This week, Google made a ton of announcements about new software products, but the one that we spent the most time talking about here at iPad.AppStorm is Google Hangouts. This is the product that makes Google Plus worth having for many of us. We see it as kind of a big deal.
When the opportunity came to review the new Hangouts app for iPad, I jumped at it. I don’t need another way to communicate — in fact, I think we all communicate with each other way too much — but I wanted to give it a shot and see what all the hoopla was about. I’m always looking for a better way to communicate. Let’s find out if Google Hangouts is, in fact, a better way to chat with friends.
I was a child of the 1990′s. This means that I grew up on Sega Genesis and NES – I also owned an N64, a PlayStation 2 and various other consoles and handhelds. In my early teens, the games my friends and I played the most were racing ones. We were all really into the old Need For Speed, Burnout, and Gran Turismo games.
At a certain point, though, Need For Speed started getting a bit stale and we moved on (which is another way of saying we started going out with women). But, in my early university years, Need For Speed re-invented itself with Shift and Shift 2 – realistic driving games that had more in common with Forza Motorsport than they did with Burnout. It was a welcome change. EA also released the titles on iPad, and with no sign of a third version coming, having a look at Shift 2: Unleashed seems apt.
I became a vastly better student once I started using my iOS products to better my studies instead of allowing them to simply distract me. We are in an unprecedented digital age: the phones in our pockets and tablets in our hands are ten times more powerful than the computers that could barely fit on planes fifty years ago. And we have the power of the Internet.
A bit less than a year ago, I took a Spanish course at the university level. In Canada, our second language is French, and I haven’t had a lot of experience with Spanish. I quite explosively failed the course. You might be wondering why that makes me a good candidate to teach you about how to learn a language with your iPad. In all honesty, I’m going to tell you what I didn’t do, because what I did do certainly didn’t work. So let’s get started. (more…)
I’ve made it no secret that I’m a fan of App.net (ADN). I’ve reviewed ADN clients at iPad.AppStorm’s iPhone and Android sister sites, and I think the future of the platform is brighter than any of us might know right now. As it is though, this is a social network still in its infancy and it’s hard to find an app you’ll love using with it.
With that in mind, I thought it’d be worth taking a look at your options on the iPad platform. There’s a huge variety of interfaces available, even within the apps currently available, and you’re likely to find something you’ll fall in love with here.
Google has slowly been infiltrating Apple’s ecosystem for years now, but their secret weapon has become the Google Search app. While the app used to be just a search engine, it’s become a search engine, a Chrome-like web browser, and even a so-called Siri competitor with its Voice Search function.
Jesse Virgil took a look at the last major incarnation of Google Search with an excellent review that really gets into the grits of what makes the app awesome. Today, Google has released version 3.0, which comes with only a few substantial improvements over the older version, including the much-touted Google Now feature.
There’s a huge market for word games on iOS. My family is addicted to Letterpress, and my mother is having a not-so-secret-anymore affair with Words With Friends (sorry Mom!). That being said, despite its excellence, Letterpress and I aren’t exactly mutually exclusive, and if I see another hot word game app whilst I’m goofing around in a coffee shop, I might give her a shot.
And I can’t lie to you guys: Upwords has caught my eye. I’m a big Scrabble fan (disclaimer: I’ve never played the traditional Upwords game). I love the board game but have yet to play a Scrabble-like word game on iOS that I think works well. After all, the trappings of Scrabble are the trappings of a board game and I see no reason a digital display should be bound by the same rules. But I loved the twist Upwords brings to the classic game of stackable letters.
Sometimes, an app comes along that fits a small niche in a really interesting but kind of absurd way. How many people really need an app that combines ambient music with police radio? And out of those who think they need that app, how many are willing to actually pay for it? Any development time is a gambling risk as wasted time spent developing an app that doesn’t work out is potentially wasted money, or so the saying goes (don’t ask me — I’m still trying to earn pennies by saving them so I fall for these scams all the time). Regardless of this, somebody did put this app together and it’s called La Vue. It’s a universal app and it’s available on the App Store for the low price of just 99 cents.
There’s no denying that the concept is pretty cool however cool concepts with weak implementations are never any good. The real question that I had going into this review isn’t why anybody would bother putting this together — rather it’s such an original and cool idea that the real question is why somebody wouldn’t. But I did wonder if the design was any good, if the app matched or exceeded its value and who could really use an app like this. My answers actually surprised me.
Some people want better file management on the iPad, which means that they’ll probably need Documents. The app comes as a total revamp of ReaddleDocs and is even more capable than the old version. Readdle claims that its 4.0 update makes it the must-have app for iPad and its actual rhetoric claims that Documents makes your iPad worth its high price are especially bold— especially for an app that’s completely free.
Documents aims to do a ton of things in an elegant way. According to the app’s description, it claims to be a “document viewer, PDF reader, download manager, music player and read it later” replacement, along with a whole host of other things. I’m always wary of apps that do this much, as there’s always the potential to be a jack of all trades and master of none, or worse: completely impossible and inelegant to use. The simple question is, though, can Documents be as powerful as its developer claims while still remaining easy to use? Let’s find out.
At $4.99, Articles is by far the most expensive Wikipedia option in the App Store. I approached it with a little bit of trepidation and a lot of doubt, wondering why on earth I would want to spend that kind of money on what’s basically a Wikipedia app. Up until this point, like many people I’m sure, I was using Wikipanion for my Wikipedia needs, which is great but I think that Articles is way better.
Articles is more or less a special interface for Wikipedia articles. The interface espouses a different philosophy than its competition. Articles is meant for long-form reading and learning, and it feels to me like the Instapaper or Pocket of Wikipedia. I’ve been looking for an app like this – one that treats Wikipedia like a real encyclopedia that should be read and enjoyed. And this app more than does the trick.
If there was one game I never understood growing up, it was the 2D overhead Zelda games on the original NES and SNES. I never thought they were bad, but they weren’t for me. As much as I liked the idea of attacking bizarre creatures with a sword, I preferred the side-scrolling world of Mario to Zelda any day of the week.
That’s why I was thrilled to discover Swordigo. Swordigo is a universal iOS game that is basically a combination of the RPG world of Zelda and the side-scrolling world of Mario. You’ll jump, run and attack your way through multiple worlds of side-scrolling, shore-wielding action. And I think it’s a blast.