Rovio today released the second major update to its Angry Birds spin-off game, Bad Piggies. The big new addition to the 1.2 update are the 30 new ‘Flight in the Night’ levels, with some of them requiring you to “sneak past the napping Angry Birds” – making too much noise will wake the birds up who will attack to try and sabotage you.
In this massive update to IGN’s 2012 game of the year, the Bad Piggies are on the move, and they’ve managed to hang on to the eggs so far! But watch out – you need to sneak past the napping Angry Birds, and they’re sleeping with one eye open! Navigate through 30 new Flight in the Night Levels but don’t make too much noise, or you’ll wake up some seriously furious birds! Also make sure to check out the new “Road Hogs” time trials: can you beat the clock (and your friends) with your crazy contraption?
Also included are 6 ‘Road Hogs’ levels which are time trial levels, another new sandbox and six new achievements. The teaser video of the update which highlights some of the new features is embedded below.
Consider walking down a candy aisle at a drugstore. If you have a craving for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, you know how to find it. Of course, it’s the bright orange wrapper with a bubbly yellow word on it. Instant. Most candy bars have very distinct brands which can be instantly recognizable at a glance of the entire aisle. This should be precisely how you approach your app icon design.
An ideal app icon reminds users of an app through shape, color, and texture. Take the Phone icon, for instance. It has evolved a tiny bit since Steve introduced it in 2007, but has remained mostly the same. Today, it is a bright green, with diagonal stripes, and a white phone symbol. These three elements together (read: by our powers combined) form an instantly recognizable mark for users. When a user needs to use the phone, it’s a no-brainer.
I may have argued in the past that the iOS Home screen needs improvements, but I would never argue against a well designed icon. I use Alfred on my Mac to launch apps, but I also rely on the dock to quickly reach out to an app and make it visible. On iOS, I rely less on Spotlight (though I use it regularly) and I value the “recognizability” of icons in the Home screen.
Read Louie’s post about app icons here. His suggestions for new Zappos, Amazon, and Apple icons look great.
Craig Dennis on area of app design that gets often overlooked:
Empty states are places in apps that have no content or data. They are empty. A blank page. Traditionally empty states are overlooked as most designers focus on how best to display lots of content or data. It’s common for empty states to be dealt with by developers as they are often caused by exceptions (such as no internet connection). They often write the copy and as a result it can be a little difficult to understand or it is left with the basic styles. Not the best combination. It should be logged as something that needs designing but that doesn’t always happen.
It gets even worse with apps that deal with errors through text that isn’t localized. In fact, I’d argue that proper localization is another aspect of the app economy that shouldn’t be underestimated anymore (as if it ever could be): with apps available in more than 150 countries, designing for the US market alone is a foolish assumption (unless, of course, an app’s only market is in the US — which is the case with many online services these days).
Empty states can be useful and provide context. Whether it’s a way to instruct users on how to get articles into a read-later app or a cute illustration with a link to How-To pages, empty states should find a balance between their lack of content and presenting on-screen guides.
Text editors on iOS are always difficult to review. More or less everyone who writes on a computer or other digital device has a favorite mobile and desktop text editor, and is accustomed to the workflows connected to it. To give an example, I am totally in love with iA Writer. Its easy iCloud sync options, readable typography, and Focus Mode fit my needs. I don’t need Markdown, lots of different fonts, or an extensive amount of settings. I just want to write, and with iA writer I found the perfect, distraction-free environment to do so.
However, when I recently discovered Tyype, a new iOS text editor by Polish app development company Appvetica (who also developed apps like QRSight, an OS X QR code scanner), I got curious. Their clean, minimalist website and product video promise a text editor with easy text navigation, selection, and copying using custom gestures. Its interface seemed easy to understand, and the icon looks gorgeous. So I went ahead, downloaded Tyype HD for the iPad (which I’ll refer to as “Tyype”) and starting writing with it. Unfortunately, I have to say that Tyype does not work as great as it is shown in the demo video on the app’s website. But it’s certainly not a bad app either. (more…)
Passbook is one of the newest features of iOS: it’s brand new to iOS 6, and while many apps have yet to support it, there are a few that are working now. I have decided to take one of these apps for a spin to show you how Passbook really works.
The official Target app was updated yesterday to support Passbook, as announced by the company in a press release.
Now, many people know about Passbook, but when they first open it, the app simply redirects to a section on the App Store (when it’s working) without actually explaining how to fill this new digital wallet. Target has chosen to allow customers who receive Target Mobile Coupons to easily send, store, and access coupons in Passbook. (more…)
I’ve never seen the need for a desktop weather application. I’ve always considered it way easier to fire up Chrome, go to the website of my favorite German weather forecast provider, look up the forecast, then get to work. So why should I clutter my menu bar or even my desktop with another app I have to update and look at to justify its purchase? On iOS the situation is completely different: I need a weather app on my iPad for quick glance without the hassle of typing in a web address into Mobile Safari.
Living Earth HD is one of the newest iPad weather apps featuring an interactive 3D animated world globe with live weather forecasts. After testing it, I realized that this concept didn’t suit me on the road, although the app looked pretty awesome on a Retina Display. I want precise forecasts I could quickly glance at, just like Weather HD 2′s new Quick View feature. So although I like Living Earth HD for iOS, it didn’t have any chance to become my default weather app. Two weeks ago, Ryan and Moshen from Radiantlabs published a port of Living Earth HD to Mac OS X, which I will refer to as Living Earth Desktop throughout this review. I got curious and started testing it. After more than a week now it is still in my menu bar, right beside the Dropbox and Tweetbot icon, which means it’s a really good app.
Yonac made a name for itself by producing an extensive amount of music-related apps since early 2010. One of their most elaborate and popular efforts has been the Shredder guitar synth to create analog and digital synth leads or pads by playing guitar into the iPad through an interface like the IK Multimedia iRig or the Apogee JAM. The company was also right there when the iPad got unveiled. They developed and promoted one of the very first synth software for the iPad, the Yonac miniSynth.
Magellan is their new masterpiece. It’s a fully fleshed-out virtual analog synth with a lot of power. Let me sum up its basic feature set: two synthesizer engines running at the same time, each of them equipped with three oscillators for basic sound generation, frequency modulation, a step sequencer, and two filters plus eight effects. The app has got an easy to understand interface and produces an immense variety of sounds in very high audio quality. This review not only judges the quality and usability of Magellan, I will also give so detailed instructions and tricks so that you immediately can start making sophisticated music tracks with the app right after you’ve downloaded it. So, if you are curious, stay a while and let me explain you how Magellan works and why it may become a strong competitor to other high-end iPad synths like the KORG iMS-20 or the Sunrizer.
PDF Expert for iPad was updated last night to version 3.2, adding some nice new features to further improve the capabilities of the excellent PDF manager, viewer and annotation iPad app. The big new addition is full text search, allowing you to search through all your PDFs, rather than just their file names. I gave this new feature a quick try and whilst the initial indexing took a few minutes, I did have 535 files saved in PDF Expert. Furthermore, once it was indexed, subsequent searches worked virtually instantly.
A new sorting panel is also present in PDF Expert 3.2, now allowing you to reorder your files by name, date or modified date. If you use a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad you can now use those “Tab” and arrow keys for faster data entry, particularly for PDF forms.
Readdle has also improved the Handwriting and Wrist Protection features in PDF Expert so they work better with less accidental annotation because you have rested your wrist on the iPad’s screen. Included in this is a new eraser tool for your handwriting, so if you do make a mistake it is now easy to erase just what you want. Finally, yesterday’s update included the use of data protection APIs, so all your PDFs are now stored securely inside the app.
iOS and Mac apps are the cornerstone of what we cover on MacStories, we love trying new apps, sharing news about them and then reviewing them for you all. The past 12 months have been a spectacular year for new apps and big app updates that have seen both the diversity and calibre of iOS and Mac apps increase significantly. It is with this in mind that we want to recognise the very best apps that were released or received major updates in 2011.
The whole team at MacStories has worked together to come up with a short list of iPhone, iPad and Mac apps as well as a short list of games that we believe were the best to come out in 2011. Now we need your help to decide which of these apps are the best from each category. To do so, we are running a poll that we want you to take, and we want you to cast your vote for what you think was the best app of 2011.
The Biggest MacStories Giveaway Ever!
However, this event isn’t just about rewarding the very best iOS and Mac developers, we want to reward you for being readers of MacStories this year and for taking the time to help us choose the best apps of 2011. This giveaway, as the header states, is the biggest we have ever run – and by quite a stretch. We’re going to be giving away over two-hundred license codes for apps that have made it into our short lists – and there may still be more to come! Some of the apps we will be giving away include:
and many, many more…
How To Enter The Giveaway
There are three ways to be in the running for some of these licenses:
Vote (when you vote we first ask for your email address, just enter a valid email address and you go into the running to win some free apps).
Tweet about this contest (just make sure you have this article’s URL in the tweet, or just use the example tweet below).
Let your friends or family know about the poll and have them enter your email or Twitter handle in the referral box that is on the voting page.
MacStories Best Apps of 2011: vote now and enter our huge iOS & Mac app giveaway! http://mcstr.net/rVDwy8
Rules & More Information
You can only vote once, this is why we require an email address when you vote. If you enter an invalid email address or vote multiple times your vote(s) will not count.
Please don’t spam your Twitter followers, friends or family, asking them to vote and add you to the referral box. It’s not nice and we don’t want to come across as being the source of this spam – if we see such spam we will ensure you don’t receive any licenses.
Some licences will be given out during the voting process, whilst the rest will be given after voting closes.
Once voting closes, no more entries for the giveaway will be accepted.
Because of the limited number of licences we have per app, you might not get the app you really wanted if you are a winner – but we will try to be as flexible as possible!
Sorry, voting is now closed. Winners will be announced Saturday, 24th.
The winning apps will be announced on Saturday, December 24th (Christmas Eve).