Apple has released the first beta for iOS 4.2 to developers; the update is to be released in November. The update will bring the iPad all the features of iOS 4 as well as new features such as Printing. The update is also available for iPhone and iPod Touch. Here is a brief video preview from App Advice outlining how the updated features work:
The update comes just a week after iOS 4.1 was released. The update is only available for developers at this stage.
Apple has clarified the compatability of Game Center, the service that allows users to play online with friends and random matches. Unfortunately, it will not be available on the iPhone 3G. This means that 2 tent-pole features of iOS 4 are not available on the device, the other being Multitasking. The feature will be available for the 2nd Gen iPod Touch however. Presumably this is due to the performance issues that have dogged the 3G running iOS 4.
A new app for download on the iPad is “the Hero HD” which is available for $1.99 or £1.99. The App is brought to you by Chillingo, the people who brought you Angry Birds. As you’d expect the Menus are slick yet simple and very well designed. There is also the Option to Play with Friends if they also have the app via the Crystal Online System.
The app follows the same premise of the iPhone version of the app. You play the Hero and steer him around to stop robbers, catch falling babies, put out fires, even stop giant spiders!
There are three control methods to choose from. Tilt to steer, finger control or my favourite and the default, D-Pad control. They all have their pros and cons; tilting for example can leave your arms feeling the strain after a while. They do all however, offer a great deal of responsiveness and accuracy. There are other buttons such as the Speed-Boost (it does what it says on the tin) and Superpower buttons which offer a great deal of fun and variety.
The graphics are really nice with an almost comic-like feel. Colours are bright and vivid, the artwork is superb and nicely styilised. There is a good variety between levels whether it be in the sky colours, the buildings or just the number of different challenges, it never feels like you are playing the same level twice despite the simple concept.
This is app is also great for those -and if you’re reading this, you’re probably going to be one of said ‘those’- who have imagined being a super hero. For when you really get the hang of the game you can perform moves of almost a cinematic nature. My personal favourite is flying high in the air, turning around and to just speed towards the Earth and smash a tank to Kingdom come!
The Hero HD is a great app to just pick up and play. It is a pleasure to use and is extremely fun. There is more variety than you’d expect and you will find yourself saying “Just one more level…” again and again. The Hero HD is excellent value as you’d expect from Chillingo. The Hero HD for iPad could definitely be what Angry Birds is on the iPhone
Tomorrow Apple is scheduled to release iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod Touch. Now would seem to be a good time to look at what features there are to look forward to and what Game Centre and HDR Photographs are.
Game Centre: Game Centre is the first definitive solution to Multiplayer Gaming on iOS devices. Game Centre allows users to Play with friends, online and offline within games. Users will be able to send an invite to a friend (even if they are not playing the game) or can pit their skills against a stranger of similar ability. The service logs usage stats, supports achievements and leader-boards, all depending on the game. In essence, Game Centre will be the XBox Live of the iPhone.
High Dynamic Resolution Photographs (aka nicer photos!): Strip away the jargon and in essence HDR is all about enhancing photographs. The way it works is your iPhone takes three photos in very quick succession, the trick is the exposure level: one under exposed, one normal and one over-exposed. These are then merged together. The idea behind it is that colours and textures that may normally be washed out or over-shadowed are brought out and the result is a much richer and generally better photograph. What will be interesting is whether this feature will be available on the iPhone 3G as not every iOS 4 feature is available on the device.
Ping: Apple’s new controversial social network within iTunes will be available on iPhone and iPod Touch. Ping allows users to follow artists, get updates on what they are up to and share music with friends; 4.1 brings these capabilities to the iOS. Ping has attracted over 1 million users but has come under criticism due to it’s limitations, for example, no Twitter or Facebook connectivity.
High Definition Video Uploads: As the iPhone and soon the iPod Touch can shoot movies in HD, Apple has added the capability to upload these videos to YouTube or MobileMe. This feature will only be available over a WiFi connection due to the bandwidth required.
The update also brings bug fixes for the Proximity Sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and, at last, a fix to the iPhone 3G’s sluggish speed when using iOS 4. The update will be available tomorrow.