An extra charging brick for your iPhone and iPad is technically a want, although it often really feels like a need. Dexim’s Visible Green Smart Charger costs about $5 more than Apple’s replacement 10W USB Power Adapter ($29, www.apple.com), and Apple’s cable even throws in a 6-foot extension cord. But the Smart Charger can shave some pennies off your electric bill, since it shuts itself off when your gadget is charged or disconnected.
It’s never been easier to stay in touch with coworkers (and everyone else), and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune, either. Skype has long been the world’s most popular online phone service. It’s still often the cheapest way to make international calls as it routes your connection over the internet so that it only appears on the remote phone network close enough to its destination to charge you local rates.
Word Off is like a sleazy used car salesman shilling a fine product. The underlying game may be sharp, tense, and original, but it's mired in a scuzzy business model. At its core, Word Off presents a smart mix between a word game and a strategy title. You play on a board comprised of hexagonal tiles, each containing a letter, and begin with a cluster of occupied spaces in one corner while your opponent starts with the same in the opposite corner.
LostWinds 2: Winter of the Melodias sounds like it could be a Pixar film: using the power of the wind, a boy goes on a quest to find his missing mother in a faraway land. Exploration and puzzle-solving make innovative use of that wind, letting you move a finger across the touchscreen to “draw” the path of a gust, which the young protagonist Toku can use to jump, move objects, or otherwise interact with his environment, to name a few abilities.
Working remotely is only practical if you can stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues, sharing files and ideas in real time. That means having some way of efficiently sharing documents--one that’s as simple from an iPad at home as it is from your Mac or PC back at the office. Here, you’re spoiled for choice.
If you've ever enjoyed scrawling sequential stick figure doodles in the corner pages of a school notebook and then flipping through it quickly to make the little fellows spring to life, then FlipBook HD may scratch a familiar itch. This drawing and animation app packs a few neat features for crafting clever movie shorts, but an unintuitive interface, stability issues, and a meager selection of drawing tools ultimately make old-school pen and paper a more inviting option.
These days there’s no reason to confine your TV fix to the living room--or even to a TV. With your Mac you can catch full episodes of shows from broadcast and basic cable networks, usually a day after the original air date. Better yet, plenty of sites offer weird, wild, web-only material, with no restrictions except the boundaries of good taste--if that! Here are some of our favorite places to catch some online TV time.
Adobe Proto is aimed at designers who want to rough out a sketch of their website or mobile app on the go before heading into Dreamweaver or other desktop tools. The resulting wireframe prototypes can be synced to Creative Cloud, either with a free 2GB account or as part of the 20GB included with the $49.99 per month service. The iPad-only app liberates designers from having to sit at a computer all day.
It’s amazing what turns up on eBay. Case in point: Over the Memorial Day weekend, a prototype for the first-generation iPad made headlines for having not one but two dock connectors -- but don’t bother bidding, because this sucker is sold.
Given the popularity the Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure console game -- which uses toys with built-in RFID chips to interact with the digital characters -- it's disappointing that the series' iOS debut is a simple gallery-style shooter, paired with the kind of persistent challenge progression done best in the excellent Jetpack Joyride.