Daily iPhone App: Jool turns the world of endless runners upside down

Jool (stylized as JOOL on the App Store) is one of the most inventive games I’ve seen in a long while. It’s an endless running game, which in itself is not inventive. And unfortunately, the game isn’t all that intriguing — you basically just run as a character horizontally along the screen, jumping up and falling down a series of platforms while trying to collect all sorts of crazy objects.

But here’s the inventive part: When your character finally falls off of the bottom of the screen, you can flip the iPhone upside down, and your character will automatically flip into a different character running the opposite way, giving you a chance to keep your run going. It’s a wild little gimmick, and it’s crazy to see in action — just when you think your character is done for, you can instead flip the phone over and keep going. There are a few other gameplay elements, like bombs that will propel you forward, and occasional goals for certain items to collect, but that “flip” is the wildest thing, a really crazy idea that’s implemented in a wild way.

Unfortunately, the rest of the game isn’t nearly as impressive: There’s a very weird “loading” feature that makes you just sit there and do nothing while files download when the game first loads up, and the graphics are more goofy and confusing than really supportive of the gameplay. But Jool, in all of its awkward weirdness (the game was made by four artists from Berlin, if that explains their somewhat twisted sensibility) is worth a try just for that strange flipping feature, probably the most inventive way I’ve seen the iPhone’s accelerometer used. It’s available for 99 cents from the App Store now.

Daily iPhone App: Jool turns the world of endless runners upside down originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 06 Mar 2013 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Logitech outs Apple-friendly Wireless Solar Keyboard K760, we go hands-on

Logitech outs Apple-friendly Wireless Solar Keyboard K760, we go hands-on

Earlier this May, Logitech unveiled its Solar Keyboard Folio for the new iPad and iPad 2, and the accessory maker is rounding out the month by adding another sun-powered peripheral to its stable. Like the Keyboard Folio, the just-announced Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 works with iPads, but it’s also compatible with Macs and iPhones. The K760 has Bluetooth for pairing up to three devices at a time, and it features Mac-specific keys such as Brightness, Command and Eject. Users should get about three months of use after the keyboard is fully charged up via sun or indoor light. We got to do a bit of typing with the K760, and are happy to report that it’s a fairly well-built little grid. The deck feels solid, and the keys have a decent depth to them when pressed. Plus, the spun metal power button and the silver flake paint job lend a premium appearance. It’ll cost $80 when it goes on sale next month, and you can get a closer look at what those dollars will buy in our gallery below. Head past the break for the full PR.

Gallery: Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760

Michael Gorman contributed to this report

Continue reading Logitech outs Apple-friendly Wireless Solar Keyboard K760, we go hands-on

Logitech outs Apple-friendly Wireless Solar Keyboard K760, we go hands-on originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 30 May 2012 13:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Americans have 28 percent more mobile apps in 2012

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If it feels like you not only have more apps on your iPhone, but that you’re spending more time in those apps, then you should congratulate yourself on being as savvy as pollster Nielsen. According to a report from the organization, the number of apps on the average smartphone increased from 32 to 41 — a jump of 28 percent — over the past year.

As you can see from the Nielsen infographic at the top of this post, the percentage of time spent by smartphone owners in apps rather than on the web has also climbed. The average smartphone user spends only about 19 percent of his or her time on the web; the rest of the time, native apps are being used.

The one other fascinating tidbit on the chart shows that the number of smartphone owners in the US has climbed from 38 million in 2011 to 84 million in 2012 — that’s a jump of 121 percent in just one calendar year.

[via Engadget]

Report: Americans have 28 percent more mobile apps in 2012 originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 17 May 2012 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How Many Daily Downloads Does It Take To Reach The Top Of The App Store? [Updated]

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It’s hard to underestimate how important ranking in Apple’s top 25 in the iTunes store is for mobile app developers. After all, the top 25 is probably the single most important app discovery mechanism for most iOS users. But how many downloads does it take to rank in the top 25? Mobile app store analytics firm Distimo today published some interesting data that answers just this question. Turns out, in the U.S. store, the answer currently is about 38,400 daily downloads for free iPhone apps and 3,530 for paid iPhone apps. To rank in the top 25 per category, of course, takes significantly fewer downloads, with games unsurprisingly being the most competitive category. It takes 25,300 daily downloads to rank in the gaming top 25 for free apps and 2,280 downloads for paid apps.

For free apps, other competitive categories include ‘entertainment’ (6,700 daily downloads), ‘social networking’ (5,800), ‘lifestyle’ (3,900) and ‘music’ (3,900). Interestingly, in the paid app charts photography apps rank just behind games and entertainment apps. Still, it currently only takes about 270 daily downloads to rank in the photography top 25 for paid apps.

These numbers, of course, are always changing and this just represent a snapshot of what Distimo found when it compiled this data last month.

Update: We just talked to one source with a lot of experience in building mobile apps and who also currently runs a top App Store app. According to this source, Distimo’s numbers are too low and may just represent data from a relatively small number of apps. Keep that in mind as you read Distimo’s data.

Given the popularity of games on iOS, Distimo also took a closer look at the various gaming subcategories. Here, arcade and action games lead the pack:

This is the first time Distimo is releasing a detailed set of these numbers. It’s worth noting, though, that at the end of 2011, the company reported that it still took about 45,000 daily downloads to rank in the top 25 of most popular free apps. Since then, though, Apple has been working hard to shut down various scams and bots that automatically downloaded apps and allowed developers to rank in Apple’s charts without having a real user base (then, once you are in the top 25, of course, real users will automatically find you, of course). Judging from Distimo’s latest data, these efforts are starting to pay off and will hopefully make life a little bit easier for legit developers.


Apple patent could lead to face-based user switching in iOS and beyond

Apple continues to consider ways to enable easy user switching and control for iOS devices using facial recognition, which may eventually lead to facial unlock features in the iPhone or iPad. A recently published patent application details an automatic user-switching system which can lock, unlock, and reconfigure a device for unique users based on face detection using a front-facing camera.

Beyond the use of a facial recognition to enable the system, however, we think the concept of multi-user iOS devices has been a long time coming. Furthermore, the same system could be easily adapted to desktop systems, making it easier to share an iMac or even a MacBook among family members or coworkers.

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