TouchMyApps » gaming All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Thu, 08 Oct 2015 03:18:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Apple iPad – Coming for the lost Thu, 28 Jan 2010 13:59:01 +0000 The development community have wrapped 140 000 apps under their collective belt; Apple have seen 3 billion apps downloaded from the App store; and the hitherto iconic iPod is fading into Apple’s focal background even as it surpasses an impressive number of its own: 250 million units sold. Steve Jobs and Apple haven’t made any … Read more]]>

The development community have wrapped 140 000 apps under their collective belt; Apple have seen 3 billion apps downloaded from the App store; and the hitherto iconic iPod is fading into Apple’s focal background even as it surpasses an impressive number of its own: 250 million units sold. Steve Jobs and Apple haven’t made any promises – the iPad isn’t even at market yet. But it has pulled at myriad heartstrings: it has grabbed the spotlight. But why is it important and is it worthwhile to buy, and if so, who will benefit from it?

Congrats Apple, you have risen from the ashes of the 90′s thanks in no small part to the iPod. But just as the iPod’s squeaky clean lines saturate the world, you spring something on us from the annals of your own failed product: the Apple Newton. The iPad is everything the Newton should have been. The iPad is in fact, a less-stellar product than the Newton was – when contrasted with contemporary technology. But, with Apple 2.0, it is all about timing and THE device, not about technology.

Technology doesn’t matter because most people don’t use it, they scream about it. Giga-Mega-Dual – it is fool’s talk. At the end of the day, in front of Facebook or ミクシー it is how you use it – and most people use a tenth of what even the most meagre of modern computers is capable of. Still, for tech buffs, there is still plenty to yammer about: custom A4 processor, multi-touch capacitive display, IPS(!!!) LCD screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc., but it’s business time:

The iPad is isn’t large iPod touch
The physical size of the iPad’s touch screen – the fact that it is just a massive iPod touch – is probably its most important and most quizzical feature. The iDevice rocks because multitouch technology is smack in the palm of your hand. It aids daily tasks by effectively negating the small screen touch and feel. Web, print, and photos are great to browse and interact with because the iDevice interface isn’t clunky. Everything that the iPhone is, is hinged on technology the technology fulcrums of its manipulability as a touch screen device.

The iPad is neither pocketable, nor palm-able. It is a two-hand device as much as a keyboard and mouse are. Forget thumb-typing whilst sipping your favourite coffee. Forget discrete reading on the train. Forget ultimate portability. Steve Jobs and his associates and colleagues each were accompanied by handlers. Standing whilst operating the iPad must be tiring despite it weighing just over 600 grams. Apple conveyed is that the iPad isn’t for really active use, it is a sitting device. So whereas the iPod touch is an everywhere-device for: the living room, the office, the bedroom (oh, you are naughty!)

The iPad is isn’t a Laptop
So why is it important? What makes it a compelling purchase? Firstly, it is precisely because of the fact that the iPad is unwieldy that it is exciting. Like a laptop, it is meant for sitting. But unlike a laptop, it isn’t tied to a keyboard. You can use the somewhat cramped on-screen implementation of one, or you can add a bluetooth keyboard when at a table. But unlike tablet computers, it doesn’t run a desktop OS. Its design goals are simple: to do basic computing needs very well. Consider it an ad-hoc laptop, tablet, subcompact, and iPod – it is a bit of everything.

The iPad is isn’t an easel
The iPad is also an ad hoc easel. Steve Sprang showcased a great-looking iPad version of Brushes, his exciting finger-painting app. The iPad’s larger touch-screen playbox is perfect for art, for small-time presentations, for direct creativity. It is an ad hoc creativity device. Or, it could be. There still is dearth of vector applications, not to mention CAD software for any flavour of OSX.

Magazine: The New Yorker's cover was painted with Brushes

But that is where the developer comes in. The iPad will not thrive or dive based on its hardware function set; like the iPhone and iPod touch, it is the way its hardware can be activated by creative devs which will set it apart. The fact that it doesn’t run desktop OSX means that it has a chance as a platform, albeit in a niche market.

The iPad is isn’t a netbook or tablet computer
If it was either, it would have full-fledged OSX under the bonnet, proper audio IN/Out, USB, and God forbid, maybe even Firewire. Currently, the thing looks like a Korean PMP – gigantic portable devices which are a craze among the young – and its flashy screen screams money. It plays bolder games than its iDevice siblings. But rather than attaining to be the ultimate device for either leisure activity, it draws scorn from would-be fans. Audiophiles decry its lack of optical output, or USB for external DACs. Gamers think the thing too big and gutless to replace dedicated devices. And not even the Apple-approved SD card fits in anywhere.

Current-crop netbooks are aces of portability though some sport ‘full size’ keyboards. Others fetch speedy processors, large harddisks, and gobs of RAM, but not a single one makes use of the power – they can’t. The screens are horrid as are the majority of track pads and speakers; their diminutive size prevents any real work from getting done.

But worst of all, most are tied to Windows. While A-okay in a desktop or powerful notebook, Windows is too needy to be a realistic portable operating system – especially when that portable connects to internet. Windows-based netbooks crawl when churning through Norton Antivirus and fastidious firewalls. And Linux-based netbooks, though free from viruses and trojans preclude work and play by their very size and shoddy… everything.

The iPad is isn’t an eBook reader
Sadly no, it isn’t. But where eInk powered eBook readers are great on the eyes, they do too little for most users today. Apple 2.0 reach for the biggest market segment. That segment is dominated by young people, and as a former young person, I can tell you that reading isn’t a high priority for most. Instead, Apple include a good eBook store, iBook (snark), a great IPS display, and a goodly-sizes screen for reading. There will be eye-strain, there will be battery issues when compared to competing eBook readers. But, the iPad reaches for more than Amazon or Sony can with their sophisticated reading devices. Textbooks and professional publications are likely to follow, and depending on rights-issues, the iPad may become a very good reading device for the casual to serious reader.

The iPad is…
With Apple’s event over and the wee-willy-wow Jobsisms out of the way, it is time to focus on the iPad’s market. The above paragraphs point to a multiple personality split by portability, playability, and productivity. But as was repeated again and again yesterday, the iPad is: internet, pictures, movies, games, work – at your fingertips. I can see this being a potential for sales among the computing newbie. Sitting in front of a desktop or laptop is daunting especially if all you want to do is read an email or at most, load up YouTube. But at the same time, curling your body around a tiny iPhone is tiring. The iPad raises basic computing from out of the mire of the office without screaming “wannabe laptop!” like its netbook colleagues do.

Semantisists decry the name; but the iPad follows no cycles other than Apple’s own development cycle, and there are no strings attached. And, unlike sanitary devices of the same name, there are no strings attached. Apple haven’t always named things right. The iPod isn’t a pretty name, and MacBook is cacophony at best. But iPad is probably Apple’s most wink-wink-nudge-nudge funnily embarrassingly named device to date. And depending on your accent, iPad can sound just like iPod. Even Jesus Jobs slipped up in the presentation.

But in the end, Apple have done it again. I will buy an iPad, though not till my purse has recovered from the sudden shock of having to fix my 600Ω Beyerdynamic DT-880 headphones – what a doozy. For people like me who need battery life and portability, but still require simple productivity whilst out and about, there isn’t another feasible device.

The fact is that what we saw yesterday was a demo. By the time it ships, it will likely sport the new iPhone OS 4.0 and a slew of modified-for-iPad apps and accessories. It might even support Adobe’s proprietary Flash. The Premium App Store which circulated last year probably point to the iPad. Apple will support the device and as there is money to be made, so too will developers.

In fact, that is the number one reason why the iPad shouldn’t be overlooked: Apple designed it. The OS is built, tweaked and tested specifically for the iPad. The hardware is made specifically for the iPad. Apps will be made to take advantage of it as a platform, even above its regular iDevice siblings. This isn’t the plug’n play world of Windows where every hardware manufacturer competes for cutest colour, for best finger scanner, or most bounce-able hardware – the iPad is an Apple device which is made ground up to accomplish the purposes which Apple set.

It entices haters and lovers both to foam at the mouth; indeed, it draws “I am not an Apple sheep” sheep to slander the Cupertino company, its products, and chime in every second about superior products. Fans are probably dismayed by a lack here or a design flaw there, but most are already counting their pesos.

It isn’t perfect, but it is the perfectest non-laptop portable computing device which isn’t a smartphone yet. That, friends, is why it matters.

Lots of iPad love here:

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Economy sours, gamers’ sweet-tooth titillated Wed, 18 Nov 2009 13:54:27 +0000 (Spoiler Alert): I was at Com2uS the other day:(/Spoiler Alert), chatting it up with 2 of the software-maker’s coolest 350 employees and we got chewing about money. It could have been that they wanted me to pay for their drinks: who knows; but nevertheless, we chatted nearly endlessly about dosh. Evidently, economic down-times mean sometimes … Read more]]>

Background image from Pheonix learning Group:

(Spoiler Alert): I was at Com2uS the other day:(/Spoiler Alert), chatting it up with 2 of the software-maker’s coolest 350 employees and we got chewing about money. It could have been that they wanted me to pay for their drinks: who knows; but nevertheless, we chatted nearly endlessly about dosh. Evidently, economic down-times mean sometimes lucrative trends for game producers. Of course this isn’t news, per se — board game manufacturers too, have seen increases in family gaming sales — but it is an interesting point to ponder.

Handheld gaming is a pretty cheap hobby. Not quite on par with window-shopping, or traffic-watching, but it is pretty cheap. Of course, if you buy every portable console, or if you hoard accessories for the best-yet handheld gaming experience, things can quickly get expensive. But, for average gamers who chew cud, work, and game, expenditures aren’t much more than a couple of cow pies and certainly cost less than a night out. And, for the cash-skinny, hobbyists can play from the comfort of their favourite couch.

iPhone gaming reigns in the above benefits, plus factors in the following: a cheap platform (~200$ for an iPod touch), steady hardware, live gaming around the world, inexpensive software, quick app updates, and a host of other great innovations. The iDevice is also not just a gaming device; in fact, I would argue that it is still a music device at heart where video, apps, and games branch off into various arteries, supplying iDevice users with the oxygen they need to fully enjoy the platform from any angle.

So, for ~200$, the iDevice is a very economically sound investment. I will admit that I don’t expect to still be playing The Quest two years from now, but who knows. So, in that respect, my Yasaka Gatien Extra S may have better staying power (as long as it doesn’t break), but it also drains much more dosh on: memberships, drills, team outings, and equipment.

If Apple truly have revolutionised gaming, they have revolutionised an already economically sound hobby; now, it is up to gamers to make good, sound decisions, and to enjoy the games they buy. That said, remember to take your sweety out for lunch from time to time!

Here are TMA reference-links to a few of our favourite games:

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Blog Action Day ’09: a greener gamer Thu, 15 Oct 2009 17:49:35 +0000 ChiFFaN already noted that the iPhone in particular, is a PC killer. It does email, internet, music, telephony – there isn’t much that the device can’t do – within the reasonable limits of its size and processing power. But where it really excels is in in replacing a multitude of devices, many of which are … Read more]]>


ChiFFaN already noted that the iPhone in particular, is a PC killer. It does email, internet, music, telephony – there isn’t much that the device can’t do – within the reasonable limits of its size and processing power. But where it really excels is in in replacing a multitude of devices, many of which are power hungry. In the past, Apple have taken flack from certain green organisations for less than stellar green-figures, but that doesn’t mean the California company are not trying; in fact, they may be ahead in a game which often values horn-blowing rather than true revolution.

For years, the big CPU/GPU companies have pushed the agenda that users need more, and roughly every 18 months, computing power doubles. Some computing requires more resources; video, audio, and graphics creation are great examples of computing projects which need a large overhead of silicon, and with it, vast power resources. For the average users, however, usage patterns haven’t really changed in ten years; we email, write documents, and listen to music; we also watch movies, and tag photos. The truth is that over 90% of what the vast majority of users do needs only a few mHz here, and a bit of RAM there.

But what about games? Fast CPU’s, strong graphics processors and a store of memory which would embarrass Samsung are all vital to successful gaming, right? Apple computers have not been in the centre of gaming since the mid 80′s. Even in the days of Apple 2.0, game stores are generally bereft of Mac games. Mac gaming is an embarassingly costly venture which yields worse performance, fewer updates, and often, online incompatibilities. Despite Apple’s failure at grabbing the PC gaming market, they feasting on the burgeoning handheld gaming segment thanks to the iDevice. The platform has an army of features which work very well for casual games such as Fieldrunners, to full-blown RPG’s like The Quest. And, with the inclusion of advanced geometric input devices such as accelerometers and 3D compasses, the touch-screen device is re-inventing handheld gaming. All of this is done on a fraction of the power which is needed to run a ‘real’ gaming rig.

Earlier this year, I experimented by underclocking my MacBook’s CPU from 2 400 MHz to 600 MHz — a reduction of 75% of raw number crunching — and found 90% of my daily tasks were unaffected. I wrote emails, surfed the internet, created documents, and downloaded AND WATCHED iTunes content such as movies. Such tasks need little more than a display and a keyboard, but what surprised me was that my graphics work including heavy Adobe Illustrator files and multi-layered Photoshop editing, too, was completely doable, albeit, more slowly. I spent about 3 weeks underclocked and wasn’t bothered by the experience.

My MBP is by no means a weedy machine. It has tossed around Oblivion, X3, and Unreal Tournament 3 – all in Windows XP. On the Mac side, gaming has been a world of hurt even at full speed. With games which are sad ports from their Windows counterparts, titles often run at less than half the speed on the same hardware. Underclocking my processor didn’t help much, but then again, I have been on the way out of PC gaming since 2006 when my abilities — and drive — peaked. Underclocking my 3000$ laptop did little to prove that Mac gaming is a viable alternative, but it did teach me a valuable lesson: I can survive with much less than I once thought I needed.

Let’s look at the iPhone. The new 3GS has 256MB of RAM and a 600 MHz CPU. I’ll ignore other specs for the moment in order to prove a point: on paper, and from a shallow viewpoint, it matches my underclocked, and very capable MacBook Pro. Of course, my laptop has 4GB of RAM and its 600 MHz is in another performance league when compared to the iPhone, but in the current marketplace, numbers are important selling points for many products.

Here are a few more numbers: idle power consumption: 19 watts; and, fully loaded power consumption: 53 watts. My 2007 model MBP should dissipate about that much eletricity though those numbers are based on a 1st gen MBP from 2006. The iPhone, uses much, much less.

In fact, in terms of pleasure/watt, it is one of the most powerful devices on the planet. I have chased baddies in Need for Speed, hacked the Amazon Queen to bits in The Quest, flown over gorges and through tall pinnacles in Glyder: gaming is phenomenal on THIS Apple device. It comes in all flavours, and thanks to a rather young demographic of iPhone users, is blossoming, birthing new genres that its direct gaming competitors, the NDS and PSP, cannot imitate fast enough.

Apple’s interest in greening up its business has taken a different form from many of its own competitors; rather than focusing solely on lessening production emissions, Apple are looking at the cradle-to-grave scenario: how much pollution will the device emit from its assembly, to eventual — and idealistic — recycling? Apple reckon that as much as 53% of their carbon emissions come from their products, a number which dwarfs the 3% of their initial production. That percentage is heavily influenced by a product’s power consumption, reliance upon toxic substances, and heat output among other factors.

But this is where the iPhone, and by parenthesis, iPhone Gamers come in. Gaming, of all computing uses, is among the most carbon-deadly. It runs CPU’s hot, burns wattage to new heights, and always craves more. Companies like Intel, AMD, and nVidia thrive on game developers who constantly push the boundary between reality and fantasy and supply them with hardware which is capable of delivering the fiction. The problem is that this mindset, like a dependence on fossil fuels, ignores an important fact: resources aren’t expendable.

A different kind of game
The iDevice comes in two flavours: touch and phone, both of which are tied to hard rules governing performance. Neither can exceed a certain power envelope simply because users need a minimum of run time and the handheld has to behave in a person’s hands. The platform isn’t just a phone, or a gaming device, and it’s not just a computer; it is all three. In order for it to function well in even one of its roles, it must compromise. This is where it is a true game-changer. Until now, games which push the envelope for graphics and gameplay on the device have been cauterised by the addendum, “for the iPhone”, meaning that as good as it looks or plays, it is far below the level of performance expected from other devices.

But, there are users, who like me, have given up on PC gaming. Others, have switched to netbooks. As the iPhone and similar devices evolve, the market will change. Google’s Android, for instance, is poised to explode, and with the support of multiple platforms, will encroach on Apple and Microsoft’s hegemony in desktop computing. High-quality mobile gaming on do-it-all devices is an important step in influencing hardware manufacturers to focus on a new benchmark: polygons per watt (PPW). I applaud Apple’s iPhone and iPhone OS. It games, computes, and rocks out on a slimmer diet of electrons than any other comparable device and in doing so, is transforming a market segment based on Apple’s hipness and sincere effectiveness at producing, and marketing devices for a real, changing world.

In doing so, Apple haven’t only redefined a portable, multipurpose platform, but they have laid the ground work for constructing a new, greener gamer.

If you are interested in climate change, and effecting changes in areas that you understand by letting your voice be heard, get involved at Blog Action Day ’09.

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