In App purchases have made the news recently as a number of young children have managed to generate large bills through apparently free games.
Fortunately there’s an easy way to prevent In-App purchases on iOS devices.
To Block In-App Purchases on the iPhone and iPad.
- Open the Settings App
- Click on the General Section
- Open the Restrictions tab.
- Turn on Restrictions by selecting Enable Restrictions
- You will be asked to set and then re-enter a Pin Code, don’t forget this number
- You will now be able to alter the restrictions on your device – Turn the option to turn In-App purchases off.
- You can reactivate the ability to make in-app purchases at any time but you’ll need to know your Pin Code.
The Real Racing Series has gained a reputation for pushing boundaries on the iPhone. The series pushes what is graphically possible on the iPhone, with every game pushing the hardware to look beautiful and on par with main stream game consoles.
The game also pushes realism for a smart phone with delicate handling and realistic car handling and performance, an arcade style racer this certainly is not, and now with Real Racing 3 everything is taken to the next level.
Now under the EA banner Real Racing is 2013′s first major mobile gaming release, and it’s clear from the moment that the game loads that this is certainly one of the most polished games available in the App Store.
To familiarise you with the game when it loads for the first time you are talked through a tutorial in the guise of your first race. The default controls are simple to use, turn the iPhone to the left and right to steer the car, touch the screen to break and acceleration is handled automatically, there are several different control settings so that you can pick the one that feels right for you.
The high quality of the graphics hit you straight away with incredibly detailed and well defined models, the real time light shading, shadows and reflections are akin to a AAA game on a traditional games console. This does though take its toll on some lower end iOS devices with reduced draw distances, even the relativly recent iPhone 4S sometimes hints at struggling under the strain, whilst on the iPhone 5 the game runs very smoothly an option to reduce detail on screen would have been nice. A nice touch is that second screen mirroring is supported so you can play the game on a big screen
Once in the game the structure will be familiar to those who have played a Real Racing game before, your first task is to choose your car from a number of cars available although not all cars are within your starting budget, you then race through a number of races and classes earning money along the way. Several new game modes are included in RR3, including a drag racing mode and knockout where every 20 seconds the car in final place gets disqualified from the race, these new modes are certainly welcome and add variety into the game.
Real Racing 3 takes a fascinating approach to multiplayer gaming, every single race is against real people but rather then having to worry about maintaining connections to many players, Real Racing 3 provides the racers track data so that you are racing against their ghosts. The game does as good job of finding equally matched opponents for you and as you invite your friends to the game you will find yourself racing against their ghosts as long as its a fair race. It’s a brilliant system and works very well indeed.
Real Racing 3 is free of change in the App Store and revenue from the game is generated through in App purchases with the user buying in game currency. Without spending in game currency repairs to your car take significantly longer then paying for a quick fix and it will take longer to acquire new cars. Whilst it doesn’t stop you playing and you don’t have to remain in app during down time, to have the game an option the buy the game outright would really be appreciated.
If your iPhone is up to the task and you don’t mind the in game payment system them Real Racing 3 is an incredible gaming experience.
Since the creation of the photograph people have enjoyed storing their collections in photo albums, and as technology has moved photos into the digital age photo albums have followed suit onto our devices & PicStory on the iPad is a great example.
Albums can be created from photos stored on your device or from cloud services such as Dropbox and Picasa, this makes the creation of albums very flexible and you don’t have to store all your pictures on your device.
All your individual albums are presented from the PicStory home page in a very attractive manner and the app interface can be skinned from a selection of themes.
Several on-Line services are supported
Selecting an album will open a preview and option column allowing you to quickly select a picture for viewing or uploading to your cloud services. After you have opened an album you can create a slideshow to view your pictures to a soundtrack. You can also choose to share your pictures with your social media and cloud services.
Keeping track of your pictures is always difficult but to help PicStory allows you to add tags onto your albums allowing you to categorise your pictures in an organised manner, it’s one of the value added touches that makes PicStory stand out.
PicStory is a fantastic app and if you take a lot of photos and looking for a nice way to present and organise them then this is a great app for you.
The FIFA series of games have become a popular mainstay on the Apple App store, and each year the series receives an update featuring latest squad and team updates but also improves to push the hardware to the next level, bow does the latest version measure up to its peers? Let’s have a look.
The iOS version of FIFA has significantly improved over the past few generations to the point where it shares many of the features of it’s games console counterpart. A detailed manager, tournament, practice and even online multiplayer modes are included and all work very well.
Presentation has always been a strong element on FIFA games and with high quality images and music, and well thought out interface FIFA13 is no exception. In match presentation is strong and closely represents a TV broadcast with multiple camera angles, detailed commentary and recognisable players. Like all FIFA games all the official licenses are in place, so all teams are correctly named with the correct player names and kit.
Support for retina displays is included and on later iOS devices the animation is remarkably smooth, the iPhone really has become a portable high definition games machine.
Impressive Graphical detail
Like a lot of iPhone games FIFA faces the challenge of needing to replicate a joy pad on a touch screen, on the small screen of the iPhone 4S this does take a while to get used to as the onscreen buttons are quite close to each other, but EA have also included touch screen specific controls, aggressiveness of tactics can be changed by two fingered swipes on screen, and players can be made to start runs by dragging their direction. The function of on screen buttons are context sensitive depending on if you have the ball or not, with on screen text describing its current function.
New to FIFA 13 is the skill move button which causes your player to break out one of several special flashy moves depending on which way you drag the button, although it’s a nice feature but its a good idea to master the basics first.
FIFA13 on the iPhone
Action replays can be viewed from several angels and you can control the camera zoom, and a nice touch is that replays can be uploaded to Youtube. Each uploaded video is limited to 9 seconds, and only 1 camera angle is supported but it’s a great way to brag about your top notch goals.
If you own both an iPhone and an iPad then its possible to connect the devices over a Bluetooth connection and the iPhone becomes a virtual joypad whilst all the action appears on the big screen of the ipad. Its also worth noting that games can be saved to iCloud allowing progress to be continued across all of your iOS devices.
Using the iPhone as a joypad
In our testing multiplayer has worked extremely well, with very little lag and was generally a very enjoyable experience, in fact overall FIFA 13 is a great mobile title, you don’t get everything you get on the hone console price but it costs you about £40 less. If you enjoy sports games or soccer games then check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Many iPhone users are experiencing difficulties with the new Apple Maps App and are looking for alternatives and In this previous article we looked at how to install Google Maps on the iPhone. There are other respected suppliers of map apps and Nokia has developed a good reputation for the quality of both their Maps App and their Maps data. Traditionally Nokia have produced their Maps App for their own hardware platforms but they also produce a Web App version which works rather well on the iPhone. One advantage that Nokia Maps has over some of its rivals is that its possible to download routes and maps for off-line use.
To install Nokia Maps on the iPhone:
1) Open the Safari Web Browser
2) Navigate to http://maps.nokia.com in the browser
3) You’ll see a box inviting you to install the Nokia Maps Web App.
4) Tap the Arrow Icon
5) Select the Add to Home Screen option
The Nokia Maps Web App will be installed on your iPhone.
Here’s a little racing gem with fantastic visuals from the App Store – CSR Racing on the iPhone.
Far from being an exact technical simulation of motor sport, CSR Racing provides a fun arcade experience focusing on the underground sport of street racing.
A wide selection of real life cars are provided and they look stunning with incredible models and beautiful lighting effects, in fact the whole game looks fantastic matching the visuals on home console games.
Plenty of Race Options are included
After you have chosen a car the game is controlled through a city map which highlights your potential races and process access through to mechanical services.
Races take several forms, including a daily challenge against a mystery challenger, regulation races against your own car and crew battles against a local street gang where you race 5 members of the gang through an increasing difficulty level.
The actual race mechanics are very simple but do take practice and skill to get right with steering being automatic and the main focus of the game on shifting up gear at the correct time. Getting off to a good start is also key to winning a race and you will need to experiment with the on screen accelerator peddle to learn how to get the best results. Optional Nitrous upgrades can also been used to give you a short lived speed boost.
Face & Furious Action
Each race only lasts a few seconds so this is definitely about short sprints rather than a long marathon.
Each car can be significantly upgraded in the garage to increase performance and this is vital as opponents get harder, winning races and sharing feedback through your social networks provides you with extra funds or in game currency can be purchase with real world cash. If you are very patient there is no need to spend real money which makes the fact that this game is free to download.
We have often talked about what makes a good mobile game, fun and quick gameplay along with touch screen centric controls are required to make mobile games fun and CSR Racing has this formula down to a tee.
CSR Racing looks incredible, is fun and is free to download so check it out.
The iPhone and iPad become complete with one of the best and most usable virtual keyboards on any mobile device, but there are times when you need to enter a large amount of data where a physical keyboard is more appropriate.
Fortunately it is possible to connect a keyboard to the iPad and iPhone using their Bluetooth interface, turning them into powerful productivity mobile devices. Bluetooth keyboards come in many different shapes and sizes, some even double as carry cases, and generally there prices are reasonable.
To connect a bluetooth keyboard to your iPhone or iPad:
1) Make sure that your keyboard is switched on and then press the connect button to activate it.
2)From your home screen select the Settings App
3) Select the General option
4) Select the Bluetooth Section
5) The Bluetooth Options will now be displayed
6) Make sure that the Bluetooth option is turned on.
7) You should be able to see your keyboard listed in the list of available devices, select it.
8) You will be asked to type a number on the keyboard, simply follow the on screen instructions.
This will now pair your keyboard with your iPhone or iPad so that it will automatically connect in the future.
After you have connected to your keyboard, when you enter a text entry box the virtual keyboard will no longer be displayed on screen, instead you can just type on the keyboard.
Ebooks are becoming common place and mobile devices like the iPhone or iPad provide a natural home for your mobile library, in this previous article we looked at how you can read your Kindle Library on your iPhone.
Now it’s possible to create your own Ebooks on the iPhone with Book Writer
The Book Writer app is an easy way for you to create Ebooks for either distribution or for your own personal iBooks account by providing you with a friendly interface for creating your content.
Creating a book is easy, simply choose one of the supplied templates to select the orientation and size of the book, photos can be added from your media collection, text can be entered directly onto the page and you can even insert videos into pages. On-page objects can be moved and resized to your requirements and you can format text as you expect to do in any text editor. You can also alter the quality of the images in your book if you want to reduce the file size and you can even add background music. Ebooks have gone multimedia.
The process of creating your books is easy and results can be stunning, especially when creating photo heavy books.
The app mimics that of a traditional Apple app, for example Pages, which means that you should find it easy to navigate through.
When you have complete your book you can share it in a number if ways.
The ability to create a PDF is a useful one as this opens up the possibility of mass distribution but I also like the option of interacting with Apple services like iTunes & iBooks do that your books are integrated into your iPhones file system.
The book writer App lets you create your own high quality ebooks allowing you to be creative on your iPhone.
You can download Book Writer from the App store or by clicking here.
With Apple starting to move some of it’s key services away from Google to in-house a sense of competition has started to appear between the two companies in the iOS app space.
Playing it’s part Google has started into introduce more of its high profile apps into the App store, including it’s Chrome Browser.
Chrome has become a popular browser on desktop devices, with it’s simple interface and fast web page rendering engine it’s raised the bar for browsing, but how does it’s iPhone mobile counterpart compare.
Firstly the bad news, due to Apples App Store rules Google hasn’t been able to bring its rendering engine to the Chrome App so the actual display of web pages is pretty similar to that of the default Safari browser.
Now the good news, Google have done a great job of bringing it’s streamlined interface to the iPhone.
The Chrome start page will look familiar to those familiar with the desktop browser, with your most popular sites listed as snapshot icons.
In a similar way to the desktop version Minimum space has been used on the interface leaving as much real estate for the web page as possible, drop down menus are activated through only two small icons.
Google Chrome supports tabbed browsing, with the mechanism, ease and speed of switching between tabs being very impressive. Pressing the tabs menu displays all open tabs in a tiled format allowing you to swipe and jump between tabs.
Whilst it may not improve the speed of page rendering, Google Chrome Browser is a fantastic mobile web surfing experience, and many will adopt it as their default iPhone browser.
You can download Chrome Browser for iPhone by clicking here.
Originally released in 1999 Sega’s Virtua Tennis series of games have found success over the years. It’s blend of highly detailed graphics, fluid animation and TV style presentation proved to be a hit with gamers.
Whilst not as realistic as some of its competitors it’s arcade friendly gameplay and quick learning curve meant that it provided unparalleled accessibility to both tennis and sports fans, and now the game has arrived on the iPhone.
The first thing that hits you about the game is the incredible visuals, the graphics on the small screen look as good as on a console, and it remains smooth on the iPhone 4s in singles matches, although looking through the App Store reviews older models may struggle, and on the 4s in doubles matches you do occasionally see a little slow down. Hopefully this will get resolved in future updates as the games looks incredible.
Virtua Tennis had managed to keep its accessibility in translation to the touch screen iPhone, several virtual joypad options are included but the new touch control scheme works best of all. Tapping the screen causes your player to run to the point you tapped whilst swiping the screen will make your player hit the ball in that direction. It takes a little getting used to but very quickly you’ll pick up how to pull off a variety of shots.
There are several game modes to choose from, if you fancy a quick game then you can play an exhibition match where you play either a singles or double match against a CPU opponent, but the main meat to the game is in SPT World Tour mode.
In the World Tour mode you have a choice of 3 tournaments per real world day, each tournament has an entry fee and a prize fund, the more cash you have in the bank the bigger tournaments you can enter.
There is also an Internet multiplayer mode where an appropriate opponent is chosen for you for an online match. Online play works well although you’ll need to get used a tiny bit of added lag in the game.
Virtua Tennis is a big name and a big game, and if you have the device to run it then it’s a fantastic arcade experience in the palm of your hand. I only hope that future updates include optimisations for lower end iOS devices.