Tag: iphone

Where Microsoft is catching up with Apple and vice versa

Posted by – December 19, 2011

My personalized cover to Flipboard this morning, featuring an Instagram photo from Sean Dove.

2011 was an exciting year for consumer tech developments. As Apple continued to devour market share in the PC market, Microsoft got behind their Kinect controller and got together with Nokia to give the Windows Phone platform a bigger push. I don’t think that you’ll find too many critics willing claim that Microsoft has been ahead of the game in the mobile or desktop OS markets over the last few years, but some notable apps and news stories have percolated recently that offer a little perspective on the battlegrounds and cross-pollinations that will be worth watching in 2012.

• First is the insurgence of Windows Phone-looking design concepts that have been making their way onto the iPhone. Like Bing vs. Google, Windows Phone interface designs have differentiated themselves from traditional iPhone dev schools of design. When I think of Windows Phone screens, I think of tight grids with big, sharp-edged boxes and icons that often just sink into the nav bar, rather that bubbling up on additional shapes. Both the Flipboard and Xbox Live apps have introduced such things to my daily mobile experiences recently, and I think that both work marvelously overall.

• The television market is another place that’s going to be fun to observe in 2012. I looked at a Google TV last year at about this time, and I’ve been testing out an Apple TV over the last couple of weeks. The Wall Street Journal reports that voice commands will likely be a part of the next generation of Apple TVs. Apple already has Siri out in the wild on the iPhone 4S, which no doubt means that they have been gathering lots more user data to funnel into a better voice interface for home entertainment systems. Microsoft began experimenting with a limited set of voice commands when it launched Kinect, so both companies are obviously looking at similar issues and looking for ways to distinguish themselves.

The Apple TV, from what I’ve experienced thus far, differentiates itself by emphasizing AirPlay, the ability to stream content directly from iPhones and iPads. Additionally, Apple seems to have been thinking about things from a Nintendo Wii U perspective, allowing developers to implement two-screen gaming experiences.

I think the Google TV largely failed out of the gate due to some poorly executed (and in many cases, un-executed) partnerships, but I’m sure it will remain a player to some extent as well. I’m looking forward to seeing what other trends and developments appear in 2012. Although, I won’t lie to you; in the voice-recognition race, I care a great deal more about who will finally bring me some software that does a halfway decent job of transcribing interviews.

Playing Through: ‘Infinity Blade’

Posted by – June 28, 2011

A long, long time ago, in December 2010 in fact, Chair Entertainment released “Infinity Blade” out into the wild, and using the Unreal Engine 3 set a new standard for elaborate graphics in games on iOS platforms. It turned out to be more than just another pretty game, too, as Chair’s updates and trickled-out weapons and upgrades to the game went on to show. “Infinity Blade” checks off a number of boxes that you would imagine to be on production, marketing, and sales professionals’ checklists; it’s got in-games purchases. there’s now Facebook character sharing, etc. etc.

The menu screen always had a “Coming Soon” message, however, promising arena and multiplayer options that recently arrived, and those implementations make “Infinity Blade” as ripe as it ever has been for a review.

The game mashes up third-person, “Punch-Out!!”-style fighting with sword-and-mace weapons combat set in dark, fantasy realm that could have been swiped straight out of a Frank Frazetta painting, the real story behind everything gets heavily glossed over in order to provide a few shock moments when you beat the God King or come face to face with history down in the castle’s basement. I won’t spoil the endings if you haven’t seen them yourselves, but they’re filled with extra doses of Medieval gibberish, and employ plot twists that ensure you will keep fighting forever (as long as you keep the game installed on your i-device).

Despite numerous updates, “Infinity Blade” has seen more than its fair share of single player mode bugs. Although a recent fix mended a problem I experienced on my first-gen iPad where my character would constantly open up empty chests, the game still suffers from constant crashing and subsequent crashes upon restarting from the iOS home screen. Additionally, the last update introduced a problem I’d never experienced before where after earning points from a weapon mastery nothing on the upgrade screen is selectable and the only option is close the app and restart. This occurs regularly and still routinely cuts my play sessions short. (Maybe its a product feature urging me to use my time more productively.) More

‘Infinity Blade’: The ‘How’d you do that’ Achievement

Posted by – June 2, 2011


“Infinity Blade” on the iPhone and iPad recently received an update from Chair Entertainment containing multiplayer features and upping its full achievement count to 64. After snagging 54 of those, I noticed the ominous “How’d you do that” achievement sitting unfulfilled at the bottom of the list. A lot of the FAQs and Q&A posts I looked up glazed over a few of the necessary steps to unlocking it, so I decided to write up a public (and spoiler filled) post to help out anyone out there who’s still confused about it.

This is how you unlock the Dark X-SC2, Dark Tempest, Dark Halo, Dark Fusion and Dark Omega XOS-7:

1. Restart from Bloodline 1. This was the key point that was holding me up. You need to (a)
go to the main menu from within your current game, (b) select Options, and then (c) select Restart Bloodline 1. (If you simply beat the God King and beging another game+ Bloodline 1 to the nth power, none of the subsequent steps here will work.

2. After you’ve restarted at Bloodline 1, you should be getting those old familiar tutorial instructions to block with your shield. Merely tap your shield so that your character raises the shield momentarily and then lowers it in time to get hit with the bad knight’s sword. Do this over and over again until you die. If you get to the point with you’re being told to swing your sword, it’s too late, and you will not be able to get to Bloodline -1.

3. After you die, select Save and Restart Castle from the options you’re your offered. If you do this, you will be sent into negative Bloodline numbers, you should unlock the “How’d you do that” achievement, and everything else will be a piece of cake because you’ll be equipped with all of of these cool weapons.