Apple found a nice Christmas gift under its tree this year.
App Store downloads for the iPod Touch were 1,000 percent higher on Friday, Christmas Day, than the average of the three previous Fridays in December, according to a report released Monday by research firm Flurry.
Downloads for the newest generation, the iPod Touch 3G, soared more than 900 percent on Christmas, noted Flurry's "2009 Holiday Report: Christmas Growth." But the 1,000 percent leap in iPod Touch downloads overall may have been triggered by a flood of iTunes gift cards, believes Flurry.
The rising popularity … Read more
With all the crystal-ball-watching over the seemingly imminent Apple tablet, one issue hotly debated around the CNET offices, but infrequently mentioned elsewhere, is the hypothetical device's status as a mobile computer.
There are two schools of thought on this: either the Apple tablet (or iSlate, or whatever it ends up being called) will be a 10-or-so-inch tablet PC with a full Mac OS X operating system; or it will merely be a larger-screen version of the current iPod Touch, which has a closed, limited phone-like OS.
The former would mean it could very likely run any software you'd run on a MacBook, from Firefox to Photoshop, and maybe even install Windows 7 via Boot Camp or Parallels. The later points to a hermetically sealed ecosystem, where apps would have to be approved and sold through an official app store (as in iTunes). … Read more
If an iPhone awaited you under the tree this Christmas, we understand if you're a bit excited. Reception woes aside, the iPhone is a remarkable device in many respects. It offers a great multimedia experience, efficient e-mail integration, a spiffy Web browser, and thousands of third-party apps that do everything from helping you choose a seat on an airplane to guiding your way to the airport. And now that it has multimedia messaging, we're no longer waiting for any basic cell phone features. Granted, those pesky network issues won't go away soon, but you may get lucky and have no problems. And even if you do, at least you have a shiny new gadget, right?
If you've never used an iPhone before, getting started can be a bit overwhelming. With so many apps and accessories available, it's not easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. And even if you're a veteran iPhone user who's graduating to the newest model, exercising discretion, particularly when purchasing apps, is wise. You might say, "It's just 99 cents!" but 99 cents multiplied scores of times can result in a hefty iTunes bill.… Read more
Everyone who is anyone, or who would like to be anyone, knows that the apps you have on your iPhone say a lot, well, almost everything, about you.
However, there are a couple of new apps that might truly revolutionize your Christmas and not necessarily in a good way.
The first is called the Background Check App. Not only is it wondrously free, but it also strikes a huge and lasting blow for personal freedom.
You can look around your dinner table this holiday season and, with your usual lithe grace, pull out your iPhone. Using your Background Check app, … Read more
Music-tech entrepreneur Aviv Eyal, who's behind the excellent Livekick concert-tracking site, has a new project: a DJ app for the iPhone and iPod Touch called DJ Mixer Pro. (It was formerly known as DJ Player Pro, but the name has changed to avoid a conflict with another app.)
The concept is similar to Touch DJ, an Amidio app that I wrote about last month. While the iPhone naturally restricts you to playing one song at a time, these apps function like a virtual DJ booth, letting you play two tracks simultaneously, jump to any point in either track with … Read more
EA Mobile has released the second iPhone game in the Need for Speed series: Need for Speed Shift.
You may remember that we took a look at Need for Speed Undercover not too long ago and found it was a fun, arcadelike take on racing with a decent number of fully customizable vehicles. Shift is an evolution of that game but with more realistic racing physics in place of the hokey storyline. Also new to Shift are customizable racing views. Users can now select between chase-cam, hood-cam, bumper-cam, and cockpit views. The cockpit view is unique to the vehicle you're driving, but unfortunately there are no working gauges. The cockpit view is also the only view that features damage modeling in the form of a windshield that gets more messed up the as you hit things.
On your first outing with Shift, you'll be treated to a quick tutorial that teaches you how to drive with an iPhone. Shift pretty much plays like Undercover, but with a few key differences. Its steering is still controlled by tilting. The vehicles still auto-accelerate and brake when the screen is tapped. However, the race-breaker, slow-motion feature is gone and the controls are supposedly more realistic. In practice, this means that you can no longer win races without touching the brakes and that the transmission is now manual, which can be frustrating for novice users who just want to drive.
Fortunately, there are driver aids that can be activated that automatically brake and shift for you and assist steering that make your ham-fisted inputs smoother and more accurate. Users who want an easy to play, arcade-style racer can turn on the driving aids and win a few medals on the bus ride to work; and users who want more of a racing-sim experience can set all systems to manual for more control over the game. Driving aids or not, drifting is maddeningly difficult this time around. I prefer the drifting mechanics of Undercover.… Read more
The economy took its toll on digital audio in 2009, with CD sales continuing to decline (even as vinyl makes a resurgence), digital start-ups going bankrupt or disappearing after takeovers, and labels expressing dissatisfaction with would-be digital saviors like MySpace Music. Even so, there was actually quite a lot to cheer this year. The following five products aren't necessarily the best, but to me, they did the most to move the state of digital audio forward in 2009.
Apparently that wasn't enough though, because late Sunday the company released its own application that offers a handful of additional features for users with an iPhone or iPod Touch who want a native app instead of … Read more
As someone who moves into a new laptop a couple of times per week on average, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about getting a PC optimally set up. For more than a year now, I've carried a USB key on my keychain (most recently the excellent LaCie Iamakey), containing a folder of install files for apps I know I'm going to want to have on whatever laptop I'm reviewing at the moment.
While you're probably setting up only one new desktop or laptop this holiday season (or maybe more if … Read more