TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games of the Month

Lastronaut
Lastronaut Lastronaut

Play our favorite iPhone games of March

Every week, TIME rounds up our favorite iPhone games of the past few days. Here are the best of the best for March, from mind-straining puzzle games to mad-dash runners.

TouchTone

This is one of the most fascinating games for iPhone at the moment. A lot like the celebrated Papers Please, TouchTone is about cracking a code and finding patterns with an eye for red flags. The game presents you with puzzles you must break in order to find important messages pertaining to national security. It’s a true, tough challenge that feels a bit like propaganda, but if you can get over that part of it, TouchTone will keep you occupied for hours.

TouchTone is $2.99 in the App Store

Spring Ninja

Spring Ninja is an adorable runner-type game in which you control a ninja with springs beneath its feet, jumping from column to column in order to beat your high score. The challenge is to jump from one platform to the next without falling off or overshooting. Be prepared to invest lots of practice time to master the art of spotting your next landing.

Spring Ninja is free in the App Store

Heartbeats

A game that feels like a Gogol short story, Heartbeats is a puzzling little challenge that will take you plenty of time to crack. The appeal of this game is largely in the way it’s designed — as a series of scrawled, eerie doodles. The game tells a story, too: you must solve the puzzles one man left behind as his life’s legacy to learn more about him. Each level presents a unique task that will make you work hard and think differently. A strange game that should make the top of the charts in little time.

Heartbeats is free in the App Store

Lastronaut

An endless runner game with an arcade backdrop, Lastronaut tells the story of a world overrun by a mechanical army that must be destroyed. Jump, run, dodge, and attack wave after wave of enemy forces as you run through the map. Pick up robot weapons and different gear in order to last as long as you possibly can.

Lastronaut is free in the App Store

Under the Sun

In Under the Sun, the goal is to lead your character through a series of puzzle-based desert island maps. In this 3D puzzle game, try to navigate natural obstacles such as trees and rocks in order to get to reach your fire before it gets dark. But every move you make alters the map just a bit. Thankfully, you can tinker with time and go backwards if you make a mistake.

Under the Sun is free in the App Store

TIME apps

The 10 Best Free Apps for Travel Junkies

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Stephen Simpson—Getty Images

These apps could make your next journey a little faster, cheaper and smarter

Odds are you use no more than two travel apps to get from point A to point B, and that’s fine — surveys show you’re not alone.

But consider for a moment these 10 travel apps, which can shave time and money off your next journey and help you sniff out a few hidden gems to boot. They’re all free and just one download away from making your next trip smooth sailing.

Hopper

Hopper predicts the optimal time to snag a flight deal by analyzing billions of airfares daily and picking out those brief moments when a price drops below its historic average. Travelers with flexible dates can use Hopper’s color-coded calendar to spot the cheapest dates in a month. Hopper’s handiest feature, “Watch a Flight,” sends a push notification when the price of a given route tends to bottom out.

Options Away

Of course, no forecast is perfect. Options Away essentially gives flyers insurance for missed deals. For a small fee, users can lock in an airfare two days to three weeks ahead of the purchase. If the airfare drops, they automatically get the cheaper ticket. If not, they pay the original price and swallow the fee ($5 to more than $50, depending on the hold time). Perfect for flyers who suffer from frequent bouts of buyer’s remorse.

TripAdvisor

Millions of travelers use TripAdvisor to rank restaurants, bars, hotels and sights on a five star system. Collectively, they’ve enabled TripAdvisor to create a handy, crowdsourced list of the city’s must see attractions. Think of it as a Cliffs Notes version of the travel guide, perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time or patience to plod through 300 pages of advice. For more curated travel tips, TripAdvisor also offers a standalone Offline City Guides app to more than 80 destinations you can download and access later without a mobile data connection.

Localeur

Maybe you’d rather steer clear of the well-trodden sights and slip into the local scene. Localeur solicits advice from, you guessed it, locals, whose travel tips range from the eclectic — “Miami’s awesomely authentic taqueria’s” — to the bizzarre — “Portland’s 4 best photo booth bars.” For now, the quirky advice is limited to 14 major U.S. cities. But what Localeur lacks in coverage, it makes up for in personality.

Airbnb

No hotel booking site can match the sheer diversity of Airbnb‘s 1,000,000 listings and counting. Rental options range from castles to vans, yurts to watchtowers, and an ever-growing supply of apartments, rooms and sofas to accommodate just about anyone’s budget. Using the app requires a little more administrative work than the typical hotel booking — you’ll need to authenticate your identity and work out the logistics of the key hand-off with the host. On the other hand, yurts!

Postagram

For a more personal postcard, upload a vacation picture to Postagram, type in a greeting, and Postagram will print out the card and send it through snail mail for 99 cents in the U.S. and $1.99 worldwide.

Google Translate

The Google Translate team recently launched a killer feature for international travelers: “Conversation mode.” Simply open the app, hold the mobile device between two people speaking a different language, and listen as it translates a conversation live. The speakers may struggle to adjust to the lag time and a fair amount of mistranslations, but it certainly beats trying to get messages across through frantic hand waving.

TripIt

Confirmation emails for flights, hotels and rental cars can pile up fast and easily get lost in the shuffle of inbox. TripIt automatically converts those emails into a single, easy-to-read travel itinerary. The app scans the body of emails for reservation times, automatically adds events to your calendar, sorts them in chronological order and pulls in maps to help with navigation.

Skype

Cell phone carriers tend to make off like bandits when it comes to international charges. Bypass the fees with Skype, which routes calls over a Wi-Fi network for $.02 a minute. Calls placed to other Skype accounts, a user base of more than 250 million people, are free of charge.

Gas Buddy

Gas Buddy keeps a running tab of the cheapest gas stations in your area. Tap on a gas station to pull up driving directions on Google Maps. The prices are reported by users, who are incentivized to keep prices up to date by racking up points, which they can later redeem for free prizes.

TIME Amazon

The Absolute Strangest Thing You Can Now Buy on Amazon

Among other things, Amazon's new service lets you rent grazing goats

There are about 700 professional services listed on Amazon’s new Home Services marketplace, which lets customers find everything from a plumber to a mover. But surely the least essential yet hardest to resist offering? Goat grazer.

That’s right: Some Amazon Home Services customers can hire a goat to come graze on their grass, a seemingly strange but not totally unheard of method of keeping vegetation levels under control.

 Goats
AmazonAmazon Goats

Not sold yet? Consider the free bonus offering: “As they graze, they will likely leave behind some droppings, too, and you’ll get to keep this fertilizer as a friendly parting gift!”

Weirdly, this isn’t Amazon’s first brush with goat-kind. Amazon Japan has used goats on its grounds in Gifu Prefecture, Kotaku reported in 2013.

TIME Social Media

Facebook’s Gorgeous New Campus Has a ‘Green Roof’ the Size of 7 Football Fields

See photos of Facebook's expanded headquarters

Facebook didn’t hold back in its expansion of the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

The 430,000 square ft.-building, known as MPK 20, can hold up to 2,800 people and is certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, according to sources familiar with the project. It includes a 9-acre green roof — that’s roughly the size of seven football fields — with a half-mile walking loop and over 400 trees.

The building, which Facebook announced in August 2012, was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry’s firm, Gehry Partners. Though Gehry’s name is tied to several elaborate landmarks including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Calif., the Canadian-American architect said the Facebook’s new campus has a decidedly simpler design.

“From the start, [Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg] wanted a space that was unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective. He did not want it overly designed,” Gehry said in a statement. “This is the building that we created for him.”

 

TIME viral

Why Jay Z, Rihanna and Kanye Have Gone Blue on Twitter

NBA All-Star Game 2015
Elsa—Getty Images Rappers Sean Combs and Jay Z attend the 2015 NBA All-Star Game

No, it's not for charity

Jay Z has prompted musicians to turn their Twitter avatars and Instagram photos into a square of solid bright blue Sunday night — and it has nothing to do with Blue Ivy.

Musicians are going teal to support Jay Z’s new music streaming service called Tidal. Details are still sparse, but Tidal is marketing itself as an artist-friendly streaming experience. Taylor Swift wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal last year explaining that she was pulling her music from Spotify because artists weren’t properly compensating.

“Together, we can turn the tide and make music history,” Kanye West tweeted.

Here’s who else is joining in:

More details to come Monday at 5 EST.

 

TIME Video Games

Halo 5: Guardians Finally Has a Release Date

Halo 5: Guardians is due out later this Fall

Microsoft’s Xbox team has announced the release date for the long-awaited next installment in the Halo franchise, Halo 5: Guardians — and unfortunately it will involve seven more months of waiting.

“The Master Chief returns October 27th,” the Xbox team announced on its official Twitter account.

The announcement coincided with the release of a teaser trailer and a new Twitter hashtag, #HUNTtheTRUTH, that will surely be used in the coming months to keep the buzz going. Above. is the first installment of the 7-month-long tease.

Microsoft has estimated the Halo franchise has made the company $3.38 billion in total.

TIME China

How Facebook Makes Money in a Country Where It’s Banned

It wants Chinese companies to advertise internationally

Not even Mark Zuckerberg speaking Mandarin Chinese could get China to loosen its seven-year ban on Facebook. But that doesn’t mean the social media giant isn’t monetizing the market.

Facebook is tapping local partners in China to help convince Chinese companies to advertise on Facebook, even if the site isn’t accessible within the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. The main draw for Chinese companies, according to Facebook, is the opportunity to reach the 1.39 billion active monthly Facebook users outside China.

Facebook has already seen success with Chinese companies that have advertised on its site. These include Youzu Interactive Co., a Shanghai-based online game designer, which said that the 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) it spent on Facebook ads resulted in a two-fold increase in registered daily players on its hit online game League of Angels.

Facebook is one of several Silicon Valley giants attempting to monetize the Chinese market despite being banned in the mainland. Twitter, for example, opened a Hong Kong office this month to tap China for its advertising revenue, the company said. Meanwhile, Google — also banned in mainland China — has continued its push into the country with the launch of a Chinese developers’ version of YouTube last month.

Facebook’s efforts in China arrive amidst another project to monetize countries where it has limited access. The social media company has been launching mobile ads tailored to low-bandwidth connections in emerging markets, including India and Kenya, while the company’s Internet.org attempts to bring connectivity — and carve out more business opportunities — to underserved regions in the world.

Read Next: 7 Famous People Who Surprised Us By Speaking Chinese

[WSJ]

TIME Companies

You’ll Need an Appointment to Buy the Apple Watch

Apple Watch
Josh Edelson—AFP/Getty Images Apple Watches are seen on display during an Apple media event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California on March 09, 2015.

Unless you're buying the $10,000-and-up model

Apple won’t allow walk-in customers to purchase an Apple Watch on the spot, according to a new report. Instead, Apple will funnel the first wave of Apple Watch orders through an online reservation system.

Training documents obtained by MacRumors reveal how Apple employees are expected to handle a customer who wants to purchase an Apple Watch in the store: “Offer the option to try on a watch,” the memo reads, “Then help them place an order online or through the Apple Store app.”

The reservation system will help Apple manage what’s expected to be an initial surge in demand for Apple Watches, which will first go on sale on April 24th. Apple expects to phase out the reservation requirement as inventories stabilize.

The purchasing process for customers interested in the $10,000-and-up Apple Watch Edition models will be more accommodating — those shoppers will be given no-wait access to the devices.

TIME Gadgets

Here’s How Rich People Will Buy the Apple Watch

There's VIP treatment for those interested in the 18-karat gold watch

Apple’s most expensive Apple Watch starts at $10,000 — but the high-rollers among us can start getting their money’s worth before they even drop the cash.

Shoppers interested in the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition will be given no-wait access to an Apple Store Expert, who will create a personalized “journey” for the customer’s in-store experience, 9to5Mac reported Sunday, citing sources briefed on launch plans. Meanwhile, shoppers interested in the Apple Watch Sport (starting $349) and Apple Watch (starting $549) will have to wait in line or book an appointment.

Apple Watch Edition will reportedly have a separate try-on area, with up to 30 minutes for simply trying on Apple’s priciest gadget. That’s double the five-to-15 minute appointments for the other two devices.

Once a customer decides to buy the Apple Watch Edition, Apple will reportedly offer an in-store briefing process or the option to conduct the session via video conference from home. The customer will also get two years of access to an exclusive Apple Watch Edition phone line for 24/7 technical support.

Apple Watch will launch on April 24 in the U.S. and several other countries. A preview and presale period beings April 10.

Read next: This Could Be Apple’s Secret Apple Watch Strategy

[9to5Mac]

TIME Smartphones

Watch the Samsung Galaxy S Evolve Before Your Very Eyes

The Android-powered iPhone rival has come a long way

The Samsung Galaxy S has come a long way since it first launched in 2010. With its latest versions — the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge — set to go on sale on April 10, take a look at how the Android-powered iPhone rival has changed over the years:

Evolution of the  Galaxy S
gadgetlove.comEvolution of the Samsung Galaxy S

For a larger, interactive version of the GIF, head over to gadgetlove.com.

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