Jawbone’s new UP Coffee app can put your caffeine consumption into context. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple relies heavily on caffeine. A recent company job listing advertised a role for an iCup technician, with the important task of providing “a fresh brew coffee to all Apple employees within their department.”
Jony Ive’s design team is especially obsessed with the black stuff: For years they kept a $3,000-plus Italian Grimac espresso machine, despite the fact that it leaked all the time. For a while in the 1990s, the design team was even mockingly dubbed “Espresso” for their unabashed love of caffeine culture.
Apple’s not alone in its coffee snob behavior. The rise of coffee shops — with seemingly hundreds of variations on the old coffee standards — have infiltrated every city across the United States: Americans spend $18 billion per year on specialty coffee alone.
MonkeyParking is under fire by the city of San Francisco. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — You can buy and sell a lot of things in this boom town, just not public parking spaces. All three parking apps called out by the city attorney for auctioning or selling public spaces have backed off.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera slapped MonkeyParking with a cease-and-desist on June 23 and mentioned that similar apps Sweetch and ParkModo were next in line. Each took a different tack — defiant, conciliatory, quiet — but in the end, all three are on hiatus.
Maybe you’ve just seen the latest X-Men film. A lot of people have, so odds are pretty good. And if it left you wanting to know more about the original Days of Future Past storyline, but tracking down the trade paperback and then, like, reading it sounds like a lot of work, here’s a game you’ll want to check out.
Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past by GlitchSoft Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: $2.99
Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past is out now for your favorite iOS device, and it aims to faithfully re-create the source material the way it originally appeared. This means that it’s the assassination of Senator Kelley that brings forth the robopocalypse (that character died in the first film, so he wasn’t available to die in the new one), and it’s Kitty Pryde, not Wolverine, who goes back in time to set things right.
Sure, you can play the whole game as Wolverine if you want, but if you’re a purist, you have a chance to do it “right.”
I’m alright at serving, and I can usually return, but if anyone smashes at all or puts any spin on the ball, I fold faster than a laundry robot. I still like the idea of table tennis, though, which is why I’m glad we have video-game versions.
And Table Tennis Touch, which is out now for all of your iOS devices, is easily the best one I’ve ever played.
Maybe you have a busy life, and you need some help making time for the things that matter. Like, a lot of help. I’m talking about zero willpower here.
PlayTimer is for you. It locks your phone down but good so that you can play with your kid or focus on other things for a while. You just set the interval, press the cute smiley face, and you’re off. If you touch your phone, an alarm sounds unless you show the app your unlock key.
The unlock key is your child’s face, and that’s kinda weird, but I do like the idea.
I know I’ve said it before, but video games hate bricks.
And to that end, here’s yet another title about destroying those square bastards. It’s called Bricks, and it has a novel approach to smashing things that gets as fast-paced and exciting as it does embarrassing to be seen playing.
It’s probably not that bad if someone catches you, but you may raise some eyebrows. Here’s why.
With Gesture Alarm Clock, you set wakeup alerts by drawing numbers on the screen. It has a sleep timer that plays a variety of soothing music and sounds to lull you off. Plus, it has three different vibration strengths, several gesture-based snoozes, and if you think you’d wake up easier if your iPhone’s flashlight turned on, it’ll do that for you, too.
It will also automatically wake you up earlier if it detects traffic delays, and it displays the current weather.
But it won’t cook my breakfast, so I can’t really recommend it.
Ekon the Cyborg by Wicked Dog Games Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: Free
I don’t know what it is, but they have a very specific kind of frantic energy that appeals to me without being overwhelming. And I like them so much that every time I have an opportunity to play one on iOS, I give it a chance despite the fact that my iPhone has no sticks to twin, so the touch controls usually suck.
Ekon the Cyborg is a new two-pad shooter that somehow has controls that work. And I’m as shocked as anyone. But beyond that, it’s a nostalgic and colorful romp that is pretty much made of my childhood.
Here’s a fitness app with an interesting extra feature.
BetterFit lets you keep track of when and how you exercise. You can design custom routines from a giant list of activities or make your own. But it also includes a second tracker that lets you measure how much protein you consume during the day. It has a list of preset food items, or you can input it manually and set daily goals to make sure that you’re feeding your muscles properly.
So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stock up on lentils because they’re as delicious and full of protein as they are fun to say.
Here’s a quick, funny, and surprisingly challenging word game for movie buffs.
Plot Twistz by Adrenaline Punch Category: iOS Games Works With: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch Price: Free
Plot Twistz presents you with a slightly modified plot to a famous film, and your job is to figure out the name of the augmented movie. You get the answer by changing one letter of the original title, which doesn’t sound like much, but you’d be surprised.