It was a slow week for App Store releases presumably due the the 4th of July holiday, but two highly anticipated premium games did make their App Store debuts. Civilization Revolution 2 is the sequel to the popular PC game Sid Meier's Civilization, and the PSP title Monster Hunter Freedom Unite has also been ported to iOS devices.
Here are this week's games and apps released for the iPad through 06/29/14 to 07/05/14. Apple's Free App of the Week is Day One. The journal app will be free on the Apple App Store until 07/10/14. In other App Store news, Rayark released a trailer for its upcoming 3D, action game Implosion, Facebook Messenger has received iPad support and Denny's has teamed up with Atari to release a suite of breakfast-themed games.
Facebook's Messenger app is now universal supporting all iOS devices including the iPad. The app now features a multi-window interface displaying your contacts on the left sidebar next to the new full screen chat window. Facebook Messenger previously ran as an enlarged version of the iPhone app when used on the iPad. Version 7.0 also brings improved free calls and it fixes an issue so that active users show up faster than before.
According to various rumors, Facebook plans to force its users to download its messenger app by eliminating the chat option from its main app. The company purportedly started sending notifications to some users in Europe informing them they had two weeks to switch to the messenger app before they would lose their chat capabilities on the main app. Facebook is desperately trying to get its users to familiarize themselves with its other free mobile offerings besides its main service.
Game developer Rayark has been teasing its new 3D action game, Implosion, since last year, and now the studio has released a new trailer after showcasing the game at Google I/O last week. The video posted to YouTube (see below) a few days ago mentions that the game will feature full controller support and a co-op mode while showcasing a lot of great looking action.
Besides the latest trailer and a gameplay video released last year, there isn't a lot of information about the game itself. The official Implosion website is bare bones and even the YouTube videos are description free. TouchArcade has been keeping tabs on the game since the original teaser trailer was released last year, but even they don't have any extra information about it either.
Apple has extended its AppleCare+ purchase window from 30 days to 60 days. The $100 service for the iPad expands your original one year limited warranty to two years. AppleCare+ also gives users up to two repairs for accidental damage, and allows direct access to Apple experts for hardware and software problems/questions. The service can now be purchased at any Apple retail location or by calling 1-800-275-2273 up to 60 days after your original purchase date. Apple has also discontinued its standard AppleCare plan making AppleCare+ its only extended warranty option.
While having access to Apple's technical support staff for questions may be a plus to some users, other Apple customers may want to consider third-party insurance providers such as Square Trade for accidental damage coverage. Some of these businesses offer more affordable coverage than the manufacturer themselves. It is highly recommended that you research all your options before buying the first extended warranty that falls into your lap.
Kensington has partnered with Mead to bring back the Trapper Keeper as an accessory for 7-inch and 10-inch tablets. In case you're too young, the Trapper Keeper was the must have accessory for every student in the '80s and '90s. Trapper Keepers usually featured some kind of cheesy image like generic sports players, a Lamborghini or abstract '80s-inspired designs. They were basically loose-leaf binders where you could attach additional folders to hold all your papers for different school subjects.
Kensington says the new Trapper Keepers will keep their original '80s aesthetic by featuring "sporty athletic patterns to colorful floral and artistic prints".
"There is definite appeal and nostalgia in marrying classic designs to new technology solutions, and we are delighted to release a collection that combines contemporary tablet accessories with such iconic designs from Mead," said Greg Agustin, Global Product Manager at Kensington.
Apple already announced plans to give the App Store a makeover in iOS 8 by adding new features such as a Explore tab with subcategories, but with millions of app and game options available, the App Store can still be a tricky place to navigate. It is no secret that developers have a hard time getting their new apps noticed on the App Store, and that users also have a hard time discovering new games when shopping.
Perhaps this is why Apple has added a "Best New Game Updates" section to the Categories panel. The new service highlights games like Plants vs. Zombies 2 which was recently updated with a Dark Ages expansion. It is as if Apple is rewarding developers who take the time to add new content to their games. The new section also alerts users that a game they may have removed from their device has been updated.
This week Amazon added popular HBO programming to its Instant Video app for iOS devices. iOS users with an Amazon Prime account can now stream older TV shows like The Sopranos, plus early seasons of recent hits such as True Blood and Boardwalk Empire. The Amazon Instant Video app is free to download and supports all iPad models running iOS 5.0 or later.
YouTube today announced that it is bringing its YouTube Creator Studio to iOS in "coming weeks". The app allows YouTube creators to manage their videos on the go, and adds an "Audio Library" of free songs/sound clips, 60fps video and "Fan Funding" so users can give and receive tips.
Versus Evil announced today via Twitter that Stoic Studio's The Banner Saga is "coming to tablets this summer". The company did not mention the iPad by name, but it is probably safe to assume that Apple's tablet will be supported when the game is released.
The game is a resource management, Viking-themed role-playing title about a wandering army sent to fight the a warlike race called the Dredge. Players must ration food and keep their caravan alive by making difficult story-based decisions while trying to figure out how to defeat the Dredge and its evil leader, the Bellower.
After upgrading its iPhone app earlier this month, The Weather Channel has given its iPad app a much needed redesign. Version 4.0 of the The Weather Channel App for iPad is "more closely aligned to the iOS 7 aesthetic" and it now features an easy-to-use interface, according to the updated official App description.
Apple has also stopped pulling its data from Yahoo for its stock Weather app in favor of getting its data directly from the Weather Channel. Getting this information straight from the source, Yahoo also uses Weather Channel data for its app, allows iOS users to receive more accurate location-based services, longer range forecasts and weather summaries.
It is that time of year again when all eyes are on Apple's next-generation products, and rumors of iWatches and larger iPhones are running rampant. Several reliable and hit-or-miss sources have confirmed that Apple plans to release a slew of new products later this year. Here's a quick look at those rumors.
MacBook Air - Production of a 12-inch MacBook Air will begin in Q3 of 2013, according to the Digitimes. Upstream supply chain sources say Apple is releasing a 12-inch model because "its 11-inch model has a screen size similar to its iPad' and increasing sales of Apple's tablet "are impacting MacBook demand". Apple believes a 12-inch MacBook Air would create a boundary between its 9-inch tablet lineup, and MacBook Air products. The new MacBook will feature some internal redesigns but it will resemble its predecessors externally .