starbucks

Starbucks adds Passbook Support in iOS 6

One of the Apps that Apple showcased when they introduced Passbook iOS 6 was the Starbucks App. So needless to say the Starbucks App has been one of the most highly anticipated Apps that people have been waiting for to be updated since iOS 6 shipped. Starbucks tweeted that they would have their update by the end of September and that didn’t happen. It could have been tied up in that pesky App Store approval process, but it’s here now and they did a good job. Unlike the Walgreens App, the Starbucks App lets you pick up to 10 of your favorite locations to pop up your card when you are nearby. As promised you’ll see your available balance and most locations can scan the barcode right off the screen (what are the other locations like the ones in DTW airport waiting for?).

I’m pleased to see this update although they still didn’t update it yet to take advantage of the iPhone 5 display size yet. As more Apps get updated Passbook will become more and more useful. In a year we’ll probably wonder how we ever lived without it. At this point there is a long way to go, but with the Starbucks App now on board we’re one step closer to having something great.
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Flashlight+ Updated for iPhone 5 and is the Fastest

Believe it or not there are at least a couple dozen flashlight apps for iOS. You would think that there’s not a lot to innovate in this area and you’d be right. The main purpose for a flashlight app is to either turn your iPhone’s LED light so that you can use it as an actual flashlight or to turn the screen on full bright and white for the same purpose. Sure some of these apps offer features like strobes, different color displays on screen, and S.O.S. Morse Code flashing. However, for me the main thing I’m looking for is SPEED! When I pull out my iPhone to use it as a flashlight that usually means I’m in the dark and I want light as fast as possible. I want the App that has the fastest start up time and LED on.

Flashlight+ has what I want

With Flashlight+ the App starts up instantly and turns on your iPhone’s LED light. It’s the fastest one I’ve seen so far. The app offers a good user interface with a nice big on/off button (although I don’t need it, just quit the app), as well as a strobe and S.O.S. feature. That’s pretty much all I need! While I haven’t tired all of the flashlight apps, Flashlight+ is now my new favorite and “best app” from the handful I have used. It now takes advantage of iOS 6 and the 4″ display of the new iPhone 5 and 5th gen iPod touch.

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Where’s My Perry?!

If you have children under the age of 12 you undoubtedly recognize the lovable little silent super hero above. For those that don’t know, Perry the Platypus is a secondary character in a Disney Kids show called Phineas and Ferb. The show follows two step brothers (Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher) through their summer vacation. Along the way these two boys have grand adventures and build outrageous contraptions. Simultaneously, their pet platypus Perry is secretly part of an all animal secret agent group that fights evil doers. Perry’s part in the show was originally intended to be a “b-plot” but has quickly become as important if not more important than the boys’ adventures. Because of this level of success and following, Disney has launched Where’s My Perry (a tagline from the show) for the iOS platform. The Game follows Perry (agent “P”) through multiple levels of physics based puzzles to defeat the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. What I really love about this game is that beyond the game and graphics that your kids will be familiar with, it really teaches the child about the properties of water in all forms (liquid, ice, steam). It’s not only fun, but very informative and a great teaching tool for children.

 

 

Help Perry Get Through

The basic plot of the game is that perry needs to get through the many levels where some form of water helps him achieve that and solves the puzzle. You cut dirt to guide the water in the direction to solve the “puzzle” or achieve the goal. Also positioned throughout the game are lasers or “crazy-inators” the the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has left to change water from one form to another to complete the puzzle and help Perry.

Also positioned throughout the game are gnomes (another item from the tv show) that act as prizes or collectables. Think golden eggs from Angry Birds. Collect all of the gnomes that you can and gain hidden collectables and secret levels. The game gets (as expected) progressively harder but still remains easy enough that the average child can figure out the puzzles and have fun.

The Bottom Line

This fun, easy to play game is a great way to teach children about the dynamics of water. With it’s familiar characters and well thought out graphics your child will have fun and learn at the same time!

Get Where’s My Perry? for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad from the iTunes store for $.99 here: iTunes

gyft App Gives iOS 6 Passbook Some Love

Last week I wrote a post about “Understanding Passbook in iOS 6“. As it stands we have to wait for Apps to be updated to take advantage of Passbook. However, I don’t think we’ll have to wait too long as more and more Apps are being update each day. If you really want to see Passbook in action then you should check out Gyft. This App has been updated to support Passbook and offers the ability of consolidating your existing gift cards and displaying them in Passbook. You can of course buy gift cards in the App from a variety of different stores. I had a P.F. Chang’s gift card sitting on my desk and I decided to add it in. In about 3 seconds it displayed the balance of my card and then I was able to add it to Passbook! Sweet! Now the question is will P.F. Chang’s be able to use the bar code on screen or will I still need to carry the card the next time I eat there? I’ll take the card as a backup, but I’ll definitely see if they can just work with the one on my iPhone 5.

gyft has a beautiful UI

I wasn’t aware of Gyft before my search continued for Passbook compatible Apps and I must say that they have a beautiful clean user interface that takes advantage of swipe gestures. They boast support for over 100 national retailers and you can even buy gift cards and have them delivered to your friends on Facebook via Facebook. Of course traditional emailing of gift cards is supported to. While buying gift cards in the App is nice, I must say that my favorite feature is being able to add existing gift cards in.

Hopefully more Apps will be updated soon (AMEX and Starbucks promise updates by the end of this month), but in the meantime gyft will give a big jump on Passbook today!

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navigon

iOS 6 Maps Got You Down? Navigon may be your answer!

I solved the lack of having turn-by-turn voice GPS directions on my iPhone a long time ago with the Navigon Apps. However, I was actually happy to see that Apple was going to finally bring this feature to their new Maps App in iOS 6. There are lots of users out there that don’t need or want to pay for a navigation App and I figured the Maps App would be a good solution for many. However, it appears that at least in this 1.0 state, Apple’s Maps App isn’t making a lot of users happy. Users are missing features of the previous Google Maps App such as better traffic displays and public transit route info. I knew that I would still continue to use my Navigon Apps as they would undoubtedly be more full featured and I was right. While it’s great to be able to ask Siri to “navigate to” a specific point, overall Navigon offers a multitude of additional features over the built-in iOS 6 Maps App.

Navigon bridges the gap and integrates with iOS 6 Maps

In their latest release that came out this week, Navigon took advantage of a gaping whole in iOS 6 Maps and not only offer public transit info (with a $2.99 in-app purchase), but even lets you use Siri/Maps to find the location you want to Navigate to and then hand it off to Navigon to give you the “professional” navigation and turn-by-turn directions you are looking for. While this feature is cool, it may not last forever. If Apple adds public transit stuff, then this feature in Navigon (the hand off) could easily stop working, but for now it’s there if you need it.

 

  1. Find the address, POI that you want to navigate to on Maps
  2. Tap the pin to be taken to the information page about that location.
  3. Tap the “Directions to Here” button
  4. Tap the Bus icon and the Route button
  5. Since Apple doesn’t offer this routing it will prompt you with Apps that do, including your Navigon App
  6. Tap the Route button next to Navigon
  7. Once you’re in the Navigon App you can choose to route via your vehicle or public transportation
Navigon gets it when it comes to GPS turn-by-turn navigation and I consider theirs to be the “Best App” simply because they are always offering up new features and enhancements to their Apps! While it would have been nice to have this as a FREE update, I’m sure there was a fair amount of work that went into making this feature work. Having the hand off from the built-in Maps to Navigon is worth my $2.99. Hopefully this hand off will continue to work well into the future or until Maps is so good that I don’t need Navigon anymore.

iTunes

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