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!

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!

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 To Hold iPhone 4 Press Conference Tomorrow

Apple is to hold a special iPhone 4 press conference this Friday 16th July at 10AM PT (6PM GMT). The company is inviting select media representatives such as Engadget to the event, but no other details have been released as to what the conference will be about, only that it will focus on iPhone 4. Unless you’ve been down a hole in the ground lately, you will know about the huge problems Apple have been having with their latest iPhone release, namely the antenna issue. This is where if you hold the phone in a certain way (known as ‘the death grip’) it cuts out all of your signal, resulting in dropped calls and loss of data. Apple’s response was simple, don’t hold it that way, which clearly hasn’t worked and so Apple has now been forced to deal with the issue properly. The rumours doing the rounds are that Apple could recall every single iPhone which would cost the company billions of dollars, they could release a software update to fix the issue, or they could give every iPhone 4 owner a free Bumper case which apparently solves the problem.

Well whatever they do, let’s hope we finally get to the bottom of this! Stay tuned for more details coming your way, and don’t forget to hold your iPhone correctly :)

Source: Engadget and TUAW

iPhone 4 To Be Released On O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile And Now Three!

Unlike the Americans who only have one carrier choice when buying the new iPhone 4, us lucky Brits now have five, yes five Networks to choose from when we all rush out and buy the sacred phone on June 24.
Three has just revealed that they too will be carrying the iPhone 4 when it is released on June 24. Three is also the first UK carrier to announce their pre-order date, which is June 15, the same time as our American friends across the pond.
Three now joins O2, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile as the UK networks who are all carrying the iPhone 4.
Which network will you choose?

Source: Engadget

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!

Official Twitter App For iPhone Coming Soon

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the apps on my iPhone, I like to keep things official where I can. I was thrilled when the official ‘Facebook for iPhone’ app first came out but was constantly searching for an official Twitter app.

There were obvious front runners in the market such as Tweetie and Twitterific whose clients were easy to use with clean and beautiful user interfaces. Yet I always wished for an official app from Twitter as (supposedly) that would be the best on the market, but I could never find one… until now.

Twitter founder Evan Williams has announced that the company will be buying Tweetie (an iPhone Twitter client) from creator Loren Brichter and will be renaming it Twitter for iPhone. It will be the first official iPhone Twitter app from Twitter itself and will be available in the App Store for free!

Williams says that “People are looking for an app from Twitter, and they’re not finding one. So, they get confused and give up. It’s important that we optimize for user benefit and create an awesome experience.”

Brichter will be joining the Twitter mobile team, and he’ll be working alongside them to eventually create a Twitter for iPad app as well. Williams also said that the Twitter for iPhone app should be available “in the coming weeks” although there was no word on when the iPad version would be released.

Check out the news from the official Twitter blog.

More details to come….

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.

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!