August Roundup

2 09 2010

August has been a busy month at Appjudge. At the height of summer, I have covered the monthly disposable App, reviewed backing up your data with Dropbox and covered how to find the best Apps on the store, as well as a lot more. In case you’ve missed any of August’s posts, see the summary below with links to the relevant articles.

August’s Posts

The World at your fingertips

For August’s Disposable App of the month, I turned to Google Earth, an App from the internet search giants, that allows you to pinch, scroll and touch your way around the globe. While the App helps prove to your mates how superior your iDevice is to their measly phone, it has very little functionality. The App is a stripped down version of the desktop Google Earth, and therefore, is unlikely to remain on your device for long.

The forgotten victims of iOS 4

For owners of the iPhone 3G and the iPod Touch second generation, it’s been quite a roller coaster ride over the past few months. Users initially delighted that their older devices would be supported by the iOS4  update, only to be disappointed when the update rendered their devices almost unusable. I cover the whole story from beginning to end, and look into what choices 3G and 2nd Gen Touch users have.

Avoiding the digital abyss

As we keep more and more of possessions in the realm of the digital, it’s becoming increasingly important that we backup our precious files and memories. One solution to this comes in the form of the online service, Dropbox. The internet based company has released a corresponding App to extend their reach to iOS users. I review the App and see how well the App integrates with the existing service.

How to Find Good Apps

There are over 225,000 Apps on the store, and asa result, finding the good Apps, from the not so good, can be quite the task. In an attempt to better guide users round the Appstore, I set out some criteria to look out for when attempting to download Apps from the store.

Welcome to the Social Epicentre

In this post I cover a new social App on the store, The Hotlist, that attempts to aggregate location data, while integrating other services and information, such as Twitter and Yelp reviews. The end result, is an App that allows the users to get the vibe of an event, without having to set a foot inside.

I’ve just bought an iPhone…now what? Part 3

The final part of three part post, in which I handpick the best Apps from each of the categories from the Appstore. In this post, I cover the following categories: Productivity, Reference, Social Networking, Sports, Travel and Weather.

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The forgotten victims of iOS 4

7 08 2010

For owners of the 3G iPhone and 2nd Generation iPod Touch, it’s been quiet the roller coaster ride. First, back in January, it was announced that along with the 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad, their devices would be supported in the upcoming iOS 4 software update. This was a relative high, since Apple was doing something that no other phone manufacture had done; continuing to support older Generation phones.

The Announcement of iOS 4

Since then, it’s been a downward spiral for users, as it was later announced that features would be omitted from the software update for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Generation users. The biggest being multitasking, which while being disappointing for users, was also understandable since Apple was trading a new feature for user experience and speed. However, alongside this, other features, such as a custom background, were also cut out, leaving users with the same black wallpaper. Surely having another image in place of a plain black background wouldn’t of been too taxing on the processor?

Sacrificing User Experience

Despite this, users duly updated their devices when the new software update rolled round in late June. They downloaded the stripped back version of iOS 4, expecting that the trade off between the range of new features and user experience was worth it. However, the reality was far from this. The update to iOS 4 deteriorated, rather than improved the user experience for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Generation users. All the Apps take longer to load, regardless of whether it’s the settings, camera or Angry Birds. Rather than improve the user experience for users, through the addition of new features while keeping a comparable speed, the update has made the device slower and less responsive. The effects of upgrading to iOS 4 can be clearly demonstrated in the video below, in which two iPhone 3Gs, one loaded with iOS 4 and the other iOS 3.1.3, are compared in speed tests.

Game Centre

To top it off, only iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad users will be able to enjoy Apple’s new social gaming App, Game Centre, since support for older devices has recently been dropped in beta 3 of iOS 4.1.  Not only does this limit the amount of players that’ll be on the service, but it also annoys a solid basis of loyal iPhone/iPod Touch users, since there is little reason why their device can’t run Game Centre. After all, most Apps run on both the iPhone 3G right the way to the iPhone 4.

What now?

For users that are still bitter about Apple pulling support for Game Centre, there are alternatives out there for you. One of the biggest multiplayer services, that existed far before Apple’s Game Centre, is that of Openfeint. You can easily swap scores and view leaderboards with friends and strangers across the globe. Look out for a small ‘leaf icon’ contained within App icons- this shows that the App supports Openfeint. A good example, is Fruit Ninja, a popular fruit slicing game with Openfeint support.

In terms of iOS4, users have three options…

Downgrade- Probably the best option for most users. You lose out on some features that come bundled in iOS4 and more Apps will eventually require the latest version of the iPhone software to run. However, you regain a faster, more responsive system.

Stay with iOS 4- Trading speed and responsiveness for the latest Apps and features. For those who are interested in making iOS4 more bearable, Lifehacker has recently covered tips and tricks that can help speed it up- click here

Jailbreak- Perceived by many as tricky and unethical, boarding on unlegal. Jailbreaking is quite the opposite with a number of tools, such as red snOw and pwnage tool. The process has recently been proven to be legal, although Apple won’t encourage you, and if anything goes wrong, a simple software reset will set things right again. The only problem with jailbreaks is, that user experience, battery life and speed can suffer.

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