Editorial

That syncing feeling: why don’t iPad and iPhone versions of the same game share game progress often enough?

Games are fun. Judging by both the paid-for and free app charts in the App Store, they’re also extremely popular. A look at the top-grossing apps on the iPad shows that 9 of the top 10 (in the UK store) are games. The odd one out is a newspaper, oddly enough. If you look outside the top 10 list, the trend continues throughout the chart.

With gaming clearly so popular on the iPad, and indeed the iPhone, developers are rightly beginning to throw considerable resources at creating some truly impressive iOS games. The likes of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Oceanhorn are effectively console or handheld games that run on a smartphone or tablet. Both are a far cry from the games we used to play on our mobile devices. Does anyone remember Snake on the Nokia phones of old? Ahh, fond memories indeed.

For all the increased attention that game development on iOS has received over the last couple of years, and with both big names and smaller independent developers bringing some excellent titles to the platform, there is still something lacking. We’re being treated to games that look absolutely stunning on the latest hardware and voice acting as well as story building have both improved dramatically of late, but there’s one issue remaining. One that’s become all too apparent to me as I’ve started playing games on an iPad mini (with Retina display, of course) as well as my iPhone. That issue is syncing.

The syncing of game progress, to be precise…

In Motorola’s Moto G phone, Apple’s iPhone 4S has more than met its match

Apple has a problem. It’s not a problem that pertains to its high-end iPhone 5s, and it’s not even a problem with the mid-range, somewhat superfluous iPhone 5c. It’s actually the iPhone 4S that is an issue for Apple. Sitting at the bottom of the company’s smartphone range and being offered for peanuts if not free, the iPhone 4S was previously thought of as a rather capable budget handset. And it still is.

The problem that Apple now faces is that all those cheap Android phones that we’ve all laughed at over the years are starting to get a bit big for their shoes. In fact, some are downright great handsets, with one in particular doing its best to shake up the way we think about smartphones and what we should be paying for them.

I am, of course, talking about the Motorola Moto G…

Will the iPhone get its own Mac Pro moment?

There’s no argument that the Mac Pro was in need of some love and in fact, we’d argue that it’s been overdue some attention for quite some time now. We’d hoped that Apple would offer some signs that the Mac Pro was still in their hearts at this year’s WWDC, but we never invisaged something like what Phil Schiller finally announced on-stage. It was a wow moment the likes of which we don’t recall since the original iPhone introduction.

Which got us thinking.

With iPhones being released each year, and with leaks almost commonplace when it comes to Apple’s suppliers, are we in danger of growing bored with Apple’s iPhone? Perhaps more accurately, are we no longer capable of being surprised by a newly announced smartphone from Apple?

How much is too much for mobile games?

I was going to write this post when everything was raw, soon after the news had developed and the internet was awash with people seemingly frothing at the mouth. Frothing, apparently, for one of two reasons.

Firstly, we had the people frothing because “ZOMG, 20 dollars for an iPad game!!!!.” Apparently anything the wrong side of free is just about the developers trying to squeeze money out of their hard work. Because, well, it’s their living.

Then secondly, there were the polar opposites. People screaming back, apparently oblivious to the fact they were wasting their time, claiming that developers deserve to be paid and that free to play games have ruined the App Store, caused world hunger and possibly even kicked a kitten once.

The truth though, as is so often the case, is somewhere in-between…

Calm down, it’s only a beta

Now that Apple’s iOS 7 is out of the bag, everyone seems to have an opinion on whether it hits the mark. If there was one word we would use to describe Apple’s latest version of its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch software it would probably be ‘polarizing’ and with good reason. After all, iOS 7 is undoubtedly the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone was introduced all those years ago.

But one thing does appear to be getting lost in all the hysteria surrounding iOS 7. One thing that people do seem to be forgetting not just when forging their opinions on Apple’s new direction, but when condemning existing App Store apps with poor reviews due to compatibility.

Calm down dear, it’s only a beta…

Apple was right, widgets just ain’t cool

Without a doubt, one of the biggest differences between iOS and Android is its fundamental handling of information. Google decided to allow widgets onto a phone’s Home screen so that, theoretically, users would have the information they need right at their fingertips. Apple, on the other hand, has doggedly stuck to its guns over the years, with iOS remaining a collection of app icons rather than live widgets.

Over the years there have been plenty of arguments amongst those in the tech community as to which was the best way to go. Android users will repeatedly point to widgets as one of the main reasons they prefer their phones over the iPhone or even one of the Windows Phone handsets. Sitting halfway between iOS and Android, Windows Phone features live tiles that offer up information from the phone’s Home screen a la widgets, but that’s just not enough for some. It’s widgets or nothing, man, and that’s the way it is.

But iOS users can have their cake and eat it. They can have widgets on their home screens just like Android users, whilst still having that iPhone they so love. But the real question is: should they? Even if they should, I’d argue that fewer people actually would than we might think…

Apple customer loyalty rate falls for first time, but why?

A report by Strategy Analytics yesterday claims that Apple’s customer loyalty fell for the first time since records began, which may come as a surprise with huge lines and waiting lists abound for the latest releases of the iPhone and iPad.

The report tells that when asked, 88% of US customers said that they were likely to buy another iPhone at upgrade time, which is down from the 93% that claimed the same thing last time around. It’s a similar story in Europe, with a result of 75% being well down from the previous year’s 88%.

While any company should be happy with a loyalty rate of 88%, why is Apple seeing a reduction in customer loyalty? That’s the real question I think we should be asking…

Initial thoughts on the iPhone 5

Designing and developing a new iPhone every year has to be one of the most difficult things Apple does. Essentially, it has to take the world’s most popular smartphone, not to mention its biggest money-maker, and make it different enough so people will buy it, but not so different that it messes up the obviously-winning formula.

That’s a tall order. And it was probably even tougher this year due to seemingly higher expectations and stiff competition from Samsung, and others.

So was Apple able to pull it off?

3 reasons to get excited about this year’s iPhone

It’s October 4th, 2011, and Apple is hosting its highly anticipated iPhone event. SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller is on stage, and after about 5 minutes of discussing changes to the iPod line, he utters the words that everyone has been waiting to hear: “Next, iPhone.”

A sense of disappointment spread throughout the tech world as Schiller went on to unveil a familiar-looking iPhone 4S. Where was this teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 that we had been hearing so much about? With the bigger screen, and LTE? What about all of those leaked cases?

Of course, the 4S would go on to be a huge hit for Apple. But the whole experience has left a lot of consumers with low expectations for this year’s iPhone release. Well it’s time to raise them. There are actually a few reasons why you should be excited about Apple’s next handset…

Apple’s most underrated WWDC announcement

Looking back at it, there was no shortage of announcements during Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday. An all-new MacBook model, major updates to its desktop and mobile operating systems, and a new Maps app — not bad for an afternoon.

But amongst all of the oohs and ahhs of the new products and updates, there was one particular announcement that sort of flew under the radar. According to Apple, it now has more than 400 million active credit card-linked iTunes accounts…

Why Apple would want to make the iPhone’s screen bigger

According to recent rumors, reports and speculation, Apple’s next-generation smartphone will finally receive a bump in screen size. It seems like everyone is convinced that the next iPhone, expected to drop later this year, will be sporting an all-new 4-inch display.

But while we’ve heard a number of theories regarding how Apple could go about implementing such a change, we’ve yet to hear any explanations for why it would want to. Why would it all of a sudden want to change the iPhone’s display size after 5 years?

Two months on – why I am still glad I didn’t buy a new iPad

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have already spotted that the title says “two months on” and, clearly, we are beyond the two month mark since the new iPad was made available to an expectant public. The reason for my tardiness is that this post has taken the better part of two weeks to write, and I almost scrapped it on a few occasions.

To understand why that is, let’s delve right on in to why I didn’t buy the new iPad and, importantly, why I am glad about that fact.

So, before we continue, and before I open myself up to more than my fair share of abuse, I suggest you make yourself a good cup of coffee, and get yourself comfortably. We’re about to begin…