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148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - How I Used Apps to Help Me Launch and Run My Small Business

Posted by Angela LaFollette on December 30th, 2013

Writing has always been a passion of mine because it allows me to express myself. Although while writing is something that I'm passionate about, I also enjoy expressing myself through various other forms like drawing, scrapbooking, and graphic designing. Recently, one area of interest in particular has caught my eye: embroidery. Not just the process of actually embroidering items, but creating digital embroidery designs for others to stitch out with their machines.

Since I own virtually everything Apple, iOS apps have become a major part of my life. There are many apps that I use for my own personal amusement, but most of the apps that reside on the home screen on my iPhone and iPad are there to help me run my small business online. Not only have these apps helped me to get started in doing what I love, they continue to help my business to grow larger.

My main go-to app is Etsy. I set up an Etsy shop a little over a year ago, and it has helped me to achieve more than I could imagine. Most use the Etsy app to browse for unique and handmade items to buy, but there’s another side to Etsy that few know about. With Etsy, I am able to view the essentials about my shop such as orders, revenue, and views, and I can also communicate with buyers through conversations directly on my iPhone. I receive notifications instantly, which ensures that my customers are always getting quick responses. Etsy even allows me to add new items to my shop, change its appearance, and do virtually everything the website offers. My favorite feature is that the app makes a “cha-ching” sound with each sale that I make, which always brightens my day.

148Apps 2013 wrAPP-Up - Documenting Your Year With iOS Photography Apps

Posted by Jennifer Allen on December 26th, 2013

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.

I use many different apps for such a purpose. While few (excluding Instagram) are used every day, they're a handy arsenal of tools just waiting for me to improve a photo in some way. I've made myself a rule that I only use iOS apps to adjust photos and it's working out for me well.

One.vu Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lee Hamlet on December 16th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: NOT FOR TWEETERS
One.vu combines Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds with breaking news; delivering a social networking experience that's too light on features to be genuinely useful.
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Village Life Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Lucy Ingram on October 25th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CRAFT
Based on the popular Facebook game, Village Life makes it's way to iOS and is a truly enjoyable experience for players old and new.
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Five of the Most Recommended Apps This Week: September 9-13, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 17th, 2013

Ready to get a little social? Powerslyde is here to help you in your quest. Just take a look at these five top recommended apps this week:

Instagram
Ban.jo
Appgrooves
Kik Messsenger
AroundMe

Remember when it was just Facebook and Twitter? No, me either. Anyway, if you don't know what Instagram is, I'm amazed you're reading this article. As for Ban.jo and AroundMe, I'll forgive you for not knowing about these social networks that incorporate happenings, events, and locations nearby a-la Yelp or FourSquare.

An interesting inclusion this week is AppGrooves which, like Powerslyde, recommends other apps to its users. And then there's Kik Messenger, which claims to be the fastest messaging app out there. Is it? I don't know, as there's a glut of messaging apps out there, including Apple's own iMessage.

Ok...deep breath...do you feel properly socialized now? Good. Join us next week for another installment of the ongoing app popularity saga. Thanks to Powerslyde, the app that leverages your friends' app recommendations, for this week's list. What apps do you recommend? Drop us a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. See you next week!

Five of the Most Recommended Apps This Week: September 2 - 6, 2013

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 10th, 2013

In honor of this week's inevitable new iPhone announcement, five of the top recommended apps are best described as 'App Classics.' Take a look:

Facebook
Temple Run
Shazam
Twitter
YouTube

Ah, the oldies but goodies! Hard to believe there was a time, not so long ago, when Facebook and Twitter weren't baked into iOS. Still, refreshes to these social networks' apps have made them must-haves for every iPhone and iPad user. And while a sequel and numerous copycats have followed in its footsteps, sometimes nothing beats the original Temple Run for pure, unadulterated endless-running goodness.

Google did a great thing and recently brought a major update to its YouTube app, breathing new life into one of its line of classic apps. And as for Shazam, does anyone else remember when this technology seemed like magic? Strange how quickly an app becomes old hat. For those wanting to know who's performing a song, however, it's still a must-own.

So all you young whippersnapper apps, take heed! You could learn a thing or two from these classics. Thanks to Powerslyde, the app that leverages your friends' app recommendations, for this week's list. What apps do you recommend? Drop us a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter. See you next week!

Slim Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Lee Hamlet on August 8th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: EFFICIENT NETWORKING
Slim is an intuitive, customisable app that makes sure users get more of what they want from their social networking experience.
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Facebook Ads are Still a Big Deal for App Marketing

Posted by Rob Rich on July 31st, 2013

It's been about a month since the app marketing gurus at Fiksu first reported their findings on the legitimacy of all those ads we've grown accustomed to in the Facebook app. As our own Carter Dotson noted, there was an increase of 14.6 million downloads of the top 200 free apps per day throughout the month of May. That's a lot of downloads, and it was pretty much all because of those Facebook ads. Now the numbers for June are in, and it doesn't look like the trend is going away. If anything it seems to be building momentum.

Fiksu's Cost per Loyal User Index, used for measuring the average cost of earning a loyal user (i.e. opens the app three or more times), shows that values have jumped back up to $1.50 for the month of June. What this means is that it's costing advertisers more money on average - about $0.17 more when compared to May - to attract customers, which Fisku believes is due to a recent influx of developers and publishers looking to advertise on the social media platform.

On the other hand their App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the average download volume of the top 200 free U.S. apps each day, is showing a decrease of about 9 million total downloads for the month of June as compared to May. A loss of 9 million downloads in one month definitely sounds like one heck of a drop-off, however it's still a one million download improvement over last year's numbers; which they attribute to the App Store's perpetual state of competition.

So those slightly annoying but easily ignored ads we usually gloss over while letting all our friends know what we're eating for dinner and where, possibly with an accompanying photo, actually serve a purpose. A significant purpose. And it looks like advertisers are going to be fighting over the top spot for some time to come.

5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now

Posted by Rob Rich on July 12th, 2013

Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That's a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it's not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple's new smartphone.

On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.

2008 - The Beginning of the Beginning

The App Store's first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.

Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn't make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn't as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.

At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that "mobile" didn't have to equal "mediocre." Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.

2009 - Moving Right Along

The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple's digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.

Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean "an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms." And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.

So many of the App Store's most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers' minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples' free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.

Tell Us Your Five Favorite Apps and Games, Over on Best App Ever

Posted by Peter Willington on July 9th, 2013

Celebrate the App Store's birthday with us -- share your favorite apps and games on Facebook.

It's hard to believe that just half a decade ago, apps weren't a "thing". If you wanted to game on the go, or be productive while mobile, your choices were few, you were usually limited to the in-built software for your phone. With apps though, pretty much anything's now possible. You can use your phone to write documents, find recipes, DJ, play all manner of games, oh yeah, and call and text.

So with this in mind, we're celebrating this landmark along with our friends at Pocket Gamer, PocketGamer.biz, AppSpy and beyond, over on the Best App Ever Facebook Page. Our editors and regular contributors will be documenting their five favorite apps and games of the last five years, along with their hopes for the App Store in the future.

We'd love for you to be a part of it too. Share your favorite five games, and your wishes for the store moving forward, over on the Best App Ever Facebook Wall.

Why Ads for Apps in Facebook Are Actually a Big Deal in the World of App Marketing

Posted by Carter Dotson on July 1st, 2013

Users of the Facebook mobile app may have noticed that the app now features more ads prompting users to download certain apps. Whether they be ads in the news feed itself or placed on the sidebar, these ads are just a new little blip for Facebook users to contend with.

However, these little blips could be actually having a significant impact on the way that marketers try to sell apps to iOS users, according to ­­a company called Fiksu that tracks app downloads and performance in the context of marketing.

What happened is that since Facebook launched these ads in May, there was an increase in the average number of daily downloads among the top 200 free apps (which are among the most-heavily marketed), from 5.61 million per day in April to 5.9 million per day. That might not sound like a lot, but think: plus an extra day in May, that's going from 168.3 million downloads to 182.9 million downloads. That's more potential customers to spend money on the in-app purchases that help make these games so profitable. There's a reason why there's so many free-to-play titles.

That's right - thanks to Facebook's ads, there's been the most downloads per day since January, where the post-holiday rush of new devices drives lots of app downloads.

This has all come at a good cost to marketers, too. Despite the increase in downloads, the cost to get a loyal user, defined as someone who opens an app three or more times, dropped from $1.50 per user the month before to $1.33. If Facebook mobile ads and the increased inventory they offer are to thank for this, then expect more of them.

Yet, it's also been cheaper to get loyal users. Expect this to go up as the success of Facebook app marketing spreads. For you, that means that ads aren't going away in Facebook or possibly other social networking apps any time soon.

That little sidebar that features sponsored apps? It's staying, and could expand. Expect to see more apps advertised in the news feed. While Fiksu says that some of the increase could be related to changes in behind-the-scenes tracking, Facebook still likely plays a major role in it. It's still one of the most-downloaded and most-used apps out there, and it represents a big opportunity for Facebook to start making some actually money from mobile (where they've had trouble making money before), and for those developers that want to give you a new way to spend money on virtual coins and gems to break more blocks or build more buildings in their free-to-play games. It's a potential union that is all strengthened by your desire to keep seeing funny memes and have political arguments with people from high school.

Rabid Rascals Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Angela LaFollette on June 21st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: PESKY RABBITS
Players can challenge Facebook friends and battle random opponents live in this fast-paced battle game that features crazy slingshot armed rabbits.
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Video On Instagram - 15 Second Clips, Filters, Custom Frames, New 'Cinema' Mode

Posted by Rob LeFebvre on June 20th, 2013
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: POPULAR FOR A REASON :: Read Review »

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom took to the stage today in a livestream, announcing a new video update for the popular photo sharing service, which is now owned by Facebook.

The new video feature, poised to compete with Twitter's own Vine video sharing app, will give users 15 seconds of video, along with Instagram-style filters and a new image stabilization feature, called Cinema.

Systrom showed a video clip of a barista at Blue Bottle Coffee in San Francisco. Users simply touch the screen to start recording, and lift their finger to stop, in a Vine-like fashion. The succession of clips, up to 15 seconds total, can then have one of thirteen filters applied to it in real time, just like Instagram photos. The rest of the process looks and feels just like the photo app.

Finally, Systrom previewed Cinema, a stabilization feature for the video taken with Instagram, and it looks stunning. Gone are the days of bouncy footage, though only in 15 second chunks.

Here's a video for a closer look.

Instagram with video is available as a free update to owners of the app, on both iPhone and Android, right now.

Shindig - Drink Explorers Club Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Angela LaFollette on June 5th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DRINK DRANK DRUNK
Shindig is the perfect app for anyone who has a hard time keeping tabs on their drinks. It’s a beautiful drinking journal that comes packed with plenty of neat features.
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Spottlife Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Lee Hamlet on May 24th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CATEGORIZE YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
Spottlife is a new way to view and interact with the world's most popular social networks.
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