Archive for September, 2012

Rovio Releases Bad Piggies, an Angry Birds Spin-Off

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Rovio is at it again in its attempts to keep you glued to your iPhone or computer and make your productivity at work drop to career-limiting levels. The developer’s follow-up to its wildly popular Angry Birds franchise hit the App Store last night. Bad Piggies, which features those dastardly egg-stealing pigs from Angry Birds, is now available for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Though it features the same shady swines from Angry Birds, the gameplay in Bad Piggies is very different. There are no slingshots or birds in sight and your mission is to help the pigs find the lost blueprints that contain their diabolical plans to steal the eggs from the birds we know so well already. To do this, you have to create vehicles and contraptions using provided parts to transport the pigs to reach the lost blueprints. It’s creation versus destruction this time around, though odds are that the contraptions you create will be destroyed on their way to the blueprints.

If you’re not sure if Bad Piggies is for you, check out this video from our sister site, TouchArcade, where they play through the first few levels to show off the game’s mechanics (note that there is adult language in this video so it’s a bit NSFW and not completely suitable for children):

Bad Piggies is creative, fun, and highly polished as you’d expect from a company like Rovio. It features familiar graphics and characters to make you feel like you’re still in the Angry Birds world but just hanging out in the next town over.

Bad Piggies works on the iPhone 5 (though it’s oddly not optimized for its larger screen) and older models back to the iPhone 3GS, plus the 3rd-generation and later iPod touches, and all iPad models and requires iOS 5.0 or higher. If you have both an iPhone and an iPad, you’ll need to purchase separate versions of the app if you want to see it in glorious high resolution graphics on both devices. For Mac, Bad Piggies requires OS X 10.6.6 or later.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/games/bad-piggies, http://appshopper.com/games/bad-piggies-hd, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bad-piggies/id561410603?mt=12″]

Coverage for iPhone and iPad Shows You LTE Network Maps for US Carriers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Apple finally jumped on the LTE bandwagon with the iPhone 5 and while US carriers have been frantically upgrading their networks, coverage isn’t even close to complete throughout much of the country. If you’re looking to get a new iPhone but want to know which carrier offers the best coverage for your area, there’s a quicker way to do your research than digging up each carrier’s coverage map: Two Steps Beyond’s Coverage for iPhone and iPad.

We first heard about Coverage in early 2011 when the iPhone 4 hit Verizon and US users could choose from another official carrier for Apple’s smartphone at long last. Since then, the app has seen regular updates to show the most recent network coverage for all official iPhone carriers plus T-Mobile in the US with the most recent update to version 2012.9 arriving this week to include the latest LTE coverage maps.

Using Coverage is dead simple. A map view is front and center and a few on-screen toggles in the top right corner let you select the carriers you’re considering and a few more at the bottom let you choose the network type you’re interested in. You can allow Coverage to locate you via your device’s GPS receiver and easily view the coverage in your immediate area or browse around the map to check out other locations.

Click to enlarge

If you travel often and want to have an idea of the type of coverage you’ll find in various places, Coverage can be indispensable for you. Yes, you could navigate to each carrier’s website and look up their coverage map to find the same information (Coverage gets its maps directly from the carriers themselves) but it’s far more convenient to have them all in one place at your fingertips.

Something to keep in mind is that the quality of network coverage is not something that’s visible in these maps since the carriers don’t provide this information (and Coverage can’t show what the carriers don’t even share) so you may want to do some informal research by polling friends and family to check their experiences. LTE network coverage is pretty good in my area according to the map and I’m seeing some great speeds (50 Mbps down and 28 Mbps up as reported by the free Speedtest.net app) on AT&T’s LTE network on my iPhone 5 in the suburbs but I’m sure this will vary in downtown Boston proper where there will be more people to crowd the network.

Coverage is a universal app and it’s a great value at $2.99 to have this information on hand anytime you need it. Note that you’ll need iOS 5 or higher for Coverage and if you already have an iPhone 5, its interface has been optimized to take advantage of its longer screen goodness.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/navigation/coverage”]

Alternatives to Apple’s Maps App in iOS 6

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The Maps app in iOS 6 has been lambasted pretty thoroughly even in the short time it’s been available to the public for laughably incorrect data (check out this collection of screenshots for a good chuckle) to a simple lack of useful information compared to its predecessor. Though I’m not a betting woman, I’d still wager that Apple is already working on improving the data in Maps and it will get better over time. However, if you can’t wait for that and need reliable maps and voice-guided navigation right now, we’ve got a list of apps for you to consider.

The alternatives to Maps range in price from free to $20 or more. Generally the most significant difference between the apps that are free/low-cost and paid among these alternatives comes down to the map data and where it’s stored. The free or low-cost apps usually don’t store any map data in your iPhone and you’ll need a data connection as you travel to keep getting maps and guidance while many of the more expensive ($20 and higher) paid apps usually bundle the map data within the app so you don’t need a data connection to get directions as you travel.

Keeping that in mind, here are some good free and low-cost alternatives:

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/reference/bing, http://appshopper.com/navigation/mapquest-4-mobile, http://appshopper.com/navigation/waze, http://appshopper.com/navigation/copilot-gps-–-plan-explore-with-on-board-maps-directions, http://appshopper.com/navigation/telenav-gps, http://appshopper.com/navigation/yellow-pages, http://appshopper.com/navigation/att-navigator-monthly-fee-on-att-bill, http://appshopper.com/navigation/motionx-gps-drive”]

When it comes to paid navigation apps, Navigon’s offering tops my list over the other apps I’ve tried by TomTom, iGo, CoPilot Live, and others but they are all good choices with similar feature sets, in most cases, and are perfectly capable of getting you from point A to point B.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/navigation/mobilenavigator-north-america, http://appshopper.com/navigation/tomtom-usa, http://appshopper.com/navigation/garmin-usa, http://appshopper.com/navigation/igo-my-way-2009-north-america-edition, http://appshopper.com/navigation/copilot-live-premium-hd-north-america”]

Now none of these apps are integrated into iOS 6 so you’ll always get dropped into the built-in Maps app when you tap on location links in Safari, Mail, Contacts, etc. So, you’ll need to copy the address, manually open your maps app of choice, and paste it in to search or generate directions.

So there you have it. If you feel like Apple left you out in the cold with inaccurate or unreliable data in Maps when you updated to iOS 6 or got your shiny new iPhone 5, there are plenty of other choices to get you where you need to go while Apple cracks the whip on the team responsible to get Maps up to snuff. If you want to help Apple improve Maps, you can find instructions on how to submit map data corrections here.

Getting Started With Your New iPhone 5

Friday, September 21st, 2012

iPhone 5 release day is here! If you’re waiting in line at a store or at home and anxiously listening for the telltale sounds of a delivery truck to get your new iPhone, we’ve got some tips and links to help you get started using your sleek new smartphone and get familiar with AppShopper and how we can help you save money on apps.

If you’re new to the iPhone, it might be helpful for you to get familiar with its controls and features and how to set it up. Macworld has a thorough overview of the physical aspects of the iPhone 5 from soup to nuts and instructions on how to set it up so you can get started using it.

If you’re new to the Apple ecosystem and are wondering what’s up with this iCloud thing or want to know exactly what Siri can do for you, see these ultimate guides from iMore:

Now a little more on what we do here at AppShopper. AppShopper is a directory of all iOS and Mac apps available in the US App Store. But we go well beyond what you can do with the App Store through iTunes on your computer or the App Store app on your iPhone with our Wish List feature. Once you create a (free!) account here, you can track apps that you want to buy and automatically get notified via email (or via push notifications from our own official iPhone and iPad app) when apps on your Wish List go on sale.

While many apps available cost just a dollar or two, there are several (think turn-by-turn navigation and password storage apps) that can cost upward of $20. Sometimes these apps go on sale at 50% or more off but knowing when they go on sale isn’t exactly easy unless you’re checking the App Store manually every day. This is where using our Wish List feature can help you save money year-round. It’s like extreme couponing without all the coupon cutting and standing in line.

For a complete overview of how to use our Wish List feature, read this article. And for tips on how to find paid apps gone free (yes, developers do go crazy and make their apps completely free every now and then), read this article.

Our official AppShopper app works on the iPhone and iPad (an update that adds an interface optimized for the iPhone 5 has been submitted to Apple for approval and should be available soon!) and is free to download. If you’re at all interested in loading up on apps, you should get it ASAP.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/link/appshopper”]

Now on to some apps ready for the iPhone 5 right now. As we mentioned earlier this week, developers have been busy updating their apps for the iPhone 5’s larger screen and there are now more than 1,000 apps ready to dazzle your eyes on its retina display.

First, you can get your Facebook on with the official Facebook app. And while there’s a free official Twitter app, I’d recommend the excellent Tweetbot by Tapbots instead. If you need a turn-by-turn navigation app, Navigon is a great buy and now offers integration with Apple’s updated Maps app for public transportation directions as well. The iPhone’s built-in Camera app is quite capable though you can go a little further and create collages and add effects to your pictures with the popular Diptic by Peak Systems. If you want an easy way to stay on top of the delivery tracking status of your new iPhone, Junecloud’s lovely Delivery Status touch is a no brainer.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/social-networking/facebook, http://appshopper.com/social-networking/tweetbot-a-twitter-client-with-personality, http://appshopper.com/navigation/mobilenavigator-north-america, http://appshopper.com/photography/diptic, http://appshopper.com/utilities/delivery-status-touch”]

We leave the coverage of iOS games to our sister site, TouchArcade and you can check out their recommendations on iPhone 5-ready games and learn about games that will be updated for the iPhone 5 soon and much more. TouchArcade also has its own official app (which will get the iPhone 5 treatment soon) and it’s a fabulous way to stay on top of the hottest iPhone gaming news and a source of excellent reviews.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/entertainment/toucharcade-the-best-new-games”]

We here at AppShopper wish everyone a happy iPhone 5 day! May your UPS/FedEx delivery person be swift and your line-waiting experience be fraught with good company and nice weather!

More Apps Getting Updated with Passbook and iPhone 5 Compatibility

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

With the release of iOS 6 yesterday and the impending release of the iPhone 5 tomorrow, there’s been a frenzy of app updates this week. Of particular note are apps that have been updated to work with Apple’s new Passbook app that acts as a “holder” for boarding passes, movie and sporting event tickets, and store loyalty cards.

At its most recent media event, Apple demonstrated Passbook showing Starbucks, American Airlines, Sephora, Fandango, and others as participating businesses. Apps for many of these companies have been updated accordingly in the last day or so to add Passbook compatibility. To keep track of all apps that have been updated with Passbook compatibility, you can use this Passbook search query to automatically find all the latest apps with this feature right here on AppShopper.

If, like me, you have not been able to get the Passbook app to do much of anything but show you a broken link to the App Store when you try to find compatible apps, check out this possible fix over at MacRumors.

For another way around this issue or to simply see how Passbook works, check out this overview of how to purchase a digital movie ticket and get it to show up in Passbook over at Techcrunch.

If you’d rather not spend any money to test it out, you can get some free mobile coupons from Target to show up in Passbook by downloading the free Target app and opting in to mobile coupons from the My Target menu. Once you’re opted in, there’s an option to add the coupons to Passbook, which will give you a single virtual card in Passbook with a scannable QR code that you can use at Target to redeem any of the coupons.

At the time of this post, the company with the loyalty card I use most often, Starbucks, has not yet updated its app with Passbook compatibility. While this will not stop me from indulging in my grande no-water, no-foam chai tea lattes in the meantime, I’m looking forward to trying out Passbook with my Starbucks loyalty card when it’s compatible.

More and more apps are getting updated for the iPhone 5’s larger screen as well. As we mentioned earlier this week, you can check out a list of apps that have been updated to fill up its 4-inch screen using this pre-defined search query. At the time of this post, this list has nearly 1,000 apps on it with several big-name apps making an appearance including Flipboard, Pinterest, and Navigon. If you’re getting an iPhone 5 tomorrow, you’ll have no problem filling it up with apps that will take full advantage of its 4-inch screen.

iOS 6 Available for Download Now

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

As announced at last week’s media event, Apple has released iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. iOS 6 boasts over 200 new features compared to iOS 5 and is a free download for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 and later, and 4th-generation iPod touch and later.


In iOS 6, Apple has completely revamped the Maps app to do away with Google map and POI data in favor of data from TomTom and its own map information and technology. Apple also adds a new app, Passbook, that will hold boarding passes, store loyalty cards, movie tickets, and more. FaceTime will no longer be restricted to Wi-Fi only (unless you’re with AT&T, who requires that you be on one of their shared data plans to make FaceTime calls on their network), and Siri is enhanced to provide sports scores, move times, restaurant reviews, and even open apps for you.

If you want to dig into everything that’s new iOS 6, you can find the release notes here. Not all of the new features are available in all countries and Apple has created a handy dandy list of what works where here.

If you’re away from your computer and are running iOS 5, you can update to iOS 6 over the air though be aware the update is over 600 MB so you’ll want to be connected to a Wi-Fi network if you’re on a cellular data plan with steep charges for overages.

I’m installing iOS 6 on my iPhone 4S as I write this article and I’m most looking forward to Passbook and the new Do Not Disturb features that will stop my iPhone from buzzing and lighting up at night when I’m sleeping.

Apps Ready for the iPhone 5 and Its 4-inch Display

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Apple’s iPhone 5 will become available in the US and eight other countries this Friday, September 21 and will feature, among other things, a larger screen with a resolution of 1,136 by 640 pixels. If you got your pre-order in early enough or will be standing in line bright and early that morning to ensure you get your shiny new wonder phone on release day, know that many app developers aren’t resting on their laurels and are already updating their apps to add iPhone 5 compatibility.

Instead of searching for these iPhone 5-compatible apps manually, use this handy “iPhone 5″ search query to see a near real-time list of recently-updated apps here on AppShopper. Note that there may be some false positive results on that list in cases where developers added “iPhone 5″ to the description of what’s new in their most recent app update without actually adding compatibility.

Don’t fret if your favorite or most-used apps aren’t iPhone 5-ready yet––they’ll still work and will simply be centered on the larger screen with black letterbox bars on the top and bottom or left and right sides accordingly based on the iPhone’s orientation. Apple showed what this would look like at last week’s media event using algoriddim’s djay app (note the arrows that point to the letterbox frame):

 

 

At the time of this post, there are more than 100 apps updated with iPhone 5 compatibility including my favorite Twitter client, Tweetbot, RSS feed reader Reeder, OmniFocus, and many more.

Pre-Ordering an iPhone 5? There’s an App for That

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5, which was announced earlier this week, started at an ungodly hour this morning (12:00 am Pacific/3:00 am Eastern). If you weren’t too keen on staying awake or getting up that early to get in your pre-order and you’re out and about today and can’t easily get to a computer, there are apps that can help you out.

First up is the Apple Store app. Compared to Apple’s site in the wee hours of the morning on a pre-order day, Apple Store can often result in a successful pre-order with a minimal amount of effort. Just like Apple’s website, it will check your upgrade eligibility with your carrier and show you the appropriate pricing. However, if you’re switching to a different carrier, note that this app will not be able to handle those details and you’ll need to go to Apple’s full website for these more complex pre-orders.

If you’re with AT&T, I would normally point out the AT&T Upgrader app, which we recommended last year at the release of the iPhone 4S, as another option. However, AT&T appears to have recently removed it from the US App Store. There’s no official information on AT&T’s site explaining why it’s no longer in the App Store and I’ve heard no response from AT&T yet to my query about it’s removal.

UPDATE: The AT&T Updater app is now back in the App Store (thanks, Tom!):

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/lifestyle/att-upgrader”]

However, if you had previously downloaded AT&T Upgrader when it was available and still have it on your iPhone or on your computer to sync back to your iPhone, you can use it to log in to your existing account, check your upgrade eligibility and place an order for a new iPhone, including the iPhone 5.

(If it’s not on your iPhone and you’re not near your computer to sync it back, you may be able to re-install it via iCloud using these instructions.)

While Sprint and Verizon both have account management apps in the App Store, neither lets you actually pre-order an iPhone 5, unfortunately. For those carriers, you’ll need to use their respective websites or use the Apple Store app (as long as you’re not switching from another carrier, as previously mentioned).

I had Siri set an alarm on my iPhone 4S to wake me up just before 3:00 am Eastern time this morning and the (not so) dulcet tones of the system Beep sound woke me up as scheduled. As with the iPhone 4S, Apple and AT&T were hit hard with a large number of pre-orders and it took me a little over a half hour to finally make it through all the way to the end using the Apple Store app to finalize my pre-order.

At the time of this post, delivery times are already slipping well past the original September 21 delivery date through Apple, Verizon, and AT&T. If you were hoping to get one on release day and haven’t placed your pre-order yet, you may have to try your luck by standing in line on that day. If you’re not concerned with getting one on September 21, the Apple Store app is a tried and true way to pre-order yours barring any system trouble on Apple’s or your selected carrier’s ends.

[applink url=”http://appshopper.com/lifestyle/apple-store”]

Apple Announces iPhone 5 with 4-Inch Display and 4G LTE

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Today’s media event was packed with a ton of news today, with Apple announcing the next model of its flagship iOS device, the iPhone 5.

The new iPhone 5 will feature the expected 4-inch display and 4G LTE connectivity, along with improved camera features (though the sensor for the rear-facing camera remains at 8 megapixels) in an aluminum and glass enclosure. All in all, the iPhone 5 will be the same width as the iPhone 4S but will be taller to accommodate the larger screen yet still thinner and lighter overall.

Internally, the iPhone 5 gets a faster and more efficient A6 processor, dual-band 802.11(n) Wi-Fi capability and will use a smaller Nano-SIM card. When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 5 matches or exceed the iPhone 4S with up to 8 hours of LTE or 3G talk time, up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, and up to 225 hours of standby time.

The iPhone 5 also gets a new, smaller dock connector called Lightning. Unlike the older 30-pin connector, the Lightning connector is reversible and doesn’t need to be connected in a specific orientation. Apple will sell an adapter so you can use your existing accessories with a 30-pin dock connector but it will set you back $29 for one, which can add up to a pricey proposition if you have several older accessories you want to use with your shiny new iPhone 5.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 will begin on September 14 and it will begin shipping in the US and eight other countries on September 21 and will roll out to 22 more countries on September 28.

The iPhone 5 will be available in black (with a slate aluminum back) or white (with a raw aluminum back) and will cost $199, $299, and $399 with a 2-year contract respectively for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models.

That’s not all Apple announced today – check out these articles over at our sister site, MacRumors.com:

A specific time for the launch of pre-orders on Friday has not yet been announced but I’m hoping it’s not 3:00 am Eastern like it was for the iPhone 4S. I’m also hoping that Apple is truly prepared for pre-orders this time and beefs up its systems and servers so I don’t have struggle for hours to place my pre-order.

Apple Announces iOS 6 Release for September 19

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

At today’s media event, Apple announced that iOS 6 will be released on September 19, just a couple days prior to the release of the iPhone 5 in the US and eight other countries.

First announced at Apple’s WWDC keynote event in June, iOS 6 will offer a bunch of new features. Siri will be enhanced to provide sports scores, post to Twitter or Facebook, give movie listings, and more. The Maps app will feature turn-by-turn voice navigation guidance and a 3D Flyover mode to show realistic building and landscape details. The new Passbook app will hold your passes, tickets, and loyalty and payment cards from participating businesses like Starbucks, American Airlines, and Target so far.

A new Do Not Disturb feature will mute alerts and calls during times you designate so you can sleep or work uninterrupted (or interrupted only by people you specify in advance). The Phone app will let you send a quick a text message reply when you can’t take a call or set a reminder for you to call someone back later.

Like iOS 5, iOS 6 will be a free update for compatible devices, which are the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2 and later, and the 4th-generation iPod touch and later.