There are a few sales going around this weekend — most of them are in tribute to the late, great Steve Jobs.
- Steph Thirion’s Eliss is free in tribute to Jobs and his life.
- RPG puzzler Crystal Soul is also free.
- Line-drawing air combat title Pigs in Trees is free for a day.
- The official Jaws game is free as well, to celebrate the release of its sequel.
- And so is Chicken Escape and its iPad counterpart. That’s a lot of free apps!
- Gameloft is having a Columbus Day sale, with Modern Combat 2, 9mm, The Settlers, Sacred Odyssey, and Final Fantasy-alike Eternal Legacy all on sale for just 99 cents. Their HD versions are on sale as well, so some great deals there.
- All of Arianesoft’s apps are on sale this weekend, including the Minecraft-inspired puzzler Terracraft.
- Trainz Simulator on the iPad is just 99 cents, a must-have for any train fans.
AT&T is reportedly pressuring Apple to advertise the 14.4 Mbps theoretical maximum download speed of the iPhone 4S as “4G” in the iPhone’s status bar.
Given AT&T’s aggressive attempts to market HSPA+ as 4G, that’s not surprising. What is surprising is that according to This is my next, Apple is apparently bowing to that pressure and will show “4G” in the iPhone 4S status bar. AT&T has confirmed it is “working with Apple” on the matter.
While HSPA+ is faster than the standard supported by the iPhone 4 and earlier phones, it is not “true” 4G even if AT&T is advertising it that way. Given the litigious nature of the mobile industry, particularly any time Apple’s involved, it seems like a terrible mistake for Apple to bow to AT&T and advertise a feature the iPhone 4S doesn’t actually offer.
If AT&T and Apple do indeed tout “4G” in the iPhone 4S status bar, you can be virtually certain you’ll be seeing the following headline or some variant of it all over the Web very soon afterward: “Class action lawsuit begins over false ’4G’ iPhone claims.” You can be just as certain that various pundits will go out of their way to blame Apple more than AT&T. It’s all so very predictable that it’s hard to imagine what possible advantage Apple sees in agreeing to AT&T’s proposal.
Kitty is a US$4.99 virtual cat. Developed by Alex Komarov (that same guy who created that marvelous accordion application demonstrated at the iPad roll-out), Kitty provides an interactive virtual pet-ownership experience.
I am clearly not the target audience for this app. I have a daughter though, who loves cats and loves apps. I decided to test it out with her.
After spending a while exploring the app, my gradeschooler was quickly looking for some other game to engage in.
“It’s a little annoying,” she explained to me. “I don’t like her purring. She just won’t stop the [raspy gagging sound].” When I asked her to elaborate, she said, “At first, she really just seemed to hate me. She kept making [angry rawr sounds]. And then, it’s kind of hard to wake her up.”
In other words, the cat was acting like a cat.
This application is huge. It takes up 108 MB on your iPad, and works far better on the faster iPad 2 than the original version, as we discovered.
Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when my machines talk to me.
If my Mac could read the news when I woke up, tell me the temperature, and so on, wouldn’t it be like a real personal assistant? Well, Tweet Speaker (US$2.99, App Cubby Software) is like your own little robotic reader for your Twitter feed. How does it work? Surprisingly well, with a few quirks inherent to text-to-voice translations.
Tweet Speaker is beautifully designed, with wood grain and a logical layout. The interface is similar to a radio, but instead of a dial you’re looking at a timeline, and you can start “playing” your timeline with a play button to hear the iPhone’s built-in voice read your Twitter streams.
Tweet Speaker allows you to pick specific feeds as well, like mentions, or any lists you have set up. You can add multiple accounts and you can change the speed at which the streams are read (the speed of the voice).
While more voices are “coming soon,” the built-in male voice is perfectly usable. Tweet Speaker is smart enough to read the name associated with a Twitter handle, so instead of reading “superpixels” in my case, it would read “Victor Agreda Jr” and so forth. Plus, the app reads RT as “retweet” and manages to interpret a few other common abbreviations and other Twitter quirks (like hashtags). It will also take shortened links and read the headline associated with them, which is most helpful.
While Steve Jobs’s passing came with a lot of powerful emotional effects, it did unfortunately arrive with at least one practical effect that has to be dealt with sooner or later: Apple needs a new Chairman of the Board.
A few experts say in this Reuters piece that it will probably be a tough choice for Apple to make. On the one hand, Apple’s strength is in Jobs’ legacy — the company has to be committed to continuing to follow his vision, because that’s what got them where they are today.
On the other hand this may be a chance for Apple to diversify its team a bit, and bring in some new personnel who don’t have a past history of politics inside the company.
There’s of course a third option, which is that Apple’s board doesn’t appoint a new chairman for a while, instead working on other priorities before taking on the enormous task of filling Jobs’s spot. That might be the best option — before Jobs took on the Chairman of the Board position as he retired, the company didn’t have one anyway.