Blog by an Apple Certified Tech

iPad apps in limelight this week

 

TIMES

Times Time's app sets another great example of how to properly display print media on the iPad. It really does feel like flipping through a magazine. When you launch the app you're ushered to the cover where you can immediately start swiping pages to the conveniently laid out table of contents or launch the unobtrusive dashboard to scan articles and jump to a desired section. Articles are crisply depicted without compromise and the text is rich, satisfying, and readable. Time has also included an embedded browser for Time.com, where you can scan the top stories of the day, or catch up on relevant posts in a desired category. Everything is a very seamless experience and a wonderful step in the right direction. A few things like bookmarking and some slightly less fickle touch controls would be nice, but they hardly hamper the overall experience.



WSJ

WSJ Here it comes, the WSJ news application for iPad. Nothing new could be find in this application. Some tech websites like engadget say its just copy of WSJ printing press and converted that into 1s and 0s, which—for future reference to all publishers—does not work well on the iPad. But if you have a broad spectrum, its business and they have kept the original look to make their clients get the feel of real WSJ. We cannot ignore that front page feels cut in half with leads and blurbs crammed in a tight space, killing any aesthetic that's present on the paper version. Streaming video present in place of some photos is poorly compressed and looks awful compared to what Vimeo and YouTube can do elsewhere on the device. Navigating from section to section is awkward and frustrating. Swiping side to side flips pages within a section while swiping up and down changes section to section. A few of my more careless swipes sent me jumping to a place I had no desire to be, requiring patient re-navigating to get back to the page I was skimming. Thankfully, a ‘Sections' tab exists in the lower right corner to help you navigate to specific areas, but I found this slow to load more often than not. This is an irksome, uninspired, and clunky experience. You're much better off getting NPR, NY Times, or an RSS Reader.


PLANET Vs ZOMBIES (Game)
PVZ

It's been widely acclaimed on almost every portable platform known to man, but I admit, I avoided Plants Vs Zombies, much because I knew it was coming to the iPad at a higher resolution. The game is beautiful, and tower defense titles (of which I'm a huge, huge fan) obviously work wonderfully on a large touchscreen. I was quickly suckered into way too much "test" time with Plants Vs Zombies, despite it being far simpler than the hardcore tower defense games I usually play (you don't route enemies through a maze like other games, and towers don't have quite the same rock, paper, scissors effects). It's just charming, addictive eyecandy. My only real complaint is that this, along with many other "HD" games don't include a free version for my iPhone, but its hours and hours of gamplay make up for that. $10.

NFS Shift

NFS Need for Speed, whatever you talk about it, will remain less, its indeed the best of the best racing game ever created. Pricing $15.00 in Apple store, it's worth the price. What you're getting is a beautiful, real racing game that feels like it belongs on a console while scaling its difficulty from casual to hardcore gamers alike. You steer with the iPad, which is extremely effective. And from there, decide whether you'd like help with the braking and shifting, or whether you'd like to go full manual. (Both schemes actually work.) 28 real, beautifully modeled cars. From our count, at least 12 tracks with detailed environments. Race online or locally. For the App Store, it looks like an expensive game—notice it's over twice the price of RealRacingHD, which we also praised highly. If money is no object, Need for Speed Shift is the better, deeper game that would look like a bargain on the DS or PSP. And it's among the best-looking games on the iPad.

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