NEWS APPS FEATURES HOW-TO
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NEWS • REVIEWS • TIPS
A note from the editor We’ve got a bumper edition of Swipe for you this time around! Following the latest news on Apple, we’ve got our final big games review round-up, which ends on the Arcade genre. Plenty of button-bashing in there for you. From there, check out our two features, the first explains the need for password security following the Heartbleed bug that you may well have heard about, which has compromised some key web platforms. But don’t let this stress you out – we’ve given you a rundown of how to use two separate solutions to keep your passwords safe: Apple’s Keychain, and 1Password. We then took Ultrakam for a spin – a new camera app that’s caused quite a storm with its 2K ultra-HD recording capability. But is it any good? Read on to find out! Finally, we’ve got some killer iOS tips. We demonstrate how to export and save your SMS and iMessages, and we also cover the latest update to photomessaging app Snapchat with some great tips.
Enjoy the issue! Andy Price Editor
Meet the team
Contributors Steve Jarratt Craig Grannell Joe White Dan Izzard iOS, iPhone, iPad, AirPlay, AirPrint, iTunes, Safari, iCloud, iMessage, and any other trademark is a trademark of Apple inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Screenshots are for illustrative purposes only and all prices are correct at the time of publishing.
iWatch patent Potential design revealed
umors, rumors, rumors. They continue to flow as Apple continues to explore the possibilities of wearable tech. This time, the information is coming from the US Patent and Trademarks Office which has granted a patent covering an iWatch-like device form factor, as described by CultofMac this week. The patent looks at the potential device’s housing, which would include wireless circuits such as transceivers, alongside optical components like light sensors and cameras. It could also feature either a touch or nontouch sensitive display.
Image © Todd Hamilton
The patent drawing looks nothing like one of our favorite concepts, sadly
While nothing has been officially announced by Apple, this isn’t the first sign that the company is heading towards some form of wearable tech, if not an iWatch. However, earlier this month Apple used an anonymous, or ‘shell’ company to trademark the term iWatch in numerous key territories including the US, UK, EU, Australia, China, India and others. Before that, Apple submitted a patent that discussed smart pedometer technology and its uses.
Mobile payments Could Apple lead the charge?
pple CEO Tim Cook recently made an earnings call to investors in which he revealed that, despite the success of its hardware, iTunes is one of the main drivers of the company’s business. Following this revelation Business Insider highlighted a recent tweet by an industry analyst who posted a graph showing that iTunes has nearly quadruple the number of accounts that Amazon has.
Industry analyst Horace Dediu tweeted the above chart
The number of iTunes accounts translates loosely to the number of credit cards Apple has on file which produces a gap that Business Insider describes as “stunning” considering the range of products Amazon sells. The article goes on to describe the huge advantage that Apple would have over its closest competition if it produced a ‘mobile wallet’ which allowed users of its hardware to make mobile payments for products.
Union Pixite LLC
Union is a noble attempt to port powerful Photoshop style features to the touch screen
f you are tired of adding the same old filters to your photos and long for some more advanced editing features on the move, then Union is for you. By layering one photo on top of another, Union’s slick interface and range of tools allows you to create stunning compositions in minutes. On top of the two photo layers (a background and a foreground), you also get a ‘mask’ layer which can be used to create a number of stunning effects from blending landscape scenes together, to abstract double exposures. Swipe back and forth between your layers with ease
With unlimited combinations at your disposal it can be hard to find the right photos and effects to match together. The first few attempts can result in images actually less aesthetically pleasing than their individual components. It seems the success of other apps such as Pixlr and Instagram are partly down to their ‘pick up and play’ accessibility and you certainly miss the flattering nature of their pre-loaded effects in your first attempts at Union. Handily, there are a number of tutorials included within the app to detail some of the more advanced principles such as blending, masking and double exposures.
The magic wand tool is, well, magic
Each layer can be edited by choosing its transparency, contrast, saturation and ‘temperature’. We weren’t sure whether that last one is a technical photographic term but the tool is very handy for blending one image into the next. Of course, everyone’s favorite; the magic wand tool is included, which works excellently. After selecting the area to delete you can set the sensitivity to get fairly exact results even with darker images. Impressive.
Selecting an opacity option for that perfect sunset
One thing that’s missing is the ability to use your device’s camera to add a layer within the app itself. Instead you have to pick an existing image from your camera roll which means if you want to take a picture to use it can mean a bit of flicking back and forth. When many of the compositions rely on your images having a bit of space to play with it’s a shame that you can’t use your device’s camera to play around with the composition in realtime but this is only a minor negative (pun intended) considering how accomplished the app is to use. Once you have created your masterpiece, you can export in full resolution or share via Twitter, email or send to one of the other apps from app developer Pixite.
I hope you know what you are doing, Union...
Union is probably beyond the needs or wants of the average user, but for those with a keen interest in photography and a creative mind, Union offers a powerful image manipulation tool than can quickly turn great ideas into great images on the fly. You’ll soon stop thinking of your photos as snapshots and instead start thinking in layers.
Landscape photos work very well as subject matter
PICTURE PERFECT! “At this price Union is a great tool that is definitely worth having for those creative moments”
Hitman GO Square Enix Inc
The console contract killer transfers to mobile, and everything goes like clockwork!
here aren’t many occasions in life when you get to gleefully yell “Squee! Look at the adorable little assassin!” but here we are on the iPhone, swiping a little bald-headed killer about beautifully crafted boards, in a game that initially seems very far removed from its console-based cousins.
Level objectives are collected and used to open new level sets
During play, however, it’s clear the soul of the series remains intact. The mechanics may no longer involve a relatively free-roaming 3D world, but this is still a game focused on infiltration, distracting and eliminating guards, taking out targets, and getting away cleanly. All in a day’s work! Square Enix’s genius on mobile has been to do some elimination itself, largely by eradicating any requirement for fast reactions and complex controls. Instead, Hitman GO is presented as a board game of sorts, tiny figures interacting on pathways that strictly align to a grid atop the landscape. On closer inspection, though, the game more resembles a semi-automated clockwork contraption that turns assassination into a chess-like think-ahead game of turn-based strategy.
The greenhouse includes plants to hide in, in comical fashion
You swipe to move your miniature killer along pathways, ensuring he doesn’t end up adjacent to a guard and also in their line of sight. Then the guards take their turns, obeying their own very specific rules, such as those in yellow moving back and forth along a single axis, and those in blue pivoting on the spot. Eliminations mostly occur by simple collisions, and so the game’s largely a case of ensuring you’re in the right spot at the right time.
Lots of guards mill about; oddly, they’ve left disguises and keys lying around. Score!
Initially, successfully working through the game is simple, but later levels make pathways increasingly complex, forcing you to figure out very precise routes that might involve doubling back several times, or utilizing stones (thrown to distract guards), hidden tunnels, disguises, and sniper rifles. Often, these objects are forced on you, and may become as much foe as friend, for example if a thrown stone rapidly brings several guards closer to your vicinity. The lack of a time limit enables you to plan for as long as you like, and multiple objectives per level provide replay value, given that they can only rarely all be completed on a single play. However, Hitman GO’s rigidly linear unlock acts as a black mark against it, forcing you to use IAP-bought hints (or, if you’re a more sensible assassin, popping over to YouTube to seek a solution) to progress; furthermore, later level sets require near-perfect scores across previous levels before they’re made available to you, unless you fancy paying $0.99/69p to unlock each of the available packs.
Sorry, blue-jacket guy, but if you will block the exit…
Still, while this particular Hitman’s not quite a perfect shot, it comes close. The game looks fantastic, cross-sections of mansions having a cool edge that’s well-suited to the subject matter, but boasting enough tactility that they feel almost real when manipulated. And it plays well, giving your brain a good workout, while putting an oddly lovable face on the dark and dangerous world of bumping off people for money. VERDICT
ON TARGET “Part puzzler, part stealth game, this is an oddly cute take on contract killing, but one that works very nicely on the iPhone”
Password security 101 Use iCloud Keychain and 1Password to ensure hackers cannot guess your passwords
he more time we spend online, the more important passwords become in protecting vital user data from hackers, identity thieves, and scammers. Yet relatively few people protect themselves. This is borne out by research from SplashData, whose annual review of common passwords (as found by combining data from security breaches and password hacks) found some doozies. 2013’s gems included outright winner ‘123456’, along with ‘password’, ‘qwerty’, and ‘letmein’, which would be amusing if it wasn’t so easy to guess. You might scoff at such things, but even ostensibly more robust passwords can be ineffective. Some people use common patterns, such as a site’s name followed by a few fairly random but memorable characters, which is fine until a site’s data is accessed and someone spots the pattern, thereby granting them access to all of your online accounts.
We’re creating more and more passwords – how are we going to remember them all?
Some people will claim strings of words are a smarter option, as outlined in an xkcd comic strip. That cartoon argues ‘correct horse battery staple’ is a good password – easy to remember and hard to crack. But security experts claim such passwords are still prone to dictionary attacks, and that while one of them might be easy to remember, 50 won’t be. The solution’s simply not scalable (unless you’ve an eidetic memory), which could leave you back using the same password (or small variations) across multiple sites, rendering you once again open to attack.
Cracking the password solution The solution to the password conundrum is to take the effort of remembering them – and even creating them – out of your hands. Software built into iOS and also thirdparty products makes it relatively simple to create and access insanely complex passwords, thereby making your accounts safer. We very deliberately say ‘safer’, note, rather than ‘safe’, because accounts can still be broken into via other means. The recent Heartbleed security bug, for example, was a server-side exploit that you couldn’t have done anything about yourself, beyond not ever having used the sites that proved vulnerable.
Heartbleed found that OpenSSL wasn’t as secure as everyone thought
Still, if you’ve received a communication from one of the affected (and now fixed) websites that you need to update a password, you should ensure it’s as secure as possible. As of iOS 7, the iPhone has included iCloud Keychain. This is baked into iOS and also Apple’s OS X for desktops. It holds and shares password and payment card information, and can suggest passwords for new logins on supported sites. Its advantages are that it’s simple and reliable, but it can also be accessed by anyone who has hold of your device, because there’s no reauthentication on an unlocked iPhone. Also, although passwords are relatively easily replaced while in Safari, editing the keychain itself isn’t possible on iOS. An alternative to Apple’s solution is a third-party password system. Many exist for iOS, and they also typically have the advantage of working crossplatform, beyond the confines of Apple’s software and hardware. Our favorite is 1Password, which costs $17.99/£12.99. It’s secure, usable and feature-rich, enabling you to define and easily edit passwords, and also to store credit cards, identities (for example, your full details and simplified ones for forums), secure notes, app licenses, and network settings. It requires a master phrase to access, but does have the disadvantage of not integrating with Safari. 1Password has its own built-in web browser instead. 1Password requires just one master passphrase
The next few pages cover the basics of both systems. We strongly recommend investing in 1Password, but Apple’s iCloud Keychain is a fine alternative if you don’t want to splash out on the third-party app.
Top 5 Snapchat Tips Snapchat is a wildly popular app for sending photos and videos that are only visible for a short period; up to 10 seconds. To get started, sign up with your email address and phone number, and then add friends from your contacts list. The app is simple enough to use but here’s some additional tips to get more out of it.
1 Record a video Instead of just sending pictures, you can also send short videos to your friends. To do so, tap and hold the take photo button until a black circle appears and a red line starts to progress around the inner circle. This represents the length of the video recorded – also up to 10 seconds. Let go of the button to stop the recording. It will now playback, so check it’s OK then send by pressing the arrows.‹
2 Change menus Swapping between the camera and other menus can be done by swiping instead of pressing any buttons. Simply swipe from left-to-right to access the list of snaps sent to you or from right-to-left to access your list of friends.
3 Hidden filters Image filters are popular in apps like Instagram, and they’re also available in Snapchat. But first, they need to be enabled. Access the list of snaps and tap the cog icon. From here select Manage beneath the Additional Services heading. From here turn on Visual Filters. Now make your way back to the camera mode and take a new picture. You can then swipe to the left to access the different filters.
4 Diﬀerent text By default you can add a short sentence to your message by tapping on the screen once you’ve taken the snap and typing in some text. However, there are a few other options. Return to where you enabled Visual Filters and turn on Special Text. Now take a new picture, tap the screen and type your message, then tap the “T” icon at the top to see your words in the ever popular Helvetica font. Tap once for left aligned or a second time for center aligned text. If you don’t like either option, tap the “T” a third time to revert to default.
5 Draw black and white Once you’ve taken a snap you can also draw on top of the image. Tap the pencil icon and then drag your finger on the image. The color bar on the side lets you change the hue but it’s not obvious how to draw in black or white. To add black, tap the bar and drag your finger to the bottom left corner or to add white tap the bar and drag your finger to the top right of the screen. You can then let go and draw on your image with your newly selected colors.
Snapchat is a free download from the App Store.
NEWS â€˘ REVIEWS â€˘ TIPS
In your next packed issue... Camera apps We move away from games and tell you the best camera toolkit apps
Looking ahead What we know about iOS 8 so far and what else may be revealed
Expert advice Keep your device safe from kids by getting to grips with Restrictions
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