March 30, 2012

New iPhoto and iMovie apps can be manually copied to the original iPad

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 07:57 PM EST (04:57 PM PST)
Apple’s new iPhoto app, as well as iMovie, can’t be purchased on the original 2010 iPad or installed on it using iTunes, but they can be installed manually using Apple’s iPhone Configuration Utility.

Apple doesn’t support iPhoto on the original iPad, presumably because it lacks a camera, the same factor that apparently prevented iMovie from working on that model. However, both iMovie and iPhoto can be manually copied to the original iPad and both seem to work fine.

All that’s required is Apple’s free iPhone Configuration Utility, available at as a tool for companies to use in installing apps and configuration policy profiles to the fleets of iOS devices they use.

Once the utility is installed (Apple provides a Mac and Windows version), you can plug your iPad in via USB and select the apps you want to manually install by adding them to the library. After you buy the apps in iTunes, they’ll be within your Music folder under iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications.

Once they’re in the Configuration Utility library, you can click the Install button for each app from the Application tab of the device you want to install them on. The utility will copy the files over, and the app will then appear on your iPad and work normally.

Beyond lacking a camera, iPhoto and iMovie seem to work well enough on the original iPad, although it lacks the horsepower of the newer iPad 2, and the additional memory of the newest iPad. It also lacks a camera, so you obviously can’t use the recording features of the latest iMovie.

You can’t use the simpler Configurator app Apple just released in the Mac App Store to install the apps you’ve bought in iTunes, as it requires a redemption code for installing paid apps on other devices.

After installing iMovie and iPhoto on the original iPad, iTunes may give warnings that it is no longer authorized for apps on your iPad. Click Authorize and it will dismiss the alert; if you click Don’t Authorize, it will remove the apps you installed manually.


Mysterious New App Store Category Turns Out To Be A Boring Collection Of Catalog Apps

Mysterious New App Store Category Turns Out To Be A Boring Collection Of Catalog Apps

Remember when a mysterious new category appeared in the App Store on the eve of the this past week’s iPad announcement? The discovery led most of the Apple blogosphere to believe that some sort of interactive catalog experience would be making its way to the new iPad’s gorgeous Retina display. How exciting!

As it turns out, the Catalogs section of the App Store has launched, and it’s not really that amazing at all. In fact, it’s pretty awful.

If you visit the new Catalogs category in the App Store, you’ll see that it’s mostly filled with shopping apps for the iPhone. There are some universal apps with iPad versions, but Apple even goes so far as to call the category “iPhone Catalogs.”

You’ll get a good idea of the category’s overall quality by perusing through the “What’s Hot” section. There’s nothing that exciting, and most of the apps look poorly designed. It seems like Apple migrated over many titles from the Lifestyle App Store category, and for no apparent reason.

Mysterious New App Store Category Turns Out To Be A Boring Collection Of Catalog Apps

SkyMall for iPhone in all its wonder

SkyMall, a fairly recognizable catalog magazine, has a particularly horrendous iPhone app you can download for free. Most of the available apps are for incredibly niche markets (with the exception of several apps for more recognizable retailers, like Arhaus Furniture) or are entirely pointless. To be honest, the entire category seems like a random mistake. There’s absolutely nothing to go on as to why Apple decided to launch it now.

Apple Adds Mysterious “Catalogs” Section To App Store On Eve Of iPad 3 Event

Cult of Mac

Learn All About The New iPad And More On This Week’s CultCast

Cultcast ipad logo

The new iPad is here, fellow Apple enthusiasts, in all its retina display glory. And on this week’s CultCast, we get into the nitty-gritty covering all its new features. We’ll also tell you if it’s worth upgrading from the iPad 2.

But we go deeper than that. This was Tim Cook’s first major Apple keynote — do the Apple events still hold the magic they did when Steve Jobs was on stage?

We cover all that and more on this episode of The CultCast — the best 30 minute Apple conversation you’re going to hear all week long. Subscribe to The CultCast now in iTunes to get episode 3 and we’ll send you a fresh new episode every Thursday night!

Introducing The CultCast, The New Cult of Mac Podcast You’ll Want To Listen To Every Week


Erfon Elijah is the producer and host of The CultCast, a photographer, and the founder of the Seattle indie brand Might Tees. When not designing graphic tees or recording podcasts, you’ll find him on Xbox Live hunting Modern Warfare 3 foes like the Predator.

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Cult of Mac

Imangi finds success, and more choices, with Temple Run

Imangi Studios’ Keith Shepherd and Natalia Luckyanova have been making solid games on iOS for years now, from their original hit Harbor Master and their charming dual-stick shooter Max Adventure. But it wasn’t until Temple Run this past year (which I first saw in an off-the-record prototype form at GDC last year) that Imangi really hit it big. The freemium game has over 40 million players already, and it’s consistently sitting up among the top-grossing spots on the App Store.

Imangi’s perfectly happy with that success, if not a little overwhelmed by it. “This is ridiculous, what is happening,” says Luckyanova. Temple Run actually came at a great time for the couple — they’ve just purchased a house, and they have a baby on the way, so they’ll definitely be busy ove the next few months, even without a new game. And Shepherd says that’s the plan: While Imangi has “a lot of ideas, they’re all on the back burner for now.” The current goal is to push Temple Run as far as it will go.

First things first, that means an Android release — Imangi has announced the game will arrive on that platform on March 27. After that, says Shepherd, you might see Temple Run in a few other places, including the Mac App Store, and somewhere on the web, in a browser-based form. The couple has also had requests for versions of the game on PC and Facebook, so they’re considering those as well.

The issue with having this kind of success on the App Store, however, is that once you get a popular game up and running, your inbox starts to fill with all kinds of offers: Merchandising, porting, offers for other markets, and different amounts of money that come with each. Imangi says they’re considering all of these, but their main goal is to stay as independent as possible. “We like being independent,” says Shepherd. The couple have always had an artist working with them as a third developer, and have since brought on a few more people to help with support and other tasks, but “we’re not trying to grow,” they say.

And that’s the biggest issue with selling the company itself. Certainly, they’ve had offers from bigger publishers, but “if we were to really sell the company,” says Shepherd, “we’d have to grow the team a lot.” And while they admit extra resources might be nice, Imangi still seems perfectly happy as a core team of two.

On iOS itself, Temple Run is getting an update in the next few weeks, with more objectives to take on, possibly more environments to run through, and some “powerup stuff” as well. But outside of that, Imangi is taking a well-deserved breather on development at the moment, and focusing on simply growing all of the business they have. What advice do they have for other developers searching for freemium success? “You need to start with solid work,” says Luckyanova. Imangi’s been putting good games together on iOS for a while, and so it was probably only a matter of time before one of their titles was able to pay off.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

New iPad adopts simple product naming Steve Jobs brought to Apple in 1997

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 02:23 PM EST (11:23 AM PST)
Apple’s latest iPad, originally anticipated to be named iPad 3 or iPad HD, was simply called “the new iPad” during its introduction. This isn’t a new change in naming products at the company however; Steve Jobs initiated it 15 year ago when he returned to lead Apple in 1997.

Apple product names in the 80s

Apple’s initial mainstream product was the Apple II, introduced in the late 70s and updated in a series of revised models differentiated by a character suffix: first the Apple II+, then the enhanced Apple IIe, the compact Apple IIc, and eventually the 16-bit Apple IIGS, with letters emphasizing its new graphics and sound capabilities.

The ill-fated Apple III and Apple III+ were followed by the Lisa (later rebranded the Macintosh XL), both using the same type of suffix naming convention that was also in common use by many other early computer makers.

The company named its first Macintosh models with character suffix identifiers: an initial update was called the Mac 512Ke (commonly referred to as the Fat Mac for sporting four times the RAM of the original) and the first major redesign was branded Mac Plus, followed by the Mac SE (for system expansion, the first Mac with a slot) and the Macintosh II in 1987 (the year after Jobs left the company to start NeXT Computer).

Names get crazy in the 90s

After continuing this naming system through a series of Mac II models in the late 80s, the company began branching out deliver new series of Macs, ranging from the Mac LC line (for “low cost color,” aimed at education and home buyers) to the low end, nostalgic “Mac Classic” line to the higher end Mac IIx, IIcx, Iici, IIfx, IIsi, IIvi and IIvx.

It then introduced a series of Latin-sounding product line ranging from the consumer oriented Performa to the middle of the road Centris and ’040 powered, higher end Quadra, with each model getting a Sony-style model number such as the “Quadra 650 AV.”

Systems using a PowerPC processor were given four digit numbers (as opposed to the original three digit numbers of Macs based on the Motorola 680×0 chips), and often incorporated “Power” in their name (although mobile PowerBooks predated that convention, so they didn’t necessarily use a PowerPC chip unless they sported a four digit model number). A single new machine architecture might be offered under a dozen Performa model numbers, each with slightly different specifications.

Throughout the 1990s, Apple’s product naming resulted in a complex, difficult to understand series of overlapping models and model numbers, each representing a different configuration of hard drives and system capacities.

The company’s Newton Message Pad and eMate product lines of hand held devices similarly used product numbers to differentiate models, and the company also used the same numbering conventions for peripherals such as its QuickTake cameras and StyleWriter and LaserWriter printers.

Jobs’ product naming simplification

When Jobs returned to lead Apple in 1997, he immediately killed the Mac’s confusing model number-names and introduced a single desktop model: Power Macintosh G3, paired with a single notebook, the new PowerBook G3, both highlighting the new, third generation PowerPC chip. Newton devices, printers and cameras were all axed from the company’s catalog entirely.

Jobs then introduced the iMac in 1998, followed by the consumer iBook notebook in 1999. Successive models that incorporated a significantly different processor were appended with G4 or G5, but each generation of Apple’s Macs were no longer given unique names with each release.

Instead, iMacs and PowerBooks were generally released with an internal naming system that described when they were released (such as “early 2006″), along with an unpublicized architecture name (“iMac4,1″). To the public, a new iMac was simply marketed as the latest iMac.

With the shift to Intel processors announced in 2005, Apple’s product names got even simpler, with “the new iMac,” “the new Mac mini,” and new series of MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Xserve and MacBook Air models, none of which drew attention to the generation of their Intel processor, nor features such as a 64-bit architecture, DisplayPort or Thunderbolt.

Instead, users buying a Mac simply choose the form factor they want, the screen size, and pick between good, better and best packages, or custom order a specific configuration they want. There’s no hierarchy of model numbers or sub-brands to navigate through to find the Mac a users wants to buy. Rather than naming products after their specifications, Jobs’ Apple named products descriptively (such as “Mac mini”) or after the category of people who would be buying them (Pro).

iPods and iOS devices

When Apple introduced the iPod in 1999, it continued to remain “the new iPod” through several generations before being named the iPod Classic to differentiate it from the architecturally different iPod mini (and its replacement, the iPod nano) as well as the simple iPod shuffle.

Each successive model generation retained the same descriptive product name, without serial numbers or new name suffixes to highlight differences in their chipset or other features. One exception to this rule was the short lived, premium fourth generation iPod named “iPod Photo” in 2004. It was later renamed “iPod (with color display),” then replaced with the video capable fifth generation “iPod” in 2005, which Apple purposely avoided naming “iPod Video,” even as consumers often referred to it as such.

When Apple released iPhone in 2007, it paired it with the new iPod touch. While subsequent generations of iPhone got new names alluding to their new features (iPhone 3G) or updated speed (iPhone 3GS) or new generation names (iPhone 4) and new enhancements (iPhone 4S), iPod touch didn’t, instead carrying forward the Mac style product name with a parenthetical reference to its generation or model year introduction.

A primary difference between the iPhone and iPod touch was that Apple continued to sell different generations of the iPhone in different markets or at different price points. While Apple continues to sell the iPhone 3GS, 4 and 4S, it has only ever sold one new iPod touch model. With the iPad, Apple has historically liquidated the previous model year, rather than selling both an old and new model at different prices.

This year, Apple has continued to sell a single iPad 2 while offering a “new iPad,” positing the device somewhere between the naming convention of iPhone and its iPod touch and Macs, which don’t get new names and typically don’t overlap in sales.

This suggests that Apple may begin naming subsequent new iPhone models as simply the “new iPhone,” rather than introducing a new “iPhone 5″ or “iPhone 4S Plus.”


Such a move would also help to reduce confusion related to the difference between generations of iPhone, generations of Apple’s A4/A5/A5X/A6 system on a chip processor, and the branding of wireless technologies that identify themselves as 3G, 3.5G, or various things that claim to be 4G (despite the fact that no deployed wireless networks actually meet the 3GPP standard for being a true “4G” technology).

Another complication is the fact that even among carriers supporting LTE, there is no global consensus on what bands to use. In the US, AT&T and Verizon operate LTE service on different bands, and globally carriers are rolling out the technology on still different bands. Until a single chipset and design can be made to efficiently work across all of them (something that many not happen), Apple is likely to want to avoid confusion with a series of different model names, and instead focus on ‘”iPhone” as its global brand.

Apple’s strong brands related to iPod, iPhone, iPad and Mac enable the company to release models consumers can readily identify. The company’s entire hardware product lineup fits into a small box on the company’s online store page, with each brand clearly differentiated.

That’s a big difference between Apple and other smartphone vendors producing new brand names every few months (such as HTC’s latest ThunderBolt, Incredible, Rhyme, Rezound among the 51 current models listed on its website; Motorola’s Droid 4, Droid Bionic, Droid RAZR among 27 models on its website; and Samsung’s Illusion, Stratosphere, Fascinate, Continuum, Galaxy S, Galaxy S II Skyrocket and Galaxy Nexus, just to name a few of the 137 it offers.)

Windows PC makers offer similarly confusing ranges of products reminiscent of Apple in the 90s. Samsung offers a good example of both, with a website that lists not just 137 different phone models and carrier combinations (not including 14 Android tablets and two Windows 7 Tablet PC offerings) but also 37 laptop models grouped into four “series” as well as a Google Chromebook notebook and an all in one PC model. Samsung isn’t even a major PC vendor.

RIM also continues to use Performa-style model naming, with BlackBerry Bold models identified as, for example, the 9000, 9650, 9700, 9780, 9900 or 9930 among the 21 models grouped under its six brand names, similar to Nokia’s use of numbers on its Lumia Windows Phone 7 model lineup, which includes the 610, 710, 800, 900 and 910.

Other Microsoft licenses are using Android-style naming, with new brands from each vendor (such as the HTC Trophy, Mozart, HD7, Titan and Radar). Microsoft effectively prevents its Windows Phone 7 licensees from offering much diversification on specifications, but the product is now offered under more than two dozen brand names and numbers, despite accounting for very few actual sales globally.

On different carriers or in different countries, each of these model names is subject to change, too (the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II is essentially the same phone as the T-Mobile Epic 4G Touch, for example, a nod to the ego of carriers at the expense of consumer confusion). This is in stark contrast to Apple’s single brand name for the iPhone 4 or iPad on every carrier, even in cases where there were different chipsets and technologies used (such as an AT&T version and Verizon version).

By centering on a single brand name for each major product category it sells, Apple spends much less on advertising and promoting new brands and customers find it easier to find what they’re looking for and ask for it by name.


Why Apple will Crush Microsoft in the Post-PC Era

Why Apple will Crush Microsoft in the Post-PC Era

Apple CEO Tim Cook this week talked about a “post-PC world.” Many people treated his comments as controversial, exaggerated or outright marketing lies.

In fact, everything Cook said about it was literally true and perfectly accurate. He said the post-PC revolution “is happening all around us at an amazing pace and Apple is at the forefront and leading this revolution.”

He didn’t say we currently live in a post-PC world, or that in the future PCs would not exist. He specifically said “we’re talking about a world where the PC is no longer the center of your digital world.”

What he didn’t say — so I will — was that the transition from the PC world to the post-PC world involves a transition from a Microsoft world to an Apple world.

For the past few decades, Windows has been the dominant platform and Mac OS has been a minority operating system. Here’s why their positions will be reversed in the years to come.

 Why Microsoft Can’t Compete in the Post PC Future

The challenges faced by Microsoft, Apple, Google and all the other tech giants today are similar to those faced by companies in the past. In computing technology, the same patterns repeat themselves again and again.

All successful technologies, platforms and paradigms follow the same pattern of emergence, acceptance, growth, dominance, decline, irrelevance and obsolescence.

The emergence of companies is all about timing. Being the right company with the right founders and the right technology depends 100% on timing. What’s right today would have been too early a year ago and too late a year from now.

Companies like Microsoft and Google are formed within a specific context that enables them to flourish. Had Google been founded when Microsoft started, it would have failed. Had Microsoft started when Google had, it would have never gotten off the ground.

Once companies launch and become successful, the only way to maintain their success is re-invention. As the conditions that enabled their initial success fade into history, they have to remake themselves into a new kind of company.

This is so hard to do that very few companies actually achieve it. The reason is that you often have to kill your most successful products while they’re still successful in order to take a gamble on the products that aren’t making big bucks yet.

Apple managed to skirt this problem. The whole iOS forest was started with a tiny seed: The iPod.

The iPod in no way overlapped with or competed against Apple’s main business, which was integrated PCs. Apple leveraged the iPod and iTunes universe to launch the iPhone, which they used to launch the iPad.

By the time the iOS devices were competing against Apple’s Macs as an alternative for users, they were already bringing in more revenue for Apple.

It will be easy for Apple to “sunset” Macs, to put them on the back burner and focus on iOS devices, because iOS devices are already the core business.

Microsoft doesn’t have this luxury. The company is in the position that no company wants to find itself in: It’s got to cannibalize it’s cash cow businesses in order to compete in the future.

In order to have a shot at dominating the post-PC future like it dominates the PC present, Microsoft would have had to do what Apple did: Aggressively build an alternative to the biggest and most important product lines.

The right thing to do for Microsoft would have been something like iOS — a single, light multi-touch operating system that spans from wristwatches to tablets that in no way is compatible with, shares code with or is in any way the same as Windows.

And Microsoft came oh, so close. Their Windows Phone operating system would have been an ideal platform from which to challenge Apple for the future of consumer computing. Specifically, Microsoft should have aggressively pushed Windows Phone as the tablet operating system. They should have practically given it away to third-party hardware makers, and pushed those OEMs to develop sophisticated, high-quality tablets at low cost — and make them so compelling that millions of people wanted to use these devices instead of buying Windows PCs.

But they just couldn’t do it.

Instead, they made the mistake of the millennium (so far): Instead of starting “lite” and growing up, they started “heavy” and dumbed down.

This is *exactly* what killed the Tablet PC. That platform was just Windows with yet another layer of spaghetti code that enabled people willing to pay $ 2,000 for a heavy, clunky Windows machine halfway retro-fitted for a stylus to buy a tablet.

That Windows Phone should have been Microsoft’s tablet OS could not be more obvious.

But dinosaurs have almost never been able to act in their future best interest when it conflicts with their present best interest.

The touch-tablet revolution offers Microsoft two conflicting opportunities. First, they could seize the opportunity to succeed in the future by approximating the Apple model — start small and light and wait for Moore’s law to grow your low-cost, simple appliances into systems that function as the core of consumers’ computing experience. Or, second, they could use the excitement around tablets to squeeze even more revenue out of the aging Windows operating system.

They chose the latter. And that’s why they’ll fail.

Microsoft has always believed that simplicity is a parlor trick, that it’s achieved by slapping an interface that looks and feels simple on top of a functionally complex, architecturally complex and technologically complex base.

Actual simplicity can be achieved only by starting over, by abandoning backward compatibility.

That abandonment is what makes both iOS and Windows Phone, for that matter, so nice to use.

It’s the failure to abandon backward compatibility that will make Windows 8 so unpleasant to use. And the superficial Metro UI doesn’t change that.

So as the world gravitates to multi-touch post-PC devices, Apple’s big screen option will represent a fresh start while Microsoft’s will be carrying two decades of baggage.

The bottom line is that Microsoft itself will be responsible for its coming decline. The company is constitutionally unable to offer a real competitor to its cash-cow Windows operating system.

As we rush toward a post-PC computing era, Microsoft won’t offer a true post-PC alternative. But Apple will.

Picture credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

How Apple’s iOS Will Conquer the World

Cult of Mac

JailbreakCon Conference to be held September 29 in San Francisco

The World Wide Jailbreak Convention announced on Friday that it’ll hold its JailbreakCon 2012 conference on Saturday, September 29 in San Francisco. The conference will be held in California at the South San Francisco Conference Center. Early bird tickets start at US$ 65 and are on sale now through Eventbrite. You can find out more about the conference at the World Wide Jailbreak Convention’s website.

[Via iMore]

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Tether for iPhone returns as an HTML5 app

Last year, iTether hit the App Store and was promptly pulled when Apple discovered it let customers share their phone’s mobile broadband connection without paying for a carrier tethering plan. After a few months of inactivity, Tether is now back as an HTML5 app.

The new HTML5 version of Tether creates a wireless connection using an ad-hoc network. This avoids any App Store issues and lets you connect your laptop to an iPhone with a mobile broadband connection. The service now costs $ 30 a year, though it is on sale for $ 15 per year for the next week as a promotion.

We talked to the developers behind Tether about their new HTML5 app. Read on to learn what they have to say about why they chose HTML 5 and what happens to customers using the iOS version. There’s also a demo video showing the new Tether app in action.

Question: What made you decide to go the HTML 5 route?

Answer: HTML5 was the obvious choice when Apple decided to block us from their App Store. The beautiful thing about the web is no matter how hard you try to stop innovation and block things, there’s always people finding ways around it.

Question: What were some of the technical challenges you faced when you decided to go with an HTML5 app?

Answer: There were a number of challenges; unfortunately we can’t actually legally disclose them because of our patents we have filed.

Question: Will the clients on the other mobile platforms also move to this HTML 5 app?

Answer: At this time the application only works very well on iOS devices. We are evaluating other platforms but have not tested them.

Question: Can Apple or the carriers find a way to block your web app from working?

Answer: Anything is possible. It’s impossible for us to understand what carriers/Apple will do. Our goal is to work collectively with carriers and handset manufacturers to provide tethering as a native product.

Question: You say the data is encrypted. Is it encrypted from end to end? I’m thinking of people who might visit their bank and any security concerns they may have.

Answer: We encrypt the data connection directly from the PC to our Proxy.

Question: What happens to your current customers who bought Tether when it was in the app store? Will their service continue to work? Will they have to pay again to use the new HTML 5 service?

Answer: iTether users can continue to use the service, we just suggest they do not update. If they wish to use our new HTML5 version they will need to pay again. This is the unfortunate position that Apple left us in.

Question: Is there anything else you’d like the public to know about the app or your company?

Answer: Any more info can be found at:

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Elgato’s Thunderbolt SSD delivers fast portable storage at premium prices


If there’s one word I’d pick to describe Elgato’s newest Mac peripheral, the Thunderbolt SSD external drive, it would have to be “minimalist.” With this product, the company has delivered storage so simple that it’s almost featureless.

The Germany-based accessory maker (best known for the EyeTV line of tuners and video capture gear) jumps into the slowly-growing Thunderbolt market with these two drive models, identical save for capacity: the 120GB unit retails for $ 429.95 and the 240GB unit for $ 699.95 Unboxed, the drive is a compact gray metal oblong — no lights, not much adornment, and just the single Thunderbolt port dead center on the back. It feels quite solid and is about as heavy as a LaCie rugged compact FireWire drive.

Plug it in, and it mounts on any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac; it’s thoughtfully preformatted as HFS+, since precious few Windows users would have any use for it. Note that the drive also requires, but does not ship with, a Thunderbolt peripheral cable — so add that $ 40 to your net pricing. In use, it’s fanlessly silent, although it does grow warm over time.

Given the premium price (not as steep as LaCie’s TB external SSD, but that includes a passthrough Thunderbolt port that the Elgato drive lacks), what are you getting for the money? Standalone storage for your Mac that beats USB drives on speed; it also blazes past external FireWire 800 drives, for machines that have that interface option.

Elgato cites an optimal data transfer rate of 270 MB/second for data reads in its testing. When I fired up Blackmagic’s speed test utility, I didn’t get quite that fast a show, but it was definitely respectable: 222 MB/s on reads, 112.7 MB/s on writes. Compare that to an external FW 800 1TB drive, which leveled off at about 80MB/s on both writes and reads. My MacBook Pro’s internal SSD (an OWC Mercury Pro 6G), connected directly to the SATA bus, topped out at 281/163 read/write.


One can’t expect to do too much data sharing with the Thunderbolt drive, at least not until most of your fellow travelers also have TB-enabled machines. If you’re looking for additional storage for your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, it’s fast and sleek; you’re paying for speed and simplicity, but slower USB or FireWire storage can be had in much higher capacities for a fraction of the cost, which would be more appropriate for Time Machine backups or archival storage. For now, the Elgato drive is a premium option that’s great if you have the cash — but it might be overkill for most casual users.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Hothead Games looks for a Big Win on iOS

Hothead Games is actually an old company by most iOS standards: As marketing director Oliver Birch told me at GDC last week, the company is actually turning six years old this week. Previously, they mostly made PC and console games (most notably the Penny Arcade Adventures, and Ron Gilbert’s Deathspank), but recently, Hothead has been pushing more and more towards Apple’s App Store, and Birch says that while Hothead definitely “supports all of the games we’ve got out there, really, we’re all about mobile now.”

Which makes sense — between the collectible card game Kard Combat, Jetpack Joyride-alike Sea Stars, and the excellent Gem King (formerly known as Kickin’ Momma), Hothead already has a nice run of iOS hits. And the company is now looking to follow all of that up with a new game, out now, called Big Win Soccer.

Big Win Soccer is probably unlike any soccer game you’ve played before — in fact, it’s more of a collectible card game than anything else. The idea is that you have a team of players (represented by cards), and you can activate various stats and abilities on them (also represented by virtual cards). When you play a game against someone else online, you don’t directly control the players. Instead, you watch the game play out, and the various abilities and stats you chose to represent your team go into the final outcome. After the game, you can earn coins, which can be used to buy and win even more cards, making your team stronger and better.

It’s … an interesting idea, though if you’re turned off by the trappings of freemium games, you will find plenty of them here: You have a certain amount of energy to play with per day, and can’t play beyond that point, and of course the collectible card system is also driven by (optional, admittedly) in-app purchases. Hothead wants you to spend money, it’s clear. While there is a card game to be had here, the strong suggestion to supplant your normal play with money is always there.

In its short life on the App Store so far, Big Win Soccer has been a huge success, so much so that Birch says the game melted a few of the company’s servers (I don’t think it literally turned wires to liquid, but Birch wasn’t clear). The overwhelming demand for the game on its server software means that Hothead hasn’t publicized the game’s launch much, but apparently it hasn’t had to, given how many players are trying to log in. Reviews for the title are stuck down around two or three stars only, but most of the reviews talk about the servers going down, not the actual gameplay itself.

If the game turns out to be a success, Hothead is all ready to follow up: Birch also showed me Big Win Hockey, and it’s probably a safe bet that Hothead will expand the line as much as it can, allowing fans of all sports to play their favorite games through the various card collecting mechanics.

Birch also showed off a few other titles, each at various stages of development (including one which isn’t quite ready for the press yet, he says). Zombie Air is Hothead’s next release — it’s a freemium title that also plays sort of like Jetpack Joyride, but instead of just an endless run game, it actually consists of quite a few different levels, as zombies take to the air to fly in customizable planes across a post-apocalyptic United States. The game has a fun and cartoony look, but the freemium model is very evident here as well — Birch said Hothead is using a lot of the “learning from Sea Stars” to put this one together.

So Hothead clearly has a nice slate of titles ready to go. When the company was working on the console, Birch explained, they used to take twelve to eighteen months to put games together, and these days, “we can make a game now in weeks.” Is that such a good thing, though? Deathspank and the Penny Arcade Adventures were both interesting, original titles, not bogged down by the trappings of freemium, and Hothead’s latest titles, while very well-produced and colorful, don’t skimp on the monetization. Birch agrees the concern is there, but says that Hothead needs to be profitable, and wasn’t necessarily so back in the console days. He also admits that the company is learning along with its audience just what works best. “We’re trying to work it out,” he said: How the audience can really enjoy and appreciate Hothead’s games, but also make sure that “we get something out of this as well.”

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog