Apple iPhone X Design Evo

This year, and after ten years of iterations, Apple exceptionally released at same time two new devices: iPhone 8 and iPhone X (three if we count the 8 Plus variant).

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We can really identify an evolution and a polish of their industrial design in the current most iconic product line as it is the ‘iPhone’.

Sir Jony Ive made several movements in material selection along the years:

  • iPhone 2G (soft Aluminium) [2007]
  • iPhone 3G (Polycarbonate) [2008]
  • iPhone 4 (Steel frame with back glass)  [2010]
  • iPhone 5 (Alum Series 6000)  [2012]
  • iPhone 6s (Alum Series 7000)  [2015]
  • iPhone 8 (Alum 7000 frame with back glass strengthened [but not shatterproof])
  • iPhone X (Steel frame with back glass strengthened [but not shatterproof]) [2017]

The iPhone 4 made the first milestone, introducing a precious design based solely on noble materials such as Glass and Steel:

iPhone4S

The users have seen the polishing of the original iPhone industrial design, making it Better, more simple, robust and elegant along the last years.

One step further, Apple introduced a fully unibody alum case making the device (iPhone 5) even more robust against falls and over time, and reaching the maximum expression of inner specs and nice design with the still available iPhone SE (2016). And still pretty loved small and handy 4″ screen iPhone for single hand usage.

iPhoneSE_Flying

But I would say this was until 2014 with the iPhone 6 introduction. It became slimmer and rounded but the introduction of the Back Camera Turret destroyed the beautiful job done until the iPhone 5s. I can understand the engineering trade-off’s and Apple’s eagerness to continuously improve its photographic system; but that doesn’t mean that the final solution was pretty inconvenient in terms of simply ID.

iPhone6s_flying

And in 2014 year, also the iPhone 6s Plus (the bigger iPhone made until today) was also presented, which due its size, also explained the fact of making the device thinner and rounded (despite the back turret); to avoid a feeling of having a mastodon in the hands of the end user.

iPhone6s

Personally, I have been a really fan lover of the Plus FHD 5.5″ screen, despite the fact that the overall device size was never as handy as other more compact smartphones with 5,2″ FHD screens. So, I was also always waiting to what happen this year with the iPhone X, a more compact device with a massive screen.

You can see how the 4″ size is not enough anymore nowadays, and how the design of the iPhone X with bigger screen fixed it (compared with also iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models):

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But coming back to the desing of the device itself, I would like to remark several things.

I was not a big fan of losing the 3.5″ analog audio jack (although, I think is a good movement to push the market to improve the wireless earbuds developments), but the iPhone 7 (2016) fixed several design holes of the previous generations.

iPhone7

First of all, the black matte color came back and due the new alloy and treatment processes, it was stronger against scratches, just perfect!

Secondly, the back camera turret design was embraced with the whole housing design, making of it something Smoother and Flowing more naturally to the lens, not like a ‘nut’ screwed into the housing. Look at it:

iPhone7Plus.jpg

Third, the plastic lines embedded in the housing for the RF antennas, were delicately re-designed and pushed to the side borders to go undetected. So beautiful and handy engineering trade-off solution, again very well done in both black color variants.

And last, but not less important, the Touch ID mechanical push button was fully removed, but keeping perfectly its functionality! I really love this change. Because it eliminated a mechanical piece, more or less delicate, and with a certain tendency to break with time, even maybe being very careful with it.

This made the most robust, powerful and reliable iPhone device until today.

But unfortunately, the history doesn’t end here, and in 2017 iPhone 8 and X, Apple decided to came back to back glass covers.

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I understand the reasons behind for this movement: Inductive Charging feature introduction; as the main trend of Apple is to make its iPhone an fully ubiquitous device and fully cable loss dependent.

But this doesn’t mean that this marketing and engineering decision hard a tough impact in the design.

Now, we are again having a ‘nut’ embossed in the glass:

iPhone8.jpg

Which is even worse in the iPhone X, which straight turret is above 1mm height:

iPhoneX_flying.jpg

On top of that, the new “Space Gray” 2017 tone, is not dark/light enough gray, nor black, but some kind of slighly ‘ugly’ and a bit ‘dirty perception‘ gray tone, which makes it lose all the magic to the device. In the photos is not clearly noticeable, but in live it is, and loses many points in its favor; go to a shop and take a look yourself if you have the opportunity.

Another detail is that Apple bring back the frame made in Steell to the iPhone X (to differentiate further from iPhone 8), but I believe that the Alum alloy series 7000 continues being the best approach in terms of Hardness, Durability and Compensated weight for metal usage in smartphones:

iPhone8VSiPhoneX.jpg

And the worse is that the new back cover made in glass, and even reinforced, it is not shatterproof against falls. What, together with the higher back camera turrets, will make the need to use a cover more necessary than ever before, and not due the possible scratches of daily use, but to avoid instability on flat surfaces and possible glass breakages against falls.

Another problem of usability and perception is that the rear glass (despite being less slippery than the metal) is too warm and gives the impression of being cheaper and more bad than it really is; as it gives the feeling of being some kind of plastic material instead of glass, and not a premium material, something that back metal actually transmitted to the end user much perfectly.

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Nor does it give it a feeling of being a Monolithic device, something that the previous iPhone 7 Jet Black model transmitted much better, despite its inherent problem of being prone to scratches or micro abrasions after some daily usage without any cover.

iPhone7_Jet_Black.jpg

I also personally think that the decission to avoid a black variant in 2017 was to avoid any possible reminiscences with the old iPhone 4 and any kind of annoying comparison with an obsolete device of seven years ago. Although another possibility is that Apple has a silver bullet for next year minor update, and they would introduce the Pure Black in the iPhone 2018 as a variant novelty, we’ll see. As this also happened in the past.

So, as conclusion, even if this year new devices are really great iPhones (I have not any doubt about it) and I know for sure that Apple will make another hit of sales; they didn’t move a step forward with respect pure to Industry Design, but management decided to focus on offering a truly exceptional photographic experience, putting aside the aesthetic details; at least until R&D can find a viable technical solution that puts everything all together: Photography + Wireless + Design

To end, my wish would be that in next years iPhone milestones, Apple solves the engineering issue for the wireless charging (keeping it, of course) but changing the back material to something more robust for daily use and without hiding its great industrial design under a case: Aluminum again, another metal alloy or maybe even any innovative material (a new kind of ceramic?); and also the back camera it becomes again completely flat maintaining all its spectacular functionalities 😉

P.S. By the way ,I did not want to put too much emphasis on the iPhone X’s notch (Face ID), or ‘ears’ as some people call them:

FaceID_TrueDepth-iPhoneX_a

because the idea (True Depth cameras technology) has been implemented in a so sublime way taking into account all the engineering trade-off’s, look by yourself the inners complexity (8 tiny and extremely complex electronic components putted together in a row and perfectly alligned along the millions of units to be made):

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This is again a big step ahead in the consumer electronics in terms of strong seamless security system; and anyone can not, and should not, neglect all the merit behind to bring it to market; because it is another milestone in the smartphone industry, as it was the Touch ID at 2012. And I know that Apple UX team will find the best balance (maybe after few iOS iterations) to use those couple of ears to simply show useful information to the user without making ugly the whole interface always, adapting them depending of the app being used, and without bringing back a useless bottom black band just to simply offer a full symmetrical design, which will again wrongly oversize the device, making it less handy.

MSI Vortex – Radical Desktop Design

From time to time we see new desktop designs with some changes in their housing and approach, but this new MSI, really caught  my attention, reminding me so much the Mac Pro approach, but with a more aggressive design:

MSI_Vortex_001

It is not taller than 27cm and close to 4Kg weight, being quite compact and powerful for our desks.

In next image you can see a complete 3D exploded view of all its internals and how they are arranged; which is complex and awesome at same time:

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And also how is intented to dissipate all its inner heat generated:

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Simply, a tiny but powerful Beast 😀

Samsung Gear 360 (Looking inside)

It looks like 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality explosion phenomenom and general availability for everybody, and not only for consumption of contents (glasses), but also for creation.

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And being a market that nobody wants to neglect, Samsung seems that will present they first product, interballly called as “Proyect Beyond” (started at 2014) but commertially as Samsung Gear 360 (SM-C200) in the next MWC 2016.

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It looks like very promising although the price is still not disclosed.

And we look inside, we can see the level of complexity that this “16 Full-HD + 1 Top camera” implies:

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In the next images you can take a look of how it is build and all its inners parts. It looks like its assembly/dis-assembly will not be easy:

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Being though as portable system, Samsung engineer’s had to add up to 3 battery packs at bottom side:

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And thermically speaking, a big aluminum plate on top of the PCBA and cameras to dissipate the heat:

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We can also see the Ultra Wide-Angle Optics, composed by several lens, in each of the cameras:

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Then, after last year first aproach to VR from vendors, proposing their high resolution high-end smartphones screens to main screens for the VR glasses, this year, many user will be able to create their own VR videos and share them all over the world.

Ad here a prototype used for first Samsung field tests:

Samsung360_Proyect_Beyond_006

Let’s see how the people surprises us with their inner VR creativity! 🙂

Pause – that’s all you need to unplug…

It is well known that in our busy lives we spend more a more time running from here to there, stressed trying to multitask everything what we do, trying to win time, which makes us even more quickly lose it ‘as beach sand slipping through our fingers‘; becoming more stressed and more aware of lack of time to simply stop and relax.

Well, you are not alone 😉 many people suffer these feelings and mostly we try to mitigate them procrastinating: switching constantly between game and game, between tens of social networks apps and notifications,… but at the end we realize that the circle gets closed and we are equally stressed as when we began.

Circle

But not become fatalist, fortunately there are good news for all of us, a few weeks ago released iOS app which will help us to relax and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of our lives, briefly.

This is “PAUSE – Relaxation at your fingertip“, the latest creation from ustwo, the acclaimed developer studio, creators of ‘Monument Valley‘ last year puzzle mobile game hit; which was made in collaboration with PauseAble, a Danish mental wellness product and solution company, where they help people take control of their energy and stress with their patent pending interactive approach.

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The wellness app is quite minimalistic and simple to use, which denotes how the developers focused more in getting to the point instead of adding many user confusing features.

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I would recommend you to use headphones and use it in a quite/calm place to avoid interrumptions, as it will be similar to perform a short mediation exercise but fully guided and easy, so don’t panic. 😉

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You will only have to launch it, and then touch the dot that appears in the screen, follow the guiding circle with your finger and enjoy the ambient specially composed music until the session finishes with a soft bell; that’s all! (easy, right? 😉 )

Pause_003

As said, it is very minimalistic, the only settings appear when you slide up the logo (the ‘A‘ circled) at bottom side; and there you can select to Show instructions; change the Difficulty and change the Duration of your Pauses; pretty easy:

Pause_004

I have being sporadically using it the past couple of weeks, and I must admit that it works!

As in anykind of meditation exercise is better to begin with short duration times; let’s say 3 or 5 min; and progressively increase it until you get the habit to be focused and relaxed. I told you this because while you slowly move the dot around the whole screen, and the colored ink stain becomes bigger and bigger, the app will suggest you to close your eyes while you slowly continue moving your finger around the screen hearing the background music, until a bell sound indicates you that pause is finished. This could sound easy, but it is not the first times; so believe me, better begin with shorter periods.

The developers have been tested the effectiveness of this exercise measuring the EEG waves of the beta testers using it, and it was proved that they became more and more calm while they used it; which I can confirm simply by my daily use.

I believe that the developers decided to don’t implement a notification system in purpose to avoid forcing the people to make those Pauses and to keep clean the UX; anyhow I think that it could be a nice add-on feature for next coming updates to instill progressively the habit of ‘stopping‘ in our under pressure life’s; ultimately, the user could always disable those alarm notifications if don’t want it.

To finish, I can only recommend you this wonderful, colorful, delicious and proven wellness app, which for only $1.99 will bring some peace in your hectic life.

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One last thing: If you have time, you can read about the details of its creation in their own blog: ‘The Story of Pause‘ ; it is really fastinating. 😉

Enlight – One to Rule them all

As all of you know, nowadays we have tens or even hundreds of photo editing apps in the AppStore, with plenty of features and flavours: Free, Freemium (with In-App purchases) and pure single Paid. But the problem of most of them is that you must rely on several apps to perform different re-touching to your single photo. Or you must to pay $1 or $2 every time that you want to use that nice feature tool which is blocked inside that ‘free‘ or even already paid app.

Well, I think those days are finally over, luckily for all of us with a small (or big) creative talent feeling inside.

You will not have to pay again and again for each blocked tool or filter, or even switch continuously from app to app to apply different kind of filters, texts or frames. And this is thanks the guys of Lightricks Ltd. studio and their fabulous photo-editing app Enlight.

Enlight_Logo

One year later of their first release (Facetune), they put all their imaging processing expertise to offer as the standalone photo app which rule them all. At it is true, it costs $4.99, but wait a minute, give me few more lines to tell you why deserves to pay for it.

First of all, you will pay only one time, period! No more single payments to activate any single extra tool. And secondly, its User interface is extremely easy to use and very quick to get use to it even being minimalistic; something that is sometimes very welcome, and many mobile developers forget, making our lifes even more difficult. 😛

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On top of that, the app is Universal and fully adapted from the small iPhone 3.5″ screen up to the latest iPhone Plus 5.5″ sice, and of course all the iPad’s resolutions. You only need to straight forward make a shot from you camera or choose one of your photo’s from your camera roll to begin to apply some Presets:

Enlight_001

Or smoothly play with every single settings:

Enlight_002

And again, on top of all the features and filters to choose:

  • Crop, Re-adjust objects position and Perspective.
  • Adjust the typical photo parameters (the same as Photos from iOS but already inside the app)
  • Old times filters: Artistic Analog effects, Black & White and Dual effect at same time in real-time.
  • Photo Mixer: Overlay two photos to produce a double exposure effect
  • Several Blending modes: This is impressive and cool!
  • Intelligent Photo Correction: As the Heal tool for seamless removal of defects
  • Artistic Effects and Filters: Painting effects, Urban Street Art and also Realistic looking sketches
  • Drawing capability: You can draw whatever you want directly with your fingers, and also add pattern effects on your photos simply sliding your fingers over them!
  • Texting: Add you own text (choose color and font), and make your Meme’s
  • And finally: Add Frames, Borders, Prepare your photo for Instagram, or make a Collage if you wish!

Enlight_003

But, this is not all. There are more:

  • It automatically saves your work (also called Sessions) so you can Undo-Redo as much as you want afterwards.
  • You can select the quality of the file: JPEG/PNG/TIFF (It is up to you to decide the file Size vs Quality)
  • It supports up to 16MP files; more than enough as currently iDevices has up to 8MP cameras and the coming ones probably will jump up to 12MP; so the app is already prepared for the coming future. 😉
  • And if you want to make your own photo editing tutorials of your photo editing sessions, you can export all the steps in a video animation (where you can also select the time between step and step frame) to your camera roll or social network.

What else? I have all in one single app, it works smoothly, it is powerful, and since it was released the last March’15, the developers have being polishing it in only a couple of updates and adding extra features fully FREE.

You can still do the same with several single app and paying single $0.99 micro-payments inside of them from time to time; but if you want to really Focus in your Creativity talent, enjoy photo editing, and don’t miss any spontaneous idea switching from app to app in our rushed life; don’t doubt about it and give it a try, it is worth and even one of the Apple Editors’ choice. 🙂

French – Spanish Berlitz Basic Talking Dictionary

In my way of improving my languages knowledge I have been always looking for good offline translation electronic dictionaries, which I can bring always with me even when I have not Internet connection (so, no access to the usual and free Google Translator). Nowadays there are plenty of offers in the App Store, free and paid based; so to find a good option is not always easy.

In this review I will talk to you about the French – Spanish Berlitz Basic Talking Dictionary from Langenscheidt GmbH & Co. KG; a German company with a long tradition on paper dictionaries, with good reputation on the market and on which I had many good experiences when I used years ago their paper dictionary products.

FR_SP_basic_dic_icon

As I was saying, I was looking for a good and reliable FRench<->SPanish dictionary app; and after trying several free versions (mostly ad-based and/or also with bad wording databases); and some paid apps too, I found that this app would be the best one for any average (and even high level) French/Spanish languages user/student.

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Even if it says that is the BASIC variant, it has 140.000 (headwords, expressions and translations) entries on it, where 39661 French and 36185 Spanish of them have native speakers pronounced audio included.

So, as you see, it is pretty complete, and honestly, after more than a year of intensive use I never had a single case where my searching was not found inside its database, it is bullet proof.

It also allows you to write some words together and let the app to search for all the entries at same time, what can be pretty useful when you would like to translate a phrase:

FR_SP_basic_dict_001

As an extra feature, and even so many other dictionaries also offer it, I find very useful the Flash Cards feature, which allows you as user and student to add the words that you look for on it for later review/study. I have use the Flash cards study methodology also in the past, and today I still find it as a useful vocabulary memorization system.

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And also, in case you hear a word but you didn’t understand it completely how to write it, or simply you don’t remember exactly how to spell it, the app has also a missing/swapped letter search system where some letters are forgotten:

FR_SP_basic_dict_003

And I must admit that for some difficult to pronounce languages as it is French, it will be very practical in many cases; mostly in conversation or listening situations where you would like to find a word which is not very clear how to write/spell it.

On top of these features, the app engine was improved since last release (v3.58.507) so it has a pretty fast cold launching app time compared with last year version, and all the latest iPhone 6/6 Plus and their HD resolution screens are also supported, making its daily use a gorgeous user experience 🙂

I will mention that it includes a French Verb Conjugation on it. To use it, you only need to search for a French verb and click on the top dedicated conjugation icon. Then, you will not need to buy an extra app for this purpose.

Besides, for iOS8 users, it has also implemented the ‘extension‘ feature, so you can now look up words while reading in Safari, which is wonderful when you are reading foreign webs without being forced to switch between apps via multi-tasking.

And as daily heavy user, I only can say that I am very glad of it, it works smoothly, the wording database is very complete (even for a “Basic” version as it is sold); and as an important small user remark for a romance language, I found that the genders of the substantives are always correct (Male/Female), where in other also paid dictionaries (in the same price range) had some mistakes in their databases, leading to misunderstood to the user/student.

It is true that its $19,99 price could seem quite high for some users, but if you are looking for a high quality and very reliable FR/SP electronic dictionary to accompany you in all kind of situations; I would recommend any non-professional/translator user this one without doubts, even as a long investment. 😉

‘Last Voyage’ (iOS game) – A metaphor for your senses

Last Voyage, the last release of Semidome Inc. game studio is a pure metaphor for your senses.

Last_Voyage_Logo

I already heard about them from their first game creation (Kotoro) released just one year ago; and Circo, their other game where you can have a fully free taste of their good work.

This second game production, released just one week ago and which I wanted to try by myself, denotes their good taste for details and multimedia background, which is not surprising having inside their team such kind of experienced members who worked for companies as Google, IBM, BBDO and Proximity.

In fact, it has been already selected as “Editor’s Choice” in the official Apple Store, which after so few days denotes how Special is this game.

As the game icon so well denotes, it will literally twist your head.

Last_Voyage_Icon

Its description doesn’t explain so much what will you find inside, but that makes it even more attractive and mysterious. In other kind of games, this would make me doubt, thinking that developers are trying to scam us, but this is not the case; as you will find yourself discovering new science-fiction landscapes while playing.

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Once you download and launch it, you will see, or better say “perceive” the harmonious combination of images, animations and music working together. We could say that it is a puzzle game, but that would be very simplistic definition that detracts from this great game.

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It is true that you will have to solve puzzles, and even there is not any tutorial neither explanation of what to do at all, or how to begin. But doesn’t matter, don’t worry my friend. You only need to get immersed in their space universe specially created for your enjoyment and follow your instinct. Simply listen their soundtrack fully aligned with the animations, touch here and there, and as said: Don’t worry, you will not mess anything 😉

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The game is currently composed by five chapters, or stages, each one independently designed to awaken your mind. We hope that the authors add more chapters in the future because while you play, you only wish to never end.

And as authors mention, you will have to go through psychedelic portals, solve abstract puzzles, explore grand minimal forms or race against the stars.

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Besides, its 40 minutes original composed soundtrack is even also available in iTunes, in case you want to continue listening it during your other daily activities, or just to disconnect from the Real World.

I also recommend to plug in your headphones before beginning the game playing to enjoy at 120% the full gaming experience so handcrafted and delicately designed.

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This is a game to be ‘experienced‘ more that to be described with words, although you can take a look to its trailer to see it in real action:

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Anyhow, you need to feel it by yourself; Hearing, Touching and Interacting with it to fully understand what I mean, as it is a delicious and fully transcendental experience by itself 😉

For limited time, its launching price is currently only $0.99, which makes it so tempting for any iOS (puzzle) game lover, so hurry up, purchase and enjoy it before increases again.

iPhocus – Manual camcorder – A video camera DSLR at your fingertips

Few days ago I discover a new and real cool prosumer video camera app just released near the end of last 2014.

iPhocus_Logo

It is shortly called “iPhocus – Manual camcorder” and it has been developed by a small team of multi-cultural and innovative analogic photography lovers how found a gap in current App Store and decided to develop their own manual video camera app to capitalize on the full potential of latest iPhone6 series camera capabilities (even if iPhocus also supports previous iPhone 5/5S/5C, and for sure iPad 3).

Motion Apps, LLC, the start-up development studio behind this awesome video recorder app was founded last Sept. 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida by a mix of five Americans/Spanish entrepreneurs.

So, after being deeply playing with iPhocus app in different scenarios and light sets, I will say that it is very simple to use, it has a minimalistic and polished User Interface easy to learn and get use to it with all the features at your fingertips. Anyhow, after you install it, first time that you launch it, it will show you a clear tutorial through few snapshots of its main features and how to use them; and you can recall it as many times as you wish from its Settings.

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As I said, the UI has been deeply though, and not created by chance. It is always in Landscape mode (Perfect to don’t make wrong Vertical Videos) and very comfortable in every situation: hand-held or mounted in a tripod.

As managing a professional video camera, the user is able to manually select the Focus, White Balance and Exposure settings in real time.

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It has an accurate control over Rack Focus, where you will only need to move the right slider from Bottom to Top, with the possibility to configure the Focus Range from 0 to 10, or even change it in its bottom settings bar to your own range preference:

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With the Left slider you will also be able to set the EV exposure setting that you wish to apply to your video; having also the possibility to choose between four White Balance presets or just experiment with them playing with the Temperature and Tone independent sliders:

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Then, I keep its coolest feature for the end of the review: Air Focus

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With it you will really feel as a professional Hollywood Film Producer!

Here you have the chance of controlling via Wi-Fi what happens in other wireless coupled iOS device with iPhocus also installed on it. You can do the functions of a camera assistant, as one will get the picture in frame and the other will control focus or exposure. Keep in mind that currently this is only for two iOS devices at same time, where one will be set as the Transmitter and the other as Receiver. [Maybe in future releases they will add the possibility to wireless link with more than two iOS cameras at same time, let’s see].

In the bottom settings bar, you will see also an small Drive icon indicating the spare space in your iOS device and Battery Percentage, to be sure you will not get in troubles before finish your recording 😉

iPhocus_Settings

But these are not the only the settings customizable:

Besides, inside app Settings (Gear icon of bottom right corner) you will be able to select also the Video (‘Project‘) name, the Resolution (VGA to Full HD) and FPS (From 15 up to 240 frames; depending of the Resolution selected) (based on iPhone6Plus review of app v1.2) on which you want to record.

Don’t forget that this is an iOS Universal app; you can enjoy it from your iPad 3 in case you have not an iPhone5/6 or if you want to combine both using the Air Focus sync feature.

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Concluding, I must say that I really enjoy having this level of video camera control, as I like it to have fully under own control all the potential features under the hood of iPhone6/5 video camera; letting me feeling as the Director of my own Movies with its smooth and neat interface.

I am sure this video app will become essential for many professionals willing to make records with their everyday handheld device as the iPhone/iPad, which we carry always with us everywhere. But also for amateurs and regular users how would like to squeeze the full potential of iPhone5/6 camera without the limiting inherent chains of “everything automatic and defined” from native iOS Photos app.

Everyone will enjoy of it and they will find worth paying only $1.99 to have this manual camcorder app in their collection.

Finally, don’t forget that the app was released only few months ago and still on version v1.2, so I don’t doubt about its potential and close future new improvements 😉

‘Rapture – World Conquest’ – Fast pace World strategy iOS game

Last week I discovered a real-time strategy game that really stock caught my attention: “Rapture – World Conquest“. In fact, it was released last September 14th, 2014.

Rapture_Logo

It is the first release from Tundra Games a new English indie games development studio, based in Oxford, UK. Both two founders Andy Weinkove and Dan Collier have a long programing background experience in the game industry developing many AAA titles: Sims 3, FIFA, Madden, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Go and Need for Speed.

Then, in 2013 they became independent and created Tundra Games studio:

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and their first own development was this real-time strategy game that puts you in the celestial shoes of a god.

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Rapture is inspired by so fun old PC classic god games such as Risk, Civilization and Populous, but reinvented for quick playing on mobile platforms, being the first one released on iOS platform for all those lucky gamers holders of an iPhone or iPad.

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It is a paid game with some in-app purchases, but you don’t really need them to enjoy and progress on it, only if you want to move faster without investing some playing hours to acquire the in-game Gold coins to unlock extra features in its game virtual shop. Like for instance, new planet shapes:

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It already fully supports iPhone6 / 6Plus HD resolution screens, with very well and detailed crafted graphics, and playing in an iPhone6Plus is simply awesome!

And although today it’s not yet mentioned in the AppStore game description, on top of English language, it’s also fully localized in FRENCH, GERMAN, and SPANISH. (Tundra Games confirmed me that it will be updated soon in the Appstore game details to avoid misunderstood).

One of latest added features was the MULTIPLAYER mode, on which you can play online via GameCenter or locally (over WiFi) against up to 3 friends, really cool! 😉

As I said, it is a really fast paced real-time strategy game that puts you in the celestial shoes of a god. There you have to guide your followers through the ages and vanquish the unbelievers in the surrounding kingdoms. How? Just send your chosen civilization armies to take over regions and expand your realm with a simple Tap in your screen.

Moreover, as your followers rise in numbers their adulation will provide ‘mana’ allowing you to unleash devastating miracles as Lightning storms, Hurricanes, Floods and other death from above.

You will begin controlling the “Romans” civilization, but after the first gameplays and missions passed, you will have enough gold coins won to acquire on its shop other civilizations and customize your game, choosing which one you want to control: Romans, Greeks, British, American, Egyptian, Mongol, Maya, Babylon, French, German, Russian or Spanish.

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That’s not only, there are many missions, achievements and unlockable content to enjoy many hours of gaming:

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OK, but what about the game playing? Well, I must say that after playing several hours I’m really dazzled with it. I was already a fan from oldies “Civilization I” and Populous PC games, but also RISK board game where I was playing many hours during school days.

Now I finally found a real-time strategy mobile game so fun and well done as those from above mentioned, but where I can complete a single game within 5 minutes while I take the subway or bus 😀

Then, being an arcade based game, the fast reaction and quick decisions on where to send armies is also quite challenging.

The User Interface is really smooth and easy to manage and its tutorial will guide quickly you through it.

The screen is always in Landscape mode, but luckily it auto-rotates, so you can choose on which side you want to hold the Home button of the iPhone/iPad. Personally, I find more convenient to have the Home button on my right holding hand to avoid blocking the speaker holes as in the iPhone6/6Plus devices when I don’t use the earphones.

You need to keep in mind that it is 3D map oriented game instead of classic 2D maps. This means that you can/must rotate the planet to see the several regions while you play, and also pinch to zoom-in/out to make it bigger or smaller at your convenience. I really like it this kind of innovative 3D interface instead of typical 2D map view (it recalls me the Google Earth app), but as you have not permanently full overview of the planet map (as in old RISK 2D world map), you will often need to rotate the globe to don’t lose strategic perspective.

I must say that its soundtrack based in some classical and orchestral emotive music tracks also reminds me the oldies PC games and places us very well on historical location and battles time.

Since last week, its price has been dropped to only $0.99 from original $2.99, so hurry up and buy it before it rises up again.

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Don’t hesitate, if you already loved old turn-based and real-time strategy games above mentioned, you will not be dissapointed by Rapture – World Conquest.

And as said, compared with the old official RISK from EA (only iPAD game) which still costs $6.99, Rapture (universal iPhone/iPad) current $0.99 price is fully tempting; so, go ahead and give it a try!

It is soon, but I am pretty sure their first creation will succeed on iOS and it’ll allow the Tundra Games studio to grow up and maybe also port it to other OS platforms. We will keep an eye on these promising guys. 😉