iOS

iOS 7 and my top 10 Favorite Features!

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After spending more than 24 hours with the new iOS 7 I have to tell you that this is the best iOS yet! It’s fast, nimble, and even more intuitive than previous versions (if that’s possible). The interface adds a sleek new minimalistic look all while including a ton of new features that really sets the iPhone apart from the competitors again!

Top 10 Features of iOS 7

 

Here are the Top 10 things that really make iOS 7 awesome (in no particular order).

 

The Design:

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I think this is the first thing that hit me about iOS 7. Apple has gotten away from the aging icons of previous versions and gone with a minimalistic look. The App icons are translucent to allow for a “there but not there” feel. This also aids in viewing the background a little better than before. Along with the translucency, the way apps open and close has a smoothness to it. It’s something that you obviously can’t see on a picture but the way Apps open and close, the way the phone locks and dims, the way you shift from page to page… All of it just has a smoothness to it.

 

 

Control Center:

 

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It seems to me that with every new version of iOS, Apple takes away a few more reasons to jailbreak your iPhone. iOS 7 is no different. With the launch of Control Center, I see no need for SB Settings (a popular jailbreak App). With a quick swipe from bottom to top you gain access to Airplane mode, wifi toggle, bluetooth toggle, do not disturb, screen lock, brightness, audio control, airdrop, airplay, and a few quick Apps that are used a lot. Being able to control my bluetooth without having to dive 3 menus deep into the settings App is a welcome addition. Also added within this section is the new Flashlight App that’s built in from Apple. This negates the use of a third party flashlight app that is more than likely (and annoyingly) supported by Ads.  Control center is a really useful tool for any iPhone user but especially power users like the readers of this site.

 

Camera:

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Camera… There are so many camera Apps out there that it takes a LOT to impress me when it comes to the camera. What Apple has done with the built in camera app is not only impressive, but it’s amazing. It is HANDS DOWN the fastest iOS camera App available. There use to be a lag when taking a photo. The screen would flash and the live view would come back. Now there is no lag, or time between pressing the shutter button, to when the camera is ready to take another photo. It’s instantaneous. Also added in iOS 7 to the camera is the ability to view your images in “square” mode. People who use Instagram often, will love this feature.

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Along with the added features, the interface change to the Camera App makes it a lot easier and faster to access all of the controls. Switch from standard photo to square mode, to filters, to pano quickly and easily with the new layout.

 

App Folder Redesign:

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12. That was the number of Apps that used to fit in an iOS folder. NOW, Apple has redesigned the folders so that you can have as many Apps as you would like. 9 at a time display for each page and you swipe side to side to access the rest. Again, Apple has reduced another reason to Jailbreak. To have this ability before, you would have to jailbreak your phone and install Infinifolders. No more. Apple has it baked right into the OS!

 

Air Drop:

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Taking a cue from OSX Mountain Lion, iOS 7 adds AirDrop natively. If you’re on the same network as someone else that is running iOS 7 you are able to send and receive photos, videos, files, and more, very quickly by selecting the item to share and tapping the person to share it with! Within the Control Panel, you’re able to select who can see and send you files. The options are Everyone, Contacts only, and Off. Right now with the Beta 1, there is a bug that is preventing people from seeing their contacts so unless you have “Everyone” selected, you might not be able to see the other person. I expect that this will be fixed before the public release. Even with that bug, this feature is amazing!

 

Photo Sorting:

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I’m sure this will come as no surprise to the readers of the Best App Site, but the iPhone has become the most popular camera in the world. Take that in for a second. Not Nikon, not Canon, Not Leica, or Fuji… With all of the years that those brands have been in existence, they can’t compete with the ease and portability of the iPhone. Because of the convenience of the iPhone many of us have accumulated thousands upon thousands of photos in our camera rolls (Kylie Wilkerson I’m looking at you) and we need a way to quickly and efficiently sort through our photos. Apple has provided a tool for us to do just that. In iOS 7 Apple has included sorting by logical events and years. But what does that actually mean? Well at the root level is Years. From here you can select the year in which to start your search through images. Drill down one level and you will find collections. Collections can be anything from dates, to event titles, to locations. For example within 2011 I have “Orange County Convention Center” from April 1-April 4th. This houses all of my 2011 Orlando Photoshop World images. This makes it super easy to quickly get to a set of photos or a time frame to search for a particular photo.

 

Multitasking:

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Multitasking is nothing new to iOS. We’ve had it since iOS 4, BUT with iOS 7 Multitasking has received a beautiful makeover. No longer do you just see the icon of what is running when you double tap the home button. Now you see a preview of what’s actually running. This gives you a quick view of what’s going on inside of the Apps that allows you decide if you really want to kill the App. This is very similar to the way that multitasking shows your windows on a Mac.

 

 

Today Mode:

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One thing that has changed with iOS 7 is the ability to see the notification center from the lock screen. With a quick top to bottom swipe you get to see your notifications but with a new twist. Now instead of seeing all of your notifications, you have the choice of selecting missed, all, or my new favorite, Today. Today shows you just what’s going on today From the day, date, appointments, weather for the day (mine isn’t showing here because my weather App is broken, more on that later), and a quick view of tomorrow’s day. This is a really nice, quick way to see what’s going on during that day.

 

Automatic App Updates:

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With iOS 6 Apple changed things around a little bit for App updates. No longer did you have to type your password just to update Apps that you already had on your phone. With iOS 7 Apple has taken it one step further and completely automated the App update process. No longer do you even have to go to your App store to download updates, your iPhone does it automatically. To see which Apps have been updated, you simply launch the App store and select updates. You will see a list of the Apps that have been updated and the word open next to them. This feature is of course selectable. If you don’t want your iPhone to automate this process for you, you are able to turn it off in the settings.

 

Block Calls:

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Do you have certain numbers that make you cringe when they appear? Marketers that somehow avoid the “do not call” list? In-laws perhaps? Apple has added a “Block this Caller” option to the contacts section. This is pretty strait forward. Open or create a contact for the number or person that you don’t want to receive communication from, and tap “Block this Caller” at the bottom. Easy as that. No more annoying calls or texts from that person. Oh just in case you are wondering that’s the local Apple store so I won’t be blocking that one ;)

 

Better Every Time

Is this the perfect OS? Nope. No OS or product for that matter is. It’s getting pretty freaking close though! Keep in mind that this is Beta 1. The actual release of iOS 7 to the public isn’t until the fall. There are certain things that don’t work quite right just yet (remember the weather App) for some people. There are also certain features that need tweaking. For example currently iTunes Radio is a great concept, BUT NONE of the Apple stations play explicit content. The stations that you create yourself sporadically will play uncensored songs, but they are few and far between. There needs to be an option to select inclusion or exclusion of this content. I for one will not be listening to iTunes Radio much until this is fixed. There are tons of other little things that aren’t right just yet but again this is Beta 1 so by the time the public gets their hands on it, iOS 7 should be bug free (or close to it) and ready to perform! As it stands it’s very, very close to public ready so be excited for what’s coming! As always we’ll keep you updated as the new features roll out within iOS 7 as well as when the bugs are fixed. Keep checking back to the Best App Site for all of the updates!

 

 

 

 

 

8 Ball Pool™

Fill Your Pool Need Right from Your iPhone

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I’ve always had a love for pool. I’ve never been particularly good at it, but that hasn’t stopped me from spending countless hours racking, breaking, and putting a little “English” on the cue ball. Recently a friend of mine told me that he has been absolutely addicted to this pool game that he put on his iPhone. I’ll try any App once so I downloaded it and man was he right! I haven’t been able to put this game down! Any free time that I have I’ve found myself grabbing my phone for the next challenge. With multiple “billiards”, people from around the world to play with, and the ability to challenge your friends 8 Ball Pool will keep you playing and coming back for the foreseeable future.

 

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How It Works

8 Ball Pool uses an in depth yet easy to understand system to make game play lifelike. You start at a level 1 player meaning brand new to the game with no experience. The game gives you a set amount of coins, which are the virtual currency used to buy your way into rounds and thus becoming half of the prize winnings. As your play increases, and as you win more games you advance your ranking. On top of advancing your play and coins you also gain new “billiards” to play at (requiring a higher buy in) allowing you to play against more advanced competitors. The points, and wins add up quickly as you make your way through the billiards from London, to Moscow, and beyond.

The competitors come from all over the world. When you select to play a random person you are given the luck of the draw of competitors. You may be a level 5 player playing a level 15 player or higher. The game syncs real time with it’s servers so you have to have an internet connection of some kind.  Additionally you can challenge friends however this really works best when the friend is with you because the game has a time limit (we’ll get to that later) and you both have to be active.

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Game Play

Who breaks is randomly decided unless you rematch an opponent in which case you take turns. After the break whoever puts in the first ball decides who will get what set of balls to shoot for. The game is played by moving the virtual pool stick around the screen to get the proper shot of the ball you want. Once the proper angle has been obtained force for the shot is controlled by “pulling” down the pool stick on the left side of the screen. The further down you pull it, the harder it will get hit. “English” is applied by tapping the white cue ball in the upper right corner of the game and then placing the red dot on the cue ball appropriate to where you want your English applied. Be careful to monitor the green ring that is slowly disappearing around your name when it’s your turn. This is your timer. If you don’t shoot the ball before the green ring runs out, your forfeit your turn and your opponent has “ball in hand” which means that they can place the cue ball anywhere on the playing surface that they would like for their next shot. All of the normal rules of pool apply to this game. You have to hit your own ball first when taking a shot (stripes or solids), the 8 ball is shot last, and you don’t want to “scratch” or put the cue ball in a pocket. Because of the timer game play moves fairly quickly and the quick tempo keeps the game fun. I sometimes wish that they would have given a little more time on the timer but I think that’s to be expected.

 

The Bottom Line

This is a very, very addicting game, especially if you enjoy pool at all. I think I have spent quite a few hours playing this game already and I’ve only had it a week or so. The challenge of winning the games, advancing your player ranking, and unlocking new billiards makes for an exciting and rewarding game that will keep you coming back day after day.

 

You can get 8 Ball Pool for your iOS device from the iTunes store for $.99 here: iTunes

 

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