Major Magnet is not the most observant of superheroes. In a humorously animated intro sequence, he’s so happy just flying around the city, that he doesn’t notice the dastardly Colonel Lastin pulling up alongside him to steal his cape, which sends the Major plummeting to the depths below. Luckily another specialty of our intrepid hero is the power of magnetism (in the literal sense, not the charismatic one). What follows is a series of small levels in which you use Major’s magnet to fly around nodes, collecting gems, and trying to reach the black hole that symbolizes travel to the next stage.
Sky Climb is a game by PICxPIC in which you will be playing the part of a character who is running up a tree climb to sky. You’ll have a couple of locales to keep things interesting in this game such as falling rocks.
Graphically this game looks sharp. The levels are going to be simple, but the art is well done, and the different enemies that you interact with animate smoothly in the levels.
The free Koozoo app is based on an intriguing idea. It lets you shoot video with your iPhone and share it live with other users. You could conceivably use it to monitor the view of a city, check the line at a favorite restaurant and so on. The catch is that only San Francisco, Calif., and Austin, Texas are supported so far.
Once you’ve created a free account, you’re ready to browse the online streams. You can look for active cameras or just watch snippets that have been uploaded. You’ll find categories for traffic, parking, food, neighborhoods, etc.
The developers suggest you use your iPhone to grab some quick shots when you can, or place an old iPhone on a WiFi network in a window for use as a live webcam.
Tinyview, a startup that wants to be the “mobile browser” for product search and shopping, is expanding its functionality. Today the company has updated its iPhone app and adding a web presence for users.
Tinyview is the brainchild of Raj Lalwani, who earlier this year sold his startup birthday and holiday reminders Facebook app, Social Calendar, to Walmart. The iOS app aims to solve the pain point of mobile purchasing via search.
The startup, which originally launched last August, allows you to pre-load all of your checkout information, including addresses, email, payments and more. Within the app, you can search for a product or item, and Tinyview will show results from retailers like Amazon, Nordstrom, Zappos, Fandango and others. If you find an item you’d like to purchase on Nordstrom, the app can automatically auto-fill all the information into the checkout process.
Users can now create lists of products they want, and friends can comment, like products or suggest new products. You can also share lists on Facebook, email, etc. And TinyView now shows products that are trending and being saved to lists by others. There’s also a built-in barcode scanner and QR code reader to find products in stores in the app.
Lalwani adds that the startup will add game mechanics to the app, allowing users to earn points for certain user actions. He explains that he wants to do for e-commerce what Shopkick is doing for brick-and-mortar stores when it comes to discovery and viral sharing.
Horizon is an interesting little app that comes from a very simple idea: To combine your weather report and your calendar in one place. That may not sound like a big innovation, but it’s actually not a bad one. Horizon’s simple and straightforward design (put together by a young developer named Kyle Rosenbluth) makes browsing through your upcoming schedule very easy, and matching up outside temperatures and weather with what you’re doing is more helpful than not.
You can use Horizon as its own calendar app, or sync it up with any of your other shared calendars, including any you have available over iCloud. And you can grab weather from anywhere (Horizon will automatically pull in temperature readings based on your calendar event’s location and time), and tweak just how the time and temperature are displayed. There’s also a “night mode,” which is useful both as a visual indicator of how late it is, and for opening the app up in the dark to check your next day’s schedule.
Horizon is a really impressive app — it takes a few good ideas, and then really polishes them to a nice shine. Rosenbluth has put a lot of thought into that initial premise of combining the weather and your calendar, and it shows. Horizon Calendar is available in the App Store right now for US$0.99.
HDR is free for a limited time. The app takes two pictures, one light and one dark. It then aligns and blends them into one image with wider dynamic range. Unique to this app is a feature that shows you 4 options for the final image, labelled Auto, Optimized, Vivid, and Contrast. The app also allows you to bring in two images for processing that are already on your camera roll. Native resolution of your photos is maintained, which is a positive feature.
In my tests I found the app to be very fast at rendering the new image. The blending options make it more flexible than the Apple provided HDR feature. What the app lacks is the extended dynamic range of some of its competitors. That’s easily tested by shooting from an interior room toward an open window. The HDR app loses a lot of detail in the shadows, while some of the other HDR apps don’t. You can see some examples of this in the gallery attached to this article. I compared HDR to the Apple HDR feature, Pro HDR, which sells for US$1.99, and the $1.99 HDR3.
All the apps had strengths and weaknesses. ProHDR and HDR3 could see more detail in the shadows. ProHDR also did better on keeping hot spots from appearing in the sky. The Apple HDR feature also rendered the skies more smoothly. Apple does better at this because it doesn’t push the HDR rendering as far as some of the other apps. Of course that can also be a negative. I didn’t change the saturation on any of the images, and used the auto mode on the HDR app.
For almost as long as Apple’s iPhone has been in existence, analysts have claimed to see visions of a low-cost version of the device aimed at developing and prepaid markets. It’s easy to see why these visions have grown in magnitude and gained a more vocal following over the years: entering that market would, in theory, broaden Apple’s potential appeal by hundreds of millions of new customers. But I refer to the low-cost iPhone as a “siren song” for a reason – there’s a significant potential downside if Apple tries such a device and fails to impress.
The latest buzz around a budget iPhone device is being generated by a new investor note from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty (via Business Insider), who provided three reasons for why she and her firm see a low-cost iPhone on the horizon. The iPad mini’s success in China and Brazil, Chinese consumers gravitating to the latest iPhone over older models, and surprise iPhone 4 demand were all seen as indicators that Apple will go budget in the near future.
MeteoEarth is a US$4.99 weather app with enough visual treats to makes your iPad’s screen look like something from a TV weathercast. In fact, much of the display tech in the app was adopted from professional weather applications.
The app offers high-resolution animated graphics of precipitation, temperature, wind, cloud cover and isobars that show barometric pressure.
You can add each item as a layer on the screen, and set up your favorite cities. In addition, the map shows what parts of the globe are in daytime or nighttime, moon phases and country borders. You can also create custom set ups and save them for later viewing. Zooming is done with common gestures.
App Store Link: Amazing Ants
We have often heard stories and sayings about the hard working ants. But, those in the puzzler game Amazing Ants seems to be rather lazy and need your help to stock up for the winter.
Each level begins with few stranded ants, some scatter food and an ant-nest. Lead the ants to their home after collecting as many berries, plums, nuts and sugar crystals as you can. Tap on the ants and they start walking; tap again to jump. That all about the finger controls; the rest is in your brain!
These ants are dumb and they keep walking in a straight line, till they hit something and return walking. Keep sticks over pits, accelerate them for a climb, tie & cut ropes, pop bubbles, make jumps, rotate platforms, pass over sprinklers etc to move them as you want. Collect maximum fruits and make all ants reach the exit in the least time.
High school students Ryan Orbuch and Michael Hansen have to be pretty proud of themselves. The duo, based in Boulder, Colo., recently released their own iOS to-do app, called Finish, on the App Store — our own Dave Caolo took a look at it last month — and now reports that they’ve seen it downloaded more than 16,000 times. For a US$0.99 app from a couple of part-time developers, that’s not shabby.
The two just had their story written up by The Denver Post, and as that article points out, Apple has actually taken an active interest in Finish and its young developers as of late, promoting the app on the App Store and talking to the public about its creators. Of course, not every small developer gets that kind of attention and it’s easy for apps to get lost in the App Store (the Denver Post mentions that two-thirds move fewer than 1,000 copies in their first year) but it’s heartening to see a couple of dedicated youths and Apple fans getting their time in the spotlight.