When you live with a device, you learn what works and what doesn’t work. What is needed and what isn’t. For most developers, the iPhone is on them all the time. For many, the iPad isn’t. Because of this, I believe many iPad apps are lacking.
Most iPad apps are just scaled up iPhone apps. Between Auto-Layout, Size Classes, and more, Apple has made it nearly effortless for app developers to make an iPhone app that “just works” on iPad. But this isn’t always pretty. Just look at Twitter on iPad. One column, centered in the middle of the screen. Then look at Tweetbot. A custom two-column layout, tab bar on the left and even some basic keyboard shortcuts.
Developers need to spend time with their medium. Web developers that spend a lot of time on the web get more experience by seeing what others are doing and how. iPhone developers see the latest tricks, trends, and standards by simply using their phones. This same care needs to be applied to iPad. Live with your app and see what works.
The frequency in which I whip out my calculator apparently (as per my quick office poll) is abhorrent. But I do. My grocery shopping involves a tight budget ($30/week) and a calculator tallying up the total as I walk through the aisles. For the longest time Calcbot was my go to. But it has slowly become dated. So when Numerical came out last year, it became my standard. Well, today Tapbots has gone and updated Calcbot to 2.0 and brought with it a brand new interface!
Along with the new interface comes Convertions, clearly replacing Convertbot from back in the day, and Themes. Two $0.99 In-App Purchase theme packs (including 4 themes each) are available right now along with a Calcbot Pro purchase that unlocks one more theme along with Unit Convertions, Unlimited History Tap, and Custom Constants. The Pro upgrade is $1.99.
For me at least, it’s goodbye Numerical and welcome back Calcbot! Glad to see you back!
The Tapbots team seems to be getting a lot of slack for updating Calcbot and not Tweetbot for Mac or iPad. So much so that Mark Jardine, the designer of Tapbots, tweeted the above response. From prior posts, we know that Tapbots had Calcbot almost ready to launch right before iOS 7 was announced. The redesign of iOS 7 caused them to scrap Calcbot. Tweetbot, their most popular app, got updated next for iOS 7 and was a major overhaul visually to meet the new standard. Tapbots is, as per screenshots shared a couple weeks back, working on an update to Tweetbot for Yosemite. A two man team can only do so much and ultimately, as a business, must make money to survive. With Twitter being more and more hostile towards third-party developers over the last few years, the likelihood of Tweetbot dying one day is huge. So, personally, I’m glad they are diversifying. I love them too much to see them go out of business.
The beauty of the backgrounds, running the course of the day, lighting the landscape is absolutely incredible. This game shows what the iPhone is capable of without focusing on it. Snow and rain fall, lightening and shooting stars flash across your screen, as you become one with the mountain. Fiery embers and smoke rise into the air as you blaze by. The animation is truly stunning.
It is the simplicity of games like these that hook mobile gamers. Alto’s Adventure reminds me of Tiny Wings a few years ago. Beautiful graphics is what sells these games, not game play. But even with very simple gameplay, the game has a lot of great elements. Capture the llamas— which are points; the llamas are points—, collect coins, and chain tricks to get a higher and higher score. But watch out for the elders. They don’t like your youthful antics.
As you complete 180 goals, you will unlock 6 characters. Maya is the flipper. Paz is slow to start, but builds up big speed. Izel is the gadget junkie, trailing fire behind her board. Felipe is a llama. On a snowboard. Go with it. And then the elder, Tupa, channels the energy of the mountain.
Use your points to expand the magnet and hover gadgets and buy the wing suit. Yes, the wing suit. Not only do you snowboard with llamas, but you can fly too.
To say that I have played this game for hours is an understatement. Last week my daughter, a six month old that sleeps soundly through the night, woke up screaming at 3 am. My wife and I were up for 2 hours trying to get her back down. For the second half of that time, I was playing Alto. At 4 in the morning.
Beautiful games are few and far between. This is something special and unique. The team behind Alto’s Adventure has been working on it for two years. You can see the earliest experimentations on Harry Nesbitt’s blog as he tooled around with the Unity engine and on his Dribbble account as he worked through llama animations. The passion of the design and development team just bleeds through every pixel. Their two years are worth it, in my book.
For 2015, iOS 9, which is codenamed Stowe (after the ski resort in Vermont), is going to include a collection of under-the-hood improvements. Sources tell us that iOS 9 engineers are putting a “huge” focus on fixing bugs, maintaining stability, and boosting performance for the new operating system, rather than solely focusing on delivering major new feature additions. Apple will also continue to make efforts to keep the size of the OS and updates manageable, especially for the many millions of iOS device owners with 16GB devices.
If this turns out to be true, it will make a lot of people happy. Stability is one of the biggest complaints in the last year and I have personally heard it from a lot of friends that are Apple fans and developers.