This week at 148Apps.com, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 were never too far out of our collective consciousness, as evidenced by site founder Jeff Scott’s discussion of changes in the iOS 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.’”
Meanwhile, back in the GiggleApps.com cave, reviewer Amy Solomon had this to say about Superhero Comic Book Maker HD: “Comic Maker allows one to choose from 27 backgrounds, a blank page and a chance to access photos from one’s device to work on. I really enjoy these backdrops, each bold and colorful, as there are wonderful choices to stimulate creative thinking and superhero or monster themes, such as the POV from a spaceship, industrial setting with robots and a conveyer belt, as well as other more natural scenes including a farm, saloon, or desert, which allow these characters to visit Earth. It is worth noting that although the theme here includes monsters, every image included within is utterly family-friendly, as is the included classical music based on classic nursery rhymes that Duck Duck Moose is known for.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-01 :: Category: Games
And staying on the ‘Super’ theme, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson solicited some marketing advice from Supercool Creative: “Social media is often an enigma to developers looking to promote their apps. It’s a tool that can be incredibly powerful for getting more downloads and driving revenue, but just how to succeed with it is a mystery to many. Facebook integration, especially with the App Store, has been anticipated by developers as a way to help their games spread through social media, but these features won’t be doing all the work to make an app gain users through social media usage. However, David Murdico has written an interesting blog post for Supercool Creative entitled “5 Ways to Promote Mobile Apps and Games with Social Media” that covers many ways to best utilize social media to developers’ advantage.”
That’s it for this week, but with fall…um…falling, there’s sure to be a huge amount of new content about to drop before the holidays. Keep up with the latest by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook. We’ll make it worth your while! See you next week!
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.
In traveling the internet for interesting iOS conundrums to solve, I came across this one on Reddit: “How do I get games that are no longer offered on the App Store?” Now, this was both referring to buying games not available for sale any more, and a false positive at that. But it raises a very good question, one that some people may not realize: it is possible to get a game that is no longer on the App Store if it was once purchased on an iTunes account.
See, when an app gets pulled from public view on the App Store for whatever reason, Apple still allows users to reinstall the app, even if it’s deleted. The thing to remember about this is that purchases are tied to an Apple ID, not to a device. This means that as long as a device is authorized with that Apple ID, either through iTunes or by logging in to the account on the device, that app can be downloaded to that device. This means that some apps that may have been once downloaded and since updated can be redownloaded if once purchased or downloaded, even to a new device – and it also works if the app has gone universal.
For users who sync apps to iTunes, the app should still work if it’s in the library. Just set it up to sync with the device of choice, and it’s good to go. Well, assuming it still works on modern iOS versions.
The other method is to go through Purchased history. Now, one would think that it would be as easy as just searching for it and seeing if it pops up, right? Wrong. This did work shortly after the Purchased tab was introduced in iOS 4.3.5, but Apple changed it so that deleted apps do not show up when searching any more when searching. But they’re still there. It just takes a lot of patience. On iPhone/iPod touch, the Purchased section is available under Updates, at the top of the list. Open this section, and just keep scrolling through the list (either sorted by date or by alphabet, depending on which seems like will pull the app up sooner) until the desired app is found. On iPad, tap the arrow in either the upper or lower right corner to keep going to the next page until the app is found.
This week at 148Apps.com, we got ready for some much-deserved rest with a comprehensive overview of all major Labor Day app sales. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “It’s another holiday weekend here in the USA. Burning Man, end of summer, Labor day — pick your favorite. And that means it’s time for another huge sale on iPhone and iPad apps. These apps are on sale and they have to go!”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-12-15 :: Category: Games
Over at GiggleApps.com, reviewer Amy Solomon dug deep into the earth and discovered Auracle-Fossil. She writes, “Fossil tells the story of a girl finding a fossil on the beach, and the story of where her mind goes as she imagines this dinosaur alive long ago, as well as the process that this bone must have taken to be transformed into a fossil.
Fossil is beautifully illustrated with striking water colors, as these original illustrations found in the published book work quite well in terms of translating these paintings. Here, the double page spreads from the book are formatted to fit the screens without losing much real-estate, allows readers to see both these pages together without the need to pan and scan, a feature that works in other apps, yet is simply not necessary here.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-07-25 :: Category: Education
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson reported on an unusual trend in the world of free apps: “Fiksu has released its latest Indexes tracking how much it costs for brands to acquire loyal users, and how many downloads the top free iPhone apps are getting.
The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index tracks the average combined volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps. For July, the Index indicates that daily downloads decreased month-over-month by 5.6%, down to 4.37 million downloads from 4.63 million in June. The number has remained relatively stable after a drop from 6.35 million in February. This may be due to a residual after-effect of the holiday season, which saw steady increases after the launch of the iPhone 4S.”
More big stories are on the way from the App experts at 148Apps! Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep track of the latest sales, reviews, news items and more. See you next week, football fan!
UK-based iOS magazine Tap! has sent us some fascinating statistics to demonstrate just how huge the iOS ecosystem has become. It’s quite intriguing.
Currently, we’re at around 650,000 apps on the App Store, meaning that if you started to read out each name of every app out there, it’d take a full week without stopping to reach the end. Sure, you’d be bored by then and a whole bunch of new apps would have hit the store, but it’d be an unique way of spending that week!
In a similar vein, plenty of money has been earned with Apple determining that $5.5bn has been paid out to developers since the launch of the App Store 4 years ago. To put that into a more imaginable context, that’s enough to fill 2.5 Olympic swimming pools with dollar bills! Even Scrooge McDuck would be overwhelmed by that and he’s used to swimming in money.
It equates to Apple taking in just over $1,000 every second of every day, all from the App Store. Unsurprising given there are 400m customer accounts on the store, roughly the population of South America.
Hardware wise, that means a ton of devices are out there with enough iPhones and iPads sold to stretch around the Earth, or be stacked up to 1/10 of the way from the Earth to the moon. As well as that, over half of the US could be glazed over with all the glass used to make the devices.
Interestingly for those living in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy, 1 in 3 people who own an iPad also own an iPhone showing that sometimes one iOS device just isn’t enough (and I include myself in that statistic!). Perhaps that’s because Disney recently determined that 75% of parents share their devices with their kids, meaning there are a lot of different hands keen to enjoy all that App goodness.
What does all this mean? Two things: the App Store is constantly growing and there’s a huge amount of options out there, and that everyone loves a fascinating statistic about something.
While you can always keep abreast of the latest developments here, Tap! is also collating their list of the best apps out there so if that appeals, go check out their vote on the magazine’s site.
This week at 148Apps, a new video revolution began, as Amazon.com released its Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad. Carter Dotson writes, “Amazon Instant Video is now available on iPad, expanding out the Amazon’s vast library of video offerings to iOS users. This offers streaming of purchased movies and TV shows from Amazon, with the ability to sync up watch lists between devices. It also includes titles available from Amazon Prime, similar to Netflix, a service offering over 120,000 streaming movies and TV shows. It is only available as a yearly subscription from Amazon as part of the Prime service that also includes free 2-day shipping on Amazon items.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-07-31 :: Category: Entertainment
Over at GiggleApps.com, writer Amy Solomon got us ready for mealtime wither her review of Bo’s Dinnertime. She writes, “Bo’s Dinnertime in a cute and fun interactive universal app that teaches the sequencing of events that lead up to dinnertime, such as food shopping, putting away groceries, cooking and setting the table, as well as eating dinner and cleaning up afterwards. A simple and sweet song is also included, as is a section dedicated to selecting and eating foods with the tap of a finger. Narration is included, leading children though varied food related exercises, complete with subtle highlighting of new objects to tap or interact with, keeping the flow of this app going nicely.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-15 :: Category: Education
Last, but certainly not least, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the results of a recent study by KinderTown. He says, “KinderTown, developers of an app that helps collect the best kids apps on the App Store, have released a study based on searches within their app. Their “KinderSights” analytics study collected data from June 20th to July 10th, and they have released the results from the study, revealing some key insights into those that search for kids’ apps on the App Store.
The most-searched criterion was age, with 50.2% of searches looking for apps for a particular age. Second was price at 40.6%, followed by platform at 31.8%, and the type of app was last at 30.2%.”
This week may be done, but there’s no need to worry. More app reviews, news and contests are always on their way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to stay on top of all the happenings. See you next week, Gothamites!
This week at 148Apps.com was all about the red, white, and blue as we celebrated the 4th of July. Writer Lisa Caplan contributed to the festivities with her list of Favorite Four apps for Independence Day. She writes, “It’s July 4th, so we hope most Americans are out celebrating and reading this on an iPhone or iPad or between activities. But if you are still looking for apps to help make the day even better, we’ve rounded up four of our favorties that commemorate everything from US History to the traditional BBQ for you here.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-06-22 :: Category: Education
GiggleApps stayed on a vacation theme with its review of Miny Moe Car. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “Miny Moe Car is a charming and fun simulated driving app that toddlers and children in preschool will enjoy. I have always been a fan of this type of toy, both as an arcade game as well as a simple children’s plaything. I remember when my son was just a year old, I bought him the most realistic driver I could find – a toy he still enjoys today. A search on iTunes will find a few applications of this type that mostly show a POV from the driver’s seat of a car or other vehicle. This is also the case for this application which does a really nice job of recreating the driving experience for toddlers.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-05-10 :: Category: Education
And finally at 148Apps.biz, Carter Dotson reported on a new study revealing the iPad as the number one gaming platform. Dotson writes, “Tablets and phones are vastly different devices. This seems obvious, but in reality, they really aren’t: the difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2 is basically different sized screens. However, the way that users, especially gamers, use the two devices is still dramatically different, according to PlayFirst, via Pocket Gamer. Tablet users are playing more games than phone users are, and they’re spending more on games.”
That’s the end of this week’s happenings, but there’s always more news, reviews and contests headed your way across the 148Apps network. Just follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook to keep track of all the goings-on. Until next week, enjoy the fireworks!
Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper, noticed a curious thing last night – Instapaper was crashing on launch after an update from the App Store.
“Last night, within minutes of Apple approving the Instapaper 4.2.3 update,” he said on his blog, “I was deluged by support email and Twitter messages from customers saying that it crashed immediately on launch, even with a clean install.”
Even though Apple had reviewed the update, and it must have worked for them, every clean installed copy Arment downloaded and installed exhibited this behavior. Instapaper wasn’t the only app, either.
Here’s what he says is typical of such behavior:
Characterizations of this issue:
The app crashes immediately on launch, every time, even after a delete and reinstall as long as the corrupt file is being served by the App Store.
It doesn’t even show the Default.png before crashing. Just a split-second of a partial fade to black, then back to Springboard.
It may only affect customers in some regions.
If updating from iTunes, some customers might get a dialog citing error 8324 or 8326.
Mac apps might show this dialog:
“[App] is damaged and can’t be opened. Delete [App] and download it again from the App Store.”
The console might show: AppleFairplayTextCrypterSession::fairplayOpen() failed, error -42110
Obviously, this is a fairly serious issue, and – according to Arment – has already been fixed by Apple. If you have similar issues with some updated apps today, Ament says, “The only fix for people with bad copies, once good copies are being served again by the App Store, is to delete and reinstall the app.”
In addition, he warns app developers against releasing non-critical app updated for the next couple of days to be sure the issue is resolved.
This week at 148Apps.com, we celebrated the coming Memorial Day holiday with a closer look and an ever-growing list of apps on sale. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “So, it’s that time of year again! BBQs, lawn chairs, beer, and the ability to finally wear shorts with sandals without fear of frostbite. Tan those legs and check out all the huge sales that are going on across the App Store below. We’ll try and keep it updated as we go this weekend, so be sure to let us know of any good sales on iOS apps…”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-04-12 :: Category: Games
At GiggleApps, writer Amy Solomon reviewed The First Million-Teach Your Child to Read. Solomon says, “The First Million is a lovely universal “mix and match” book application that adults and children will find interesting as well as intuitive as here, as the pages of this book are split into three sections – each being able to be flipped back and forth to create new and intriguing illustrations and word combinations. Unlike other “mix and match” books where one can look for the corresponding thirds of the same image to make a match, this app is completely open-ended with no right or wrong matches to be made, giving children free range to produce any and all combinations they may fancy.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-22 :: Category: Education
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Kevin Stout reported on Disney’s push into Angry Birds territory. Stout writes, “Intensely popular Disney game, Where’s My Water?, will be receiving its first line of merchandise based on the game. The physics-based puzzler by Disney has been popular on both iOS and Android. Fans of the popular game can now buy all kinds of merchandise featuring the story’s character, Swampy the Alligator.”
Apple has made a couple of changes to their weekly app features that pop up in the Featured tab of the App Store. While “App of the Week” and “Game of the Week” appear to be just rebranded as “Editors’ Choice,” there’s a new feature: the Free Game of the Week. It appears as if Apple is jumping into the kind of promotion that services like FreeAppADay have been doing, but with this being an official Apple promotion, it has the potential to drive massive numbers of downloads.
The first free app that Apple is giving away is Cut the Rope: Experiments for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. The game supports iCloud sync between the two versions, so multiple device owners will definitely want to pick up both.
What’s interesting is that it appears that on the initial installation of these apps, it’s not necessary to put in the account password, as the app just automatically downloads. This will make it easier for people to get these free apps. The question remains to be seen how long Apple plans to run these promotions, and if they will only feature paid apps that drop down to free, or if some apps released as free will be featured as well.
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.
Law and Order: Legacies is keeping on with the episodes that they’re releasing in their series based on the long-running television franchise, with episode six now available. In this episode, players help Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach’s famous character) and Rey Curtis solve a case from 1999, where someone is murdered at a prep school. However, as they investigate the case, a conspiracy comes unraveled, as another crime at the school being covered up by parents and staff comes close to being discovered by the two detectives. As well, the victim has connection to the overarching Preppy Jogger case that the individual episodes are connected to.
This penultimate episode is available now for $2.99, with the final episode promised next month that could help bring resolution to the Preppy Jogger case. As well, for those who want to get a discount on the series, a multi-pack that includes all the episodes is available for $12.99. As well, by downloading the universal app for free, players can check out the complete episode one at no charge.
Today is a momentous day, as Apple is counting down to the 25 billionth app downloaded from the App Store. Take a moment to wrap your head around this, that’s roughly 3.5 apps for every single person on the planet Earth. You can check out Apple’s countdown clock and watch it tick towards the magic number: how else are you going to spend a Friday afternoon? Working? Pah, that’s for chumps.
Also, Apple is goosing things along by promising that whoever nabs the 25 billionth app will win a $10,000 App Store gift card. While that won’t buy you every single app ever released it will go a very long way to ensuring you have the most robust collection of games, tools and utilities this side of Cupertino. You better act fast though, because that ticker is moving awfully quick and we fully expect the winning app to be downloaded within the next few hours.
So let us just say congrats to Apple on this momentous occasion. Now if only they would give us a dollar for every app downloaded.
This week at 148Apps, we took your New Year’s resolutions seriously and started our “Health and Fitness” month. Editor Rob LeFebvre writes, “We’ve already taken a look at some apps that help us all acheive our goals, and we plan to continue that trend for the entire month, with personal stories from our crack writing team, continued reviews, and focused features like our Favorite Four.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-05-19 :: Category: Healthcare & Fitness
Our apps-for-kids site, GiggleApps, offered a review of Odd Spotting. Reviewer Amy Solomon says, “Odd Spotting, developed by Micromicon Media Limit, is an “odd one out” game with 144 levels, the goal of each being to spot the object that is different from all the others in the group. As I began to explore how Odd Spotting works, I couldn’t help but to remember the lyrics from a classic Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.”
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-09-21 :: Category: Games
Finally, on 148Apps.biz, writer Jeff Hughes commented on Apple’s recent (and quiet) changes to app categorization on the App Store, saying “Just like Google, when iTunes makes the slightest change to their App Store search algorithm, it has an impact on how many people see your app. The recent changes to the category ordering have also impacted sales for many app vendors for better or worse. Some developers have been helped because their app is now in a category that is displayed higher on the mobile screen…Other developers may be adversely impacted due to the decrease in exposure for their app because their category now appears further down the list.”
And that, my friends, completes our rundown of happenings across the 148Apps network for the week of January 9-13. Keep track of all the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter or Liking us on Facebook. See you in a week!
Nabit is an easy to use app that lets users create action sequence photos as seen in action sports magazines. Creating a unique action sequence can be done in a matter of a few seconds with Nabit's user-friendly interface.
Daniel Soto is a multimedia artist with a lifelong interest in interactive projects and art. He wanted to take this passion and build a video game; he chose the iOS platform, used GameSalad to create the design and gameplay, and released his creation into the wilds of the App Store. Updated just this past week, the game is live and ready for a download.
According to Soto, “Everything has been done with lots of dedication. Making it all from scratch was pretty tough but very rewarding on the other hand. I hope people will like playing it and, at the same time, bring back memories from the old 80s platform videogames mixed with the new technologic advantages.”
He describes The Police Story as a game made to test player capabilities with controls to accelerate, slow down, and jump the police car, while interacting with the environments of 8 different levels across four different worlds, each containing three donuts for bonus points, along with end of level bosses. Soto plans to continue improving upon his game, promising upcoming updates and unlock-able extras.
While this could seem like many other endless runner type games in the App Store, the level of competency in the audio and visual elements, along with the fact that a non-programming artist was able to make the game with a product like GameSalad, made us sit up and take notice. It’s examples like this that truly show the disruptive power of the iOS app ecosystem, especially in the world of gaming. Whether the game makes money for its creator or not, the fact that he was able to achieve his vision is exemplary.
The Police Story is available in two versions: a Lite version for free and a full version for $0.99. Need further evidence to support our interest in the game? Check this video (and the screenshots below it) out:
Now that the iOS App Store has become overloaded with software, it has become rather difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. The problem is that for every awesome application released, there are one hundred other garbage titles for it to become buried under. This is why AppGrooves decided to release their new recommendation tool, meant to only show users the best that the App Store has to offer.
Applying the ‘Hot or Not’ model for rating items to applications looks to yield a constantly updating list of the best software available on the marketplace. Users can even link directly to a specific program’s App Store page from within AppGrooves itself. If that isn’t customer service, then I don’t know what is.
Take an active role in letting others know what is amazing on iOS. User votes can truly make a difference. Give it a look, it might even save you a buck or two someday.
Google has (finally) released their mobile iOS app for the hot new social network cum buzz-generator, Google+. The app is free and is available on the iTunes App Store, though it’s still propagating to the mobile App Store, so be patient if you can’t download it directly on your device.
According to MacStories, the Huddle group messaging feature is available from the app, and we can finally rejoice in sending photos from our iPhone or iPod Touch without any wacky workarounds.
From the App Store Page: Google+ for mobile makes sharing the right things with the right people a lot simpler. Huddle lets you send super-fast messages to the people you care about most. And no matter where you are, the stream lets you stay in the loop about what your friends are sharing and where they’re checking in.
* Circles let you share the right things with just the right people.
* Stream is where you can get updates from your circles or see what people are saying about things nearby.
* Huddle is super-fast group messaging for everyone in your circles.
If there is one thing that everyone loves about Father’s Day it is spending a little quality time with their parents, right? Okay, so maybe some of us may not be as eager to spend quality time bonding with our parental units, so why not give your Dad a game or two instead? The good folks over at Namco are making this an even more cost effective solution by announcing a special Father’s Day Sale.
In case you couldn’t tell, that is a massive chunk of the Namco’s iOS line-up, all marked down by at least half in most cases. There are many solid titles in that list, so give it a look and see what strikes you, or your father’s fancy.
iPad users will notice something a little different when they open the App Store on their device and open up search. The App Store application, which itself does not require updating, has been refreshed and includes new (and frankly, necessary) features that make it much easier to discover apps that you’re looking for, as well as pinpointing applications that you’ve downloaded before but no longer have installed – perhaps due a fresh iOS install.
The refined search now allows you to show results from a specific category and subcategory (eg. Games or Action Games or Utilities); apps released within the past 7 / 14 / 31 days; free or paid (no specific price brackets); iPad, iPhone or universally built; and apps that have received a certain overall consumer rating (eg. 2+, 3+, 4+ or 5 stars). These filters are inter-compatible, meaning you can search for an app and then limit results by, for example: games only, iPad only, 4+ stars. With over 330,000 applications currently available to download, such filters are a welcome addition.
And that’s not all. Conveniently, applications that have been bought but are not currently installed on your device will now show up in the App Store as “Install” rather than “Free” or “Buy Now” – meaning you can be sure that what you’re downloading is what you’ve bought. Beforehand, consumers had to manually check their iTunes receipts to confirm that the application had been bought, and then hit “Buy Now” despite having already bought it. Only after the iTunes password was entered – which meant your account could then be charged if you didn’t own the app – did a notification arise stating that you’ve already bought the application and that you’d be able to download it without charge. The update, that will already be installed on all iPads, fixes all of that. In addition, any apps that require updating will read “Update” in the App Store rather than “Free” or “Install”. Presently, the update is iPad only, meaning iPhone users are still relegated to the old search.
On a related note, 148Apps has updated its search engine – making it easier than ever to find the apps or blog posts you’re looking for. Go ahead and try it out!
It’s not all about making an app that is the most complex and useful; all you need to do is make a nifty little app that can become popular at the right time, and you can have a hit on your hands. Outfit7 has discovered this: somehow they have managed to surpass 60 million downloads of their “Talking Friends” apps across iOS and Android.
There are some absolutely mammoth numbers to consider: a lineup of 8 apps has surpassed 60 million downloads. 35 million of those belong to Talking Tom Cat, which has garnered enough attention to even show up on a recent episode of Modern Family. They’ve had 6 apps be listed in the iPhone’s top 200 grossing apps, 5 apps in the top 60 of the iPhone App Store’s top paid list, and 3 apps show up in the iPhone’s top 100 free list. As well, the app is popular with international users, with 67% of downloads coming from outside the US, compared to an average rate of 30-45%. While many of their apps are free, they are seeing an average of 10% conversion rate on in-app purchases within those apps, so they’re making some money off of
What do Outfit7 attribute to their success? The CEO of Outfit7, Andrej Nabergoj, says that it’s in part due to their apps’ appeal to kids. “Our growth is powered by what I would call the Law of Unintended Consequences. Kids are using smart phones in ways that were never anticipated. While observing kids playing with our apps, we realized we were no longer an app developer, but a mobile toy maker.” As well, the international appeal can be traced to apps like Talking Tom Cat being based off of manipulating the sound and touch of users, allowing the apps to be easily adapted for use in non-English speaking countries.
It’s mind boggling to consider just how popular and lucrative these simple little apps are – they may be simple little toys for smartphone owners to play around with or entertain their kids, but there is clearly some serious business in these apps, and it is a good time to be making these apps.
Thinking back as far as I can remember, I can’t even begin to recall a time where Angry Birds were not dominating the top position on all of the App Store’s Top 25 Lists. Regardless of whether you prefer the free or full version, it is safe to assume that is has graced the home page of virtually every iOS device in existence. For this simple reason, the application has had a choke-hold on the lists seemingly forever. Well, at least that was the case until last Thursday.
On that fateful day in January, a seemingly unknown app by the name of Bubble Ball rocketed to the top of the Free App List, bouncing Angry Birds Seasons Free from atop its lofty post. For any developer this would be a feat of momentous significance, but it is even more impressive when you further examine Bubble Ball’s developer, Nay Games. While big name studios have the budget to throw scores of experienced developers at one specific project, Nay Games is comprised of a mother/son duo, of which the lead designer and programmer isn’t even old enough to apply for a driver’s license.
At only fourteen years old, upstart programmer Robert Nay has managed to prove that as long as you have an original idea, you can become an overnight success as a developer on the iOS platform. So, how many downloads does it take to top the Free Apps list? How about 1.5 million downloads since the game launched on December 29th, and a staggering 400,000 on that special Thursday where the App Store stood still.
And don’t worry about the team over at Nay Games not seeing any profit from this Bubble Ball adventure, because Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat.com is reporting that they already have plans in the works for patching in monetized microtransactions soon.
This has to be one of the best “feel good” stories of the new year, so why not give Bubble Ball a download for yourself and see what all the hype is about? 1.5 million downloads can’t be wrong!
The first person to download the 10 billionth application, or submit the first free entry after the 9,999,999,999th download (more on that in a second), will win a $10,000 gift card to the iTunes store. We’ll consider that victory marginally better than the free balloons you get when you’re the millionth shopper at your local market.
It’s absolutely absurd to consider that in the span of only two and a half years (the App Store launched on July 10, 2008) there are more application downloads in a single marketplace than there are people on Earth. Nearly double the amount, in fact. That is, if you consider being shy by two billion a small margin of difference.
Those interested can head to the contest’s page on Apple.com. There you’ll see a scrolling ticker representing how close the world is to seeing that 10 billionth download. Is the ticker an accurate representation of the actual apps downloaded? Probably not. One would assume that Apple took the time to figure out how many apps are downloaded in a given span of time and then applied that rule to the ticker itself. But why is that important?
It’s only important if you plan on using the no purchase necessary form of entry. For those that don’t want to download the 10 billionth app or, alternatively, even for those that don’t have an iOS device, you can simply enter using this form within the contest page. You can do so 25 times a day. Obviously, it’s not fair to let non-purchasing folk walk away with the prize by just entering a bunch of times. So, the factor that contributes to the entrants eligibility is the timing of said entry.
The gift card will go to either the person that downloads the 10 billionth app or the person that uses the entry form immediately after the 9,999,999,999th download, whichever comes first.
Beware as we look into our crystal balls, because they’re dusty and we’re not quite sure they work.
On This Episode:
Carter and co-host Blake Grundman talk about the future of the App Store in 2011 – what kind of impact will the Mac App Store have on Mac sales and on the iOS App Store infrastructure? And, what will become of the current App Store as new devices get released into it, and after what we’ve seen publishers and developers do in 2010?
A funny thing happened last night as Google briefly launched the Google Latitude iPhone app in the Japanese App Store, only to quickly pull it back down. While the company hasn’t made any statements regarding the “blink and you missed it” accidental launch, it would seem that the new app is primed and ready for release at any second.
Google Latitude allows users to easy track one another by displaying the locations of friends and contacts on a map. This way, if a friend asks you to meet them at Starbucks for coffee, you can instantly see which cafe they’re sitting at and head directly there. The service continually updates so you can keep track of your friends and vice-versa, but sharing settings are heavily restricted and there’s an option to turn off tracking altogether if you’d rather go off the grid for a bit.
Latitude has sort of been available for the iPhone for well over a year, but not as a native app. Thus, it can’t run in the backgound on the iPhone and is ultimately rather pointless for most users. The app has been a longstanding feature of phones running on the Android operating system, but it just now seems that the app may be on the cusp of approval from Apple.
The two companies have been at odds with one another for a while since Apple originally saw Google as a threat to iPhone market dominance, but the two companies have been warming to each other recently and it seems they may be about to settle into a more friendly relationship. Last month Google Voice finally appeared on the App Store, so it seems Latitude is set to follow in its footsteps. Also, with the launch of Google eBooks earlier this week it seems the two rivals may have finally turned the corner. More than anyone else, this is a big win for consumers.
Sometimes, it’s inevitable. You’ve bought an app, and it’s just not working as it should. You’re annoyed, and sad, and you want a refund, but Apple doesn’t give refunds, right? And it wasn’t like the app was that expensive.
Actually, it is possible to get a refund from the App Store, and it’s not that difficult, either, provided you have a good reason. There’s no reason to not ask for a refund if you have a legitimate situation! Here’s your one-stop tutorial to how to get a refund from the App Store.
Why Do You Need a Refund?
“I don’t like it” or “I changed my mind” do not work. However, the following reasons are perfectly fine:
The app is broken: it doesn’t function as promised
The app has a bug that prevents it from functioning; the developer has stopped providing support
The app has lost one of its former features.
You didn’t mean to buy it; you bought the wrong version or used the wrong account; your kids jacked your computer; etc. This one is iffy but usually valid, and works best if you ask for a refund ASAP.
This list is by no means exhaustive. In general, having a good reason is just common sense. Remember, though, clear, calm explanations are always best for garnering sympathy. Also, Apple doesn’t have to give you a refund; their terms of service state that all sales are final. Be polite.
Getting that Refund
So you think you have a legitimate reason for wanting a refund? First, you have to contact Apple. There are two ways to do this; the first way is probably the most effective, but use #2 if you don’t have iTunes installed on your computer.
1. Use the Purchase History pane in iTunes.
Go to the iTunes store, then view your account and click on “Purchase History.” Find the application in question, click on “Report a Problem,” and fill out the form. Remember to be calm, and explain everything as clearly as possible.
Apple has a help page with clear pictures of the above steps here.
2. Contact Apple via the Web.
Go to this page, pick your country, and then find the issue that is most closely related to your needs…I’d recommend iTunes Account and Billing / Billing or App Store / Troubleshooting Applications. It’s somewhat murky, since there isn’t any specific “I want a refund” category. (Officially, remember, there are no refunds.) Then go through the process, guided by Apple.
After contacting Apple, wait—for a couple days at the most. (Apple tries to respond to most inquiries within 48 hours.)
Apple may ask you to contact the developer for assistance, particularly if your issue involves a bug; if so, email the developer once or twice. If you can’t resolve the issue with the developer, email Apple back stating that you contacted the developer but would still like a refund. Also include the purchase order number for the application in question.
If all goes well and Apple is satisfied with your reasoning, Apple should reply that you have received your refund! Yes, in most cases, it’s that simple…just a few emails will do the trick. Refunds are typically applied in the manner in which you paid (a credit to your PayPal account, iTunes store credit, a refund to your credit card, etc).
Do you have any stories to tell about Apple’s refund process and the App Store? Let us know in the comments box below!
Just in case you either don’t like browsing the App Store or just prefer doing all your shopping via Google, the search provider has added a nifty feature which allows users to hunt for iPhone apps right in their browser. The process is fairly simple, with users needing but to click the “More” tab on a search results and then tap on “iPhone Apps” in the resulting drop-down menu. A similar service is available for Android users.
This likely goes without saying, but you will need to be using an iOS device in order to to see the extra options. Just don’t go trying to Google Angry Birds on your home PC and then wondering why you don’t get the option to go directly to the app. Again, we trust that you’re smarter than that, but the last thing we want to do is create confusion and chaos.
At any rate this is a truly handy feature for iOS users, as now you don’t need to jump back and forth from Google to the App Store when looking up something you may want to download. Granted, you’re only really saving a few seconds, but everyone loves convenience and this is just one more way to make your life a little bit easier. If anything this will hopefully speed up searches a bit, allowing you access to the content you want without waiting quite so long.
One other note, we’re hearing that this is a feature which has been around for a while, but this is honestly the first we’ve heard of it and the first time we’ve seen it reported. So before you light up the comment section with “old!” keep in mind that this isn’t a feature Google ever really advertised and it’s one of those things that you don’t know is there if you don’t look for it. We’re just trying to be helpful here, so enjoy the added functionality of Google on your iOS devices.
Do you shop the App Store like a husky kid addicted to a Wonka Chocolate River? Are you the one person that all your friends turn to for app advice on what is badass and what needs avoiding like a leper? Then there is a game that will put your app skills to the ultimate investment test.
Angel’s Choice is part game and part app discovery tool. The game part plays out like a stock investment simulator, only the stocks are apps. You earn Angel Dollars (A$) that you can use to invest in apps on the App Store. As those apps climb the App Store ranking (this does not include popularity drops), so does your return on investment. Now you might have noticed how I said App Store there, that is because you are playing with virtual money on real apps. So imagine what your gamer rank would be if you had invested in Angry Birds before it blew up into the addictive plague it has become today.
There is more to this than just investing Angel Dollars into unknown apps though. You also earn Trust EXP as others invest in your chosen apps, thus making you a beacon of app knowledge. There are also missions, portfolios, and a rather impressive social aspect to this game. Not only can you play this on your phone, but also your successful and not so successful investments become broadcast for the world to see with leaderboards proudly displayed on the Angel’s Choice website. People can click on your name; see your portfolio, current game level, money, profitability, and Trust EXP without even needing an iDevice.
Why not have a bit of fun while you shop for new apps? This just might be one of the coolest ways to shop the app store to date. Check out the website right here, or get a good in-depth feel of how to play the game here. Either way, this app brings a completely new spin on shopping for portable addictions.
App discoverability continues to be a real issue. With the fast churn of apps in the App Store, an app has only a few weeks of promotional life in it before it’s largely forgotten. There are a few things developers can do to fix that, but those things may not work for most apps. That’s why we think it’s important to archive these great, best apps from even just a few months ago. They may have been forgotten by most, but we want a way to remember them forever.
We’re proud to announce the launch of a new site, dedicated to archiving the very best in mobile apps, the App Hall of Fame! We hope it will become the source for finding the very best of the best apps, long after their initial promotional buzz has died down.
With a voting process loosely modeled after the Baseball Hall of Fame, the App Hall of Fame will induct 12 new apps every month. The eligible apps are those that have been in the App Store for at least 6 months. Initially we’ll be focusing on iPhone/iPod Touch apps, but we’ll open it up to iPad apps soon. Next year? We expand further to cover other platforms.
The hall of fame-worthy apps will be chosen by the people that look at, write about, and live apps every day. Our fantastic selection committee includes members from Slide to Play, TUAW, TIPB, The Loop, Pirillo.com, AppAdvice, and more. The selection committee have already chosen the nominees for our first month and they are now voting on those nominations. We will proudly announce our first 12 inductees on Monday, October 11th.
The mobile application analytics company,Flurry, has graciously sponsored the site and will be giving $1,000 in promotional credit to each inducted app while they remain a sponsor. A very generous prize for the inductees, indeed.
But wait, there’s more! We’re having a monthly contest, too! We’re also going to be celebrating the new inductees every month by giving away copies of the winning apps to App Hall of Fame mailing list subscribers.
Take a look at the site, sign-up for the contest and mailing list and check back on October 12th for the first inductees into the new App Hall of Fame!
It is now Summer, what a wonderful time, so I bring you news, that will mostly rhyme. Oceanhouse Media want to kids to read, whilst home this season, so thus there’s a sale, if you needed a reason. Over twenty apps, now cheaper to get, most down a dollar, others further yet. They’re about science concepts, aimed at ages […]