Mac|Life - All Articles http://www.maclife.com/articles/all/feed en Morning Report: Rite Aid vs. Apple Pay, Handoff on Older Macs, Bitcasa Changes http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/morning_report_rite_aid_vs_apple_pay_handoff_older_macs_bitcasa_changes <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u220903/rite_aid_store_on_strike_620px.png" alt="Rite Aid on strike" width="620" height="300" /></p><p>Apple Pay has only been available to the public since Monday, and already one retailer has decided to wall off their NFC payment terminals from iPhone 6 users. Our Friday Morning Report has the details, along with Bitcasa's decision to strong-arm unlimited storage customers into more expensive plans, and a glimmer of hope for older Mac owners to get Handoff working. Let's close out the work week with some news!</p><h3>Rite Aid Intentionally Blocks Apple Pay Users</h3><p>Although Rite Aid isn't on Apple's official list of retailers supporting Apple Pay, the drugstore chain uses point-of-sale hardware fully compatible with NFC-equipped smartphones. <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/23/rite-aid-disable-apple-pay/" target="_blank">According to MacRumors</a>, customers with iPhone 6 models were able to make contactless purchases at Rite Aid starting with the arrival of iOS 8.1 on Monday, but the retailer quickly closed the door on such purchases by Wednesday.<br /><br /><a href="http://joshhudnall.com/2014/10/some-merchants-are-intentionally-crippling-apple-pay/" target="_blank">As noted by user Josh Hudnall</a> and confirmed by MacLife.com with mid-week purchases at two different Rite Aid stores, Apple Pay transactions appear to go through normally, but the last transaction details show a blank amount. More troubling, the screen on the POS terminal specifically notes "Apple Pay is not supported," despite having successfully worked earlier in the week.<br /><br />According to Hudnall, Rite Aid corporate recently sent stores an email explaining that Apple Pay will not be accepted by the chain, presumably because the retailer supports the competing (and as-yet unreleased) CurrectC system. Coincidentally, whatever Rite Aid did appears to also be affecting Google Wallet users, who are also now blocked from making NFC payments at the register.</p><h3>Bitcasa Forces Infinite Subscribers to Expensive Capped Plans</h3><p>Cloud storage underdog Bitcasa is up to its old tricks again: Only 11 months after switching to tiered pricing and raising the cost of its unlimited "Infinite Drive" storage from $99 to $999 per year, <a href="https://support.bitcasa.com/hc/en-us/articles/203936983-Bitcasa-Personal-Account-Update-FAQ" target="_blank">the service this week announced</a> that grandfathered users who have continued to pay the lower amount are being kneecapped completely.<br /><br />Bitcasa says the change is being made because the company has spent the last year working on "a new and greatly improved backend storage system, which will make uploading, downloading, and loading your files faster!" As a result, users will have to install new desktop and mobile software that supports the updated system, but which is incompatible with the old one. (Also worth noting: Bitcasa has pulled the trigger on this change without having a new iOS app ready, which they claim is being held up by App Store approval.)<br /><br />Existing grandfathered users are being given until November 15 to upgrade their accounts to one of two plans: 1TB for the same $99 per year, or 10TB for $999 per year (or $99 per month), which effectively replaces the previous unlimited plan. Bitcasa users have lashed out on social networks and the company's support forums, noting that the short cutoff date doesn't allow them time to download terabytes of content, which will be purged should they fail to upgrade to the new plans.</p><h3>Github Tool Said to Enable Handoff on Unsupported Macs</h3><p>The new Continuity features introduced with OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 are pretty fantastic, unless you have a Mac model released earlier than 2012. <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/23/continuity-activation-tool/" target="_blank">MacRumors reported Thursday</a> there may be hope for such models, thanks to a new Github project called <a href="https://github.com/dokterdok/Continuity-Activation-Tool/" target="_blank">Continuity Activation Tool</a>. Created by Dokterdok, the tool performs a compatibility check prior to creating backups of the original system drivers, and then disabling Bluetooth code that effectively blacklists unsupported models.<br /><br />Continuity Activation Tool reportedly works straight away with MacBook Air and Mac mini models from mid-2011 without additional hardware, but older Macs without the necessary Bluetooth 4.0 hardware require installation of new wireless cards, which may scare off average users from attempting such a modification. Full details are available from the Github portal.<br /><br /><em>Follow this article’s author, <a href="https://twitter.com/JRBTempe" target="_blank">J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter</a></em></p><p><em>(Image courtesy of The Chronicle-Telegram)</em></p><p><em><br /></em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/morning_report_rite_aid_vs_apple_pay_handoff_older_macs_bitcasa_changes#comments Gallery News angry customers App Store Apple Pay Bitcasa Continuity GitHub Handoff infinite storage iOS 8 Morning Report older Macs Rite Aid iPhone Mac Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:21:15 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20837 at http://www.maclife.com New iOS Games This Week: October 23, 2014 http://www.maclife.com/article/games/new_ios_games_week_october_23_2014 <!--paging_filter--> http://www.maclife.com/article/games/new_ios_games_week_october_23_2014#comments Gallery App Store AppLife Apps Final Fantasy games iOS Micro Battles new releases NHL 2K Puzzle to the Center of the Earth Republique Retry Rival Stars Basketball Tilt to Live iPad iPhone iPod Games Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:06:06 +0000 Andrew Hayward 20836 at http://www.maclife.com Designer Creates Office Furniture Out of Old Power Mac G5 Units http://www.maclife.com/article/news/designer_creates_office_furniture_out_old_power_mac_g5_units <!--paging_filter--><p>The Apple Power Mac G5 was a head-turner when it first appeared back in 2003. Slick, crafted from sturdy aluminum, and tough, it seemed to embody the term "industrial design." Macs have changed a lot since then, but German designer <a href="http://projektgalerie.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/mac-g5-moebel/" target="_blank">Klaus Geiger </a>(via <a href="http://www.macrumors.com/2014/10/23/power-mac-g5-furniture/" target="_blank">MacRumors</a>) sees no reason why such an iconic design should fade away or be confined to specialty collections. As such, he's "upcycled" several old units for a project and transformed them into contemporary furniture.</p><p>One of his most memorable designs is a bench playfully called "Benchmarc," in which two gutted Power Mac G5s support a handsome block of wood that matched the curves on the handles for the G5 chassis on each end. It looks like it'd be right at home in the waiting room of a Mac app developer's offices.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/benches.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>Geiger showcases several more designs on his site, such as a set of drawers constructed from two G5 frames turned on their sides. As with all of Geiger's designs, the insides have been pulled out, in this case allowing users to pull back the front of the units to reveal storage space inside. If you need to move it, wheels on the bottom allow you to roll it around.</p><p>Additional photos show an entire office suite designed around the old units, including everything from conference tables to bookcases. In lesser hands, even with the undeniable beauty of the G5, such a project might still have ended up looking like some outdated junk stashed in a corner. In Geiger's hands, it looks like the kind of thing any admirer of contemporary furniture would enjoy having in their home or office.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/designer_creates_office_furniture_out_old_power_mac_g5_units#comments News Art Design Klaus Geiger Mac office furniture Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:31:04 +0000 Leif Johnson 20835 at http://www.maclife.com Apple Releases TestFlight App Beta Testing to the Public http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_releases_testflight_app_beta_testing_public <!--paging_filter--><p>An iOS public beta may still be the stuff of legend, but Apple today ensured that developers could get easy widespread feedback for their prerelease iOS apps&nbsp;by extending the amount of people who can test them through&nbsp;<a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_buys_burstly_parent_company_testflight" target="_blank">TestFlight</a>. Initially showcased at WWDC back in June, TestFlight now allows third-party developers to invite up to 1,000 members of the public to best test their apps ahead of launch.</p><p>That's a big step up from Apple's original description of the service, which limited developers to 100 beta invitations. Indeed, TestFlight is now all about inclusiveness. At the very least, it removes the barrier of required technical expertise from the process and ensures that a wider pool of beta testers have a chance to identify bugs and related problems.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/10/testflightdevices.jpg" width="620" height="367" /></p><p>Even the process of gaining access to beta tests is easier. Obtaining a TestFlight invitation from a developer simply directs users to the official app through iTunes Connect, where they then download and run TestFlight without having to worry about finding their device's UDID or installing provisioning files. They're not even required to check their e-mail for news about recent builds, as notifications in iOS 8 inform them when new builds are ready.</p><p>Those updates may not go out as frequently as some developers wish. One big catch associated with TestFlight is that apps must pass a Beta App Review from Apple, much like the reviews apps must already pass before they're allowed to appear on iTunes. That puts the service at a disadvantage compared to existing testing platforms like Hockey, which suffer from no such setbacks.</p><p>But for developers, it's likely worth the wait. If you're interested, head over to the <a href="https://developer.apple.com/app-store/testflight/" target="_blank">special page</a> Apple's made regarding getting started with the service.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_releases_testflight_app_beta_testing_public#comments News Apps beta iOS iPad iphone Mac TestFlight testing iPad iPhone iPod Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:24:09 +0000 Leif Johnson 20834 at http://www.maclife.com Review: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (Mac) http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_lego_marvel_super_heroes_mac <!--paging_filter--><p>The LEGO games continue to actually deliver entertainment over disappointment. As a result, other heavyweight property licenses are gatecrashing the block party, eager to piggyback on the success. This time it’s the turn of Marvel and an incredible cast of iconic superheroes, 150 in fact, to assemble inside a world full of typical TT Games humor.&nbsp;</p><p>Doctor Doom leads a band of comic-book villains on the quest for “Cosmic Bricks” – the powerful remnants of the Silver Surfer’s shattered board. Thwarting his plans rests on guiding Iron Man, Wolverine, Thor and friends through armies of foes, bashing and crashing through detailed environments.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/10/legomsh_620.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Chaotic and cartoonish the action may be, but the real joy and reward comes from using each character’s unique skills to progress. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is nothing if not an imaginative puzzler, colorful enough for young fans while still challenging veteran players. It’s not without scope either, somewhat surprisingly shifting from linear levels to an open-world mode to great effect.&nbsp;</p><p>Choose a hero from the growing roster unlocked along the way and explore a sprawling LEGO Manhattan, uncovering secrets and playing mini-games. It’s here the genuine replay value lies and that nagging need to collect absolutely everything kicks in. On a technical level, too, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes excels on Mac, despite minor control and camera issues that occasionally frustrate.&nbsp;</p><p>Well-scripted cutscenes, plus charming voice acting and sounds, ensure you won’t stay annoyed for long. Graphically this is a feast for all ages, with animation slick enough to keep the pace frenetically fun.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Cute characterization, wit, and multiple gameplay styles bring new life to Marvel’s universe in a tongue-in-cheek caper fans will adore.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>LEGO Marvel Super Heroes</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Feral Interactive </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.feralinteractive.com" target="_blank">www.feralinteractive.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $29.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>OS X 10.8.5, 1.8GHz Processor, 4GB RAM, 512MB VRAM, 7.0GB hard drive space</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Fun-filled gameplay, not without challenge. Loving treatment of Marvel’s most popular heroes. Open-world mode extends substantial campaign.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Camera and controls not always 100 percent reliable. Very young players may struggle with puzzles.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_lego_marvel_super_heroes_mac#comments Reviews App Comic Book Feral Interactive lego LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Mac Games Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:08:35 +0000 Mark Billen 20833 at http://www.maclife.com The Week's Best Deals for Your Mac and iOS Device, October 23 http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/weeks_best_deals_your_mac_and_ios_device_october_23 <!--paging_filter--><p>We've got to say that there's a product in this week's deals that blows our minds. We won't say which one here, but it's a definite problem solver that hooks you up with some serious coolness and the price is a knockout. So enjoy this week's offerings of tasty Mac deals and when you see it, we hope you recognize a piece of genius when it's right there in front of you.</p> http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/weeks_best_deals_your_mac_and_ios_device_october_23#comments Gallery airplay Deals earbuds External Battery external hard drive external speaker Flash Drive Headphones iHome iMac LaCie MacBook macbook air macbook pro refurb Refurbished refurbs sales weekly deals Wireless Camera Remote Selfie Shutter wireless flash drive wireless speaker Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:24:29 +0000 J Keirn-Swanson 20832 at http://www.maclife.com Deals: Grab These Two Deals Designed for Your Game Loving Side http://www.maclife.com/article/deals/deals_grab_these_two_deals_designed_your_game_loving_side <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>[This is an advertorial. Maclife gets a portion of each unit sold.]</strong></p><p>Love playing games? We're all guilty of getting lost in a game world every now and then, but some people truly live it. If you are one of those enthusiasts who can't help but always feel like you're in the action, then we have two deals for you. Learn how to make your own games and show off your love with these awesome offers on sale right now in our Deals tab.</p><p><img src="/files/u323895/screen_shot_2014-10-19_at_2.49.27_pm.png" width="630" height="253" /></p><p>Do you want to make your own games? Then you'll love the Name Your Own Price Game Design Bundle. It consists of all the coures you need to kickstart your game career. Learn how to build your own game world, master an art style that will give your title a unique look, learn how to market your game and get it to your audience, and more. It's the perfect starter kit for any person looking to get in to the game creation business.</p><p>You can <a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-name-your-own-price-game-design-bundle" target="_blank">pick your price</a> for this bundle of courses. <a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-name-your-own-price-game-design-bundle" target="_blank">Pay what you can afford</a>, beat the average to unlock everything, or reach the top of the leaderboard with your purchase. No matter what you pay, 10% will go to a charity of your choice. It's an offer you can't beat, so <a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-name-your-own-price-game-design-bundle" target="_blank">grab this deal</a> today!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-name-your-own-price-game-design-bundle" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u323895/buynow-maclife.png" width="123" height="38" /></a></p><p>Want to show off your love for games in another way? Show off your passion right on your iPhone with these <a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-retro-classic-iphone-6-cases" target="_blank">Retro Classic iPhone cases</a>. They'll give your smartphone the look of an old school Gameboy or NES controller. It's a great way to display your passion and game cred while still getting the protection you need on your device. Get it on sale now for <a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-retro-classic-iphone-6-cases" target="_blank">just $14</a>.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://deals.maclife.com/sales/the-retro-classic-iphone-6-cases" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u323895/buynow-maclife.png" width="123" height="38" /></a></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/deals/deals_grab_these_two_deals_designed_your_game_loving_side#comments Deals Deals sponsored Stack Social Thu, 23 Oct 2014 17:00:00 +0000 MacLife Staff 20813 at http://www.maclife.com Morning Report: Big Retail Plans for China, Christian Bale Confirmed as Steve Jobs http://www.maclife.com/article/news/morning_report_big_retail_plans_china_christian_bale_confirmed_steve_jobs <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u220903/christian_bale_620px.png" alt="Christian Bale" width="620" height="300" /></p><p>It's widely known that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had a dark side, so why not go straight to The Dark Knight himself to play the iconic CEO on the big screen? Our Thursday Morning Report includes details on Sony's ambitious biopic, as well as Apple's pending retail invasion of China, plus Google's new take on email.</p><h3>Apple Planning 25 More Stores in China Within 2 Years</h3><p>Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China this week, and <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/apple-plans-more-stores-in-china-1414056873" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reported today</a> that Cupertino is planning to increase the number of retail stores in that country from 15 to 40 within the next two years. Speaking to Chinese news portal Sina.com, Cook announced the ambitious plans, which were confirmed by an Apple spokeswoman.<br /><br />“In the future China will become Apple’s biggest revenue contributor,” Cook prognosticated. “It’s just a matter of time.”<br /><br />The report noted that the "Greater China" region cited by Cook also includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, suggesting that not all of the forthcoming 25 stores could wind up being located in mainland China.</p><h3>It's Official: Christian Bale Leaps from Batman to Steve Jobs</h3><p>After Ashton Kutcher was announced as the lead in an unauthorized biopic on the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs more than two years ago, <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/features/ican_act_5_actors_we’d_rather_see_play_steve_jobs" target="_blank">we tossed out a handful of actors we'd rather see cast in that role</a>, which included <em>Pirates of Silicon Valley</em> star Noah Wyle, who actually portrayed Jobs twice — one in the aforementioned TV movie, and again during a 1999 Apple keynote alongside the iconic CEO himself.<br /><br />Our top choice at that time was none other than Christian Bale, who <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-23/christian-bale-didn-t-have-to-audition-for-jobs-film-role.html" target="_blank">Bloomberg today confirmed</a> as now starring in the official adaption of Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography. Penned by the same writer who brought us <em>The Social Network</em> (screenwriter Aaron Sorkin), the Steve Jobs biopic is scheduled to begin shooting "in the next couple of months," and should prove to be a new challenge for the artist formerly known as Batman.<br /><br />“He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined,” Sorkin teased. “There isn’t a scene or a frame that he’s not in. So it’s an extremely difficult part and he is gonna crush it.”<br /><br />Bale has widely been rumored as a contender for the coveted role in recent months, and Sorkin himself considered the actor the best "on the board in a certain age range," noting that Bale didn't have to audition for the role. (Can we officially brag about calling it back in April 2012 now?)</p><p>Danny Boyle, of&nbsp;<em>Slumdog Millionaire</em>&nbsp;fame, is reportedly directing.</p><h3>Google Opens Invite-Only System for New Inbox Email App</h3><p><a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/10/an-inbox-that-works-for-you.html" target="_blank">The Google Official Blog announced Wednesday</a> a new email solution called Inbox. Currently available by invitation only, Inbox comes from the same team behind Gmail, but is being billed as "a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters." The app, which will be available for both iOS and Android, includes unique features like Bundles (for automatic organization) and Highlights (important information at a glance), but also combines to-do features like reminders, assists, and snooze all in one place. Eager Google lovers can send an email to inbox@google.com to speed up the invitation process, and once invited, will be able to bring friends into the fold as well.<br /><br /><em>Follow this article’s author, <a href="https://twitter.com/JRBTempe" target="_blank">J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter</a></em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/news/morning_report_big_retail_plans_china_christian_bale_confirmed_steve_jobs#comments News Aaron Sorkin Apple Inc. Apple Retail Stores China christian bale Google inbox Morning Report Steve Jobs steve jobs biopic Tim Cook iPad iPhone iPod Mac Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:16:02 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20831 at http://www.maclife.com Working 1976 Apple I Sells at Auction for $905,000 http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/working_1976_apple_i_sells_auction_905000 <!--paging_filter--><p>The next time you think you've paid a lot for your Apple computer, consider the buyers of a rare working Apple I motherboard who put down $905,000 for the unit at a Bonhams <a href="http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/22247/" target="_blank">History of Science</a> auction in New York. The Bonhams video accompanying the auction (below) suggested it might go for around $300,000 or $500,000, but it left the lot for about double that.</p><p>The computer itself, bearing the model number 01-0070, dates from 1976. It's one of 50 Apple 1 computers that Apple co-founders Steve "Woz" Wozniak and Steve Jobs built in Jobs' garage in Palo Alto, California specifically for sale in The Byte Shop. Around 150 more were made in the original run (although they went to individual buyers), and of the total 200, only around 17 are thought to still work today. At the time, they sold for the decidedly devilish price of $666.66.</p><p><iframe src="http://content.jwplatform.com/players/XsKNUiWJ-uJeNAjNM.html" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0" scrolling="auto"></iframe></p><p>According to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/22/us-applecomputer-auction-idUSKCN0IB2FG20141022" target="_blank">Reuters</a>, the lucky buyer was the <a href="http://www.thehenryford.org/museum/index.aspx" target="_blank">Henry Ford Museum</a> in Dearborn, Michigan, which collects important artifacts from American history with a focus on industry.</p><p>"The Apple-1 was not only innovative, but it is a key artifact in the foundation of the digital revolution," Henry Ford President Patricia Mooradian said in a statement following the acquisition.</p><p>It's been a relatively quiet year for auctions of the historical units, but last year one of the motherboards sold along with schematics and a manual signed by Woz for <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/apple_i_auction_brings_387750_christies" target="_blank">$387,750</a>. A little over a month earlier, another Apple I sold for <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/news/original_apple1_auction_germany_fetches_671400" target="_blank">$671,400</a> at an auction in Germany. At this rate, the next auction we hear about might break over $1 million.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer,<a href="https://twitter.com/LeifJohnson" target="_blank"> Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> http://www.maclife.com/article/gallery/working_1976_apple_i_sells_auction_905000#comments Gallery News apple Apple I auctions Bonhams history history of Apple motherboard Steve Jobs Steve Wozniak Woz Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:45:09 +0000 Leif Johnson 20830 at http://www.maclife.com Review: GameSmart CTRLi Mobile Gamepad http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_gamesmart_ctrli_mobile_gamepad <!--paging_filter--><p>When the MFi (Made For iOS) controller standard came into being about a year ago, it had the potential to usher in a new era of iOS gaming that allowed developers to deliver true console-quality gaming on an iOS device. Unfortunately, most MFi controllers have suffered from one problem or another: too expensive, too unwieldy, too unresponsive, or a combination of the above. The GameSmart CTRLi Mobile Gamepad from Mad Catz aims to succeed where others have failed, and it does a very admirable job.</p><p>All it takes is one look at the CTRLi to see where it gets its inspiration: the controller is clearly modelled off of an Xbox 360 gamepad. That's not a bad thing; the CTRLi has a good heft to it — it doesn't come off as flimsy or cheap in the slightest — and feels very natural in one's hands. Unfortunately, the controller also borrows one negative feature from Xbox — the somewhat clunky D-pad (digital directional pad). The D-pad on the CTRLi is arguably superior to that of an Xbox controller, but it still sometimes requires an extra-firm touch to get it to do what you want it to.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/10/madcatz_ctrli_620.png" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>Luckily, just about everything else about the CTRLi is excellent. The two analog sticks have just the right amount of tension, the shoulder buttons are well placed, and the face buttons are very responsive. There are plenty of <a href="http://madcatz.com/compatibility/ctrli/" target="_blank">compatible titles</a> in a variety of genres, and every game we tested benefitted from improvements to maneuvering and action; gameplay was significantly smoother and easier to control than it was via touchscreen-based virtual joysticks and buttons. The controls were less consistent when navigating menu screens, but that's a fault of the software rather than the controller itself.</p><p>The CTRLi was easy to get up and running as well; all it takes is a couple of button presses to get it synched via Bluetooth to your iOS device. It comes with a detachable smartphone clip, too. Though you can play with your iOS device propped up or in a stand, you can also attach the easy-to-use spring-loaded adjustable clip and slide your iPhone right in to create a makeshift portable gaming system. The clip is surprisingly sturdy and it's big enough to even hold an iPhone 6 Plus.</p><p>Speaking of which, don't worry about the fact that the package claims it's made for iOS 7 and iPhone 5s/c; we tried it with iOS 8 and the aforementioned iPhone 6 Plus (as well as a 4th-gen iPad running iOS 7), and the controller worked beautifully. Perhaps the biggest strike against it, however, is the fact that doesn't feature a rechargable lithium-ion battery; though that helps keep the cost down to just under $60, it means you'll have to keep a supply of AAA batteries on hand for whenever it runs out of juice (which reportedly won't happen for 30 hours or so).&nbsp;</p><p>If $60 is a bit too pricy for you, you could also consider Mad Catz's Micro CTRLi; it's smaller, so it may be less comfortable depending on the size of your hands, but it's $10 cheaper and offers most of the same functionality as its larger sibling.</p><p>Though the CTRLi isn't perfect, it's the best MFi controller we've tried. It provides comfort and responsiveness in a reasonably priced package, and it significantly improves the playablity of console-style games on iOS devices.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> If you're looking to get an MFi controller, this one should be at the top of your list.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>GameSmart CTRLi Mobile Gamepad</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mad Catz </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://madcatz.com/gamesmart-c-t-r-l-i/" target="_blank">www.madcatz.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $59.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone 5, iPad (4th gen), iPad mini, or iPod touch (5th gen) or newer device running iOS 7 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Feels great. Controls are mostly responsive. Reasonable price.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>D-pad is a tad sticky. Runs on AAA batteries rather than built-in lithium-ion.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_gamesmart_ctrli_mobile_gamepad#comments Reviews controller CTRLi GameSmart iOS mad catz MFi controller Micro CTRLi iPad iPhone iPod Games Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:02:55 +0000 Chris Hoffman 20827 at http://www.maclife.com