April 8, 2011

STINKIN' APP WON'T EVEN WORK WITH MY FIRST GENERATION iTOUCH:

In Time for Opening Day, an At Bat 11 With Sweeteners (BOB TEDESCHI, 4/07/11, NY Times)

At Bat 11 outdoes the previous versions in various ways, depending on what device you use and where you use it. Android users get the biggest upgrade, in that the app finally displays live video. All season they can watch one free game daily. Meanwhile, At Bat users with Apple and Android phones can create a home page that displays important information about their favorite team.

For fans at the ballpark, At Bat is also much better than last year, thanks to a new set of features meant specifically for them. (More on that later.)

IPad users of the app miss out on the ballpark-related perks, but they’ll see other improvements in At Bat’s appearance and the quality of the information.

Take, for instance, At Bat’s anchor feature, the field view, where you can watch an animated, pitch-by-pitch version of every game as it progresses.

Like last year, the screen shows the action from the home-plate umpire’s point of view. This year, though, MLB.com used images from the Sony PlayStation 3 game, MLB 11 The Show, to display a much more realistic view of the stadium. Later this season, an MLB.com spokesman, Matthew Gould, said, that realism will extend to the batting stances of individual players.

The improvements are not limited to eye candy, though. One of my favorite elements of last year’s At Bat for iPad was the animated pitch-location feature, which gets a boost this year.

Each pitch still arcs toward viewers in the same path, and with the same termination point, of the on-field pitch. Likewise, the ball’s path is color-coded to denote the pitch type, and when the pitch reaches the plate, a label appears. (“91 MPH Four-Seam Fastball,” for instance.)

But this year, if you click on that label, the screen shows a side view of the pitch, along with the pitcher’s release point, where the pitch broke and how many inches it broke. It’s a baseball geek’s dream, and it exemplifies a level of software showboating that At Bat pulls off consistently on the iPad.

Avid baseball fans who own an iPad, and who skip this app, are making a mistake.

That’s especially true this month, since At Bat is giving away live video of every out-of-market game. On Apple devices, the video is bolstered by optional on-screen graphics showing information about every player on the field.


Posted by at April 8, 2011 5:31 PM
  

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