Distimo released their numbers for the complete month of December - sharing the top 5 free apps, paid apps, and grossing apps for the month. With that also came the yearly analysis for the top 10 grossing apps for the year. Supercell's Clash of Clans came out on top as the number one global top grossing app on the App Store. This left Candy Crush Saga sitting in second and Supercell's other popular title, Hay Day, in third.
Tag: 2013 »
Every year, with thousands more apps and games being released on the App Store, it becomes increasingly difficult to single-out just which are the crème de la crème of this ever-growing iOS market - and more specifically, which of them truly set a higher standard in terms of innovation, uniqueness, and individuality. Be it a game designed for the iPhone or iPad, anything developed and released on the iOS market in this day and age has to have that special something to grab our interest and retain it for months to come. In no particular order, here are a selection of the most notable games and apps of 2013 that raised the bar in one way or another.
Morphopolis - Quite possibly one of the most visually stunning games I’ve seen all year, Morphopolis' astounding presentation and imaginative world designs are what truly sets this hidden object puzzle game apart from those of a similar style. The beautiful hand-drawn watercolor hues bring every aspect of the game's artwork to life, while the folksy ambient soundtrack sets a beautiful and warm tone to suit the mellow and relaxing pace. What is so immensely likeable about the puzzles in Morphopolis is that each of them is original, unique, stylish, and distinctive in nature, with every single one utilizing the environment in some manner to build upon the atmosphere.
Ridiculous Fishing - Ridiculous Fishing is a game that without a doubt deserves everything it’s achieved this year as it’s nothing short of spectacular. Yes, it’s a fishing game. Agreed, it’s ludicrously silly, simple, and every part as ridiculous as it sounds, but it’s also beautiful in every way. Alongside it’s fantastic art style and fluid control system, this is the kind of game that is suitable for anyone.
I'm the kind of person who my entire family comes to with any tech or game related question. For my soon-to-be career in the IT world, I've probably already heard every silly computer related question I can think of; such as my parent's worrying I deleted all of their email in their Yahoo! email account when I reformatted their computer to my uncle calling me to tell me how this site he saw on an infomercial cleaned up his PC. Every facepalm, of course to those in the know, was from lack of knowledge of computers and technology.
So when it came to my grandmother - who is old, fragile, and not in the greatest of health - needing an upgrade from her ancient Mac Book this year, I candidly suggested she go to an iPad instead of a new computer. "Why?" my family asked, "How can a tablet replace a computer?" To which I gave them a brief summary of all the reasons I could come up with to justify the purchase of a $500 tablet versus a $1200 MacBook. The iPad's size, weight, cost, and usability were all crucial to my argument for the iPad versus another laptop.
Eventually I won out in this discussion, thus beginning a sort of experiment to see if my dad's mother could adopt to a mobile touch screen device. To many in our age group, the idea that someone may have trouble with an iPad sounds almost absurd. But keep in mind this was part of a family that I had to verbally instruct over the phone as to how to launch Skype on their MacBook.
The first baby steps of this experiment were to introduce her to popular apps, such as the iPad email interface, Safari, and Facebook. Facebook took great strides in 2013 to make their mobile app to have nearly all the functionality of the browser based version. I was even able to help her figure out how to hide the posts from a distant relative who'd post quite frequently about Justin Bieber and how much she'd spent on clothes. My grandma is cool like that.
Next up was showing her various forms of entertainment on the device. Now again, this amazing lady still owns two SD TV's, so an iPad with it's Retina display is by far the best visually striking screen in her house. I showed her various video apps; such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and even lesser known ones such as VUDU. Because I also deal with iOS games on a consistent basis, I introduced some simple but really fun games I thought she might be interested in trying. Two of them, which appeared to catch on with her, were games I considered to be some of the best but most overlooked games of 2013: 4 Thrones and FlowDoku.
There have been a couple of challenges in this adventure however, as anyone going from the familiar to the unknown can be a little daunted. My grandmother had issues figuring out her email, having been used to browser based clients. However, I was able to introduce her to the wide array of Google apps available on iOS, merging the Google and Apple worlds into one. She found the Google Mail client pretty useful for her needs, as well as Google Drive, so I could send her stuff such as wedding photos from the event that occurred some 3 years ago. Additionally, I was able to set her up with Skype on iOS so she could watch my sister's wedding, as well as the TED Talks app so she could see the various topics discussed.
There was also a little trouble getting my elderly grandmother adept at using the on-screen keyboard. Luckily the keyboard on an iPad is relatively big with easy to read buttons, especially in comparison to any Android device. It also responds perfectly to touch, with little to no issues responding appropriately. Once she learned to adapt to using a touch screen to not only replace the mouse but the physical keyboard as well, things seemed to go much easier.
My grandmother means the world to me, and it's absolutely devastating knowing she is nearing her final days on this Earth. But the notion that I could help simplify her life a little bit makes me feel a tad better. From helping her get a device that her frail body will be able to manage to setting her up with and showing her how to use some apps that were similar to what she was using on a MacBook, I feel as though my grandma has a great computing device, an awesome means of communicating with the outside world, and something that will help improve her life overall; regardless of how long or short that may be. Technology has many uses beyond business, entertainment, or whatever else. Sometimes it's just as simple as using it to aid the ones you love.
Cynics would have you believe that the App Store is full of Match-3 puzzle games, Endless Runners, and attempts at stealing money through a multitude of in-app purchases. OK, so the App Store isn't perfect and those games are certainly out there (and a plentiful amount of them are still fun!), but that's far from all that's available.
In the spirit of it being the end of the year and the ideal time to look back at what the App Store does so well, I took a look at some of the best experimental delights out there. These are titles that are a little bit different from the norm, either in terms of having a very open ended storyline or through offering a way to interact that's unconventional. As many of us wind down for the Christmas and New Years break, it's the perfect time to relax and try something a little different.
For the shy or easily embarrassed, Luxuria Superbia is a title that's perhaps best played away from less open-minded members of the family. It's a musical and visual journey requiring one to stroke and touch the petals of a flower, watching and reacting accordingly to how the game responds to sensuous touches. It's a title that could well make one blush as they play it, but it's also the perfect example of what the touch based interface of the iPad and iPhone can truly offer when experiencing something different.
Happy Holidays from 148Apps!
Christmas has passed, and it's time to look forward to a new year. Take a look at what we've reviewed this week, as well as our end-of-year lists, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
Photography apps have allowed iOS users to create beautiful pictures without any editing knowledge, and the abundance of photography apps in the App Store is evidence that more and more users are looking for the next best photography app for their collection. There are plenty that come with filters, borders, and templates, but there are few apps that can take a picture and do something completely different. Fragment is a different photography app in the sense that it isn’t like all the others. Instead of doctoring up a photograph, this app turns it into a piece of prismatic art and takes iPhoneography to the next level. The range of creativity that it offers is what makes it so appealing. --Angela LaFollette
Any game that involves cats dressed up and reenacting various scenes from movies wins my vote. The incredibly entertaining MovieCat! was a huge success and created some exciting buzz back in 2010, and now it’s time for MovieCat 2 – The Movie Trivia Gaming Sequel. In 2012, the original game won the 148Apps Best App Ever Award in the Trivia Gaming category, so naturally it has a lot to live up to. Nonetheless, MovieCat! fans can breathe easy, for MovieCat 2 is every bit as highly amusing and enjoyable as its predecessor in every way. Featuring over 1000 all new text and visual puzzles about almost every movie one can possibly think of, this is a game for cat lovers and trivia fans alike. The game is largely similar to its purrfectly exciting older brother, but fans of the previous will be able to get their thinking caps on and flex those brain cells for brand new original puzzles Rhyme Time, Prop Art, Classics and Details, Details. --Lucy Ingram
It’s easy to list off the best games of 2013, and often such lists contain a lot of crosstalk between different publications. So this year, instead of just giving off another similar list of the best games of the year, our staff has decided to talk about their favorite games of the year that might not have been the best sellers or the most popular. In no particular order, this is our list of some of our favorite under-appreciated games of 2013. --Carter Dotson
For the past two years I’ve been recording my life with photographs. Every day, I’ve taken a photograph with my iPhone before sharing it via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For the most part it’s fun to do, for a multitude of reasons. It enables me to share my life with friends and family that I don’t get to see as often as I’d like. It sparks conversations about whatever happened that day. More importantly, it means that at the end of the year I can look back at what I did and savour those memories. It’s pretty much a photo diary in that case. Of course, some days it can be tricky. Not every day of the year can be fascinating, meaning that sometimes I have to get creative. And yes, sometimes I succumb to the ease in which I can snap a photo of my pets or my freshly cooked meal. It’s a cliche, but it’s surprising how many people enjoy looking at food even despite all the cynicism. --Jennifer Allen
It’s easy to look at mobile and see it as a wasteland for content; particularly with all the casual, free-to-play games, and especially the ones that seem to de-emphasize actual gameplay in favor of stronger monetization. That’s only if you’re not paying attention. Serious, core games – some even free-to-play – had a great year on iOS. --Carter Dotson
Whoever said perfection is overrated obviously never got a five-star review on 148Apps. It doesn’t happen often. Just take a quick look through our reviews and you’ll see lots of well-deserving Editor’s Choice winners, but most only reach four-and-a-half stars. In fact, in all of 2013 there have only been ten five-star reviews. Take a look at some of what we considered the best of the best this year. --Chris Kirby
Other 148Apps Network Sites
If you are looking for the best reviews of Android apps, just head right over to AndroidRundown. Here are just some of the reviews served up this week:
Knightmare Tower takes the endless runner genre and tips it on its head, literally. Good idea? Knightmare Tower has the barest vestiges of story. One day a knight hears about a famous tower full of monsters. Imagining the fame that could be heaped upon him, the intrepid knight sets off with his wooden sword and cheap armor to fight a horde of monsters. This story is told though a charming introductory cutscene. --Allan Curtis
Never thought I’d have a chance to see a trend in development, but here we are. Minecraft is such a popular game with such a distinct graphic design that it has already spawned a whole generation of games that look exactly like it. Blocky Roads has gameplay that is nothing like Minecraft, or parts of it, but it looks exactly like Minecraft. It may actually not be based on Minecraft itself, but on any of its successors in graphics. The whole world, including the car and the designated driver, is built of blocks, and if you’re still not sick of the whole block thing, is looking really fine, with crisp graphics and cartoony, sharp textures. --Tony Kuzmin
Whoever said perfection is overrated obviously never got a five-star review on 148Apps. It doesn't happen often. Just take a quick look through our reviews and you'll see lots of well-deserving Editor's Choice winners, but most only reach four-and-a-half stars. In fact, in all of 2013 there have only been ten five-star reviews. Take a look at some of what we considered the best of the best this year.
Jool is a unique 2D platformer that features a bird and his evil alter ego. Collect items, earn points, and survive. --Michael Carattini
Year Walk is a haunting adventure game from Simogo that blends a dark world and involved mythology together to create an absolutely amazing experience. --Carter Dotson
It's pretty fair to say that 2013 has been an incredible year for Apple. With the company's stock price currently reflecting upwards of $550 a share, it's clear that investors have renewed faith in the firm's ability to deliver on its mission to create some of the world's most desirable products.
One such investor is billionaire business mogul Carl Icahn. Publicly announcing back in August that he now holds a "large stake" in $AAPL, Icahn is perhaps most known for his reported hostile takeover of Trans World Airlines in 1985.
While Icahn is keeping quiet on exactly how big his stake in $AAPL is, the Wall Street investor is said to be in ongoing negotiations with company CEO, Tim Cook. These talks, if successful, could see Apple increase its recently announced stock buyback program for investors, resulting in Icahn potentially buying back as much as $60 Billion in stock options.
But it isn't just the arrival of newfound investors that has seen the company elevate itself to the point of operation we see today. New hires were also a large part of Apple's fiscal 2013. The most prominent of these being the confirmed hiring of Burberry CEO, Angela Ahrendts.
Those out there who are familiar with Apple's movements around this time of year will know that we're just a few days out from Apple's annual one-day only Black Friday shopping event. Set to kick-off this Friday, November 29, the day will mark one of the only times in the year that Apple offers significant discounts on its many hardware products - both online and through its physical retail stores.
While specifics on what hardware we might expect to be discounted come this Friday are still a little sketchy, we can take a quick look at the company's Black Friday events held in previous years for clues as to what type of discounts shoppers should expect to see emerge towards the end of this week.
Last year for example, we saw the firm drop its iPad with Retina Display by a cool $41. Meanwhile, the iPod touch 4th Generation was slashed by $21, the iPad 2 saw an average drop of $31, and the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was available for $101 less than its usual retail price.
As significant as some of the above discounts may sound though, Apple is almost always beaten in its online holiday discounts by third-party vendors. One of those third-party vendors is Target, who will be offering shoppers a free $75 gift card with any purchase of Apple's iPad mini ($279), and the chance to bag themselves a free $100 gift card with the purchase of any iPad, (including the iPad 2 - which starts at $399), when doors finally open this Thursday. The retailer will also be offering $30 gift cards for those who purchase the iPhone 5S (staring at $180) with a 2 year contract.
Retailer Walmart will be running a similar promotion, seeing all shoppers receive a free $75 gift card with the purchase of either an iPhone 5C ($45, with a 2 year contract) or iPhone 5S ($189, with a 2 year contract). Meanwhile, if you opt to buy Apple's original iPad mini (without “Retina” display), you could even grab yourself a free $100 gift card.
The last of the biggest retailers - Best Buy - will be offering Apple's iPhone 5C for the lowest upfront cost we've been able to find at just $48 (a $51.99 savings). The firm will also be slashing the cost of Apple's just-launched 16 GB iPad Air to $450, providing a super-neat saving of $50.
Other smaller retailers, such as RadioShack, will open their doors at 8AM. The purchase of Apple's iPhone 5S, (starting at $200 with a 2 year contract), will see you receive a free $50 gift card, while opting for the iPhone 5C - (starting at $50 with a 2 year contract) - will also see you receive a free $50 gift card. Pick up an Apple TV for $100 on your way and you'll get a free $20 gift card. Plus, those looking for some extra in-store credit to spend on even more Black Friday deals will probably appreciate the chance to bag a $10 RadioShack gift card with the purchase of any $50 iTunes Card. Those looking for some added protection to add to their iOS devices might also be pleased to hear that RadioShack will be offering 30% off all Zagg Screen Protectors, and a further 10% off all Otterbox cases.
Sam's Club will be opening its doors for black Friday super-early, this year. 7 AM to be exact. If you get down there quick though, you might just be able to bag yourself a few $100 iTunes Cards for $79.88 each.
The lowest prices for iOS devices available for Black Friday 2013 are listed below.
The iPad-focused media event is expected to focus on what's next for the company's 9.7-inch tablet, alongside the firm's smaller and more compact 7.9-inch option - the iPad mini. In recent weeks, the web has been positively alight with reports surrounding both the form-factor and functionality that the next iteration of these products could bring to consumers.
Here's my take on what we could see happen at the event:
It's pretty much a given from the amount of reports we've seen relating to Apple's next-generation iPads over the last several weeks, and Apple's recent switch to a fall timeframe for announcements relating to its iPad product line, that we're almost certainly in for some new tablets.
First, let's talk about the full-size 9.7-inch iPad. Originally introduced in January 2010, Apple's iPad has - over the last several years - systematically found its way into nearly every sector of our society. Revamped with a completely new design in March 2011, and gaining a quad-core graphics processor and Apple's signature super-high resolution Retina display along the way, the latest iteration of Apple's iPad is a powerhouse and features Apple's internally developed system-on-a-chip A6X processor as well as the company's new Lightning Connector.
As for what we can expect see in the next iteration of the iPad? Well, the jury's out on that one. Considering we haven't seen a hardware design refresh since the second generation, I'm expecting that Apple will show a change in appearance for the device on Tuesday, possibly in an effort to match the same style as the iPhone 5S. The device will likely be available in the same 16, 32, 64, and 128GB storage capacity options, and there's a good chance we will also see the device include the new 64-bit compatible A7 processor chip - now also found in the iPhone 5S.
(credit: Unbox Therapy)
And then, of course, we have to address the recent chatter about the iPad mini. Introduced as the company's more affordable iPad, the iPad mini first saw its public introduction in November of last year. The device is capable of pretty much everything Apple's current-generation full-sized iPad is capable of achieving, with the added benefit being that the device is more portable. In addition, compared to the iPad's starting price of $499, the iPad mini arrived starting at just $329.
In terms of what we could expect to see if Apple where to choose to reveal a new iPad mini at the event, the device could see a complete revamp to its hardware design. Personally, I'm expecting that we will see the device gain both Apple's new Gold and Slate Grey color options - although it's worth noting that a recent report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests this won't be the case. Apple's second-generation iPad mini could also arrive featuring a Retina display. This is an aspect of the rumored device which has been speculated about quite heavily over the last year, with the main focus of discussion being on whether Apple can actually afford to keep the iPad mini at its tantalizing price point and offer expensive upgrades such as the jump to a 326-pixels per inch display.
This argument also extends to other recently introduced upgrades such as Touch ID, which again would make sense for Apple to include in the next-generation iPad mini, but whether or not the company would be able to keep the same price point if it did so is unclear. Granted, there's always the chance that Apple could position the next iPad mini as its “high-end” offering, and leave the existing generation of the tablet to serve as its entry offering as it does currently.
As for other internal upgrades, the question has to be asked as to whether Apple can afford to keep the iPad mini's dual-core A5 processor for another year, taking into account the new graphical requirements of its iOS 7 operating system. Personally, I'm going to wager that Apple will have no choice but to upgrade the processor on the iPad mini this year - perhaps (at least) to the A6, or A6X.
Things We're Not Expecting
With all that said, there are some things we're not expecting to see at Apple's media event. For instance, Apple's long speculated about ‘wearable’ product is likely only to see its public introduction (at the earliest) sometime next year. Likewise, Apple's ‘television’ product is highly doubtful to see its introduction at this event, simply due to reports in recent weeks suggesting the product's development is a long way off from being final.
Apple's media event on Tuesday will take place at the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, in San Francisco, and is set to begin at 10am (Pacific), 1pm (Atlantic). We'll be sure to bring you full coverage regarding any products that may be announced at the event. Stay tuned!
Ready to slyde? Our friends at Powerslyde, the app recommendation app (say THAT ten times fast), are back with another list for this past week. Here are some highlights:
This week's list is dominated by sports (three apps this week if you include the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2013 app). Football season is right around the corner, so it should come as no surprise that NFL.com Fantasy Football 2013 and NFL Pro 2014: The Ultimate Football Simulation top our list this week. Who knows what other football-inspired goodies will show up on our list in the coming months.
But for those who prefer their competition to be more virtual than gridiron, there's Clash of Clans and The Simpsons: Tapped Out to keep them occupied. So no matter what type of competitive battle you want, there's an app for that.
2012 was a tumultuous year for iOS and for Apps. The App Store passed 1 million apps approved, the iPad was updated twice and the iPad mini introduced, we saw iOS 6 released to mixed reviews, and we saw an understated but huge shake up in the organizational structure and management level at Apple. Here's a quick look back at some of my favorite things of 2012.
I've always thought that the iPad was an amazing device. It truly did change they way I work and play the way nothing had since my first laptop. But the iPad mini revolutionized my work yet again by making it more portable, therefore convenient and easy to use. While Macworld re-used the uninformed assessment that many had of the original iPad deeming the mini as a "consumption device," yet I create almost as much as I consume on the iPad mini.
As it stands now, I have a 64GB iPad mini with LTE that I take almost everywhere with me. I use it to write (the first draft of this list was done on the iPad mini), to read and send email, Twitter, and Facebook. And I use it to play games. It's become my gaming device of choice.
Sure there are some things that can be improved with the iPad mini. And we'll see those improvements. But for a device dismissed by so many, it has quickly become my most used tool.
The Walking Dead: The Game
No other game I have played in my life has forged the emotional connection I had while playing The Walking Dead: The Game. A true triumph in game story telling that draws you in deeper and deeper with each of your plot modifying moves. Telltale Games has done an amazing job with this game. I'm not the first to say this, but Walking Dead: The Game on the iPad was one of my favorite things from 2012, and perhaps one of my favorite gaming experiences ever: an accolade I don't throw around lightly considering that I've been playing video games for three plus decades.
If by some strange occurrence you haven't played through Walking Dead: The Game from Telltale Games yet, run, do not walk, to the App Store and grab it now.
Maturation of iPad Core Games
Just as the spread of free to play grinding "games" is one of my least favorite things of 2012, the counterpoint to that is the new wave of core games on iPad. I wholeheartedly believe that the iPad, not the iPhone (or Android) is where console games will migrate when they realize that the next wave of consoles will be too expensive. The iPad is a powerful line of machines and a great way to experience games. Take a look at our Top 30 Games of 2012 for examples of some of these great games.
Apple Executive Shake-Up
This may seem like an odd favorite, but I think it's for the best. Like pulling off a bandaid, it had to be done; might as well get it over with.
iOS has been a bit stagnant and two-minded in its development, straddling the line between originality and familiarity. The executive shakeup and organization restructure will make a big difference in the future for Apple and iOS. iOS the the future for Apple, and reorganizing the company is a great step to build it in the future.
Google Getting Serious on iOS
You could almost read the internal struggle happening in Google via their iOS apps. They started strong, before Android really took off. Then they pulled back as they only wanted to support Android. Now, they have come around and are starting to support iOS again, at times faster and better than they do even Android, though you can probably blame the snail-like update cycle on Android for part of that.
This year, we've seen the updated Google Search with it's amazing voice search, and the Google+ app got updated faster than the Android app at times--the current version is a fairly well-done social app.
While we had heard for a while that Google was trying to get Chrome approved for iOS, it finally showed up, and it quickly became my browser of choice. Gmail for iOS was a bit of a joke in the original version, but the latest version has shown how far Google has come as it responds to nearly every feature request people wanted.
We of course can't forget the recent release of Google Maps for iOS, a really well done map app that Google believes is better than their Android version. I don't know about that, but it is a damn good effort.
2013 has the potential to be even crazier for iOS and the App Store. I am excited every morning to get up and be able to cover it. Thanks to all of you, the crazy ones that keep reading. You're the reason we get to do it! Happy New Year and here's looking forward to a great 2013!
This week at 148Apps.com, everything was about end of the year wrap-ups and countdowns. Carter Dotson compiled an extremely helpful multi-part 148Apps Top Apps of 2012, and he also gave us his Favorite Things of 2012: "In particular, Super Crate Box and Super Hexagon both left me in states of constant desire, wanting to get that high score while tackling the immense difficulty both games presented. Yet there was one consistent thread in both: failure was usually my fault, the factor of poor execution rather than random chance. It makes success feel all that more empowering. The byproduct of it is constant failure, and frequent profanity usage."
Oprah has nothing on Carter. Read his full list of Favorite Things on 148Apps.
What's a New Year's celebration without pizza? Is it any wonder, then, that Amy Solomon at GiggleApps.com reviewed Bamba Pizza: "This is the fourth year my son will receive play food as a large part of his holiday and birthday gifts from my husband and me. Although he has different hobbies as well that are demonstrated in the other toys he plays with, not a day goes by that it isn’t a birthday for a doll or stuffed animal where pizza is always served, along with cake, cookies and many other selections.
Although I would never expect Bamba Pizza or other apps like it to take the place of playing with toys in the real world, my son also enjoys playing with these types of apps when away from the house or when lying in bed before or after a full night’s sleep, when play food items are not welcome."
The holidays also present endless opportunities for taking photos. AndroidRundown.com reviewer Tre Lawrence showcases a venerable iOS photo app, now making the transition to Android: "There was a time, not all that long ago, when cameras on phones were not too hot. The hardware was rudimentary, and the accompanying software bordered on the silly. Pictures were not that great.
Since then, it has gotten better… much better. So much so, that for many people, their smartphone cameras are the cameras for everyday use.
Snapseed (from Nik Software) is an app that looks to perfect the picture-taking experience. It is a photo-editing title that incorporates a lot of the features people have come to expect with apps of this type. Being chock-full of fan favorite filters definitely makes it an interesting offering."
By this time next week, we will be in 2013, so all of us at 148Apps would like to take this moment to thank you for your constant readership throughout 2012. Without you, loyal reader, we simply wouldn't exist! Thank you, and Happy New Year from 148Apps!