gadget goings on at this years Gadget Show Live 2010! It was an awesome day with enough tech to keep your gadget juices flowing all day! It was held at the NEC in Birmingham which was the perfect venue with 3 massive halls packed to the brim with the latest TVs, cameras, computers and even cars. They also had a mini Gadget Show Studio where the presenters filmed various pieces and signed autographs for the masses! Sadly I didn’t get an autograph as the queue for them was ridiculously long and my patience isn’t quite that good. Now if it was Steve Jobs signing autographs it may have been a different story…

3D was huge at The Gadget Show Live, and when I say huge I mean it was EVERYWHERE! The 3D market is growing at a rapid rate, branching out to all areas of the tech world with most companies trying to incorporate some form of 3D into their products. I saw 3D gaming laptops, 3D games for consoles such as the PS3 and the Xbox, 3D TVs, 3D films and even 3D photographs! Yes, those were pretty awesome but also a bit pointless at the same time. 3D gaming is going to be a huge market although I’m not overly convinced on a) the current quality of 3D games, and b) the need for it. Games are fine how they are at the moment, and the 3D technology which is around now, is still gimmicky and hurts my eyes within about 5 minutes. It’s unnecessary as I don’t think it adds much to the games but it had a huge audience at the live show and people seem to love it so maybe that’s just my opinion. The only 3D games I did like however were the 3D racing games which seemed pretty cool and they had the most attention. They were the most realistic and non gimmicky 3D games and the graphics were very smooth so I think these are going to be winners.

Furby! Who remembers these?

Retro Macs!

A really cool area of the show was The Gadget Show Hall Of Fame which contained all of techs greatest players such as old Macs, Gameboys, the Atari, the Binatone, old TV’s, a Sega Megadrive and even Apple’s first ever tablet, The Newton! It was basically loads of old tech which you could interact with and reminisce over the good old days where you used to stay up all night to get to the final level because you couldn’t save back in the day (boy I DON’T miss those days!) I love anything old (cars, music, tech, you name it!) so this was heaven for me :)

Hey! I bumped into the TomTom hand! What a dude!

A giant Flip Mino HD!

OH MY GOSH! AN iPAD!

As you can see from those envious eyes behind me in the picture above, I TOUCHED AN iPAD! HELLS to the YES! The T3 stand got one in from America and quietly had it just sitting there on the table. There were no long queues to see it, only a few chosen nerds who were huddled around the holy device mesmerized by it’s iPaddyness (yes I know that’s not a word!) I only had a few minutes to play with it so I unfortunately couldn’t film any reviews nor could I use half of the apps because the device doesn’t actually work in England yet. The official release date for the iPad in the UK is “late May” according to Apple’s official website, therefore Maps didn’t work along with some internet websites so generally it was just a mini preview for me. I could at least get a feel for the UI which was as smooth as butter like they always are with Apple. The touchscreen was very intuitive and photos looked glorious on that beautiful high resolution screen. Man I wish I could afford one of these babies.

The one hour Super Theatre Show with the presenters was great! It was a very interactive show with the chance to win some seriously cool prizes such as a laptop with Windows 7, a HD camcorder and a Xbox! The presenters performed live competitions against each other with lots of audience participation, and during one particular battle between Suzi and Jason there was a serious technical hitch! They were having a jetpack race over the audience and Suzi’s jetpack got stuck, which left her hanging there getting slightly worried! She was even shouting, “Cut the music, this isn’t part of the script!” so that was extra funny!

Overall the show was AWESOME and me and Dave will definitely be booking our tickets for next year! I did some recording aswell of the general atmosphere of the day so I’ll get that edited down and hit it up soon!

Enjoy your Wednesday gadget fiends :D

Opera Mini Approved for iPhone (Review)

There was a collective gasp around the internet on Monday 12th April when Apple approved Opera Mini for iPhone and made it available for free in the app store. I was pretty surprised when this happened as normally any rival browser for Safari has been cast aside away from Apple land, but as my boyfriend pointed out to me, there are plenty of camera apps, weather apps, and even stock apps to rival all of Apple’s already on the phone and they get approved no problem so why should a browser be any different?

The first thing I (and everyone else) noticed when using Opera Mini is how incredibly fast it renders pages, even on a 2G Edge network. This is because Opera compresses data by up to 90 percent before sending content to the device, resulting in significantly improved page loading. When you first open up Opera you are introduced to their default ‘speed dial’ home page which includes links to Facebook, Twitter, CNN and others. Using the speed dial home page is very easy and you can edit which websites you want to include by hitting the plus button and choosing a URL. You can edit the default thumbnails given by long pressing on whichever one you want to change until a small pop up window appears with the options to ‘clear’ or ‘edit.’ Going back through your previous webpages is also incredibly fast as Opera doesn’t reload a page every time you press back so getting to where you want is so easy and fast.

Multitouch is enabled but it’s not as good as Safari’s. You can pinch to zoom but this only zooms in fully with nothing in between. Double tap only zooms in fully as well unlike Safari where you can choose which zoom level you want by slowly pinching in or out. It also doesn’t feel as smooth as Safari with general gestures like panning around a webpage and zooming. It’s a little too jerky for my liking but hey, this is it’s first release so they’ve done pretty well so far!

Another really cool feature is ‘Find In Page’ which gives you the option to search for a specific word in a webpage and Opera then finds all the words on that page which match your search and highlights them in green! It’s so useful and very speedy.

CEO of Opera Software Lars Boilesen said, “We are delighted to offer iPhone and iPod touch users a great browsing experience with the Opera Mini App. This app is another step toward Opera’s goal of bringing the Web to more people in more places.”

Overall Opera is a great browser for the iPhone and definitely speeds up everyday tasks when browsing the web on your phone. The UI is clean and simple, with an attractive speed dial homepage that makes getting to your favourite websites so much easier.

So what are you waiting for? Hit up the App Store and give this baby a workout!

Feel free to leave your own reviews in the comments, I’d love to know what everyone thinks!

Apple Holding iPhone OS 4.0 Preview Event, April 8th!

You heard me right guys, after the huge excitement from the iPad launch, Apple quietly slipped out invitations to a “sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone OS software.” The event will be held on April 8th at 10am PT at Apple’s Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino and I can’t wait to find out what the latest upgrades will be. Will it live up to the rumours? Who knows, all I know is that I cannot wait to see what Apple come up with next.

Switch Easy Nude for iPhone Review

The Switch Easy Nude iPhone case offers ultra thin protection with a “state of the art” 0.8mm casing and a “revolutionary” duo UV scratch resistant gloss coating. It’s made from super strong polycarbonate material with easy touch button access, but is it as “revolutionary” as they claim? Will it live up to the hype? In a word, yes… mostly.

This case is thin, it’s the thinnest I think I’ve ever seen and it feels so good to use. Switch Easy really lives up to the tagline of, “It’s as naked as it can be” as you can barely tell the case is on (just from the feel). The back of the case feels exactly the same as the iPhone’s back, it’s really smooth and just feels good in your hand.

In terms of ports, Switch Easy got it right with their “easy touch button access” as all the buttons and connections are within comfortable reach. The headphone jack is a good size, with my AUX cables fitting in fine no problem as well as my iPhone headphones. The sleep/wake button isn’t covered but that’s not an issue and it’s easy to press. The silent button and the volume rocker aren’t covered either but again, this is no problem because I’m not particularly fussed as to whether they’re protected as long as I can use them! The USB connector and the speaker and microphone are not covered at all but this gives way to more usability with certain docks. I can use my phone with the case on in quite a few speaker docks but alas, I still can’t quite fit it in Apple’s official dock, but hey ho, I can live with that!

Now, in terms of the “revolutionary” duo UV scratch resistant gloss coating… this is a little shady. Fact number one, this case is NOT scratch resistant BUT it does a jolly good job at keeping the big scratches at bay AND the scratches it does get are actually really hard to see unless you’re scrutinising them under a certain light (as I often do). I’ll give Switch Easy their due, this case is really good at keeping the big scratches away, compared to my previous case, the Speck Candy Shell which was completely covered in scratches after only 2 days. The Nude still looks great after 2 weeks of vigorous testing (putting my phone in my bag with my keys, placing it on various surfaces, etc) and I can’t recommend it enough. It doesn’t take away from the iPhone’s slick design with brash logos everywhere. The Nude has a subtle Switch Easy logo on the side of the case which is the same colour as the case in slightly raised font so you can barely see it.

If you want a case which will protect your iPhone from the everyday scratches in life and still look good and incredibly slim, the Nude is the case for you. In my opinion, it’s the best case out there so far!

Check out my video review!

Buy the Nude case from Switch Easy

Apple posts Guided Tours of the upcoming iPad

The iPad launch date is now only a few days away (for Americans anyway) and Apple is going into full swing with it’s marketing push to keep us Apple fan boys tided over until the big day. Firstly they released the TV advert to get our gadget juices flowing, then came the ample amount of guided tours to tell us everything we will ever need to know about the iPad.

The guided tours feature a narrator enthusiastically explaining how each application works, while an anonymous pair of hands (and legs) demonstrate how to use each feature. Various gesture controls are also shown, particularly the ‘tap and hold’ which brings up a separate menu to allow you to perform different actions on the item you are tapping on. I believe this will be a big feature on the upcoming iPad and hopefully on any new iPhone OS updates too. The narrator is very keen to tell us how easy, innovative and simple everything is to use (no surprises there) which, combined with Apple’s clean and simple advert design makes it a very effective marketing tool in making you want something you don’t really need.

I’m looking forward to the updated You Tube app, as the current iPhone version is not up to scratch and could do with a thorough update (has it ever had one?) It looks a lot more visually appealing and brings many needed features to the device which its little brother is lacking. Yes, the iPad does have a lot more screen space so there’s more room for slick design updates but basic improvements to the iPhone would be nice.

If you’re still unsure as to what all the fuss is about, check out all of the Guided Tours to give you a real flavour of what the iPad can do. It’s much more appealing and informative than a bunch of Apple execs sitting in front of a white background poetically declaring they’ve just made the greatest product in the entire world (ok, ok I do enjoy those videos, but they do blow their own trumpets a bit.)

Enjoy the tours, I know I will!

Apple Shifts 1 Million iPhone 3GS Models

Apple 3G S Launch

iPhone 3G S Launch Day

Despite everyone saying that the new iPhone 3G S wasn’t going to sell as well as the previous iPhone 3G, people still went out in their millions to buy the new upgrade over the past weekend. By Sunday 21st June, the third day after it’s launch, Apple had sold over 1 Million handsets showing that the Apple Empire continues to rule on with their loyal and dedicated “fanboys” (me included as I bought one opening day!) Last year Apple sold 1 million units over the opening weekend with the 3G model, however people couldn’t pre order the 3G model which probably explains why the queues were massive last year compared to this years 30 or so people that lined up outside various Apple Stores and phone shops. This was a welcome addition in my opinion to the buying process as it meant that people who really wanted the new phone straight away when it came out were able to relax at home and let the postman/ delivery man bring it to them without queuing up for hours! When I bought mine there were about 20 people lined up outside the o2 store and from reading various articles from around the world, it seems that most stores were like this too (apart from the flagship Apple Stores which obviously had more.)

Apple Store Downtown San Francisco

There was more exciting news for Apple as the new 3.0 software released on June 17 reached six million downloads just five day after it came out. This was definitely enough good news to wake Steve from his hibernation and come out with a statement saying “Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning.” It is indeed Steve now hurry up and come back, we miss you!

For more photos and information check out CNET‘s review and Engadget.

iPhone 3GS!

photos-hardware-01-20090608Hey everyone! I’m so sorry it’s been like 10 years since I last posted anything! But, I was saving up for something big… THE iPHONE 3G S!!!!!! Yes people, I finally have an iPhone!!!!! All those looong years of waiting are finally over and I can now hold my very own iPhone in the palm of my hand. And I love it!! I know there weren’t hundreds of new features but I have to say I’m really impressed with what they’ve updated. On first glances you think, “Why in the name of Steve Jobs will I need a compass or a voice control app, and OK they are a little random but SOOO cool. I literally cannot stop playing with voice control. When I saw the demos I thought you’d have to talk in an American accent for the voice control to actually work but NO! It works with my voice too! It’s so clever, I tell it to play songs by Led Zeppelin and it starts to play Heartbreaker! SO COOL! Completely random and I doubt I would actually use it in a public place but very impressive. Can you imagine standing on the Tube and saying out loud “Call Mum.” I would feel a little bit like an idiot but who cares! Here’s a video I made to demonstrate the POWER of the iPhone (sorry about my shaky hands and bad filming, this is my first video!!)

Voice ControlNext up I wanted to just mention the Compass. Again another slightly random addition that on the surface seems completely useless but now that I’ve played with it a little it’s actually really cool! I can now tell which direction I’m facing! The compass on the screen looks really nice, Apple have designed it well as they always do. Apparently the compass helps with the Maps app and shows you on the map which direction you’re facing but mine isn’t working! Darn it, why do I live in this countryside where nothing works! I don’t even get 3G here!! I’m working on it though guys, and hopefully I will get it to work soon!

Here’s another video for you to feast your eyes on! I shot it on my new iPhone just to test what the video quality is like and I’m quite impressed! It’s a pretty pointless video and I was in my PJ’s so no camera time for me! Lol! Plus I also made a silly mistake, you’ll see! Hope you enjoy :)

Lastly I want to mention the new 3 megapixel camera. It’s pretty good, I can definitely see a difference between this and the 3G camera. The lighting is good and the new auto focus feature works great. Here’s a shot of Steve where i tried to use the autofocus on his face!

Steve Jobs!

Well I guess I’ll leave it at that for now! I bet you’ve all checked out what other cool new features are on the iPhone so i won’t repeat everything! If you want more info just go to www.apple.com/iphone/ and you’ll find everything on there! I recommend this phone to EVERYONE because it’s so cool and sexy and how could you not want one LOL! I don’t care that Adam says it’s a Gucci phone (as in it looks nice but doesn’t actually work) because it does! Our war between the Blackberry’s and the iPhone’s continues…