News

New iPad Games and Apps of the Week: ESPN, Tank Operations and More

ESPN's SportsCenter app received a major overhaul this week. The app not only received a name change to just ESPN, but it also now features iPad support. Version 4.2 of the app is available now as an OTA update or as a free download on the Apple App Store.

Pay Once & Play

Apple on Thursday added a "Pay Once & Play" section to the App Store as part of its weekly refresh. The new category highlights "great games with no in-app purchases," for those who are tired of freemium titles. Apple also doubled the download size of apps from 2GB to 4GB, so developers can "include more media" in their submissions and "provide a more complete, rich user experience upon installation," according to the official announcement.

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ESPN App Gets iPad Support

ESPN has rebranded its mobile app again, this time dropping SportsCenter from the name and adding iPad support for the first time. The SportsCenter app was retitled ESPN SportsCenter in 2013, but it is now just being called "ESPN." The update also adds optimization for the larger iPhone 6 models.

ESPN Mobile App 2015

The new version of the app is basically the same as the previous version but now it takes advantage of the iPad's larger display. Users can still easily access the Scores and News categories plus ESPN NOW, which was added in version 4.0. The NOW section offers more breaking news than the News section which includes the day's top stories in a more classic long article format.

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RPG Starship Captain: Adventure In Alpha Sector Coming to iPad Tonight

A new free-to-play RPG called Starship Captain: Adventure In Alpha Sector for the iPad is set to land on the App Store tonight. The strategy title was originally launched in 1995 as a web-based game called Space Pirate, before going through a few changes over the years. The latest version is a strategy game where players can travel from planet to planet to trade goods and seek adventure. Players can also take on missions, mine asteroids and plunder other ships to build their own space fortune.

Starship Captain

The game features "arcade-like battles and short stories told through mission text, according to the developer's blog. The short stories will mostly be told at spaceport bars where players can talk to other characters from the game and hire crew. Players will also be able to upgrade their ship and will have to manage resources such as fuel.

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Dungeon Crawler 'Legend of Grimrock' Gets First Gameplay Trailer for iPad

Independent Finnish developer Almost Human has released the first gameplay trailer for the tablet version of Legend of Grimrock. The first person dungeon crawler made its debut for Windows and OS X in 2012 and spawned a sequel Legend of Grimrock II in 2014. In the game, players control a party of one to four characters as they explore dungeons and gain experience by slaying various monsters.

In the video you will see that the iOS version features touch screen controls for movement and swipe controls to cast spells.

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Apple Highlights iPad Music Apps with New Commercial Starring Elliphant

Apple today posted a new video to its YouTube page titled "Make Music with iPad." The commercial features recording artist Elliphant, and DJ The Gaslamp Killer, using GarageBand and various third-party apps to create, record and perform music using Apple's tablet.

Apple also set up a page on its website revealing what apps are used in the video. The page titled, "Explore how Elliphant changes things up" reads:

"iPad is changing how we live, work, and create more and more each day. For recording artist Elliphant, it’s liberating her to make music in a radical new way. And whether she’s writing lyrics at home or recording on the road, iPad has become an essential part of her process. It was even used by director So Me to shoot this film."

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Top Apple (AAPL) and iOS Stories of the Week: The Wait for Apple's Watch Continues

It was a slow week for Apple news as the wait for the company's first wearable device continues. Apple is already preparing its retail employees for the upcoming launch of its Apple Watch in April. Retail stores will employ traditional jewelry store tactics to help sell the new device to walk-in customers, according to 9to5Mac. This will include allowing people to test out different bands and adding extra security features for the pricier gold models. The official release date of the Apple Watch is still unknown at this time.

OS X 10.10.3

Developers were able to publish their first impressions of the Photos for OS X app after Apple seeded the first beta of OS X 10.10.3 Yosemite on Thursday. Various tech blogs and major outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, were impressed by the new software.

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SwiftKey Adds Gesture Controls for the iPad and More

SwiftKey has rolled out a huge update to its third-party iOS keyboard. Version 1.2 includes several features requested by users such as SwiftKey Flow for the iPad. Users can now type and use swipe gestures on their iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, and access over 800 emoji by using the smiley key. SwiftKey will also now learn and predict what emoji a user uses more often, just like it does with words and phrases.

SwiftKey

Version 1.2 of the app also includes 11 new languages, and users can have up two languages enabled at one time. The 11 new languages include: Bulgarian, Croatian, Greek, Hinglish, Icelandic, Indonesian, Latvian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak and Turkish. Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi are currently being beta tested and will be added in a future update.

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New iPad Games and Apps of the Week: Dragon's Lair 2 and More

Dragons' Lair: Time Warp HD has landed on the App Store for the iPad. For those too young to remember, Dragon's Lair was one of the first fully animated video games to land in arcades in the 1980s. While the simple gameplay wasn't all that exciting, the art was a sight to behold in an 8-bit world. The game's bumbling hero and awesome cartoon death scenes also captured the imaginations of every kid who was lucky enough to experience it at the time.

Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp HD

In Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp, players once again assume the role of the reluctant Dirk the Daring as he tries to save Princess Daphne from the clutches of the Evil Wizard Mordroc. Dirk must use a time machine to stop Mordroc from opening the Casket of Doom and forcing Daphne to marry him. Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp HD is available now for $4.99. It supports all iPad models running iOS 6.0 or later.

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All Paper by FiftyThree Sketching Tools Now Free on the iPad

Accessory maker FiftyThree has unlocked all the sketching tools for its iPad app Paper. The app has always been available as a free download on the Apple App Store, but additional tools were only available as $1.99 in-app purchases. Starting today, "all the original tools, including the Mixer, are now completely free," according to the official App Store changelog. FiftyThree says the free tools are a "thank you" to their "inspiring community of creators".

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper is primarily a companion app to FiftyThree's iPad Stylus called Pencil. The Bluetooth drawing tool features the latest technology such as palm rejection and a 14kt gold plated tip for better accuracy. Users can also flip the stylus over and use the top end as an eraser just like a real pencil.

Pencil is available starting at $49 on Amazon.com or directly through FiftyThree's website.

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Clock Tower Creator and Grudge Director Release First 'NightCry' Gameplay Trailer

A team of Japanese writers, artists and composers who have worked on popular titles such as Final Fantasy and Castlevania have teamed up to create Nude Maker, a new video game studio led by veteran game director Hifumi Kono. The studio is mostly comprised of developers who created the first two Clock Tower games in the 1990s, and they have teamed up with Grudge director Takashi Shimizu to release a new point-and-click horror title called NightCry.

Nude Maker has already secured the funds to release the game to iOS, Android and PlayStation Vita, but now they need help to release it to other platforms. A Kickstarter campaign has been set up to raise the money for a PC release. The official Kickstarter description explains that "NightCry started from Kono-san’s desire to return to his roots and create a truly terrifying horror adventure game," but big studios are not interested in point-and-click titles these days. Nude Maker hopes that there are enough Clock Tower and J-horror fans out there to prove the studios wrong and help fund this game.

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