Review: Three comic-book style image editors

Perhaps you’ve never felt motivated to assemble your collected photographs into comic book form, with all the stylings you’d expect from a graphic novel. That may well be because you weren’t aware that many iPad apps exist with the single goal of making just such a thing possible.

Indeed they do.

Until you’ve used a comic book creation app, you may not know just which features the ideal such app would include. I’ve now spent a lot of time with three apps of this sort: Comic Life ($8), Strip Designer ($3), and ComicBook! ($2); you can trust that I am now an expert in the genre. As it turns out, you want the ideal app to make adding images simple, from a variety of sources. You want image editing and manipulation to be smooth and painless. You want oodles of options for decking out your comic’s pages and decorating your book just so. And you want excellent sharing options, too.

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The Week in iOS Accessories: Mount up!

This week's roundup of accessories for your iOS devices has a little bit of everything: Bluetooth keyboards, iPad mounts, even frikkin' lasers. Here's what caught our eye this week.

Arkon's universal car mount

Arkon: This "mobile mounting specialist" offers three new products for displaying your tablet in a moving vehicle: the $40 universal car mount, which attaches to a vehicle's seat-rail bolt; the $40 windshield mount, which displays your iPad while anchored to the windshield; and the $40 headrest mount, for viewing the iPad from the back seat. Each is compatible with both generations of iPad, as well as most non-Apple tablets on the market.

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Sniper: Ghost Warrior Coming to iOS

Editor's Note: The following article is reprinted from GamePro.com. For more gaming news, visit GamePro's news page.

The original Sniper: Ghost Warrior games on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 enjoyed a reasonable degree of commercial success, particularly in Europe, even despite a somewhat lukewarm critical reception, to put it politely. This success has inspired Polish developer Vivid Games to bring the franchise to Apple's iPhone and iPad early next year.

The iOS version of Sniper: Ghost Warrior will make use of Unreal Engine 3, already proven to work well in other portable titles such as Infinity Blade and Dungeon Defenders. The game has been developed from the ground up for iOS devices, so will make full use of the platform's control capabilities, including the touchscreen, accelerometers and gyroscope.

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The Week in iPad Cases: Fall forward

As September makes its way onto our calendars, it brings a new academic year, falling leaves (at least for some of us here in the northern hemisphere), and that feeling that, while summer may be over, holidays are just around the corner. Yet the flow of cases for the iPad continues unabated. Here's the latest in our weekly roundup of iPad protection.

Acme Made's Orikata

Acme Made: The Orikata (iPad 2; $50) is a folio case inspired by the Japanese art of Origami. Its unique folding elements allow you to use the case as a stand for landscape-orientation viewing or typing. It comes in black and it's made of leather-like TPU. As an added bonus, the Orikata is designed to let you place your iPad in Apple's iPad Dock without having to remove the case.

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Review: Eight iPhone 4 battery cases

Compared to some of its competitors, the iPhone 4’s battery life is surprisingly good. But few of us would complain about squeezing a few more hours between recharges. And, of course, many iPhone 4s have been in use for over a year now, so their battery life is gradually getting shorter. In my quest to extend my phone's daily life, I tested eight iPhone 4 cases that include built-in batteries for powering the phone.

As it's difficult to get a reliable measure of exactly how long each battery extends the iPhone's use time—I didn't have a spare phone I could dedicate to methodologically sound testing, plus different tasks consume more or less power—I've indicated whether each vendor's battery-life claims were in the general ballpark of my own experiences.

Each of these battery cases sports a dock-connector plug that couples with the iPhone's 30-pin dock-connector port; as a result, none let you dock your iPhone with a dock-cradle accessory—such as an iPhone speaker system—without removing the phone from the case.

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Review: Madden NFL 12 for iPhone and iPad

Each year, EA puts out another edition of its storied Madden video game football franchise. And this year, for the third year running, it’s made iOS-friendly versions of the game available, too. EA released Madden 12 in two versions: a $7 iPhone version, and a $10 iPad edition.

I’ve played Madden on numerous consoles, and I’ve long loved the game. The iOS editions of the game are better than nothing, I guess, but only just barely.

When you first launch Madden 12, the game will prompt you to create an Origin account. Origin is EA’s latest online gaming system; Madden depends on it, and not Apple’s Game Center, for leaderboard tracking. (You can’t play a game against another online opponent.) The Origin account creation process is buggy: It didn’t like my proposed username, but its list of suggested alternatives was blank. It showed a green checkmark to indicate that my password passed muster, and then popped up an error when I submitted the registration form, saying that my password in fact contained invalid characters—specifically, a punctuation mark.

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MLB.com At Bat 11 spruces up graphics, adds social networking

With pennant races in full swing and the postseason approaching, Major League Baseball has spruced up its iPhone app with improved in-game graphics, more in-app multimedia, and expanded social networking options.

The revamped MLB.com At Bat 11 debuted this week in the App Store, with features that should appeal to fans of the league’s fantastic iPad app. Whereas the app previously featured generic in-game graphics depicting a hitter’s view and strike count—something akin to a mid-1990s Sega video game—that feature has been updated with the iPad app’s beautifully rendered graphics providing realistic, detailed views of the ballpark, uniforms, and player-specific hitting stances. The updated iPhone app looks much better than its predecessors.

But there’s also expanded functionality. Post-game wraps—which previously featured just a story and box scores—now include embedded video highlights from the contest. And for baseball fans who actually go to the ballpark, the updated app now includes the ability to check in via Foursquare. The app also adds expanded team and player information.

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