148Apps got a chance earlier this week to talk with Bart Decrem, SVP of Disney Mobile, and their plans for the holiday app push. Disney has some big plans in the coming two weeks.
Mr. Decrem shared with us some great growth numbers, showing that daily users of Disney Mobile games has grown six fold over the same period last year, up to over six million daily active users. In addition, Where’s My Water? has now seen over 100 million downloads shared between it’s free and paid versions.
But the really exciting stuff comes from the app updates and new releases planned over the next couple weeks. Here’s a quick rundown.
New Title: Monster’s Inc. Run has been created in partnership with Get Set, makers of the great Mega Run. It’a a level based runner this time featuring characters from the Monster’s Inc. movie. This is out today!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-12-13 :: Category: Games
New Title: Nemo’s Reef This one, is odd. But a city builder with Nemo as the central character is sure to grab fans. This will be out on December 20th.
Where’s My Holiday? is a new release, based on the Where’s My? franchise and includes characters from both Where’s My Water? and Where’s My Perry?. This free holiday-themed app is expected on the 20th as well.
Where’s My Perry? update launching 40 new levels featuring Dr. Doofenschmirtz. These new levels will be available as an in-app purchase for $0.99. We’ll also see 20 new free levels. These are available in the update that goes live today.
Black Friday is the biggest sale day of the year for the big box stores. And the same is true for the App Store. But the good thing about the App Store is there’s virtually 0% chance of getting trampled while trying to get that $39 laptop everyone is racing for.
This week and into Monday we’ll likely see hundreds of iOS games and apps on sale at some really great prices. We’ll be updating this post frequently through Monday with the best of the sale apps and games. You can head also over to our Price Drops page for the full list.
In general most of the following apps and games are on sale in the US App Store. But many will be on sale in all stores all over the world. Have an app on sale that’s not in our list? Send a quick email to editor at this domain and we’ll take a look.
2012-11-21 – Looks like it’s going to be a big year. To keep things more reasonable, we’ve split up our list into three parts, Games, Apps, and Educational. See below for the three links. 2012-11-20 – Initial version, some of the app and game sales that have gone live early so we’ve gone live with our list for your app shopping pleasure.
We have 113 top sale apps and games in total. Click below to go to the appropriate post for the sale type you are interested in:
Many of the changes to the App Store on iOS devices has updated the visual look of the apps, better exposing a wider variety of apps to the user. While the changes taken individually seem small, taken together they represent a possible big change in how we will find apps in the App Store.
Take exposing the top paid, free, and grossing apps at the same time on the landing page of the Top Apps list, for instance. It seems like a small change, but it promotes free apps to the front of the page and lowers the exposure of the top paid apps past the first three. Michael Zaletel of i4software notes, “This gives MUCH MORE prominence to the Top Free Apps and so I predict Free apps and Freemium apps will see a big boost after today.”
Top 25 – iOS 5 (left) vs. iOS 6 (right)
Another big change has been the app detail page. That page places much greater emphasis on the first screenshot and reduces the importance of the description. When landing on an app, the user will see a larger icon than before, the rating, and the first screen shot. Scrolling down they will see the truncated description and a few more details. Previously they user would see a small icon, the rating, and the top section of the description.
These changes on the whole place much greater emphasis on the icon and the name of the app. These must be compelling as they are–in most areas of the App Store–the only thing the user will see. Ratings, developer name, and description have all been hidden from initial view in multiple places in the store.
What this will mean to app sales, we’ll have to wait to see. While it seems as though the changes are all for the better for the user, developers may need to prioritize their icon, name, and first screenshot much more than in the past.
Jason Citron is the gaming lover and developer behind OpenFeint. Started as the social gaming network of a few games he helped co-create at Aurora Feint, the system opened up and now has grown to hundreds of millions of users. It’s that system that caught the eye of GREE, the Asia-based games company with hopes to reach into the US. Last year, they purchased OpenFeint for somewhere just north of $100 million dollars. Shortly after that acquisition, Jason left to do what he loves, make video games.
Earlier this year, Jason Citron announced his new gaming company Phoenix Guild with a goal to bring the core gaming experience to tablet devices. As a gamer himself, he started young with the NES, he wants to mature the gaming ecosystem we currently see on the iPad.
“It’s obvious to me that fantastic, engaging games need to be built for these devices but instead everyone’s building these lame F2P sims, a direction (to which) I believe we will see more and more developers head,” commented Citron. “Core gamers are getting tablets and they want to play real games on them. The playtimes we see on tablets is indicative of this with people playing for much longer sessions on tablets than they do on mobile phones.”
Today it was announced that his startup received its first round of funding and is going full steam ahead in developing its first game. While we can’t say anything about the game, the amazing graphic below from their artist should give you an indication of the quality we can expect.
Phoenix Guild is currently staffing up (HINT: yes, they are hiring) and we should see their first game around the end of the year. We’ll keep you informed.
Microsoft’s Surface technology is not new. It’s an interface that Microsoft first showed off in table top form in 2007. But this iteration of Surface is new. It’s a tablet, or more accurately a tablet platform. Monday Microsoft announced two new innovative tablets and a series of great accessories. A home run from Microsoft, a company that hasn’t had many of those lately.
There are a few interesting things about the Surface announcement. For one, Microsoft went back to their roots and developed some hardware on their own. They didn’t go through a partner, they developed it internally, and very quietly. And by all initial reports, it’s a gem.
Another interesting thing is that it runs Windows 8. Say what you will about Windows but it is the number one operating system. It’s a major force and it will be a big draw for the Surface tablet. And with Windows 8, the ability to run the same apps on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and maybe even phone, can not be easily dismissed. This is one big advantage, and one that Apple does not have in the immediate future.
Microsoft also introduced a series of very interesting accessories. Their version of the iPad Smart Cover for the Surface is the Touch Cover. It’s a Smart Cover plus a keyboard and touchpad. Magnetic binding, bright colors, everything you’d expect but with the addition of a keyboard and a touchpad. And still only slightly thicker than a Smart Cover. Where the touch-only interface makes sense for the iOS devices, for users coming from a Windows world, they keyboard makes sense.
In the one misstep of the day. Microsoft took what is a brilliant platform, brilliant hardware, and made a confusing copy of it. There are two different versions of Windows 8, so there are two different tablets, both called Surface but with different specs, pricing, etc.. The old Microsoft rears it’s ugly head and their goal seem to be keeping consumers confused again.
Take a look at the video below for some more info.
Microsoft has done something Google and HP/Palm failed to do. They created buzz, they created a killer hardware product, and a great operating system. This puts them square in the crosshairs of Apple as they are now the underdog to watch. Without even releasing the product, just announcing it, they have already leapfrogged Android in the tablet space.
Lots of independent games get shown off at the Games Developer Conference each year. Some of them are entered in the Independent Games Forum, a special competition for indie games releasing on console, Mac/PC, or iOS. We were able to visit a few of these, listed below, and wanted to tell you all about them.
While our reviewer enjoyed the look of this game, she also said it felt kind of short. When I mentioned this to the developer at the demo kiosk, he agreed. He then went on to show me how they put this game together, with hand built sets and hand-held cameras panning through each level to give it the unique visual style it has. In addition, the planned additional levels look nothing short of brilliant and expansive, so this should be one to keep an eye on.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-02-23 :: Category: Games
Pugs Luv Beats / Pug Synth
File this one under adorable, right next to hilarious. As a pug owner and fan myself, Pugs Luv Beats took my heart away. Each pug in the game represents a specific beat or musical motif, and adding hats and costumes changes the music and allows the pug to go farther and faster towards its goal. The game may be more about music performance with gaming elements, but it’s still a ton of fun to mess around with. Add the spin-off music app, Pug Synth, and I am sold.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-02-09 :: Category: Music
One thing missing from modern games, say the developers of Fingle, is touching. And not in a weird way, either. Fingle tasks two players to place their fingers onto an iPad at the same time, and solve puzzles by cooperating and, yes, touching fingers. It’s a unique and real-life-inspired game that’s making lots of waves. Imagine taking this to a party where that cute boy or girl you want to meet is hanging out. Oh, yeah.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-01-12 :: Category: Games
Developer Vlambeer (Super Crate Box) teamed up with Zach Gage (Bit Pilot) and artist Greg Wohlwend (Solipskier) to create this funky game where the goal is to avoid fish on the way down, and hook as many as possible on the way up, then shoot them all out of the sky. Yeah, it’s wacky. But super fun to play, of course. The couple of minutes I had to check it out made me glad I’d been able to stop by and play this all-star creation.
I have to say that I wasn’t expecting to be emotionally invested in a game that looks like this, but the music and the loneliness of that poor star affected me in a fairly intense way. From Steph Thiron, the developer behind indie-darling Eliss, Faraway is a one-touch controlled, procedurally created game that puts players in the role of a lonely star in an empty universe, holding out hope that its quest will have meaning, in the end. Fantastic score, simple, elegant graphics define this one, and I can’t wait to play the whole thing.
This one caught my eye as I walked by its kiosk at GDC. I was attracted to the clean lines, the happy little faces, and the puzzle look right from the start. Created by Powerhead Games, ASYNC Corp starts off a simple brain teaser, asking players to switch out and connect colored squares to create larger and larger rectangles. The conceit of the shipping center is a good one, and helps get the game idea across to the player fairly quickly.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-06-28 :: Category: Games
What’s left to be said about this beautiful game from the makers of award-winning Spider, The Secret of Bryce Manor? Quite a bit, apparently, as I stood and talked with the lead art designer for the game. He made sure I knew that he created the concepts behind the art, but the actual paintings were done by “real artists.” Whatever, dude, the game is gorgeous. Also? this is the first time I’ve heard the term “action-gardening adventure.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-01 :: Category: Games
Beat Sneak Bandit – Winner of Best Mobile Game
Rhythm games are super fun. Stealth games are, too. Put them together, and you’ve got Beat Sneak Bandit, from Simogo. Our reviewer dug this one, so I gave it a quick try at the conference. Whoo, boy it IS fun. The artwork is stylish and cute, and the music is, obviously, beat heavy and catchy. Tapping to the beat to move my little guy to the clocks in the level was enjoyable and had me feeling pretty talented, two great ways to keep me playing a game.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-02-16 :: Category: Games
Two other games that I did NOT have a chance to play (I didn’t see them on the expo floor, really) are English Country Tune and Storyteller, the winner of the Nuovo prize. For more details on all the games entered into the contest, including the finalists and winners, see the main page here.
We had the chance to sit down with Adam Saltsman last week at GDC to ostensibly talk about The Hunger Games, the upcoming movie tie in game from Semi Secret Software`, the folks that brought us indie darling and commercial hit, Canabalt as well as Gravity Hook.
It didn’t quite work out that way.
Lucky for us, Adam may be the nicest crazy-smart person around. He seemed genuinely upset that he wasn’t able to talk The Hunger Games (maybe next week, he promised us), but also equally enthusiastic about the game he’s currently developing with Greg Wohlwend, the developer behind Solipskier, another critical darling of the iOS gaming scene.
Currently named Hundreds, the game app is a mathematical, physics, puzzle…er…thing. It’s beautifully designed with lots of red and white, with levels chosen by swiping a finger across a matrix of white dots.
Once inside the chosen level, the player must figure out how to grow the number circles to add up to 100, without touching each other, obstacles, or more vicious extra pieces. Each level is a mini-education in itself, as Saltsman spends an inordinate amount of time creating each level so that it can be figured out without a tutorial or instructions. This has got to be difficult, especially when we’re talking about the hundred levels or so included in the game.
We played a few levels with Adam looking over our shoulder, and I remain impressed with the advanced level design and brilliant unspoken, unwritten pedagogy built into each one. Saltsman showed us his notebook full of illustrations and written notes about the levels to be included in Hundreds–this is a man who is at the top of his design game, and it shows.
While we learned nothing about The Hunger Games app on our visit, we came away with a new appreciation for game design and this genuine, kind human being with a notebook full of awesome and a new baby. Thanks again, Adam, for a lovely chat.
It hasn’t been a good few weeks for EA Mobile. With the disastrous launch of Battlefield 3: Aftershock and the eventual permanent removal of the game. And now The Simpsons: Tapped Out has disappeared from the App Store.
We have reached out to EA Mobile press relations for a statement on why the game was pulled and when or if it will return, but have yet to hear back. The help page for the game mentions that it was removed due to server capacity issues.
To ensure current players have the best possible experience, we’ve temporarily removed The Simpsons: Tapped Out from the App Store to limit the game’s server capacity to its current players and address connectivity and lag time issues.
If you’ve downloaded the game, you can continue to play. Actually, your experience should only improve as we work on a solution. As soon as we have resolved these issues to handle greater player capacity, we will return The Simpsons: Tapped Out to the App Store…
EA launching a game with server capacity too low? A problem they traditionally have on console titles, but that’s a new one for mobile titles. But, honestly, I don’t think that server capacity is the only problem with the game. While not as bad as Battlefield 3: Aftershock, it does have more fundamental problems beyond just server capacity.
For one, The Simpsons relies on EA’s frustrating Origin game network to play the game. There’s nothing that a game developer can do to be less inviting to a new user than putting them through a frustrating 5 minute account creation procedure at the launch of the game. Origin is EA’s attempt to capture more of the “user graph” in the EA gaming universe. But for users it’s a painful process totally devoid of any reward. Origin engineers seem to be trying to make the process as difficult as possible. And if you do actually get logged in you are rewarded with a grand total of nothing useful. Game Center works, it’s easy, my gaming friends are there, not in Origin. In addition, Game Center doesn’t require the user to sign in to every game for it to work. Game Center just works.
The other problem, as Brad detailed in our review of The Simpsons: Tapped Out, the game relentlessly pushes you to spend money. Not because you want to have more fun, but because you are annoyed. A trait that is unfortunately common on a badly designed freemium game from a traditionally core gaming company. How many times have we seen this from other companies like Glu and Gameloft? They all seem to struggle to get the balance between fun and making money. And EA seems to be falling into the same traps. The key that they don’t seem to understand is to make people want to pay to make the game more fun, don’t annoy the user into paying.
I’m sure we’ll see The Simpsons: Tapped Out back in the App Store soon. They will fix the server capacity issues and get things going again. I doubt they will fix the fundamental flaws in the game though.
iOS growth has been staggering in China, and yet still has a long way to go. That’s why it’s not too surprising that the 25 billionth app downloaded from the App Store was announced to be a free game downloaded in China. It really sets the tone for the future.
Apple recently ran a promotion as a countdown to the 25 billionth download on an app on the App Store. That 25 billionth download happened over the weekend. It was announced today that Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China downloaded that 25 billionth download. The app downloaded was Where’s My Water? Free. To me, that’s very telling of the future of mobile gaming and iOS expansion.
Asia, and particularly China is a huge potential market for iOS in particular and Apple in general. With well over a billion people, the market is huge and growing with iPhones becoming a hot commodity. You may remember that Apple had to halt the sale of the iPhone 4S in China in January due to near riots. The pent up demand is that high there.
Not to mention that App Annie is reporting user growth in China has increased 298% and revenue 187% over the last year. This outstrips growth seen in all other countries and it’s not expected to slow down anytime soon.
The fact that the 25 billionth download was for a free game, is not much of a surprise. I’ve heard from many that users in China are not traditional used to paying for games. Simon Li, Deputy General Manager of Wireless Gaming Products for Tencent recently presented at the Mobile World Congress some information on the games market in China. While Tencent’s top mobile game in China makes the equivalent of $3 million per month, that game is free and relies on in app purchase for that income. He reports that freemium is required for that market as users are rarely willing to pay for a game.
If you are an app developer and you aren’t addressing the China market, now might be a good time to start.
App sales are nothing new, but the biggest of the year is here, and we’ll be tracking the best of the sale apps right here. Expect lots of updates over the weekend. And a reminder, app prices change quickly. We’ll try to keep the list below updated, but if you see something you want, grab it when you see it, the price could change next time you see it.
We’ve got games, educational, navigation, and other apps on the list. Make sure you look through all of the pages for the full list.
– 11/23, 11:45am – added a few EA titles and others of interest.
– 11/23, 10:00pm – A bunch of great new games and apps added. Some really great sales.
– 11/24, 2:00pm – lots more added, tons of games from Disney, Activision, and great apps as well.
– 11/25, 10:00am – as the Thanksgiving meal coma subsides, we found a couple dozen more great apps on sale.
– 11/28, 12:00pm – updated for Cyber Monday app sales
At 10am, Tim Cook – the fresh new Apple CEO – took the stage to announce what will change everything, again. Not wearing Steve Jobs’ usual turtleneck, he instead wore a nice slate colored dress shirt – setting his own style. Tim delivered updates on what’s happening in Apple retail, the iPod line, iOS 5, iPad, and the iPhone 4. Want to watch the keynote online? It’s up now at Apple.com.
First up we got the usual statistics recap. Stats of course can be spun however the speaker wants, but here are some pretty solid and interesting bits. Apple now has 357 retail stores, has sold 300 million iPods. iPods have has a 70%+ marketshare the entire time they have been available. For reference, Sony took 30 years to sell 230k Walkmen cassette players. Apple sold 300 million iPods in 10 years.
iTunes now contains 20 million songs and in total has seen 16 billion downloads. Apple is reporting 500,000 apps in the app store — as usual they are a bit premature on that as it’s currently about 20,000 shy of that number. But there are well over 125,000 iPad apps available. The App Store has had 18 billion downloads with over $3 billion paid to developers, with 1 billion app downloads per month. That’s billions, with a B, right there.
The really big number here, though, is that there are 250 million iOS devices now out there.
Let’s skip right to what we are all came for, shall we? The new iPhone:
The new iPhone 4S – looks like the old iPhone
One of the worst kept secrets was that the iPhone 4 was going to get a bump in features to a new model, named the 4S. While there are only minor changes to the hardware case itself, this is a pretty substantial update on the inside. The main processor chip is now the same dual core A5 chip that runs iPad 2, increasing the speed and upping the memory. That means apps will have more resources to use and more apps can be run at the same time. In fact, Apple claims graphics can run at up to 7x the speed of the iPhone 4.
A killer new 8MP camera – the coolest hardware feature of the new iPhone 4S is the new camera. The camera has been upgraded to an 8MP backside illumination f2.4 camera. Meaning? This camera pulls in up to 73% more light per pixel – that means better pictures in just about all situations but especially so in lower light. Really a great camera on paper, better than most small cameras and even some DSLRs. Of course, we’ll have to see how it does in real life situations.
The camera also includes 1080P image stabilized video recording, face detection for quick focusing, and quick image capture – 1.1 seconds to first picture, 0.5 seconds for successive images.
Siri – the intelligent assistant to get things done just by asking – The coolest new feature is the Siri assistant. This feature is rather hard to describe, but it truly is an assistant. It will allow users to interact with the phone with only their voice, getting responses via a computer voice. Things like reading your SMS messages, replying to them, setting calendar appointments, playing music, replying to email, and searching Wikipedia can all be done by voice. I think we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg here with Siri. I expect this to continue to expand with future iOS versions.
Take a look at the video below from Apple for more great examples of what you can do with Siri.
Siri launches only on the iPhone 4S. The processing power apparently required apparently is only available on the 4S. [Editor’s note: what wasn’t mentioned, of course, is the availablity of Siri on the iPad 2, which has the same processing power as this new 4S device]
Now on Sprint The iPhone 4S will be be available on three carriers simultaneously for the first time. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint – all will launch at the same time.
More new iPhone 4S features Some other new features include a single dual mode phone, which can be used on all US carriers. Technically this dual mode feature is a huge deal. But in real life, not so much. Carriers will still have the device locked down so users can’t easily switch between them. And even the unlocked phone version of this will apparently not work on the CDMA carriers anymore (Verizon and Sprint). It’s a mess – and we can blame the carriers for that.
Barely mentioned in the keynote, the iPhone 4S will do Airplay Mirroring just like the iPad 2 – a feature that lets users see their device screen wirelessly on an Apple TV. Great for games, this sleeper feature will be huge one day, when Apple decides actually back the Apple TV more.
iPhone 4S Available on October 14th – the iPhone 4S will be available on October 14th in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany, and Japan. Pre-orders will start on October 7th: this Friday. The price will be $199/$299/$399 on two year contract for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions.
In addition, the iPhone 4 will be available for $99 for an 8GB model while an 8GB 3GS model will be available for free with contract.
New Applecare+ One great new options is the Applecare+. For $99, Apple will extend your warrantee to two years. One great new feature here is that Apple will replace an iPhone up to twice due to accident – dropped, submerged in water, etc. “Coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage from handling, each subject to a $49 service fee.”
Our Take on the iPhone 4S
While internally the iPhone 4S is a pretty decent jump, it still is lacking compared to some of the other devices (Android, Windows Phone 7) being released. Don’t get the wrong idea, the iPhone 4S is still the best phone out there, but it may just lack the sexy features the some people will look for. Dual core processors are great, but the screen size is on the very low end these days.
If you have an iPhone 4, I’d say skip this upgrade. Wait for the next one and you should be out of contract and able to switch carriers if you wish. If you don’t have an iPhone, it’s the best iPhone we’ve ever seen, I’d say make the jump now.
Overall, this a good device, but there aren’t enough compelling or new features to justify the 16+ month wait. We wanted more. A lot more.
The iPod touch didn’t get an update at all this year. Oddly it’s the same device, just slightly cheaper at around $30 less than last year prices. It is available in white now as well as black. But that’s not really an upgrade.
Our Take on the iPod Touch Update – Or lack of update. Apple is now touting the iPod touch as the most used game device. And while it may be, it’s not that competitive anymore. Without an A5 processor upgrade, the iPod touch is now quite a bit behind the iPhone 4. Not unexpectedly, as the iPod touch is usually a bit behind the iPhone; it got a retina display a couple months after the iPhone. Overlapping the upgrade of the iPhone with the iPod touch made me hope it would at least get an upgraded processor.
iOS5 Release – October 12
The iOS5 release was officially announced to be October 12th, a little over a week from now. It’s a free upgrade. No real new features were mentioned beyond what was announced at WWDC. Refer back to our earlier coverage for more and we’ll have a full guide for you on launch day.
Our Take on iOS5 – while we had hoped to see some further updates to some of the core apps and perhaps some new features, iOS 5 is a really solid upgrade. Lots of great new features and much needed improvements. Highly recommended if you have a iPhone 4, iPad 2, or iPod touch 4th gen.
Older devices may not fare so well with this upgrade. So if you have an older device and your device is officially supported, iPhone 3GS, original iPad, and iPod touch 3rd gen, let others try the upgrade first to see how it functions in real life.
iCloud and iTunes Match
As you may remember, iCloud is the name of Apple’s new group of cloud based services. The basic level is free, and something everyone should use. For a quick overview, take a look at the video below.
No new features were announced beyond what we heard about at WWDC. But we did find out that iCloud will launch on October 12th with iTunes Match following up in late October. We’ll have more on iCloud in a follow up article and expect this to be something that Apple iterates regularly. And let’s hope so. Both products seem like they are a little unfinished and missing features – we had hoped for some finishing touches to be announced. We’ll just have to keep waiting.
New Apps from Apple
Cards – is a new app from Apple that will allow you to create greeting cards on your device. Those cards will then be printed and mailed to whomever you choose for $3 in the US, $5 internationally. If you ship it to the US you can get a push notification when it’s delivered.
Find My Friends — Hinted at for a while, this is a feature that lets you share your location with your friends. Friends can request where you are and the app gives you some interesting control over how long and when they can get that information.
Both of these apps will launch on the App Store with iOS 5 on October 12th.
It’s hard to really get too excited over this announcement. We only saw one really revolutionary thing from Apple, by the name of Siri. I think a lot of people assumed that with the delay in release of a new iPhone we were in for a huge set of announcements. Things like whole new maps app, Facebook integration, a truly new device, and hopefully a lot of things we hadn’t even heard of.
Instead we got a really solid, but very safe phone. Some great announcements, but nothing revolutionary, and nothing that changes everything – safe. And nothing that seemed to tie up the loose ends that are iCloud and iTunes Match. They just seem like unfinished products.
The big question for me, and for anyone contemplating an upgrade, is when will the next iPhone come out. Apple has thrown out their usual calendars this year. The usual cadence of a new iPhone every summer is gone. We could see the next, expectantly revolutionary iPhone, anytime from next Spring to two years from now, which makes long term planning and contract scheduling hard. Rest assured, though, that we’ll be here to help get the information out as it arises.
It’s almost like Christmas and your birthday morning all wrapped up into one! But for this holiday you will be compelled to spends lots of money. Today Apple will make a bunch of announcements around the iPhone. It’s pretty much a lock that we will see at least one new iPhone today, final iOS 5 details including some that have been unseen so far, iCloud, and probably a new Apple iOS app, perhaps iPhoto.
While the rumors have been all over the place, the crazy crazy rumor mill have pretty much all settled on the new iPhone to be announced today being an iPhone 4S. An updated version of the iPhone 4 with perhaps a faster processor, more memory, a bigger camera (8 MP), and perhaps a few more features. This isn’t the iPhone 5 that we think Apple needs to make a statement, but such is Apple. They take their own paths — and let’s be honest, it usually works out for them.
It’s almost assured that we will see some new features in iOS 5 that haven’t been seen in the betas. And hopefully more details around iCloud and how it will work.
One area where iCloud is really lacking is photos. We’re expecting Apple to announce some new features around that and perhaps even an iPhoto for iOS. With each of the recent hardware releases Apple have released an iOS version of one of their core apps (iMovie, Garage Band, iWork, etc.) — it follow that they will continue this and I’m hoping we see something photo related today.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll see the death of Ping today.
Tim Cook will be presenting the new information today, his first big presentation gig as new Apple CEO. Break a leg, Tim!
We’ll be reporting all of the big announcements as they happen on our Twitter and Facebook streams. Check there for the very latest info. And we’ll be posting an analysis of the announcements later in the day.
The first HTML5 Developers Conference is set to launch next week. And just announced they will be hosting a hackathon with a special focus on mobile gaming.
Everyone is talking about HTML5 — it’s the future, right? Developers from all over the world are getting together to learn more about HTML5 and those ubiquitous plans next week in San Francisco.
The HTML5 Developers Conference has already announced some fantastic speakers like Douglas Crockford (discoverer of JSON), Yahoo!, Ben Savage, Sibblingz, Steve Souders, Google, and Jason Hoffman. Take a look at the full lineup of speakers, looks like it’s going to be a packed day.
The HTML5 Developers Conference takes place next Tuesday, September 27th at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco. You can register with 10% off using the code HTML5vibe.
And for the full details on the hackathon, hit the jump. For more information on the HTML5 Developer Conference, hit up html5devconf.com.
Another holiday weekend in the US means one thing — apps on sale! This time around we are seeing good, but not best ever sales from Gameloft, EA, Namco, Big Fish, and many many more. Hit up the list below, we’ll try to update it a couple times this weekend — but I’ve got a grill to attend to as well!
And as always, you can keep track of the latest and greatest app price drops on the Price Drops page and RSS feed.
Update: 9/4, 1pm – Labor Day weekend continues. The grill is hot, the beer is cold. Should be a perfect day. Oh, and here are another 30 great apps that are on sale for super cheap.
Update: 9/5, 11am – More apps, more great sales!
App conferences are becoming a lot more common. From conferences that focus on the business of marketing apps, hard core development conferences, and even grass roots community driven ones. App Developers Conference, coming to Santa Clara, CA on October 26-27, hopes to unite developers and marketing folks into a single conference.
148Apps is a proud media sponsor of the event. If you’d like to join us there, you can use discount code 148vip to get $100 off the registration fee.
More on the conference, direct from Engage Digital, the creators of App Developers Conference is at 148Apps.biz
Readdle have created some of the best business focused apps we’ve seen for iOS. And to celebrate being in the app business for 4 years, they are having a 30% off sale on all of their apps. In addition, they are giving away 4 iPads in a retweet contest.
Some other interesting stats. Readdle have seen over 3,150,000 people are actively using Readdle apps. 900,000 users of the Readdle Terra Browser, Scanner Pro has seen over 250,000 users on the iPhone.
It may not be a huge trend, but it appears that a growing number of companies are offering funds to assist developers to create and/or promote their apps in the Apple and Android markets. These companies foresee that the number of mobile phones and tablets purchased is only going to keep on rising for the foreseeable future along with the number of apps for these users. It’s a good time to get into the marketplace. Case in point: Gamevil recently announced a $10 million partnership fund for external developers who have smartphone gaming ideas.
Apple today announced that the App Store has delivered over 15 billion downloads, up from 14 billion just over a month ago. At the current rate, users are downloading over 32 million apps per day, more than seen in the entire first month of the App Store.
“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”
This amazing growth in downloads can be accredited to the acceptance of the iOS platform and speaks to the amazing feat that Apple has accomplished with iOS. While iOS has been called an closed ecosystem, and to some degree it is, the control that Apple has maintained has allowed the whole system to work smoothly as a whole. That in turn has lead to a better application lifecycle for developers and a better way to get new apps for consumers. All while minimizing the issues we see on other platforms with hardware and OS fragmentation leading to app availability issues.
MacRumors has created a graph with data points shown for each announcement Apple have made for download numbers.
As we can see, the growth has kept up a nice pace and fairly closely matches a logarithmic growth scale. Very impressive indeed. With the impending updates to the iPod touch and iPhone lines, we can expect the growth to continue to take off.
A combined MobileBeat and GamesBeat will take place in San Francisco next week. July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco will see a group of some of the most interesting minds in the mobile and gaming industries will gather to discuss what’s next for mobile.
Great speakers include Nolan Bushnell, the father of video games, Jason Spero, Head of Mobile for Google, David Williams, VP of Mobile Products for AT&T, and many more. There will be plenty of great information shared, new products launched, and as usual, lots of great conversations to be had between sessions.
This weekend we celebrate Independence day here in the US. And as app developers tend to do, they have put a whole bunch of games and apps on sale this holiday weekend. We’ll update this post regularly with the latest, so please check back.
Update 2 – 7/4 1:30pm: Lots of great stuff including lots of free games. And a huge sale from Firemint.
Update 1 – 7/2 11:00am: Lots of stuff from Konami and a bunch of great free games added. Grab them before the prices go back up!
As I mentioned in a previous editorial, I believe that AirPlay Mirroring could be the way that Apple enters the home game console market. AirPlay Mirroring was barely mentioned as an iOS 5 feature at the most recent keynote, but it has the potential to make the biggest change in how we think of iOS.
As a quick reminder, AirPlay mirroring will allow your iPad 2 to transmit your iPad screen to your TV via a connected Apple TV, wirelessly. Anything you see on your iPad will be mirrored on your TV. This includes any animations, interactions, apps, movies, photos, and most importantly, games. It’s not just for images, it’s the full iPad experience mirrored to your TV.
As the video below shows, AirPlay Mirroring just works with current iOS applications that are enabled for tethered HDMI output using the adapter for iPad 2. And it works very well for an early beta. There are some things that need streamlining, but it’s very impressive.
A huge thanks for Trevor at Apple’n’Apps for this video. It does a great job of showing the potential. After thinking about AirPlay Mirroring I was concerned that there would be considerable lag as the video was compressed and transmitted to the Apple TV. As we can see from the demo, lag seem to be fairly well mitigated and the responsiveness seems good.
We can also see that if games are developed like Real Racing 2 HD, they can provide full screen output on your TV, not just the 1024×768 window that you will see otherwise. Real Racing 2 HD looks absolutely amazing when output full screen on a TV. And I think this is just the beginning of what we will see. With this system, Apple is in a position to own the home console gaming market. And they are well on their way to owning the mobile market already with 200 million devices out there; this number overshadows even Nintendo with the DS.
And it looks like I’m not the only person to believe Apple is the future for gaming. Phil Harrison, former Sony boss, believes that if current growth levels continue, Apple is in a position to be the entire gaming industry within 10 years. In a recent interview with Edge Phil Harrison states:
At this trajectory, if you extrapolate the market-share gains that they are making, forward for ten years – if they carry on unrestrained in their growth, then there’s a pretty good chance that Apple will be the games industry.
In the proliferation of devices – you’ve got iPhones, iPads, iPods, which are all part of the same ecosystem; the speed at which Apple sold 15 million iPads is phenomenal. And the number one activity on an iPad, according to some reports, is games, and I think that will only continue.
Whil the traditional console gaming companies have struggled to adapt to a more casual gaming market as well as electronic delivery, Apple continues set the bar. Apple seems to be hitting every point spot on, putting them in line to lead the gaming industry in the near future. And this upset of the current gaming leaders can not be underestimated – it’s a huge shift. The story continues and I’m sure we’ll be bringing you more soon.
The update to Flash Builder and Flex that allows developers to create mobile apps for iOS, Android, and even Playbook, has been in beta for a while now. You may remember there was even a bit of a brouhaha over it. But all that is behind us now, and Adobe have officially released the updated application development environments.
What this allows developers to do is use existing code for Flash and Flex applications, traditionally delivered via the web, to create mobile applications. If you develop your Flash/Flex application in the proper way this can be a huge time saving when targeting multiple platforms.
For more information on how to upgrade and what exactly this means for Flash Builder and Flex, take a look at the Adobe Flash Platform Blog for the details, links, and videos.
EA made a fairly big PR push, by EA Mobile standards, when their casual game studio 8 lb. Gorilla launched in July of 2009. The goal of the studio at that time was to produce a casual game every month. Unfortunately, in spite of the fairly good showing with their first game out of the gate, the simple, casual game Zombies and Me, 8 lb. Gorilla disappeared without a trace after just one game.
Over the following nearly 2 years I asked everyone I met from EA Mobile about 8 lb. Gorilla. No one knew what happened to the tiny ape. They seem to have just disappeared. That was until June 16th of this year, nearly 2 years later, when their second release came out.
EA has released Ghost Harvest, from the 8 lb. Gorilla studio. This is the first foray into the freemium space on iOS for EAand 8 lb. Gorilla are now the studio leading that push for EA. Speaking to others in the industry, everyone knew it freemium games were coming form EA, they just didn’t know when or how it would appear.
Ghost Harvest is a fairly standard farming type game though told from a very different angle. In this one you harvest ghosts from graves (crops from fields) in your graveyard (farm) while building up XP and buying graves and dead bodies to fill them. It’s an oddly morbid game for EA — where you plant dead bodies and wait for their spirits to mature to the point that you can harvest them. Ghost Harvest is a free ad supported game, just like all the others in the style, with incentivized offerings from Tapjoy thrown in too. The one twist on the standard model is that there is a very simplified Plants vs. Zombies style defense game tacked on.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-06-15 :: Category: Games
Overall the game seems rushed. Obviously 8 lb. Gorilla weren’t spending two years on it. There’s a frighteningly low animation cell count — everything moves chunkily — and non-retina level graphics are just below par these days. We know EA can do much better than this, perhaps this is just a feeler in the category. And is it just me or does the 8 lb. Gorilla logo look like a blue Donkey Kong?
If it’s one thing I like it’s a good hackathon. 148Apps is proud to be a media sponsor of the Muther of All Hackathons coming up next weekend in Mountain View, CA. The goal of this hackathon is quite ambitious, they hope to develop 100 mobile applications in just 24 hours! To help incentivize the developers there are over $100,000 in prizes already lined up. Including Macbooks, iPads, other devices, and even a trip to Mobile World Congress next year.
Head on over to the site for more details on the categories, judging, and prizes.
As a special promotion, we have 10 passes to give away to the Hackathon. The ticket price is a reasonable and geeky $42, but we can save you that $42. Leave a comment on this post on 148Apps.biz and we’ll pick 10 lucky winners on Monday.
The Muther! of All Hackathons + DevCon
Friday, June 24 to Saturday, June 25, 2011
Computer History Museum
Mountain View, CA
WIPs Muther! of all Hackathon + DevCon is coming and YOU don’t want to miss it! This will be a real mashup where Hackathon meets DevCon in a fun, informative format! The real world doesn’t focus on a single technology, phone or solution, so neither will the Muther! Over $100k in prizes to be won!
Join hundreds of New developers, Experienced developers, Tool companies and Carriers, Investors and other mobile fanatics for a two day adventure of Master Classes, UnPanels, Coding, New APIs, Prizes, and more.
The winners of the Apple Design Awards were announced last night at the annual ceremony during the World Wide Developers Conference.
The awards which are chosen by Apple employees, celebrate apps that are great examples of design, innovation, and technical excellence. Whe winners of the ADAs receive a great trophy (pictured to the right) and a nice prize pack of Apple devices including an Air, iPad 2, and iPod touch.This years iOS winners include:
Apple announced a ton of info today at the WWDC keynote. Like that there are now 200 million iOS devices out in the wild. And that there are 425,000 applications available for iOS. Oh yeah, and iOS 5, Lion, and iCloud are coming very soon.
Rather than just go down the feature list, we’re going to post some thoughts on the new features and point you to places you can see full details on the new stuff.
First, we just posted about what is one of the largest features mentioned, that got very little attention. Apple is now firmly in the game console business by allowing iOS 5 games to be displayed, wirelessly from your device to your TV via the Apple TV. It will be huge.
iOS 5 New Features Look Familar…
The biggest new features shown of iOS 5 all looked more than a little familiar. There were many features in the new Camera app that looked like they could have been borrowed from Camera+. There’s a new todo application called Reminders that could be any number of todo apps in the store. The updates to the Message app, now called iMessage, match the features of the Blackberry Messenger app (BBM), that we’re shocked. Even the method for pulling down the notifications list comes straight from Android.
Now to be fair, these other platforms have “borrowed” from iOS as well. So all’s fair I guess. And I’m still looking forward to the new features, they look fantastic. And will be nice to have some of the baked into the OS.
200 New Features in iOS 5
Some of the new features that stick out in my head most include photo editing features, Twitter integration (single sign on built into the OS), greatly improved notifications / widgets available anywhere, great new mail features, PC-free setup, and apparently 200 more.
For a full list of new features, check out the official list at Apple. It’s got a good roundup and includes a lot of screens and details not mentioned in the keynote.
iOS 5 should be available for all devices in beta, for developers today. It will ship to consumers in the fall.
Oh yeah, and there’s iCloud. This turned out to be a much greater solution than we were originally expecting to see. Full wireless syncing of your app data, calendar, contacts, email, todos. Even music, photos, and we assume videos (which weren’t mentioned) as well. And even bigger, apps! Download a new app on your iPad and, if you turn the feature on, it will also be downloaded to your iPhone.
Besides data syncing for built-in iOS apps, what this means is that, once fully developed and supported by developers, you’ll be able to sync data between devices for apps as well. Finish a level on Angry Birds on your iPhone at lunch, that level status will be synced to Angry Birds on your iPad when you get home.
iCloud will be free for up to 5 GB of data. We assume there will be a way to pay for more storage, but this wasn’t announced.
iTunes in the Cloud
The iCloud music features, labeled iTunes in the Cloud, let you sync you iTunes purchases on up to 10 devices. Apple also made available a paid service, iTunes Match, for $24.99 per year. This service will match songs you have ripped from other sources like CDs, Amazon.com, etc. and enjoy them in iTunes and it’s 18 million downloadable tracks. All upgraded to 256k AAC. Very nice, and a great deal for $24.99 per year.
There was a ton announced today. An amazing number of new features for iOS, Lion, and iCloud. So many that they are still digesting. I can’t wait to get my hands on these features.
In one of the smaller announcements today, Apple announced that iOS 5 on the iPad 2 will support a feature called AirPlay mirroring. This feature is something that I’ve been telling people would eventually come to the iOS world and basically backdoor Apple into the console market.
If you aren’t familiar with HDMI mirroring on the iPad, it’s a feature that lets you plug in an cable into a special adapter on your iPad 2 and display your screen on an HDTV. This feature is great for use in classrooms and has even seen some play in games as well with Firemint using this feature to allow 1080p output on your TV from their Real Racing 2 HD via mirroring. But, you are tethered to the TV with a cable.
So, what’s AirPlay mirroring then, you ask? According to Apple, “AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®.” To me, that means with an iPad 2, you’ll be able to do that mirroring without a cable. That means anything you see on your iPad 2, you will be able to see on an Apple TV. Let that sink in and then think using that feature for games.
This means that any game you play on your iPad 2, you’ll be able to play on your TV, wirelessly. Yes, wirelessly. You launch Angry Birds on your iPad 2 and the Angry Birds screen will show up on your TV. Boom, instant game console with $0.99 game downloads.
To control the game, you would use the iOS device as the controller. The Apple TV becomes the cheapest console out there at $99 with the largest game library at nearly 100,000 games. Your iPad 2 becomes your controller, albeit a very expensive one. We can assume that this feature will also be available in the next iPhone and iPod touch, once their processors and memory are upgraded and on parity with the iPad 2.
Let’s wrap that all up together, and it means that you can consider the Apple TV to be firmly in the game console market now. This is huge! I can’t stress enough how much of a game changer this is for the gaming world.
Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft should be worried. They have all been rather slow to adopt downloadable games, now Apple has gone and made it easy and cheap. If Apple does to the console market what they have done to the mobile software market, they should be very worried. The Apple TV, which started out as Steve Jobs hobby, could turn out to be the most popular home game and entertainment console around.
It just goes to show you how popular the apps from Outfit7 are. The makers of the Talking series of apps released Talking Tom 2, a free app, last week and nearly instantly saw 1.8 million downloads. And the most amazing thing is that it was downloaded over a million times on Sunday alone according to a tweet from Outfit7 CEO Andrej Nabergoj.
Outfit7 must be the most downloaded app company on the App Store with well over 100 million downloads across all of their apps. Their series of talking animal apps are hugely successful with kids and adults alike.
Andrej Nabergoj, Outfit7’s CEO remarked “With more than 55 million downloads and a cameo on ABC’s hit Modern Family, it’s clear that Talking Tom Cat has fans around the world eager to see how his character & story will evolve,Talking Tom Cat 2 not only offers a new look and story for Tom but also makes it really easy and appealing for people to create and share their stories. We are really about empowering our users to become story-tellers themselves through original characters and creative interactions.”
Amazing success. While these apps are not the kind of app we generally report on, the amazing success has to be noted. Congratulations Outfit7!
The App Store was all quiet on July 10, 2008, with just five hundred applications to its name. But that all changed with the iPhone’s growth in both consumer and business markets, as well as the creation of the iPod Touch and iPad. This week Apple approved the 500,000th application, in a sign of stellar strength that defied the global financial crisis. “It’s amazing to see the growth of the iOS App Store” writes 148Apps Founder Jeff Scott. “Very few devices will ever see 500,00 applications created for it. But to see this many created in less than three years is astonishing.”
In recognition of the App Store’s latest milestone, we’ve teamed up with App Store search service Chomp and game developer Chillingo, to bring you contests and giveaways aplenty in the upcoming months. We’ve also created a special info-graphic to mark the occasion. Click here for all the details.
148Apps will be coming to this year’s Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and if you’re a developer, we’d love to meet you. Got a new game or application in the works? Schedule a meeting with Jeff Scott here.
The Editor’s Choice badge this week was awarded to Tower Defense: Lost Earth, for its five star graphics and sound, as well as a flawless user interface. “[This game is] one that genre loves and armchair generals should not miss” quips Rob Rich, a contributing writer with the 148Apps network. “Even people who don’t generally care for tower defense games might want to give it a try … it’s certainly won this jaded nitpicker over.” Tower Defense is available to purchase for $2.99. Read the full review here.
Favorite Four took a turn to video this week, with writer Kevin Stout examining the top four free applications that provide video content on-demand. Crackle, SnagFilms, ABC Player and TED all made the mix, with BBC iPlayer getting a special mention for our UK users. Episode 86 of The Portable Podcast is also available to download, featuring guests Alex Fateyev from A-Steroids and Brett O’Brien from Viddy. Host Carter Dotson discusses their applications, Vampire Rush and Viddy.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-04-28 :: Category: Games
In a final piece of news this week, Apple issued a response to the recent controversy created by Lodsys’ patent claims of in-app purchases. Presently, Apple pay a license fee for the use of in-app purchases, an idea originally thought of, and patented by, Lodsys. The company has spoken to a number of App Store developers, claiming that, without proper licensing, they are in violation of patent laws. Apple’s response? “There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers.” Read all about it right here.
That’s all for this week – and remember, keep an eye out for frequent contents and giveaways in celebration of the App Store’s unmatched milestone.
The App Store hit a major milestone today, in less than three years since the launch in July, 2008, Apple has seen over 500,000 applications approved in the US App Store alone. Over half a million applications!
It’s amazing to see the growth of the iOS App Store. Very few devices will ever see 500,000 applications created for it. But to see this many created in less than three years is astonishing.
Before we go to far, please note that while 500,000 have been approved, the App Store is just shy of 400,000 live apps in the US. There are a lot of reasons for this. We’ve seen quite a few apps removed that were never updated to work with the latest OS, or abandoned by their developers. Still others removed due to violations of Apples terms. We’re not sure if 20% abandoned/removed applications is high or low for a platform. My gut feeling is that it’s about average.
Let’s get geeky and take a look at some numbers. From that nearly three years of data we know that you’d need a 7.5 terabyte iPhone to hold all of the apps available at once on your device. I guess we have a new high end target for the storage limit of the iPhone 5. Oh, and it would cost you $891,982.24 to buy all of the apps.
37% of all live applications are free while 15% are games. It’s interesting that in recent months Books has been the largest category. But just this last month we saw Games overtake Books once again.
Here’s a small segment of the infographic. Click the image for the full thing in its full glory.
To celebrate this major milestone, we’ve teamed up with Chomp and Chillingo. Over the next few months we’ll have a bunch of contests / giveaways, and look back at the life of the App Store and some of the developers that make it the fastest growing platform ever. You can keep track of all of that over at a special 500,000 Apps Facebook page we’ve set up and of course right here.