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Archive for the ‘IOS’ Category

Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition For iPad – Win Promocodes At Apptudes.com

  • Publisher: Electronic Arts
  • Genre: Board Game, Family Game
  • Platform: iPad 
  • Price: $9.99 
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4 Stars
  • Pump gives it 4.5 Pump’s Up
  • Recommended Age: 6+
  • To win a PROMOCODE visit my new app and game review site Apptudes and follow the direction on the original post there.

MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition for iPad, by Electronic Arts has just been released and if the original Monopoly appeals, this is the same game you know and love but, with an international twist, gorgeous animations, and a lot of customizability.

In 2008 Hasbro decided Monopoly, a game about making money by acquiring real estate needed a 21st century international edition and Monopoly – Here & Now was born.

EA has long had classic Monopoly for iPad and released an iPhone version of Here & Now in December ’08, but never adapted it to the big screen – until now. If you have an iPad 2 and love the game it’s a must-have.

Gameplay is the same, but instead of the familiar Pennsylvania Aves and Park Places, an open vote put my very own Montreal in the money spot, along with international capitals and places you might need Google Earth to help you find to fill out the rest of the actual board.

There also a change of currency, which raises salaries and property costs, but maintains the original profit ratios. And, Here & Now has factlets about the various places on the board on the “flip side” of every Chance and Community Chest card.

So, why buy this if you have the classic on iPad or own this version on iPhone? Well, if you have an original iPad, maybe now isn’t the time, but for iPad 2 owners, EA has given the GUI a gorgeous makeover and four distinct gameplay modes.

There is the familiar “Play Now” option, where players go up against one or several human and AI foes and “Teacher Mode”, which is a single payer against an AI opponent with guidance to introduce the game concepts.

There is also a local multiplayer option, which works via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Up to four players can compete, on individual devices.

But the biggest change – and the best selling point – is the “Tabletop Mode.” You can play with up to three friends, exactly as you would with the physical game. Players take turns playing on a board that, like a cardboard one, works in every position and both orientations naturally so there’s no passing and twisting the iPad.

What appeals to me most is the degree of customizability in the game. Almost every household I know has their own rules for “Free Parking”, or what to do if a player lands directly on “Go”. All of these options, and more to increase or decrease both the difficulty and the duration of the game are tweakable.

I tested the game on iPad 2 was impressed by how smooth everything was, and how vibrant and fresh the game looked. When I went to test the local multiplayer features, however, I broke out my original iPad and understood the complaints I was seeing on the App Store. On original iPads the game crashes and the animation is choppy.

But, that brings up an interesting issue. Is a game company’s obligation to make a game that works equally well on all devices, or should they use the latest technology to push the boundaries of what their games can do?

What follows in my opinion, and I invite debate in the comments:

Apple’s mobile devices, unlike, say, PCs, are uniform and there is only a single new model introduced each year. iOS users are spoiled – we have come to expect all products to work on all devices, even two generations old, despite the fact it’s common knowledge that tech toys at all pricing points have intentional built-in obsolescence.

There are so many Android devices that the Market is full of apps and games that only work on some – but we seem not just to expect, but demand and complain vociferously about backward compatibility.

This is neither realistic nor fair. The iPad 2 is into its second quarter in a life span of four, and as someone who paid good money for the faster processor and other advancements I want companies to take advantage of what this puppy can do before the iPad 3 rolls out.

EA should absolutely clarify that the game is iPad 2 optimized, or offer a mode that doesn’t use some of the advanced features if they continue to market to the entire iPad market. And being that they are EA, and deeply invested in iOS, they will likely update and perhaps lower the framerate of the rich animations or something comparable.

But if we don’t let the big players use new technologies to their maximum advantage, across all platforms, gaming and gamers suffer. Does anyone else see the inherent absurdity in asking for a downgrade in an update?

MONOPOLY Here & Now: The World Edition for iPad, takes a classic that was already modernized and uses the latest iOS technology to brilliant advantage.

On iPad 2 the fluidity is amazing, the multiple game table environments are rich, the pieces on the board are animated flawlessly and even with humor, and there are enough variations in gameplay from modes and settings, to make this the most replayable Monopoly since Parker Brothers first brought out the game. If you have the latest iPad and love board games, don’t pass Go, don’t collect 200 dollars, just download it and start having fun today.

Or… head over to Apptudes.com and win a promocode! See details here and Good Luck!

Happy App Hunting

The 

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Apologies, I’ve Been Busy With New Site – Please Come Visit

Hi!

I miss this blog so much, I haven’t had a chance to ramble on and on at all since I launched AppTudes – a fresh site for app and game reviews for all interests, which I launched on Father’s day. I have been so lucky! I managed to get some amazing writers from other big sites like my own 148apps.com, my former home appadvice.com, and padpadget.com, appolicious, and some serious bloggers.

We’ve almost hit 1oo posts and our number have been through the roof! It’s so exciting, in seven months this is only my 86th-ish post, but that what’s great about having a tea. And the support from the developer and publisher community has been overwhelming. I hoped to do a launch-week push of giveaways, but we just hit the one month mark I don’t think a day has gone by where there wasn’t at least one active contest going, most days we have several.

And for those of you who like my SAHGeekMom picks, trust me we have a ton of kid stuff, art apps, and culture there too, but also real gamer games, general inteerest apps, and we just got an iPhonegraphy expert on board too!

By the way, if you review or have skills like copy editing, wordpress guruship, web or graphic design, come on over and check it out because we’re hiring! That page has most of our staff bios, but we have three newcomers so it’s time for an update. And, if you have skills, we’d love your face up there too.

I only have a minute, but I stopped by because I am going to flood my blog with the reviews I’ve written since I’ve been gone. In fact you are even getting on AppTudes doesn’t have…yet.

But remember when you see the posts, if there are contests attached they are being held on on apptudes.com and through our twitter account anf fcebook page, so you’ll have to pop on by if you want to enter. I hope you do, I have a lot of parents and educators on board and you might discover altogether different kinds of app, like I have been, that aren’t one I tend to run into.

I’m going to start using this blog again soon though, but less for reviews and more to discuss iOS news, and topics of interest that go beyond reviews. But don’t worry, wherever you find me writing, I’ll be focusing on only the very best apps for iOS. Hope to see you everywhere soon.

Happy App Hunting

The 

AppTudes is Live – Best Apps For Dads and Giveaway!

This is a reprint from apptudes.com- to win you must comment on the original post here -Good luck and Happy Father’s Day!

Welcome to AppTudes!

To celebrate our Father’s Day launch we have something extra special for you. You will often find shopping guides here for all occasions, but in the spirit of our week-long Swag-a-Thon, many of the paid apps on this list are yours to win!

So be sure to read carefully to see if the app is up for grabs, and, be sure to check back every day this week for more amazing chances to win.

Here’s how this huge  giveaway is going to work. The first thing you must to do to enter is leave a comment on this post  (on AppTudes.com, not here at SAHGeekMom) specifying which app you are interested in and what device you have, i.e. iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can only enter for one of these apps, but you can earn two extra entires to increase your odds of winning it. Remember, not every app on the list is tied to a giveaway so please read carefully. Sorry Scrabble fans, EA didn’t give us any codes. But, if you keep coming back, maybe in the future they will. 😉

After you leave a comment you can earn one entry by tweeting THAT post (Click Here)!

You can also go to our Facebook page here, like it, and leave a comment on the day-one giveaway post, just letting us know you entered. A simple “I left a comment under the name of John Smith” is enough, but we are really eager for feedback so please feel free to also share your opinions here or on Facebook about which apps you think are the coolest on this list and which apps for dad you would recommend. We have a list for grads coming soon, we had to save a few essentials for that one too!

In total you can earn up to three entires, and a random draw for each app will be held June 20, at 9:00pm PDT. The winners will be contacted by email privately within 24 hours with the code. Good luck.

So, Happy Father’s Day! If you were a really a good dad this year, maybe you unwrapped a shiny new iPhone 4 or iPad 2 with your burned toast and coffee in bed. Or, maybe your dad already has an iDevice, but you want to help him fill it with amazing new apps to mark the occassion.

Well, whether your pops is a sports fan, a gamer, a family man, a work-a-holic, or just wants only the best of iOS we have compiled some amazing choices for fathers and grandfathers of every age, and by the way, most of these are pretty awesome for moms, kids, and everyone else too.

Psst! Just click on the app icon to go right to the App Store.

ESPN iScore Baseball Scorekeeper (sold separately for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch)
By ESPN, $9.99 both versions

Summer’s here, professional hockey and basketball have wrapped up their seasons, NFL football is still months away so what sporting dad doesn’t turn to baseball for his summer team-sport fix? Whether you are a devoted followed of the Major Leagues or you want to keep track of your own neighborhood softball or Little League, ESPN has the perfect score card solution for you.

ESPN iScore Baseball Scorekeeper is a simple and fun way to track baseball or softball stats, and is a critic’s darling having not only received raves from appolicious.com and almost every other iOS site, but also hailed by the mainstream press.

Check out our complete review here and don’t wait to pick this up for any National Pastime fan in your home. Or, maybe wait just a little bit, because we have promo codes for this amazing app! So if you want it for free, be sure to read the rules up top, leave your comment here, on Twitter and on Facebook and check back tonight to see if you are a lucky winner! P.S. you can earn a fouth entry for this app by leaving a relevant comment on the full review.

Zite Personalized Magazine (iPad only)
By Zite, Inc., Free

Is your papa a news junkie? If he is and he has an iPad, you have to show him Zite.

There are as many ways to get news on iOS, as there are games on the App Store. I don’t mean there are as many news apps as games, but with Twitter clients, Google readers, network-news apps, news aggregators and of course a web browser, you can pretty much have your news served up any way you like.

If you want to see a comprehensive look at the best (and worst) news apps for iPhone and many for iPad please click here, but if you have to start somewhere on iPad, start with Zite.

Zite allows you to select topics in any possible area of interest from hard news and politics to entertainment, sports, tech, travel, family life – if it’s on the Internet, Zite will help you find it. Pick a few basic categories to start, or dive in and fully customize the app right away, either way, Zite will create a beautiful digital magazine just for you.

And, Zite also adapts to your tastes over time and helps you discover new news sources and even new areas of interest. Beside each article you can like or dislike the piece, ask for more from the site or author, or request additional coverage on any of the major topics that article covers.

If, for example you found an AppTudes review of an Android and iPhone app, you could choose to see more from us, and/or more about iPhone, iOS or Android.

You can also add your Google Reader and Twitter feeds to make it 100 percent your own.

This app would be well worth paying a premium for, just because the GUI is so gorgeous and the reading experience so pleasant, but since Zite pulls content available freely on the web, it is also completely free of charge. It is iPad only, however, so don’t forget to check out this list for universal and iPhone options too!

iMuscle – (NOVA Series) – iPad edition (available for iPhone/iPod touch separately)
By 3D4Medical.com, LLC, $4.99, $1.99 for iPhone

Does your dad work out, or does he need to? You can help him help himself with iMuscle. It’s is a mobile workout aid that allows users to target a body part or specific muscle, and see it rendered beautifully in 3D. Then after studying the make-up you can access videos in-app (no online connection needed) of muscle building and rehabilitation exercises targeting that part of the body. You can check out a demo video here.

The best thing about the iMuscle is that it supports multiple users, so dad, mom, kids, everyone can keep track of their fitness progress. Professional trainers can use it to track multiple clients and it’s a great tool for physiotherapists too. This is a high-quality, professional-grade, but user-friendly app that will help you not just work out, but do so with maximum effectiveness and minimal injury.

We have codes for this one too, aren’t our sponsor’s amazing? You can see almost all of them here, and most of the apps you can win this week, but we didn’t put up everything, we have a few surprises left up our sleeves. =D But, remember if you want iMuscle, leave a comment, tweet and visit us on Facebook!

SCRABBLE (sold separately for iPad)
By Electronic Arts, $2.99 or $9.99 iPad

Tip: With all EA games, unless you really need it now, never pay full price. Several times a year, right around major holidays, EA dramatically reduced all their prices, in order to climb to the top of the charts, so new iDevice owners will see their titles easily from the App Store home page. They may or may not have a Father’s Day sale, but certainly they will have one before back-to-school. The staff at AppTudes know all the little App Store secrets, and we’ll be putting up a special AppStalker Guide soon, you can see an older version of that guide here.

The name Scrabble pretty much sums it up. EA has brought the beloved board game to life on iPhone and iPad and dads young and old, as well as every word nut, will enjoy the true-to-the original gameplay.

Aside from being able to play against a computer opponent, you can play with up to four people in your home, (and if players have their own iDevice they can hold their tiles and connect seamless with the free Scrabble Tile Rack companion app.) You can also invite anyone from your iPhone’s phone book to play, connect using Facebook or your our network, or have the app connect you to random players from around the world.

Scrabble is a must-have game for dad and grads of all ages. (p.s. a list for grads with lots of giveaways coming soon!)

Nascar Junkie for iPad (sold separately for iPhone/iPod touch)
By EZ Apps, Inc., $1.99 (both versions)

Did we say baseball was the only summer sporting past time? Well Nascar fans will beg to differ and if your dad is a fan, Nascar Junkie is a fantastic way to stay up to date on all things Nascar.

The app aggregates all the best Nascar websites and blogs from around the racing world and puts them into a fun, simple interface so you are always up-to-date on everything from winners, to upcoming events, to Nascar news. A bonus for the die-hard fan, both versions now have push notifications (which will be enhanced when iOS 5 makes its debut with a whole new Notification Center later this summer) so dad never misses a thing. Social network integration makes this the best app for fans not only to keep up to date, but also to share Nascar news with fellow fanatics.

Yet again, we have codes from our incredible sponsors – you know what to do (or if you don’t check out the detail up top) – good luck!

Hop on Pop (universal)
By Oceanhouse Media, $3.99

Father’s day is about more than saying thanks to dad, it’s about bonding with dads. And, at no time is father-to-child bonding more important than the first years of life.

Who better to make the experience fun than the inimitable Dr. Seuss? Oceanhouse Media has been serving up Seuss and other amazing children’s authors on iOS for about as long as I’ve known iOS, and no one does kid-lit apps better.

Hop On Pop is just one of the amazing titles in their catalog, but it’s ideally suited to Father’s Day, and the folks at Oceanhouse have graciously decided to give one father or grandfather a chance to share the classic rhyming book with the little people without whom there would be nothing to celebrate.

All Oceanhouse Media books use a clean, perfected interface with just the right blend of interactivity to promote early reading, and all the right Seuss, er stuff, to make the text as pure as it was when dad first had it read to him when he was a little boy too.

By the way if you are looking for the best iPad and iPhone kid’s books please check out some Stay at Home GeekMom lists here and  here, and soon you’ll be able to win this amazing book, Auryn’s The Little Mermaid, too: check it out here.

We’ll be migrating all this content over to AppTudes ASAP and will be giving away amazing kid books from Oceanhouse, Auryn and may others all week so stayed tuned.

And yup, we have just a single copy of Hop On Pop for you right now, and someone out there is going to win it so don’t forget to comment, visit us on Facebook and tweet tweet tweet!

and speaking of tweets…

Twitter (universal)
By Twitter, Inc, Free

If your dad isn’t connected to the social media world yet, it’s time he was. And, if he is already a networking maven, he will need a way to stay on top of things from his new iPad or iPhone.

Facebook makes a free app for iPhone and is slated to release an iPad version in a few months, but Facebook is actually declining in popularity in North America, perhaps in part due to Zuckerberg’s reticence to work with huge players like Google and in some cases, Apple. The why is speculation, but the fact is the social network that continues to grow worldwide and serve new functions almost daily, is Twitter.

Aside from being a way to keep in touch with friends, share photos and celebrity gossip, Twitter is also is an incredible news reader, and it’s becoming one the most indispensible business and marketing tools around.

There are myriad Twitter apps you can download, some free, some paid. If your dad is already a power-user you might want to opt for an app with lots of bells and whistles, but for general users, Twitter’s own app, completely free, is the best choice. So install it for dad, set him up with an account and get him tweeting… appropriately.

Packing Pro (universal)
By Quinn Genzel, $2.99

Travelling this summer? Or does dad travel a lot for business? Wherever you are going, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and iOS sites, TUAW, iLounge and my own 148apps.com all call Packing Pro the must-have travel app.

Mom’s will love and need it too – it’s indispensible for single travellers, but if you’re packing for several you simply must get this app.

The interface is not just easy, it’s fun, so much so, you may fail to notice Quinn Genzel has packed in a ton of features.

There is expert list assistance which is essentially several packing templates for both genders and different ages. Users have the ability to create up to eight lists at once, the app has tons of themes to make it your own, and includes suggested lists for everyone from campers to business travellers. There is also a master list of over 400 items and of course, you can add your own.

The best part, the app syncs across devices, so you can create lists for everyone in your party and share them easily.

If you plan on leaving home this summer for more than a few hours, the first thing you need to pack is Packing Pro, right onto your iDevice. Then, happy, stress-lite travels! What? You’re still stressed? Well how about a free copy of the app? We’ve got them, comment and socialize to win!

Quickoffice® Pro (available for iPhone and iPad, sold separately)
By Quickoffice, Inc., $9.99 iPhone $14.99 iPad

Ah, what do you do with a work-a-holic in summer time? If dad can’t take a break, the beauty of a mobile device is he can take the work on the go with him. And, so can students, writers and everyone else who relies on Microsoft Office products.

Apple offers appified versions of its iWorks suite on the App Store, now also available for iPhone, if your pops uses Microsoft products at work or home there is no perfect solution on iOS.

But, there are a few good apps that allow you to create, import, edit and export docs in popular MS formats like .docx .xls etc. as well as PDF’s.

QuickOffice Pro is the best of them and was picked by the NY times as a top 10 Must-Have App for the iPhone and it was Best of Show Winner – Macworld 2010.

You can create docs with the app, and also edit existing ones, share them easily, and even use Air Play to view your files on a TV which is  a great way to show a Powerpoint presentation in particular. It has the most robust formatting tools in its class and is suited to both  power and personal use.

Grim Joggers (universal)
By 10Tons LTD, $1.99

If your old man prefers getting his fitness virtually, or is a just a gamer, Grim Joggers is on of the best endless runner games available for iOS.

You lead a pack of fitness-fanatics on a run through treacherous terrain, using a simple touch control to jump and avoid obstacles. Like all endless runners, the goal is to stay alive for as long as you can, but aside from the clever theme, Grim Joggers stands out as an iOS perma-favorite because you are not only trying to keep yourself alive, but lead your fellow joggers to safety too, which add a whole new dimension to gameplay.

We have a complete review coming later today with an extra chance to win, we’ll post the link as soon as it goes live, later today.

And, if you love this or any of 10Ton’s amazing games stay turned, we have promo codes to give away! In fact the amazing game-lovers at 10tons have given us tons of codes so check back daily, we have 10 tons of their best titles!

Everyday Golf Coach HD (sold separately for iPhone/iPod touch)
By Perish the Thought Golf, $6.99 HD $5.99 iPhone

Summer, for dads around the world, often means just one thing – golf. Its pretty hot with moms too and lately even kids are getting into the act.

There are dozens of apps to help you track your golf balls, keep score, and improve your game. If improvement is what you’re after, Everyday Golf Coach is a superlative choice.

PGA Pro Noel Rousseau created 32 “highly acclaimed” videos just for this app. Since I’m not a golfer, here’s how Perish the Thought Golf describes themselves:

From tee shots to sloping lies, shots from the rough and an array of short game skills. No gloss, no cheap tips, just a brilliantly executed package that will ultimately improve your game. Now with the addition of the swing analyzer this gives you the complete golf coaching app.

A lot of apps that use videos require an Internet connection. What’s great about Everyday Golf Coach is the videos reside in-app. With new carrier bandwidth caps this means you can take your pocket coach right onto the back nine with you, and not use up any of that precious data plan.

Beginners and seasoned golfers will benefit from the instruction, and as an app, the GUI shines. Check it out! We have it, so be sure to comment if you want it and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Nightstand Central – Music Alarm Clock with Weather, Sleep Timer, and Flashlight (available for iPad and iPhone/iPod touch separately)
By Thomas Huntington, $1.99 iPhone $2.99 iPad

OK, so no one loves an alarm clock. Its function is to interrupt you when you least want to be bothered, but we all need one and if you must have one, why not have the best and most beautiful.

Nightstand Central is one of several popular app options that allows you to customize your clock face, get your weather, and select not only from pre-set sounds, but also your iTunes library.

It’s a standout, however, because it brings in the best features of all the other apps out there. It let’s you choose from beautiful backgrounds or import your own, you can fine tune the look of the clock, and create different playlists and multiple alarms. It even doubles as a flashlight app.

If your dad has to wake up early this summer, Nightstand Central, popped into a speaker dock, or propped on a hotel night table, is the way to go.

Fahrenheit – Weather and Temperature on your Home Screen (Universal)
By International Travel Weather, $.99

Weather. Whether dad stays in and plays Scrabble, or takes his new iPad out golfing, it pretty much all comes down to weather.

And, there are as many way of checking the weather on your iDevice, as there are ways to read news. You can get it from the web, from the iPhone App that comes preloaded, in 3D, from space, so how do you choose?

Well, if it’s function you are after, look no further than Fahrenheit (or if you use the metric system its sister app, Celsius)

The app brings you weather from home and around the world, including extended 10-day forecasts in an attractive spartan GUI, and provides more than enough information for all but the most weather-obsessed.

The standout feature that makes the app indispensible is it is the only app on the app store that has a badge on it showing you your local forecast in almost real time, without having to so much as tap.

It would seem like an updating icon would be a no-brainer, but it took until 2011 for someone to do it without jailbreaking. Now that International Travel Weather has, this is the essential weather app for iPhone and iPad.

Bloomberg (available for iPad and iPhone separately)
by By Bloomberg Finance LP, Free

If your padre is a money-guy, he’s going to want to stay up to date with the latest stock news, and there is no more respected source, nor a better iOS interface for market news, than that made by Bloomberg.

There isn’t much to say, if you need the best and latest stock market news and analysis this is the app to get. It’s available for both iPhone and iPad and is completely free.

Weber’s On The Grill (sold separately for iPad and iPhone)
By Weber-Stephen Products Co., $4.99 (both versions)

Mmm’ summer’s here and it’s time to break out the grill and start barbequing. Whether you own a Weber grill or a Habachi, their app is a must have for dads who love to tend the flames.

The app contains 280 ”Weber Original” recipes and an additional 40 for rubs, marinades, and sauces.

The app is more than a cookbook however; it is a reference tool with a pretty sophisticated navigation system, a grocery list manager, even a grill timer! There are also 100 grilling tips and instructional videos by celebrity chef and author, Jamie Purlance. Even the photos are mouthwatering. Get this for the grill master in your yard today.

We love this app so much that even though we weren’t able to reach Weber-Stephens, AppTudes will give a gift copy of this app, that can be earned the same way as promo codes. But, please note: iTunes gift apps and gift cards can only be redeemed in the US or Canadian app stores. If you win one, be sure to let us know which store you use. Remember, tweeting and Facebook visits, increase your odds of winning!

And that’s all we have for you right now, but the App Store is overflowing with great apps, for dads and everyone else. If you think we missed a great one, please share it with our readers in the comments, and check back often, we will be populating the site with reviews we have written elsewhere and fresh reviews daily so that we can become your one-stop app-shopping guide soon!

Good luck, and thanks for welcoming Tudey and AppTudes! We look forward to see you soon!

Al Gore Want iOS Users To Know When It Comes To Climate Change, It’s: Our Choice

  • Publisher: Push Pop Press
  • Genre: interactive book, climate change
  • Platform: Universal
  • Price: $4.99 
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 4.75 Stars
  • Recommended Age: 10+

“Climate change threatens each and every one of us, and grows more and more dangerous every day,” says former Vice President Al Gore, as he greets readers to the interactive iOS version of his book, Our Choice.

The universal book-app is the latest of Gore’s efforts to bring global awareness to the issue of climate change, and is a benchmark in digital publishing. It is also the winner of a 2011 Apple Design Award, and is both an iOS and mainstream media darling.

The app contains an abridged version of the print book by the same title along with a host of interactive features. It starts with an up close and personal introduction from Al Gore and is jam-packed with high-resolution photos, interactive maps, “infographics,” animations, documentary videos, and audio commentary by the former VP.

The writing is fluid and informative, but if one is simply looking for competent prose on the subject, the print book would suffice.

This app, powered by Push Pop Press, brings something new to the digital publishing world that is worth discussing apart from the written content.

There are incredible book-apps that were designed as apps first, but this is the best rendition of an existing title ported and digitized for iOS to-date.

If you read my bog regularly you might be confused. I just called Virtual History – The Last Supper the standard bearer too, and I stand by the superlatives for both book-apps. But, Last Supper was always intended to be an app first, the text written content was chosen to highlight the features. This is the way already published books need to adapt to nascent technologies.

The attention to providing a rich user-experience is evident right from the interactive “cover,” a 3d rendering of Earth, which will pinpoint a reader’s location and exhibit how climate change will effect that spot on Earth.

Much thought, clearly, went into creating an interactive experience that would not just compliment, but genuinely enhance both the reading experience and the message. The features feel organic.

The app has an intuitive, user-friendly navigation system – each topic can be scrolled through and specific topics of interest can be explored without following a prescribed order.

Unusual too for this type of app fare, Our Choice shines brightest on iPad, but is actually universal and looks sharp on the iPhone too.

Check out this video to peek within the virtual pages and hear from Al Gore himself:

The is not a great choice for young children – the issues are complex and much of the subject matter is (justifiably) frightening, or it should be anyway if you’re paying attention. There are many ways to raise an iOS eco-warrior, you can find some of the best  on my Green Apps list here.

But, if you have a tween or older child studying climate change, this book is an excellent study companion and an engaging way to get young people motivated to make the hard choices facing their generation.

There are going to be haters – this is (unfortunately) a controversial subject in some quarters, especially in parts of the US. Climate change deniers are not going to enjoy this app, no matter how stellar the iOS rendition, on principal. And, to be fair, Mr. Gore’s political biases are not exactly subtle.

Looking at this as an app, however, critics and users agree, it sets a new bar in digital publishing.

Climate change is real, folks, and as Our Choice illuminates, the future looks grim, especially if pervasive indifference, diversionary discourse, malaise and a sense of hopelessness persist.

But, neither is the future etched in stone. This book’s title is not accidental; it is a matter of choice.

This app will not only inform, but also help readers become proactive in the fight to save Earth. Eco-warriors, tech junkies, and readers alike should celebrate Our Choice, it’s interactive reading as never before seen on iOS.

Note: The price is more than fair for a book-app this rich and 100% of Al Gore’s earnings from Our Choice will be donated to the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection.

If you are having deja vu, I just covered Our Choice in brief on my best interactive books for iPad list which you can find it here with rest of the best book-apps for iPad!

By the way don’t forget about Sunday’s big Launch of Apptudes!

We JUST set up a Facebook Fanpage here. While we figure it all out, we have special prizes just for those who take the time to visit and like. And check out some of the amazing prizes you can win during our luanch week swag-a-thon here. Over 100 new codes added today so be sure to visit us on Facebook and follow @apptudes and @sahgeekmom on twitter so you don’t miss out!

Here are a few recent and reviews and lists posts for you until I can write some more fresh content up – it may be a few days, I want to dedicate these last few days exclusively to the new site, but I’ll be bck very soon with more of what you know and love from me, The Stay at Home GeekMom.

Happy App Hunting

The 

New Facebook Page – New Chances To Win iTunes Cards From AppTudes and SAHGeekMom

We JUST set up a Facebook Fanpage here. While we figure it all out, we have special prizes just for those who take the time to visit and like.

When we hit 100 likes we will give out a $10 iTunes Gift Card. When we hit 200 we will give out a $20 iTunes gift card. If we happen to hit any other multiple of 100 we will give out $25 iTunes cards at each milestone.

But act fast, the contest closes Friday June 17, 9:00pm EDT!

Good luck and thanks for checking us out. Don’t forget to follow @apptudes to be the first to know about all the freebies and great reviews and lists coming your way soon!

To see just some of what you can win suring our launch week swag-a-thon click here.

Happy App Hunting

The 

The Best Interactive Books (Book-Apps) For iPad And iPad2


Edited 6/8/11

The iPad is a great ebook reader, but it also offers a unique platform for a growing number of book-app hybrids that are pushing the limits of digital publishing. We have seen these interactive iPad books featured prominently in the New and Noteworthy and Staff Favorite sections on the App Store home page, and the titles are often amongst the top-grossing iPad apps around.

A lot of that has to doing with their pricing points, these are also some of the more expensive offerings on the App Store. And, while often featured by Apple, I noticed it is pretty hard to find a lot of user or critical reviews of these book-apps.

So, I have collected some of the best non-fiction offerings right here for you. Whether you love history, science, music, art, space travel or just love the digitally enhanced written word, there’s a book-app just for you.

Remember please that lists, unlike guides, are in no particular order, these are all great choices, depending on your interests. If I forgot your favourite, please leave a note in the comments too, I would love to discover more of this sort of App Store fare.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration

by Element Collection, Inc $13.99

If you’ve seen the original iPad ads, you’ve already met The Elements the first in a series three books (The Planets and Gems and Jewels being the others) from this publisher. They all seem to use essentially the same user-interface (UI). This original title covers the periodic table of elements, in a way that will engage even the least scientific of readers.

From the opening song listing the elements to the ever-catchy tune of “A Modern Major General” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, to the optional 3D specs you can purchase from the publisher to see each of the building blocks that make up our world pop before your eyes, this app puts the entertainment into edu-tainment in a serious way.

There isn’t a text per se; the data is pulled from superlative science search engine WolframAlpha, but that’s a plus since their information is the best. While this app  can’t replace a chemistry textbook, it will certainly get you through a good part of your chem 101 final in a more pleasant way than the dry tome you will likely pay $75 for in September.

Virtual History – Roma

by Mondadori.it $9.99

The first of a series of interactive books for iPad from Italian publishing giant Mondadori, Roma (read full review here) is simply astonishing. I picked this title only because it may have a more broad-base appeal than it’s equally mesmerizing sibling,Virtual History – The Last Supper, (read full review here.) Both set the bar in digital publishing for iOS.

Using a proprietary technology to incorporate a feature they call a “Bubble Viewer,” the reader can immerse themselves in a fully three-dimensional environment, by rotating the iPad as you would rotate your head to view a surrounding.

Whether it’s the Roman baths or the market at Pompeii the experience is one of seeing everything, from all sides, up and down, in rich detail, and combined with features like interactive timelines, 3D objects to rotate, overlays and more the book-app will enthral; the use of new technologies alone makes this app well worth the $10 investment.

How does it read? Remarkably well, Roma is not an academic title, but the prose is fluent and the breath, from pre-Roman Italy to the rise of the empire-toppling “barbarians” is outstanding. Whether you like art and history, gladiators, architecture or mythology, if it happened in Ancient Rome, Roma has it covered in an insightful new way.

Expect new titles from Mondadori coming soon and only The Stay at Home GeekMom will bring them to you first!

Our Choice

by Push Pop Press, Inc. $4.99

Al Gore has transitioned from yet another former Vice President on the Wally World ribbon-cutting circuit, to being one of, if not the, preeminent spokesman for the Global Warning movement. Seriously, he is at least as well known for his books and speeches on the subject as for anything he did in office.

The Vice President greets readers of this book-app with a video explaining the importance of the subject matter, and then you can swipe through the visual table of contents and pop open a page with a tap.

The app is based on the apparently text-richer book by the name title, and is loaded with videos, of course. The unfolding photos and photo commentary are standout features. If you care about the subject matter or want to see how non-fiction can exploit the digital publishing landscape you should definietely check this one out.

The History of Jazz – an interactive timeline
by 955 Dreams $9.99

 

Music lovers have a plethora of great book-apps to choose from. The History of Jazz is one of the best and most popular. The publishers call it an “interactive timeline” which aptly sums up what this book-app offers. Music is meant to be heard and performances watched, not read, so the app is a tad text-light, but very video-rich.

Using a navigation menu that look like construction paper piano keys, you can explore this uniquely American musical genre from its birth in the 1890’s through to the present day. The History of Jazz is crammed full of YouTube-hosted videos showing performances by everyone from the great Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton, to Joshua Redmond, the African-American, Jewish, Berkley-based saxophonist, whose “Molten Soul” music is leading Jazz in daring new directions.

Ragtime, New Orleans Classic, Dixieland, Chicago, “Jazz Age” Big Band, swing, bebop, cool jazz, slow fusion, acid jazz, even vocal jazz, it’s all here, in a simple engaging format. Don’t plan on enjoying the app offline though, it requires an internet connection to stream the videos. But, Jazz fans and the uninitiated will learn from the minimalist, but informative text, and performances by Kenny G, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and almost every other Jazz great. It’s treat for the eyes and the ears.

Man In Space

by Bristol Magazines Limited $4.99

Man In Space is a digital rendition of the 50th anniversary edition of “Sky at Night Magazine”. While not a book, per se, both the print issue and the iOS version have much more to say than many of the “books” on this list.

The app traces the history of space travel from Yuri Gagarin’s first spaceflight in 1961 to the International Space Station and into the future. This BBC (Bristol, the publishers, are the BBC’s magazine division) pack this book-app with cool videos and interactive features. It contains everything in the print addition; this app is not an abridged text as are many others here.

The GUI is wonderful. The menu system is intuitive, the images are crisp and the text is well-integrated with the digital features. The 3D images are a standout. Man In Space, unlike others on this list like Woodstock or The History of Jazz, contain all the videos embedded within the app.

This is great for off-line reading, as the other books require an internet connection to stream from Youtube, but it does mean the book will use a lot of memory on your iPad. If you like outer space it’s well worth the iPad space.

Kings and Queens by David Starkey
by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd $6.99

If you are love British history, and you don’t know David Starkey it’s time to get yourself acquainted with the masterful author and BBC documentarian. His scholarship on the topic of England’s monarchies is irreproachable. He also has knack for bringing potentially dry and academic, but actually bulging-with-intrigue, stories of the great northern European island kingdom and it’s most salacious characters, to life in vivid colour.

This book-app brings you some of Starkey’s best writing, with a host of interactive features including of course, videos from the TV persona himself, but also timelines, detailed family trees, and the abridged version of the text book.

It’s too late to see it now, but a neat feature was the live in-app coverage by Sky-news, of the Royal Wedding last month. But if you are a fan of Wills and Kate, the archive is well stocked with great information and the videos too. A must-have for any history buff, Phillipa Gregory reader, or fan of TV show The Tudors.

On the Way to Woodstock

by 955 Dreams $9.99

On the Way to Woodstock, is another “interactive timeline” book, by the same publisher as History of Jazz which was updated literally the moment this list was being written, to address some broken video links, and technical glitches. But, it already had over 120 almost-perfect ratings from users, so you know the content is great: app-buyers, especially at this pricing point, are not usually so forgiving of technical mishaps. But, I get it. I also would have given even the flawed version a 4.5 star rating too, it’s really cool.

The book-app follows the tried-and-true format and essentially uses the same GUI as Jazz, but turns it attention instead to the American experience in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was that idealized, baby-boominh American era when everything seemed possible, but a time in which any given day seemed like the most important and potentially the last on Earth. (Sound familiar? Those who don’t study history…)

Videos and text take you from the idealized 1950’s through the social, cultural and political upheaval of the 1960’s and only then delves into the Woodstock music festival, which in many ways was the culmination of the epoch.

Whether you wore tie-die and watched Jimmy Hendrix shred the Star Spangled banner live, you went to a revival festival, or you are just intrigued by this most American of times, this digital book and its grooves, can’t be beat.

Shakespeare In Bits: Macbeth iPad Edition
by Mindconnex Learning Ltd. $14.99

There is also a Romeo and Julietversion of this unusual and wholly unique offering from Mindconnex. It’s a clever new approach to studying the Bard’s works, and it’s so much fun I hope to see Hamlet, King Lear, A Midsummer’s Nights Dream and the rest of the complete works severed up in the same GUI soon.

Shakespeare In Bits offers a fully-animated and voiced study edition of the play, dynamic text features, easy-to-access modern language translations, and a complete study guide in an easy on the eyes and the brain package. The voice-actors are wonderful, speaking in a cadence to promote understudying, but with inflection and appropriate accents.

Because it’s animated doesn’t mean they dumb it down; this isn’t a Cliff Notes-style app. The full text is presented and spoken, just made more engaging, especially for young people. Whether you a Shakespeare-lover, a willing college student, or a high-schooler being force-fed Macbeth in a dry, formulaic and uninspired way, you have to check out this app and this series. iPhone version sold separately.

Andrew Zuckerman: Music
by PQ Blackwell Limited $9.99

This app is a rockers dream and has been teasing me for a long time by making frequent appearances on Staff Favourites, so I had to check it out for this list. It’s a full-course feast for music lovers, and while it’s not the newest app in digital publishing it holds up well.

It will appeal to a braod cross-section of rock lovers as there seems to be no genre barrier for Zuckerman, who has published a paper book with the same title. This book-app features over 50 musicians, from across popular genres, who “provide their perspectives on one of the most universal and yet unexplainable art forms.”

Expect portraits and videos of each included musician with extra goodies like interviews and more short films. Sorting is simple, sharing irresistible and the app links to iTunes if you want to purchase the music you hear. A no-brainer for an old groovesters and young ‘uns into the latest alike.

Ansel Adams

by Hatchet Book Group Inc, $13.00

If art and photography are more up your alley, iconic American landscape photographer Ansel Adams has a coffee-table book of some of his works out on iPad that is a treat for fans of his work.

This book-app contains 40 high-resolution photos highlighting some of his best works taking full advantage of the iPad beautiful display. This is a paring down author Andrea Stillman’s 400-piece collection in print, and focuses largely on his shots of the Sierra Nevada mountains, one of several place he called home.

You can pinch-to-zoom into the breathtaking shots or listen to the captions read aloud. The app includes a section on “Letters and Images,” “Ansel’s postcards” and a collection of three short videos featuring the genius himself. Its sumptuous eye candy for photography lovers, and those who want to see how art can shine on iPad and iPad 2.

Here On Earth

by Arcade Sunshine Media, LLC., $11.99

I first picked this title as an ideal choice for my Earth Day App List, and it still stands as a great choice for the science-minded looking for more serious fare. Or anyone interested in evolution, and all the sociological and scientific issues that attend.

Tim Flannery’s book about Darwin, Dawkins, evolution, and how to reshape our thinking on those matters, is amazing and meaty. The multimedia version of the bestselling work, “traces the history of the planet, the history of humanity, and the impact that we have had on our planet.” Before you balk at the price, the text iBook is only a dollar less; in print, it’s more. Here the text is accompanied by 25 Interviews with the author, videos from award-winning filmmakers, social network integration, even Air Play support.

It’s not for the intellectually timid, but the special features make the app much more accessible than the text-only book. Another benchmark for digital publishing.

War in the Pacific
by Gameloft, 4.99

What an unexpected surprise to find game powerhouse Gameloft teaming up with Carlson to bring great interactive books to iPad. The result of pairing a gamehouse with a publishing house of their respective statures is what you would expect: fantastic. 

And if you like this offering look for War Planes slated for release next week. Like Here on Earth, this is a serious non-fction book, by author and WWII history scholar, Richard Overy, and the app faithfully renders the text.

Features added by Gameoft to the digital version include a foreword by Dale Dye, Senior Military Advisor to HBO’s The Pacific and Band of Brothers, which engages the reader from word one, by clearly delineating the experiences specific to soldiers in the Pacific theatre, along with archival documentaries from 1945, animated maps and some really interesting facsimile documents.

Even if you didn’t catch the mini-series, and you’re not a war votary, there’s a lot in Overy’s fluid prose for any reader to connect with. This one should not be missed by anyone looking to enhance their understanding of the Second World War.

Of course there are many other great choices, I can’t cover them all, but if I missed your fave please leave a note in the comments.

I’ll be back later with some really big news, and of course have fresh reviews, contests and other fun stuff for you later this week. For now, please enjoy some of my most recent and most popular reviews and guides from the list below.

Happy App Hunting

The 

 

Watch Out Pandora: Slacker Radio Updates iOS App For iPad And It’s A Game Changer.

Watch Out Pandora: Slacker Radio Updates iOS App For iPad And It’s A Game Changer:

  • By: Slacker Radio 
  • Genre: music, online radio, music streaming, music discovery
  • Platform: Universal
  • Price: Free (additional features for subscribers)
  • SAHGeekMom Rating: 5 Stars
  • Recommended Age: All Ages 

Hello again,

As busy as I am with the upcoming launch of apptudes.com (see our press release about the new site in iOS and Android reviews coming Father’s Day!)  I haven’t abandoned my post at appadvice.com or my commitment to you, my loyal readers.

Slacker Radio has graciously agreed to be part of apptudes.com’s launch-week swag-a-thon (click here for just some of our amazing sponsors) so if you miss out on the appadvice giveaway, stay tuned or follow me on twitter @sahgeekmom for more chances to win coming soon.

Slacker Radio (Free) by Slacker, Inc. may be a relatively new native iPad app, but iPhone users have had access to the online radio and music discovery service for a while now.

It’s an alternative (a better one with 10 times the catalog), to App Store darling Pandora. If you have an iPad, it’s time to change your home page. Slacker Radio’s app is a must-have for music lovers.

I know Slacker well, because while Pandora is on every “what to download first for iPhone” list in the known world, its service is not available in Canada, but we do get Slacker. Since I knew their service having listened on my Mac and PC, I grabbed their app a week after I got my first iPhone.

But, when a friend who uses a US IP for work had me over, I was so excited to finally try out Pandora’s app.

To my surprise, the service (he is a paying member) and the app didn’t blow my mind. They are great, but I was suddenly happy that I had “picked” Slacker. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the border!

I will get into their services and subscription plans, and tell you how to win a year of premium service for free, but this is first and foremost an app review, so let’s start there.

Slacker’s bright shiny new iPad version is eye candy. It presents your music, in either orientation, using the iPad’s brilliant display and multi-touch interface to maximum advantage (since the iPhone GUI seems largely unaltered, the screenshots are from an iPad 2.)

In the “Now Playing” area (you can just pick a station and start listening) you have a neat cover flow display, which, depending on your subscription level (most people use this service for free) shows passed and upcoming track info.

You also get instant in-app access to artist bios, album information and lyrics, when allowed by the music distributor.

You can sit back and let any of the over 100 pre-programmed stations in popular genres like rock, alternative, pop, hip hop, indie, and country music get you grooving.

But, Slacker is not about a passive music experience, it is about customizing radio to suit you. Many services try, Slacker does it best, especially if you spring for the full premium package.

The app allows you to use most of Slacker’s mobile features minus a handy auto-caching option for Blackberry and Android, due to Apple’s (self-defeating) refusal to let enyone but Apple access hardware. Caching on iOS must be selected manually if you have the paid service and want to listen offline.

But, if Slacker Radio online does it, this app does too and in a way that will make you want to pop your iPad in a speaker dock and start rocking. Trust me, you’ll make your Apple-hating friends want an iPad 2, too.

Slacker has the pre-programmed channels in popular genres, including artist spotlights, and lots of ways to make your listening experience all your own for free.

And, you can access a DJ for some stations, and turn on news updates provided by ABC news, or listen to their dedicated station,with the entry-level “plus” subscription plan (which is a bit more than Pandora’s, at $3.99/month, but includes unlimited skips, the 10 million song catalogue etc.) or at their new “premium” service that comes with a premium price tag of $9.99 a month.

One account and subscription covers all devices: the existing iPhone app, this new iPad version, and it’s good on your computer, other mobile devices or you can even purchase a Slacker-specific portable unit.

The GUI is rich and intuitive; the app is a treat and not just for your ears. But, audiophiles report that if you listen with high-end headphones, Slacker’s sound quality is best in class.

Here’s a complete tour of the iPad version, also available in-app:

Slacker Radio, like their competitors in this field, know the bulk of their listeners aren’t going to pony up any cash.

Slacker, therefore, is available at no charge; you can still create custom stations (playlist creation, on-demand songs, and complete album playback are reserved for premium-members) and you can skip six songs per hour. That’s a huge plus, not offered by Pandora.

For free, you don’t get the bells and whistles, but you also don’t get slapped with a 40-hour per month listening cap. Check out the cool iPad 2 feature in the screenshot below.

You can take a picture from the iPad 2’s camera, and customize your station or playlist icon. Sweet! It’s great for easy navigation through everyone’s favorite playlist in your home.

Slacker is more than an online radio programmer. Their service, and their apps, are not just about listening. Slacker is all about music discovery.

My screenshots may belie my age, so I’ll admit that before I met Slacker (and kin), just a few years ago, my idea of “new” music was anything from the late 80’s or early ‘90s.

I am a die-hard classic rock lover, yet after 40 years of the same soundtrack, I was eager to find new artists. But, where does someone with long-established tastes begin looking for new music that won’t offend?

Easy. Just put the type in the name of a favorite band, and you’re off.

I started with The Grateful Dead and it immediately brought up (using a tag search I assume, but an advanced one) not only other classic rock artists, like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd, but also stations that feature The Dead, and newer jam-bands. (Who knew there was anything post-Phish!)

By looking at the suggested artists, it’s easy to rediscover names long forgotten, (Hot Tuna, anyone?) and when I moved seamless from classic rock to singer/songwriters a new world opened up.

While adding James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkle to favorites (you can pick favorite artists and songs so Slacker knows to play them more often, or ban specific songs and artists; Slacker adapts), I was, in moments, meeting Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, the Kings of Leon and others that may not be new to you, but to were to this geezer-geek.

Once you find new artists, they lead to others, and the next thing you know you are populating stations not only with your old standbys, but with fresh content, new to you anyway.

Slacker offers an amazing amount of configurability. You can fine tune most stations which is my favorite feature.

When listening to The Beatles I want to go fringe, I never need to hear Yesterday again, thanks. (It’s just overplayed, don’t hate me.)

But, I love finding old B-sides and obscure cuts from, say, a George Harrison solo album. When it comes to the Black Eyed Peas and Coldplay, however, I want hits.

What balance your stations strike is up to you. Pick new songs, or aim for older tracks, add more new artist discovery, or limit yourself to mostly your favorites. Slacker let’s you decide what you listen to, that’s the whole point.

The iPad version of the Slacker app is fantastic, the iPhone version could benefit from a landscape orientation, only, really, for easy alternation with a GPS app in the car, and I like the clean look on the iPad better, but it’s still slick and has all the same features, in a GUI intended for the smaller screen.

Subscriptions:

Slacker Radio’s free service is the best in class, with a huge catalog of songs and limited free skips. It has advertisements.

The “plus” service, $3.99/month, removes the adverts, gives you unlimited skips, caching for offline listening, optional news and lyrics.

The $9.99/month “premium” service can replace your iTunes app and mp3 collection, as well as your cloud service. It gives you everything in the “plus” package, and on-demand playback, lets you create playlists as you would in iTunes, and listen to albums played as they were meant to be heard, with the tracks in order.

All users can purchase the songs they like; a tap takes you right to iTunes. And, social media integration, via twitter and email, lets you share your custom stations and music tastes with the world.

No matter how you get your Slacker Radio, there’s is a must have app for iOS (and Android) music lovers.

Remember you can enter to win a year of Premium Slacker service here on appadvice.com, and stayed tuned for another Slacker-sponsored giveaway coming soon to http://www.apptudes.com!

Added: 6/3/11: Slacker Radio graciously put my review on their Facebook wall. And, when I went to check it out, I saw you can get a free month of premium membership and enter to win more year-long gift certificates too, click here for more details.

I’ll be back with a new app list and more reivews and sneak peeks at hot apps and games soon. In the mean time here is a post about my new app review venture, apptudes.com, and some of most recent reviews and most popular lists for you to check out:

Happy App Hunting

The 

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