Review: Alto’s Adventure for iPad

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Alto’s Adventure is getting a lot of good press, for a lot of good reasons. With a combination of compelling but uncomplicated gameplay, beautiful graphics, and a sprightly soundtrack that perfectly fits the scenario, Alto’s Adventure is one of the best things to hit the App Store in a while.

You play the part of Alto, a simple yak herder from a snowy and mountainous part of the world. Someone left the barn door open and your yaks have made an escape. You grab your snowboard and start chasing them down. Along the way you need to jump over rocks and chasms to avoid biting it, and starting back at the barn. As you catch each errant yak, you gain points with which you can upgrade your snowboard and skills, such as your jump hang time. In the only tired metaphor used in the game, you also scoop up coins for upgrading the board and yourself. As you careen down the mountain you’re presented with bridges and cables you can jump onto and shred to gain more points. Finally, doing simple flips and other tricks will also gain you points. But really this point-gathering takes backstage to the gameplay and graphics.

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Calcbot 2.0 for iPad

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Calcbot used to be my favourite calculator app before I discovered other innovative calculator alternatives like Soulver and Tydlig. However, when I saw on Twitter that Calcbot 2.0 had been released, I did have to give the app another look.

One of the easiest changes to spot in Calcbot 2.0 is its iOS 8 compatible design. Textures are much more abstract now, but the colour scheme is still delightful and brighter than ever before. The buttons are still as gigantic as before, which makes them very easy to tap if you like to use your iPad in lieu of one of those enormous physical calculators for quick calculations. I also really like the live history that’s displayed along the top of the screen, which makes it very easy to recall previous calculations, or summon the product of an earlier calculation and use it in your current one.

The visual update makes a lot of sense, and in truth, it’s been quite a while coming. However, the other change to Calcbot is that it now encapsulates one of Tapbots’ other apps, Convertbot, as an in-app purchase. Swiping left within Calcbot reveals the Convertbot interface, which makes it easy to quickly conduct various imperial, metric, and currency conversions in real time.

The $2 in-app purchase also adds an extra theme and an unlimited calculation history, but the integrated conversion feature is really the main draw.

Here’s an App Store link for Calcbot ; it’s a free download with an In-App purchase option to add another theme, unlimited calculation history, and the extra Convertbot features for another $1.99.

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Deals: Nearly 50% Off the Equil Digital & Ink Combo Smartpen

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The Equil Digital & Ink Combo Smartpen records handwritten notes and sketches in digital format and transfers them to your Apple devices in real time. It’s our featured deal today – on offer for almost 50% off its normal price. You can grab it for $79, instead of its standard price of $150.

The Equil Digital & Ink Combo Smartpen connects to your iOS and Mac devices via Bluetooth to digitize your words and drawings as you create them. Here are its standout features:

    • Transfers notes and drawings to your Apple devices in real time
    • Import notes stored in the pen’s memory when it’s convenient for you
    • Pressure-sensitive to ensure your digital notes and sketches have as much detail as your physical ones
    • Use Equil Note and Equil Sketch apps to edit notes and sketches using a range of pens, brush tips, colors, and lines
    • Save, organize, title and tag your content for easy accessibility
    • Built-in handwriting recognition converts notes to text
    • Save, share, and sync with Dropbox, Evernote, and iCloud

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Check out more detail, watch a product demo video, and place an order at this iPad Insight Deals page.

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iPad App of the Week: PBA Bowling Challenge

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Who doesn’t like great iPad apps? At iPad Insight we definitely do. With that in mind, we offer up a quick review of an excellent iPad app, or a few great iPad apps, here each week.

Our weekly picks for Best iPad App of the Week are published here every Saturday. Check out all out picks below and you’ll soon have a collection of stellar apps for your favorite tablet.

This week’s pick is PBA Bowling Challenge.

If bowling brings back happy memories of the scent of spilled beer and Aqua-Net in a beehive hairdo, or memories involving league night and funny shirts, PBA Bowling Challenge may be for you. PBA Challenge is a great bowling simulator. The basic premise is exactly what you would expect: throw your ball down the lane and hit as many pins as possible. If you want to knock it up a level, then join a league of eight people and compete against them. The game is astoundingly realistic, with sounds of the ball rolling down the alley and pins clacking against each other, just like in a real bowling alley. The only thing missing is the built-in ashtray.

The gameplay is smooth and super-easy to figure out. You drag the ball left and right to position it, and flick it down the lane to throw, the aim of your finger determines the direction of the ball, and the aim of the ball behaves just like real life. The quicker you flick your finger, the harder your throw, and the faster the ball flies down the lane. Harder throws generate more pin action and more pins knocked down. The only unrealistic part of the game is that, while in real life, if we want the ball to curve after it has left our hand, we move our body in that direction in that weird bowling dance, with no affect. But in this game, you can tilt your iPad to get the ball to curve. It took me a while to master aiming, and even after a few hours, my high game is only just above 200.

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iPad Magician Wows on the Ellen Show

iPad magician Simon Pierro managed to wow Ellen and her audience with a quick series of magic tricks involving the iPad.

I’m sure Penn and Teller and other magician types can probably explain how these are done, but they sure look impressive – and that last one with the audience selfie is amazing.

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Quick Look: Weafo sharing utility for iPad

We all have the need to transfer files between our devices from time to time.  Sometimes it’s easy, and we have a number of viable options available to us.  Other times, not so much.  Perhaps our files are too large, or too many in number for the usual methods we use.  For times like these […]

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Dropbox for iPad Gets A Share Extension

Dropbox for iOS was updated today with one killer new feature: a native share extension. This means that any app that brings up the iOS 8 share dialogue can save files directly to Dropbox, without any extra sign-ins or app permissions. I tried a quick test from the Photos app earlier and I’m quite impressed […]

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iPad Art: In Love

Today’s featured iPad painting has about as appropriate a title as you could hope for on Valentine’s Day weekend: ‘In Love’. I’m not generally a huge fan of cats, much more of a dog guy – but I have to say that cat’s face is full of love. That’s an adoring look if ever I’ve […]

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