The App Store launched July 10, 2008 and brought with it a whole new way of distributing and purchasing software. The first several months were a wild west frontier of pricing, business models (or the lack thereof), and genre, making the iPhone the place to be.
As the years have gone by, things have gotten more crowded, more predictable, and perhaps more “same-old” to some. Let’s take a look back at those early, heady days with ten of the best iOS apps from the launch of the App Store.
Cro-Mag Rally – Kart racing with cavemen? Yes, please! This launch title from veteran Mac developer Pangea showed us all how much fun the iPhone could be, paving the way for a host of ports and new gaming experiences on the go.
AIM – Before the recent spate of apps that bring multi-client, desktop-style instant messaging to the iPhone and iPad, there was only AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM. This launch title clued us in to the future of always being in touch, even if we didn’t know it at the time.
Fieldrunners – Oh, tower defense games, why do you torment us so? Fieldrunners took the concept already on the web in Flash games and brought it to the devices we had in our pockets every day, iterating its tower defense gameplay to a fine polish. We were hard-pressed to stop playing, to be honest, and still are.
Yelp – Like Urbanspoon, Yelp brought location-based awareness together with user-based opinions on local restaurants and coffee shops at a level we’d never seen before. Yelp has become an indispensable tool when traveling, and even while staying in our hometown, letting us find interesting places to eat and drink at a price we can afford.
Super Monkey Ball – Wait, we were just playing this on our GameCube! How cool is it that we can tilt our iPhones and roll that adorable monkey around the maddeningly difficult tracks? Ten bucks! That’s a sweet deal! Oh, what a difference half a decade makes.
Google Earth – This one came out in October of 2008, quickly amazing us all with its innovative zooming interface as well as its comprehensiveness. Finally, we thought, an interesting app from Google.
Rolando – Wow! This game showed us that we didn’t have to own a PSP to get a quality arcade puzzle platform game like Loco Roco. It also allowed the early promise of ngmoco;) to shine forth like a beacon in the wilderness.
MLB At Bat – Updated on a yearly basis since 2008, MLB At Bat came onto the scene like a home run, proving that this little App Store thing was for more than just fart apps and casual games. Serious sports fans rejoiced in 2008 when this baby was released.
Galcon – This real-time space-themed strategy game was ready on day one of the App Store, bringing a depth of gameplay not seen yet. While games like Mushroom Wars and the like have since iterated on the concept, Galcon remains a perennial favorite.
Evernote – This essential app has been around since day one, and still continues to improve. Evernote showed us how important it was to have access to our notes, files, and pictures across all the devices we used, whether they were on a desktop or in our pocket.
It’s been a while since I regularly used my ICQ account for instant messenging but the prospect of a newly revamped, official app for it makes it all the more appealing.
As part of its 3.0 update, ICQ Messenger allows its users to chat with all their phone, ICQ, Facebook, GoogleTalk, AIM and Mail.ru contacts, all from the one app. All that’s needed is a mobile phone number to join and login. It even automatically finds phone contacts already in the network, making it all the easier to send free messages.
Threaded messaging and history support has been added meaning it’s as easy to consult what’s just been said as it is with any conventional SMS message. A new and easy to view contact list also ensures that ICQ feels integrated into the rest of the iOS experience making it an ideal way to chat with friends for free.
Easy to use, ICQ can be accessed simultaneously from any platform such as online, via PC or phone. Push notifications mean that the user is always available for chat if they so wish, plus there’s social feed updates available from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
For the ICQ user of old, this may well be an ideal entry point to the already busy world of messaging clients.
If there is one thing that the rapid expansion of social networking has left in disarray, it has to be instant messaging services. Using myself as a horrible example of this phenomenon, I have accounts through MSN, AIM, Yahoo, Facebook, Google Talk, and even Skype. To make matters even more confusing, I have have some instances of several different sign-on names per service, as I attempt to segregate work and personal contacts. Simply put, managing my social life has become nothing short of a nightmare.
Now try to wrap your brain around trying to operate a different application for each service that holds your digital identity. Needless to say, something has to give. That is why the new iPad release of IMO Instant Messenger was just what the doctor ordered. Offering the ability to unite all of your messaging accounts and their management under a single application, suddenly makes keeping your life straight a bit more feasible. Take at look at some of the awesome features that they are bragging about:
Use of existing IM account logins, so no need to create a new account
Your IM accounts can be Linked so you can login to all accounts at once
Searchable chat history: search your past conversations on both our website and the app
Flag your buddies as favorites so you can easily find them at the top of your buddy list
Push notifications sent for 72 hours after you close the app
Buddy icons that can optionally be displayed on the buddy list
Links sent by your buddies open in our app instead of Safari
The option to save passwords for quick sign-in without linking accounts
Just to prove that they are not just tooting their own horns, the team over at IMO.im has whipped up a trailer to help fill you in on using the application effectively. Check it out below:
So they have manage to finally create the app that can help keep my life straight, while not breaking the bank in the process. That’s right folks, the software will cost you absolutely nothing! If you have an iPad and an instant messenger account of any variety, this should be an instant download. Don’t worry, we will be in the queue right behind you!
Journalists are prone to hyperbole, but this title is almost euphemistic. SHAPE Services, creator of the popular IM+ client, are continuing to roll out feature after feature for their mass-market social networking application.
IM+ current supports Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN / Live, AIM (Mac users think iChat), ICQ, MySpace, Facebook, Jabber, Twitter and Skype chat. Outside of the seemingly endless list of clients, the application also provides an equally long list of push notification options, including e-mail arrival notifications from popular clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo! and Google Mail.
In addition to the application being universally built for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, IM+ also features an in-built browser for those who don’t have the ability to multitask – a welcome addition for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch users who are unable to avail of Apple’s much-awaited feature.
The latest update – 4.3 – brings with it a number of new themes and wallpapers, high resolution graphics for iPhone 4 users and VoiceOver support, allowing for speech recognition to be enabled. This last feature will set users back 99c a month.
There’s no doubt that SHAPE Services developers are trying to appeal to everyone. From customizable sounds and animated emoticons to geo-location support and retina display graphics, IM+ is becoming the client of choice for social networking users. It remains one of the top grossing applications for Social Networking – not bad at all for a $9.99 application with almost 4 000 competitors. And to top it all off, there’s a free version too.
We adored Beejive IM for iPhone when we last looked at it back in November, giving it a 5/5 star rating. And rightly so—Beejive is a premium chat app with a gigantic suite of features, touting everything from a slick interface to push notifications to support for multiple accounts and services. It was even selected as one of the top apps by Apple in the iTunes Rewind 2009 feature.
Now, the folks at Beejive, Inc have released an iPad-native version of their award-winning iPhone app. BeejiveIM for iPad is very similar to the iPhone app, but with the interface overhauled to support the iPad’s larger screen. It’s designed to work best in landscape view, in which your buddy list, current chat, and open chats each appear in their own column on-screen. Portrait view is still functional, of course; your buddy list simply slides off-screen, to be accessed by a button tap when needed, leaving you with your current chat and a list of your open chats.
Of course, all of the features which have earned Beejive its accolades are still present; you can juggle multiple accounts, take advantage of push notifications, and connect to services ranging from AIM to Google Talk to Jabber. The lovely giant-image background can either be taken from Beejive’s built-in library or from your own camera roll.
This new app comes at a cost, of course. Beejive has always been a premium IM app, and the iPad version will set you back by $9.99, regardless of if you already own the iPhone version. If you’re willing to pay for quality, however, consider it an investment. Beejive already rules the iPhone IM arena for good reason; now, we’ll likely see it dominating the iPad, too.
BeejiveIM (pronounced bee-hive) is a feature rich, multiprotocol instant messaging client that blows the pants off any other chat program offered in the App Store. It uses your iPhone's data plan to send and receive messages, photos, etc.