Sid Meier’s Pirates! for iPad… what a day!

While I was traveling to the wilds of Germany yesterday, 2K Games released one of my childhood’s favorite games for iPad: Sid Meier’s Pirates!. First I hoped it might actually be an adaption of the first version of the game, which was released in 1987 and I liked best. Sadly it isn’t, but anyway…

Sid Meier’s Pirates is an adaptation of a PC game that came out in 2004, an homage to a much earlier game originally developed for Commodore 64 in 1987. The game puts you in the role of an enterprising young pirate captain as you collect treasure maps, go on missions and rescues, and fight other pirates on the high seas.

Source: “Sid Meier’s Pirates! comes to iPad” The Loop

The game includes Game Center functionality and promises some iPad specific features, such as improved graphics, additional visual effects and piratizing one’s picture with the iPad 2 camera. The gameplay seems to be as usual, beginning with the game’s setup. All experience levels and more importantly al statt dates seem to be included. With just a few clicks the adventure can begin. On first glance the controls seem to be fitting to the iPad. So nothing stands between me and some exciting naval battles. I certainly know, what I will do this weekend… For those of you who want to join me, take at look at the Sid Meier’s Pirates! microsite.

Long live the iPad… and Keynote

As I was updating my Keynote for iPad app today, I notices two things: 1 – it now runs on the iPhone, 2 – it supports the Keynote Remote app. I like this app already as it allows me to remote control my desktop Keynote presentations. With the combination of these two apps, the iPad 2 finally becomes a powerful business device. As I have an iPhone anyway I am good to go with my new presentation setup.

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Using the video mirroring functionality of the iPad 2, I can show my entire iPad 2 screen on any display or projector using a VGA or HDMI adapter. Also I can use the keynote app to show my presentations without carrying a macbook around. In the Keynote app’s settings remote control can be enabled. You need to pair your iPhone running the Keynote Remote app as you would do with your desktop Mac.

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I really like how easy this works. I get all the features I want out of my apps with a free upgrade. I have full presentation control with my iPhone, I can move around and see my notes while the iPad is connected to the projector.

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There is just one more thing I need: Airplay for everything. I would really appreciate the ability to stream my entire iPad or iPhone screen to any screen available. Let’s see, where we go from here.

Apogee Jam – studio quality guitar input for iPad and Garageband

As mentioned earlier, Garageband for iPad is a nice mobile recording studio. That you need to record your guitar with the integrated guitar amps is this: JAM by Apogee

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(Source: “Apogee Jam” apogeedigital.com)

Long time, no groove… Garageband for iPad

After reading several reviews of Apple’s Garage Band for iPad, I couldn’t resist. For just 4,99 $ it seems to be the best 8 track recording studio I’have ever seen. If you are interested I recommend this review by iLounge. At least trying out the drums is something you shouldn’t miss. I especially like the integrated sampler, allowing you to record your own samples. External microphones would be a recommended accessory for this. There is a integrated sample library in addition to you own samples. All samples can be played on the keyboard, utilizing usual features such as pitch, modulation, sustain etc. Also you can create nice arpeggios using the integrated arpeggiator.

I can’t say there is anything missing from this app whatsoever. For just 4,99 $ it seams to be the best music app available on the iPad. In fact, it seems to be one of the best mobile music production setups. I hope professional equipment accessories will introduced in due time. I am thinking breakout cables with nice mic preamps for sophisticated recording capabilities.

 

 

iPad 2: GPU benchmarks

I can’t wait to get my hands on an iPad 2. It is a beautiful piece of technology and finally implements what I was waiting for: Video Mirroring. With a 30-pin to HDMI adapter one can see everything on the iPad and on any HDMI compatible TV or beamer. This is a killer feature for me.

Your favorite app on your HDTV. Now one iPad gets the attention of many on a big (and bigger) screen. And it’s a truly impressive performance.

Source: “Share what’s on your iPad with a bigger screen” – Apple

I am sure this will open a whole new field of application for the iPad. It seems to be a trivial feature, but in fact I think it is a vital step for the iPad towards becoming a major productivity tool.

What also seems promising, is the amazing GPU performance. Anandtech tested the new iPad 2 in detail and determined the iPad to offer over 3-5x the speed in GPU benchmarks. Take a look:

(Source: “Apple iPad 2 GPU Performance Explored” anandtech.com)

So, if you don’t already have an iPad, this is the version you have been waiting for.

AC-7 Core – virtual DAW controller for the iPad

When using Apple Logic Studio 9, a DAW controller always comes in handy. Any control unit of higher quality easily costs more than $ 1,300 (e.g. the Mackie MCU). Now there is an alternative: the first sophisticated iPad DAW controller app AC-7 Core from Saitara Software.

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(Source: “AC-7 PRO: Sexy, Wirelss, Virtual DAW Control Surface For Your New Apple iPad” homestudioguru.com)

AC-7 Core is a range of wireless DAW control surface apps. The apps run on iPads/iPhones/iPod Touches running iOS4.2 or higher […]

Source: “AC-7 Core Family” Saitara Software

There are 3 versions available. They have different feature sets from reduced functionality to extension modules. In my opinion the AC-7 Core version is the only relevant one, priced at $ 7,99. It seems to come with the full set of features.

To use AC-7 Core, the iPad and the Mac running Logic (the app supports other apps as well) has to be on the same wireless network. Basically that’s it, thanks to Apple’s Core Midi framework in iOS 4.2. To see the app in action, take a look at this review.

Wether this app solves all your problems or not, it is quite a setup for small money. For myself I must admit I still want a Mackie MCU. Still, the AC-7 Core might come in handy in specific situations.

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Publishing your Twitter feed

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one twitter user to publish his contents as a book this is a way to do it.

The obvious choice would be to print a book and sell it in huge numbers. Unfortunately printyourtwitter.com has been discontinued due to changes in twitter’s authentication methods.

It has been fun while it lasted we hope you enjoyed the tool.

Source: “Archive & print all your tweets” printyourtwitter.com

Maybe it is better to publish the tweets as an ebook. This way one reduces the costs of production and distribution. Also the interesting content can be read on popular reading devices such as the iPad. Tweetbook.in comes to mind.

With tweetbook you can generate a pdf e-book of your latest tweets and favorites. Also share the tweetbook with your friends!

Source: Tweetbook.in

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It is quite simple. You log in with your twitter account and the service creates a PDF for you with your entire tweet history. It looks quite fancy on the iPad. Only on question remains: Is there anyone who would read it? I suppose not, so I will keep this one to myself.

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Some Unreal numbers – $1.64M in 5 days

Some days ago, I told you about the first iOS game powered by the Unreal Engine 3, called Infinity Blade. It seems to be quite a hit as I just stumbled upon this:

The first Unreal Engine-powered game for iOS, Infinity Blade, has sold at least 274,000 copies in its first five days on sale, according to recent player counts on Game Center. At $6 a copy that’s a $1.64 net for the publisher, and a new record, according to Gamesindustry.biz.

Source: “Infinity Blade iPhone game nets $1.6M in five days” – The Loop

Not so shaby at all. I suppose there is real money to be made in the app store. The full story can be read at gamesindutry.biz but you need to register for free to read the whole article. Meanwhile I will keep on playing the game.

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The Unreal Engine on the iPad – Infinity Blade

It’s finally happening. As announced in September 2010, Epic Games brings the Unreal Engine 3 to the iOS platform. Until today, there only was a Unreal showcase application called Epic Citadel. In this app nothing is happening at all. One can just explore a castle realm. It looks nice with lots of animation amazing visuals and textures. It sure has the best graphics on the iOS platform. Since today one can buy the first full game Infinity Blade for just 4,99 €.

Infinity Blade is the all-new action RPG sword-fighting game for iPhone®, iPad™ and iPod touch® developed by Epic Games’ award-winning studio, ChAIR Entertainment. The first mobile game powered by Epic’s cutting-edge Unreal Engine 3 technology, Infinity Blade takes handheld gaming to new heights with gorgeous visuals, adrenaline-fueled battles and advanced character progression in a fully 3D castle realm.

(Source: “Infinity Blade” Epic Games)

TouchArcade reviewed the app quite intensively and describes it as a “must have”. I am not into this particular kind of game, but I needed to see this graphics in action. The game has a decent game center integration and promises to bring a multiplayer mode soon. I really like the concept of game center and hope to see interesting competing modes to arise from it. Infinity Blade really looks amazing and runs quite smoothly on my iPhone and my iPad. Remembering the poor graphics on a desktop machine in the 1990ies, playing games like Half-Life, Unreal Tournament and Counterstrike, I never imagined to see even that kind of performance on a mobile device. So from this perspective I agree that Infinity Blade is a must see. I can’t wait to see more games with high end graphics on the iOS platform.

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AppleTV as a potent media center using Plex?

The new AppleTV is a nice piece of technology for just 119 €. I am fine with streaming video content and renting movies from the itunes store. It works just as expected. But when it comes to streaming more than just itunes content you are reaching the limits of its capabilities. You’d rather want the full package of the Plex Media Solution on your HDTV.

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How? As posted on awkwardtv.org it is actually quite easy to jailbreak the new AppleTV, enabling it to install various software and there is an experimental Plex Client available. It just plays back video so far, but you can stream music and photos via itunes anyway.

So, if you are interested in trying it out, you might consider looking into this guide from appletvhacks.net. Officially this is not supported in any way and you will loose your warranty by jailbreaking your AppleTV. So I can not encourage you to do so.

Until now, Plex says:

Will this run on AppleTV?

We believe that it is probably technically possible to get Plex to run on Apple TV hardware. The processor would be underpowered for most HD content, and it would probably perform very closely to the original XBox hardware (unless someone figured out how to utilize the onboard h.264 hardware). While it seems to be technically possible, this team has no plans to support Plex on Apple TV. We are big fans of both Apple and their technology, so we are not willing to engage in anything that Apple could consider “hacking” or encouraging people to hack. Our official recommendation is you want something like Apple TV, either buy an Apple TV, or spend the extra $200 and get a Mac Mini and be able to do both!

(Source: plexapp.com Nov 24 2010)

But there are lots of rumors that Apple will actually provide an official AppleTV SDK to allow developers to create native AppleTV applications similar to the iOS platform. This would certainly improve the odds for an official version of Plex for AppleTV as Plex just recently stated in its FAQs:

Will this run on AppleTV (2010)?

Maybe, but only if Apple offers an Official SDK for the New AppleTV.

(Source: plexapp.com Nov 24 2010)

So, there is hope for us yet. Until then you just have to keep using the Mac Mini as a Media Center. It will be needed after all because you still have to stream content from a Plex Media Server in any case.

By the way, there is a Plex App for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad in the itunes store. You can stream all your Plex Media Server content to your mobile device. It works just fine in your local WiFi network as well as over 3G (additional configuration is needed).

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As the recent update to iOS 4.2 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad now supports AirPlay, you can stream the content from the Plex Media Server via the iOS App to the AppleTV.

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This is kind of strange, but it works fine. (Except for sometimes, when it just streams audio to the AppleTV)