The App Store can be a daunting place. What to try? What to buy? How do you know? Thank goodness the review team at 148Apps is here to save the day. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
As someone who’s been around for much of the internet’s mainstream rise to success, I’ve got a feeling our attention spans are depreciating quite quickly. Video technology has grown to the extent that YouTube stars are a reality, but there’s a side effect to that. People want things quicker, which is how we’ve ended up with six second vines and Tumblrs full of GIFs because they’re just so much faster than videos. Hyperlapse is the natural step forward from this. It allows you to very quickly make time-lapse videos before uploading them to Facebook or Instagram. It’s pretty great, too. There’s hardly any set up involved here. Hyperlapse knows you want to get on with taking videos and is very simple to use. Simply hit the record button and away you go. Once you’ve finished recording whatever it is, you can then use a slider to adjust how fast you’re taken through each snap. Finished there? Then hit the share button and you’re done. –Jennifer Allen
Only a couple of months after the very first iPhone became available, Bioshock was let loose on an unsuspecting public. Okay, it was probably expected. Alright fine, it had an express ticket on the Hype Train. My point is that when Bioshock first started impressing the heck out of players and critics alike, smartphone tech was still in its infancy. Nobody could have expected that one day, seven years later, we’d be able to explore Andrew Ryan’s failed utopia on our phones. Now that we can, I have to say it’s rather cool. For the most part. –Rob Rich
Right in time for next week’s kickoff and following the example of its console brethren, EA Sports is taking another whack at the gridiron on iOS with their newly-released Madden NFL Mobile. Will this offering trump their past attempts at transitioning the pigskin, or will the result be another tragic punting situation? It seems like Madden NFL Mobile is the culmination of several years’ worth of fan feedback and tuning. That doesn’t mean that the freemium shenanigans are gone, but they’re certainly nowhere near as influential as in previous seasons – for example, plays are still locked behind a leveling wall. However, the need to pay in-game currency in order to use locked plays has mercifully been removed. Instead, the initial playbook has been bulked up significantly and the rate at which newer plays are unlocked seems accelerated. –Blake Grundman
The handy thing about having the Star Wars franchise under your belt is that it’s essentially a free pass. I want to mutter about how Star Wars: Commander is a Clash of Clans clone in many ways because it kind of is. But it also captures the magic of controlling the Empire or Rebel Forces quite well and even throws in a decent narrative, meaning you’ll most likely end up forgiving it. At least, assuming you’re a Star Wars fan. Starting out, you can choose whether to go to the Light or Dark side with that choice affecting what heroes you can use (for a time, at least). It’s a neat move in making you feel like Star Wars: Commander is a different game from Clash of Clans and it does a fine job of using the Force to keep the illusion real. –Jennifer Allen
Pac-Man Friends by Namco Bandai does more than supply players with Pac-Man themed puzzles: it also serves as a reminder that the Pacster has a large network of family and friends. After all, when destiny calls on him to run through a maze and gobble up ghosts, he usually works alone. Not this time, though. Pac-Man Friends challenges players to solve dozens of mazes, all of which carry an action-based Pac-Man theme. Pac-Man Friends is definitely unique as a consequence, and there’s still enough variety to keep players engaged level after level. Some control issues keep it from the upper pantheon of Pac-Man’s greatest outings, however. –Nadia Oxford
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:
Star Fleet Deluxe is a tactical game that apes Star Trek more than a little. Taking command of a huge starship, the player stands alone against a huge force of murderous aliens, hell-bent on eradicating any and all humans in the galaxy. Star Fleet Deluxe is a very in-depth, turn based strategy game. The game takes place over a huge area, 81 quadrants of galaxy space to be precise, filled with stars, colonies, planets and starbases. –Allan Curtis
Smartphones are predicated on convenience. The best apps are simple to use and make people’s lives easier. But for some reason, app developers have not harnessed the convenient potential of widgets. At least, that is the concept behind Notepad Reminder, a note-taking widget that is easy to use and easier to access. Rather than digging through menus and taking time to open an app, widgets offer a way to interact with an app right on an Android device’s home screen. This feature is typically used to relay emails or check sports scores at a moment’s notice, but Notepad Reminder takes it to another level, adding usability and productivity right to the home screen. –Ryan Bloom
Years ago, I was flipping through the TV, and stumbled across a show that forever changed my TV watching habits: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC). The show itself was a irreverent Americanized version of the Japanese obstacle course show Takeshi’s Castle. The original show was a funny in and of itself, kind of like American Ninja Warrior on funny steroids; the added layer of deliciously re-edited and re-dubbed footage from the original took the show to hysterical heights. A “true” American-centric version of the show popped up on the scene a few years ago called Wipeout. It is very similar to the original Japanese shows, down to the pain inducing obstacles and the zany commentary by the hosts. It was only a matter of time for the game to hit consoles, and it has since come to Android. –Tre Lawrence
Finally, this week Pocket Gamer gave a Gold Award to three games: ALONE, The Nightmare Cooperative, and Appointment with F.E.A.R. Plus, get the lowdown on 2K’s Bioshock port, some Motorsport Manager tips, and 10 upcoming iOS games for September. Check it out right here.
I have to admit, when Siri was first announced for iOS, I was intrigued. While she’s not an AI by any stretch, it’s difficult not to grow a little attached to her. I find myself even keying the mic again to say “thank you” after I have her set my alarm for me.
Well, now it looks like everyone’s favorite personal assistant is getting a little better, as WWDC just announced a few new features for Siri. iOS 8 will allow Siri to be triggered hands-free using the command phrase “Hey Siri.” She can also recognize songs via integration from Shazam and even purchase said content directly from iTunes, making it easier than ever to own that new song you just fell in love with. Finally, she can also handle dictation in 22 new languages.
Disney has released Disney Movies Anywhere app that gives access to any Disney, Pixar, or Marvel digital movie purchased via Disney or iTunes, all in one place. This app introduces something we haven’t yet seen, deep ties and content license sharing with iTunes. Here’s how it works.
Two logins are needed, a Disney ID and an iTunes ID. Once signed into the Disney ID, the app will prompt the user to tie a Disney ID to an iTunes account by launching iTunes on the iOS device and asking for permission. See the screenshots below.
Once the two accounts are linked, the magic happens. Any Disney, Pixar, or Marvel movie purchased in iTunes now shows up in the app. In addition, any Disney digital movie purchased (usually as part of a DVD & digital copy bundle) that is associated with the Disney account now appears as purchased in the iTunes account. That’s something we haven’t seen before. A deep integration and cross license system between iTunes purchases and a content owner’s own system.
And beyond that, there is every single Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movie ever made available for purchase in the app. That’s pretty magical. All of my childhood favorites are here, even the non-animated ones like Old Yeller and The Love Bug. The prices are high, as is common for Disney, but they are all there.
In addition, the app also includes special features, shorts, etc. all of the content associated with each release is included with a purchase. As a special offer, anyone who downloads the app and sets up the connection between Disney and iTunes will be gifted a free copy of Pixar’s The Incredibles.
Jamie Voris, Chief Technology Officer, The Walt Disney Studios comments on the release.
“Disney Movies Anywhere is an adaptable digital ecosystem designed to help consumers consolidate their Disney movie collections and enjoy them for years to come. The beauty of this technology is that it enables us to work with iTunes and future provider partners to ensure movie lovers have streamlined access to all of their favorite Disney titles no matter which device they are on. The intuitive layout of the website and app creates an easy and enjoyable browsing environment for the whole family.”
I hope we see a lot more of this type of integration in the future with content rights holders integrating with iOS and iTunes. It’s a loosening of digital rights, just a tiny bit. And does so in a way that’s refreshingly logical and customer friendlier than most services launched these days.
I have a suspicion that this is an example of what we may see once the Apple TV strategy is finally revealed.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 10th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
12 Days of Gifts is a new app from Apple that allows users to download a gift every day from December 26 to January 6. This includes songs, apps, books, movies, and more. Each day’s gift will only be available for 24 hours until the app moves on to the next day’s gift.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on August 26th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Are you ready for 30 nights of free music? Well, iTunes Festival London 2013 is returning this September to provide night after night of free musical ear candy! By using the updated app, you can browse through the line-up to see who will be performing and when. Also, for those who can’t make it, you’ll be able to steam selected shows live and recorded for a limited time only.
Get ready to start jammin’ to the tunes! The iTunes!
How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you’re looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many good apps and games with something just a little bit more to offer. Take a look at what we’ve been up to this week, and find even more in our Reviews Archive.
Zombies and video games go great together. We tend to forget this, especially as zombies in general become increasingly played out, but it’s a fact regardless. While Zombies Ate My Friends is no The Walking Dead, or Zombies Ate My Neighbors for that matter, it still showcases why this combination is so strong in the first place. As a zombie apocalypse tears through the town of Festerville, players loot and scavenge just to survive. However, since this is an RPG, that is only the beginning of the lengthy, 8-episode story. Throughout their quests, players will reconstruct helicopters, recruit new survivors into their camp, and desperately search for cures for their infected teammates. Sharp writing keeps even the grind-heaviest missions from getting stale. Complimenting that is the excellent art style best described as “Scott Pilgrim” but without the video game aesthetic. Raiders, boss zombies, and other characters have big, expressive, chibi cartoon heads and fluid animations that energize the presentation. Meanwhile dark, moody colors and macabre background details like “Murphy’s Law Office” constantly reinforce the funny yet bleak tone. –Jordan Minor
Cloud Spin is a quite gorgeous game to look at. Never skipping a beat visually, it uses the Unreal Engine well to provide a fast-paced and enjoyable racing game like few others already out there. Do be aware of slightly flaky controls, though. Keeping it relatively simple, Cloud Spin offers a delightfully uncluttered interface. Straightforward instructions early on provide everything one needs to know. Flying around the screen is just a matter of swiping a finger in the relevant direction. Holding a second finger to the screen gives the player a speed boost, and that’s pretty much all that needs to be taught. Then it’s just a matter of gliding around each arena, collecting stars, dodging obstacles, and hoping to gain a precious medal at the end. –Jennifer Allen
Donna, Manage Your Day is an app that’s designed to get its users to their scheduled appointments and events on-time in an intelligent way, but it’s definitely not flawless. Donna links in to contacts and calendars; automatically adding events scheduled for the next 3 days and letting users specify where they are and how to get to them. By default only one calendar is added, but the settings offer ways to toggle other calendars on the device. Users can specify in the settings their home and work locations, as well as handy shortcuts for common starting and stopping points. Destinations can be searched for by address and venue name. When getting directions, users can specify which transportation method they’re going to use – perfect for those in big cities who might switch between walking, public transit, a bike, and/or car as necessary. It also shows the weather! Then, when it’s nearing time to leave, a notification pops up to head out. –Carter Dotson
Bramble Berry Tales – The Story of Kalkalih is an important interactive storybook app as it incorporates the oral histories of Canadian indigenous people of many, many generations past. An app of undeniably high quality, I enjoy the palette of warm earth tones and stylized animation that include interactive hot spots that one can trigger with a swipe or a tap, as well as how the words to this story are highlighted when read by optional narration; always a nice touch. This tale is a story within a story. First, siblings Lily and Thomas get dropped off to spend time at their Kookum and Mooshum’s house, which is Squamish for grandmother and grandfather. Lily can be a handful, however, as she is too excited to stay in her bed at night, sneaking into the kitchen to help herself to next morning’s homemade jam, and even turning on the radio and waking up the others who are sleeping. –Amy Solomon
Gameloft’s Asphalt series returns to take arcade racing pleasantries to a new height. Asphalt 8: Airborne features everything players are familiar with, especially the vehicle handling during each race. There are numerous cars to purchase and upgrade, and multiple objectives to accomplish besides the typical potential three star earnings by placing in the top 3. However, what it really brings to the table – besides an overhaul of the user interface and graphics, which look nice – is a new way to launch vehicles in the air while performing stunts. Airborne. That’s the key word in the title and the main focus in the game, and it elevates the entertainment that it provides by letting players watch their vehicles go flying across the screen. Plus it’s pretty awesome when the boost is activated and players come crashing down on top of other vehicles for a takedown. I’ve always had great fun with arcade racers and enjoyed the previous Asphalt entries, but something as simple as adding ramps and a few stunts to the action has really taken this series in a new direction. Up! –Andrew Stevens
The App Store is flooded with productivity apps and calendars, but each of them is a little bit different from the rest. Mynd Calendar is trying to break away from the mold by presenting users with a smart calendar that doesn’t just record things but helps users do them. It’s easy to get started. With the user’s permission, Mynd asks to integrate with any calendars, add contacts, use location services, and send push notifications. With just a few quick taps and some edits in the Settings menu, users are ready to use Mynd to help them get through their daily tasks. –Angela LaFollette
Much like Timeline Civil War, Timeline WW1 is a fantastic resource of information for those interested in certain periods of history. Capturing the essence of the battles involved, as well as how the Great War affected the people wrapped up in it, Timeline WW1 is both a fascinating and bleak reminder of what our ancestors struggled through. The interface is much like Timeline Civil War; proving immensely simple to browse through for young and old alike. Using a multitude of different types of media users can read through the interactive timeline to gain snippets of information on each event, while also choosing to delve further in and discover pertinent facts through video, audio, and photography. With 500 images and over 100 film clips and newsreels to explore, there are hours upon hours of content here. –Jennifer Allen
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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:
Tower defense in a new, sea-bound world is the name of the game in Fleet Combat. This adventure is set on the high seas, and I admit that I did not mind the intro backstory: no zombies in this apocalypse; just good old Mother Nature in the form of engulfing sea levels. The resulting disaster leads to a restructuring of power, and our game story revolves around resistance against invading enemy forces. The game developer was prudent enough to put in an interactive tutorial, which helps explain the game “pieces” and general strategy. The defending pieces will be familiar to US Navy aficionados, taking the form of different types of warships (the whole setup when looking at the ships is somewhat reminiscent of Battleship, but I digress). –Tre Lawrence
Some titles don’t really need explaining. Some games just simply throw you into the action and give you the experience you’re after right out of the gate. Fantashooting is one of those games and, following its example, I’m going to get right on with the review. Fantashooting is a ‘dual-joystick’ shooter where instead of joysticks you use the touchscreen. Most of you will know how this works, but for those that don’t be aware that there are two on-screen ‘joysticks’ that you move around by touching the screen. One joystick moves the character and the other shoots a weapon or throws a magic spell. Shooting at what and magic spells at who? Well, quite simply, you’re killing monsters. A lot of them. Fantashooting is simply a wave survival game where you aim to kill as many monsters as you can before being killed yourself. The more you kill, the more money and points you get. Some of you may have guessed this already – the money and points can be spent on upgrading your character. –Matt Parker
I am an old timer. I used to go to the 7-eleven and pump all of my paper route money into the arcade games. Usually there was to of them so there was some choice. KungFu Quest : The Jade Tower reminds me of an old game I used to play there, so I was excited to do this review. The tutorial dojo is a good place to get and idea of how KungFu Quest : The Jade Tower is played. The side scrolling method of game play helps eliminate the need for an on-screen D-pad. I was glad about that because I am not a fan of those. Instead, on the bottom left side of the screen, there are left and a right arrows that work well. On the bottom right side of the screen are the attack buttons. The action button will punch and kick, the other is to jump. –Trevor Dobrygoski
Most digital music nowadays sounds slightly worse than it does on CD, thanks to audio compression. This is great for quickly downloading music, but not best for audio quality. If you want to listen to music on your iOS device without that pesky compression, and are willing to give up some additional storage space to do so, we have just the guide to do so.
The easiest way to listen to lossless audio on your iOS device is to use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec. ALAC files can be played by the built-in Music app, providing the best support, and the format can be handled by iTunes.
Now, FLAC exists as another alternative. It’s the most popular lossless music distribution format on the internet largely thanks to its open source nature, though ALAC is now open source as well. Bandcamp artists frequently offer music in FLAC format, though ALAC is also an option.
Converters exist for going from FLAC to ALAC – as both codecs are lossless, there’s no degradation in quality in converting, but for using FLAC, a third-party app with iTunes file transfer must be used. The only real difference between the two is at a technical level. I’ll let the audiophile super-nerds fight this one out, but for iOS users’ convenience, ALAC is the better choice here.
Now, you’re going to want to start with your music in a lossless format. This means ripping from a CD, or finding FLAC/ALAC files. Converting from a compressed format to lossless is just pointless.
If you already have ALAC files, then just drop them in iTunes, and put them on your device. ALAC is natively supported.
If you have a CD (they still make those) that you want to make into ALAC files, just load the CD onto your computer and open it up in iTunes. Go to Preferences, and Import Settings on that first page. Set the Import Using dropdown to Apple Lossless Encoder. Now import the CD. It will be added to your library, which you can then add to your iOS device the same way that any other lossless audio file can be added.
If you have FLAC files that you want converted to ALAC, there are plenty of conversion software titles out there. Consider XLD for Mac, which has a drag-and-drop interface, and the cross-platform fre:ac.
If you just want to play the FLAC files on your device directly (such as if you have a large collection you don’t want to convert), then there are plenty of apps that will play FLAC files. Some free options: FLAC Player+, TuneShell, and MoliPlayer.
You should now be on your way to enjoying your music exactly how the creators intended it to be heard!
So, you want to play Real Racing 3 but are cursing your parents that you weren’t born an Aussie or Kiwi? Why do they get the game first, anyway? Well, developers often release free-to-play games early in countries like these in order to let a small segment of the global public get their hands on it, allowing them to tweak things like gameplay and IAP costs, as well as testing a game’s technical backend, before its worldwide release. But there is a way to become an honorary member of another country to get their free apps (at least in iTunes), and I’m going to tell you how.
First, let’s build a fake identity. I use FakeNameGenerator.com, which generates fake names and addresses in order to create a convincing identity. Choose your country to generate a name and address – I recommend New Zealand for this example, as they also get App Store games first on release day as they are close to the international date line.
Now go to iTunes on PC/Mac. Go to the iTunes Store, click the Home icon on the top sidebar. Now scroll to the bottom and to the right, and click your country’s flag in the bottom-right corner.
This opens up a screen to pick a new country. Scroll to Asia Pacific and choose New Zealand. This will switch you to the New Zealand App Store. Now, the easiest way to create an Apple ID without entering payment information is to start to download the app, as just going through the standard iTunes account creation process will require the input of payment info. So, search for the app you want to download, like, say Real Racing 3. Start to download it, and when the dialog to sign in pops up, click Create Apple ID.
For your email address, I recommend putting something like “+nz” after the name but before the @ if you use Gmail. This will still send it to the same base email but will work separately in iTunes. For example: TupacHologramemail@example.com still goes to TupacHologram@gmail.com. Otherwise, go through the process to register an account, using the info from the fake name generator. Apple will ask you to verify the account by sending you an email. Do so. The app should start downloading on iTunes, or you can now log in to this account on your iOS device. The store will automatically switch to New Zealand from your home country’s account, and switch back upon logging back in.
Note that unless you get your hands on a credit card or gift card for that country’s App Store, you will only be able to download free games, and you will not be able to buy in-app purchases, even if you log in to your home country’s App Store account. This is because iTunes requires that you buy IAP on the account that the game was downloaded from. If you use our guide to transfer saves by deleting the New Zealand app, installing the US version, and then restoring the save, it should work to keep your progress.
This guide should work for other countries as well – having a Canadian account is also handy. Just remember that these games are often not going to be in perfect form as they are still undergoing testing, and that you should redownload on your home country’s account if you want to buy IAP to support the developers. Have any cool games you’ve downloaded besides Real Racing 3 with this guide? Let us know!
As another year draws to a close, millions of people will find iOS devices and iTunes gift cards waiting for them under the tree. That means lots of people looking for apps and games to download and that means it’s time for a HUGE sale. This year does not disappoint with tons of apps and games on sale and a ton going free for Christmas week.
If you enjoy this list, feel free to tweet or share this post on Facebook.
Here are our picks from the best of the best apps and games on sale. And as a reminder, you can always find the latest apps and games on sale at our iOS Price Drops page.
Update 12/24, 10am: updated with a couple dozen newly found great apps on sale – at the top of the list of “all the rest”. Merry Christmas Eve!
Big Fish Games
Big Fish Games prides itself in putting out a new game every day. And most of their games are now on sale. That’s a lot of games. Here’s the full list and a few of our favorites below.
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2012-05-29 :: Category: Games
EA / Popcap / Firemonkeys Annual Game Sale
EA has, once again, put nearly all of their games on sale for $0.99 the holiday. A great way to stock up on any that you may have missed. Here are a few of our favorites, or see the full list for EA, Firemonkeys, or Popcap games on sale.
iTunes 11 hasn’t just brought huge changes to the way that apps sync, the backup process has changed as well.
Now it is possible to choose whether to have automatic backups continue to be done with iTunes, or to be synced up with iCloud. Go to the Devices page in the upper right corner, and click on your device. It should open up Summary. Now, you will see the Backups section. This will give you the choice to Automatically Back Up to iCloud or to This computer. Choosing iCloud will make the syncrhonization process in iTunes much quicker.
As well, the manual backup and restoration process has been improved in two ways. One, it is now front and center in the Backups section. Second, it’s now even more convenient, especially for power users. Third, it may actually work now.
The iTunes manual restore is recommended over restoring from an iCloud backup in a pinch for many reasons. The main one being it is faster, as it does not have to redownload apps to a device, it only has to reinstall them from the computer. It will also properly restore apps from multiple iTunes accounts without tripping the restore limit that comes with iCloud restores. If apps are downloaded from multiple iTunes accounts on to a device, then those apps can only be restored so many times in a 90 day time period, even if restoring from a backup made on a different iCloud account. This manual process through iTunes restores them without needing to input a password again.
The manual restore will work with switching devices as well, as all backups made with iTunes are available when choosing to restore. To switch a device all you need to do is connect it, explicitly back it up, then restore to the new device. This may be the easiest way to upgrade from one device to another, or switch from iPod to iPhone, with the convenience of iCloud available if a restore is necessary and a computer is unavailable, or if a device is lost and hasn’t been synced with iTunes recently. It’s very flexible, and a welcome addition to iTunes 11.
As covered in an earlier How-To column, the Purchased apps list is extremely handy for seeing which apps have been downloaded on to your account, and to re-download apps that have been purchased already. By accessing it from the Updates section on iPhone/iPod touch or just selecting its tab on the iPad, a whole world of old apps is there to be rediscovered.
Well, at least if you’re not an appaholic. See, on iOS 6 in particular, if you have a lot of apps in your purchased history (including free downloads), it appears to cause the App Store to crash when trying to pull up the list. It ain’t easy accessing a list of over 1600 apps, apparently. However, there’s a two-fold solution.
First, you can use iTunes on your computer to view your Purchased history. Open up iTunes. Click on iTunes Store in the left sidebar.
Click the Home icon in the upper bar to the left of Music to go the home screen if you’re not already there. On the right side of the window, click Purchased.
Click Apps on the top bar. This takes you to a list with all the apps you’ve ever downloaded, all loaded up at once. It may take a minute, and if you have like 100,000 apps downloaded, it may still crash, but for most people, even the crazy ones like me, it shouldn’t crash! Apps can be downloaded to your computer, and then installed on your device when it is next synchronized. It may also work with automatic downloads enabled.
For those who want to re-download apps that have been removed from public view on the App Store, they will not show up when using the Search bar to filter out the list. However, they will appear when scrolling through the list. Tapping the Sort By: drop-down menu and selecting Name should make it easy to find – all apps are loaded at once, so scroll with care.
Now, for those that may have apps that they really wouldn’t care to see in their Purchased list, like if its presence is causing the App Store to crash, iTunes can be used to remove these apps from the list. Just hover your pointer over the app’s icon, and click the x that appears in the upper-left corner. This will hide it from your Purchased history.
As well, when you go on the App Store, the app will not say “Install” if you search for it, it will appear as if you’ve never downloaded it. Note that for paid apps, this does not mean that you’ve lost your record of having purchased it. If you try to re-buy it, the App Store will pull up a prompt saying that it’s free because you own a previous version of the item. This way, if you change your mind or accidentally remove an app you didn’t mean to get rid of, you can add it back without penalty.
Your computer is a powerful piece of technology, and it usually has a lot of storage space on it, enough to store band discographies that you’ve never even listened to one track off of. Your phone and tablet are great mobile devices, but they’re also great for listening to music and watching videos while at home. So, you’re sitting on your couch or laying in bed, and want to listen to that one album from that band that you’ve never really listened to all the way through. However, you’re too lazy to get up to your computer to actually put it on there. Or maybe you downloaded season 5 of Breaking Bad but your storage space is best measured in kilobyes, not gigabytes. If only there was a way to stream the media from iTunes to your iOS device!
Well, there is, and it’s called iTunes Home Streaming. This streams media from an iTunes library over a local wi-fi network to any iOS device.
Set it up on iTunes first. Log in with the Apple ID of your choosing – it’s best if this is the same Apple ID that was initially set up on the device, and is logged in to iCloud, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be. To manage the Apple ID that is logged in to Home Sharing, go to Settings -> Music or Video and tap Apple ID.
To access music from a local iTunes library, go to the Music app. Tap More, Shared, the name of your iTunes library (configurable from iTunes’s preferences), and then the standard music listings will instead show what is available from the remote library, which can then stream the music to your iOS device.
Now here’s the kicker: it also works for video. As long as the video in the iTunes library is compatible with iOS, then it will play. DRM-protected content purchased from iTunes plays back via Home Sharing too. These videos can also be streamed from AirPlay to an Apple TV. It’s the ultimate in high technology being used for new levels of laziness.
Now, the only real downside to Home Sharing is that it only works over local wi-fi. There are plenty of ways to stream music and video over the internet, but that would fill up a completely different article. Until then, enjoy using thousands of dollars of technology to stream video to TV without getting up to your computer.
Isn’t it funny how ringtones, short snippets of full songs, cost as much as the songs themselves? It sure is. There is a way to beat the system and use any song – or any piece of audio, really – as a ringtone on iOS, and it can be done using iTunes alone. Seriously.
To understand how this works, realize that a ringtone file on iOS is essentially just an AAC music file – the file format for the music downloaded from iTunes – with the extension changed from .m4a to .m4r. So creating custom ringtones is just about getting that perfect snippet of audio, and then getting iTunes to recognize it as a ringtone.
Step 1: Getting a perfect snippet of audio
While I said that this can be done using just iTunes, for users unafraid to find the files themselves and just cut the audio snippet in an audio editor like Audacity, that can be done as well. Just make sure to export the file as AAC. For those who use this method to get the audio, skip directly to step 2.
For those who just want to use iTunes, here’s how it goes. Note that while screenshots may be from OS X, these all work on Windows as well. First, find the song to make a ringtone out of. Listen for the part that you want as your ringtone, and note the beginning and end times of this section. Right-click on the song in iTunes and click Get info. Select the Options tab. Put in the start time and end time in the appropriate boxes, and click OK.
Now, go to the iTunes Preferences, General, and select Import Settings. Set the import settings to AAC Encoder and iTunes Plus as seen in the screenshot at right. Click OK, then click OK again. Right-click on the song again, and click Create AAC Version. This creates a new file that should be listed right next to the original, that is the length you specified. Right-click the song and click View in Finder. Go back to iTunes and delete the file from your iTunes library, but choose Keep File.
Step 2: Getting iTunes to Recognize the Ringtone File
Now, with the file that we’ve just created, we need to rename the file extension from .m4a to .m4r, the extension for iOS ringtones. You may need to enable viewing file extensions in Windows Explorer or in the Mac Finder. Once the file is a .m4r, just drag it in to iTunes’ sidebar in the Library section. If you sync tones automatically, the ringtone should show up on your next sync. If you manually manage media on your device, click Tones under Library on the sidebar, find the file you just added, and drag it to your device on the sidebar.
Now, check your ringtones in Settings -> Sounds -> Ringtone. Custom ringtones are on top of the list, and if you followed these steps correctly, your custom ringtone is in this list. Congratulations! Now you too can wake up every day like it’s the intro of CSI: Miami. Yyyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhhh!
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, we got into the game with our look at CoachNote. Writer Jennifer Allen says, “CoachNote offers a way of creating sports drills, strategies and tactics, all from an iOS device and it’ll be a real hit for coaches as well as fans. The app makes it easy to create complex plays and strategies with tools for drawing lines in multiple colors to explain what’s going on.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-01-27 :: Category: Sports
Meanwhile, GiggleApps.com took a closer look at Brave: Storybook Deluxe. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “As one would expect from this Disney Pixar film, the illustrations, music and narration are quite striking and beautifully crafted – especially the brilliant use of bright and bold colors which was the main detail that caught my eye the first time I saw a trailer for this film.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-06-14 :: Category: Entertainment
148Apps.biz presented a guest editorial from Matthew Palmer, founder and CEO of Marketing Your App. Palmer says, “After all the hard work of creating a mobile app, there is one decision that can sink even promising apps more than any other: choosing a price. Knowing what to charge for any product is tough, but the peculiar world of the App Store makes it a top question for even savvy developers.
The rewards are great: Apple has already paid out $4 billion to app creators who have combined a smart app with good marketing. But, too often, sticker shock leads customers to ignore otherwise helpful apps. When developers choose the wrong price, more often than not it seems, they aim too high.”
And that, my friends, is the week that was. Don’t miss out on anything in the coming days and weeks. Stay on top of our contests, promos, reviews and news items by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You’ll be glad you did. Until next week, keep wall crawlin’.
There are many reasons to back up an iOS device. Need to replace that iPhone? Backup and restore! Upgrading to a new iPad? Backup and restore! Sometimes an iOS device just acts weird with no way from the user end to fix them, and a full restore can help a device run in a much smoother manner. As well, the beauty of the restoration process is that a backup can be reinstalled on a completely different device, making upgrading to a new version of the iPhone or iPad easy. It makes upgrading to a new type of device, such as going from iPod touch to iPhone, and even to an iPad possible as well. But how does one go about doing this?
The iTunes backup process is fairly simple. While a backup is created after every device sync, individual full backups can be made by right clicking (or Command-clicking) on the device in the iTunes sidebar, and choosing Back Up. After the lengthy backup process, that backup with its date and time will appear in a list of backups when restoring from iTunes.
iOS 5 introduced iCloud backups and restoring, and these skip iTunes altogether. The advantage to iCloud backup is quite simply that it does not go through iTunes. There’s no weirdness involved with apps and media getting inadvertently deleted from a device unintentionally because iTunes decided to replace them. It’s much more painless when restoring, and handles downloads from multiple iTunes accounts much easier. As well, iCloud backups happen automatically overnight when charging, so if something bad happens, the restored device will not be far out of date.
The downside is that instead of installing from the computer, it downloads apps from the web, which can take up a long amount of time depending on connection speed and depending on how many apps one is restoring. I have too many apps installed (way more than 148) so I usually leave the process to finish overnight. Note that any media synced from a computer will have to be re-added through iTunes. As well, Apple servers tend to get hammered during new product launches, so early adopters may not enjoy a smooth experience. As well, those who take a lot of photographs and videos will find that the Camera Roll takes up a lot of iCloud space. It becomes a choice between either foregoing backing up the Camera Roll (as individual app backups can be disabled in the iCloud menu) or shelling out for more iCloud space.
iCloud backups must be enabled by selecting it as the backup method in iTunes. While the iCloud backup process is otherwise automatic, it can also be manually initiated by going to Settings -> iCloud -> Storage and Backup -> Back Up Now.
In order to reset a device to restore it as new from iCloud, go to Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings. This will set it up as if it was a brand new device. Enable iCloud while setting back up, choose to restore from iCloud, and choose the name of the device that was backing up to iCloud that you wish to restore from.
This week at 148Apps.com, writer Carter Dotson explored all things Zombie with his Favorite Four list. He writes, “May is Zombie Awareness Month. While pop culture seems intent on making us aware of zombies on a regular basis, this is the special month for zombies. May is almost over, but that doesn’t mean there’s not just enough time left to celebrate with some zombie-themed apps.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-10-27 :: Category: Games
Meanwhile, everything over at GiggleApps got dotty, as Amy Solomon reviewed Dot Collector, saying, “Dot Collector is a very nice universal app for the youngest children with simple game play, wonderfully bright colors and soothing sounds that babies will enjoy. This app is utterly intuitive to use as players need to simply drag moving dots into a black dot, clearing the board. A new dot is added to each additional level, adding to the game play.”
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-02-29 :: Category: Education
Finally, Kevin Stout on 148Apps.biz reported on the increasing numbers of young children using smartphones. Stout writes, “There’s no such thing as to young when it comes to smartphones and tablets. When keeping in mind the younger audiences when developing apps, even the youngest of children have a high percentage of exposure to mobile devices. An infographic released by Schools.com has reported that 38% of 0-8 year-olds have used tablets or smartphones.”
That’t it for this Memorial Day week. Summer’s here, so keep your eyes on 148Apps.com, our Twitter and Facebook feeds to make sure you get the latest app news, reviews and contests. See you next week, tovarish!
Many iTunes users with messy music collections are familiar with the TuneUp plug-in. It cleans up a music collection by filling in missing information, providing missing cover art, and as of a recent update, even removes duplicate songs. Their new mobile app offers some of that technology for the iPhone music collection, but, surprisingly, that’s not the app’s purpose.
TuneUp Mobile instead takes on Shazam and Soundhound by identifying music tracks after hearing only a snippet. It works well, but as TechCrunch reports, the primary difference between this new app and the established players is that TuneÚp Mobile is, as yet, unmonetized. That means it’s free to download and has no ads or in-app purchases. All the features are unlocked.
CEO and founder of TuneUp Media Gabe Adiv says he’s “not concerned with monetization of the mobile app right now,” but the app itself functions as an advert for the desktop product in that it identifies songs in a collection in need of a “tune-up” via the same diagnostic tools, but doesn’t actually fix the problems.
Along with song identification and diagnostics, TuneUp Mobile allows sharing to Facebook and Twitter, provides song lyrics and links to iTunes for song purchases. We’re hoping for a universal build in an update soon.
Every song in your iTunes library has a story, and it’s a safe bet you don’t know much about any of them, until now. iAlbums is now available in alpha, and the app promises to teach you everything you could want to know about your favorite songs, and then some.
This neat app lets you dive into any song you’re listening to, looking up lyrics, album reviews, artist bios and more all with a simple tap. The current version of the app has info on over 600,000 artists and 10.5 million songs, so it’s pretty likely that at least a good portion of your music collection is already in the iAlbums database.
One quick caveat, the app is still in its alpha stage, so bugs and glitches are common. The full version of the app will launch in June, but this is a great opportunity to check it out right now for free if you’re curious and would like to get a bit more info on your favorite musicians and songs.
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!
Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007. In addition to giving users the future of smartphones, they gave them a new way to view their music in the form of cover flow. Being able to swipe through a visual representation on one’s music was a novel experience that is curiously left out of the iPad’s music app. Imre Katai’s app Album Flow is one of several apps hoping to correct this and it is be available for free for today only.
Album Flow adds several new features to a Cover Flow-style experience. These features include information like a play counter and the last time a song was played, a full screen song list, and the ability to easily create new playlists. Users can also personalize the app’s look with various color options, the ability to import background images as well round or square off album art for easier viewing.
Album Flow usually costs $2.99. However, in celebration of the launch of iTunes Match, it is available on the App Store for free today.
This week at 148Apps, we celebrated the release of iOS 5 in style, providing guidance on setting up the now-iCloud-friendly device in a home with multiple computers, multiple iPhones and multiple iTunes accounts. 148Apps founder Jeff Scott writes, “If you have multiple iTunes accounts, you can sign in and out of the different accounts without issue from the Store settings. That is unless you turn on automatic downloads. New to iOS 5 are automatic downloads for the iTunes Store for Apps, Books, and Music. If this device only uses the one account, it’s safe to turn on any of these that you wish. But, turning this on will lock this device to this iTunes account for 90 days. So if multiple accounts are used, do not turn on automatic downloads.”
Meanwhile, on sister site GiggleApps, Amy Solomon reviewed an app sure to help your child become more adept with the alphabet, while also cultivating them into kiddie foodies. Solomon says that ABC Food is, “the latest and possibly greatest app from Peapod Labs’s series of ABC apps focused on both letter recognition as well as teaching about a specific topic, be it animals, music, modes of transportation or sports and includes the use of beautifully detailed photographs, videos from Youtube and sometimes fun facts as well. ABC Food includes a new feature to this series as this app contains fun interactions for each food highlighted within this application.”
Read the full review with a quick click over to GiggleApps.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-09-02 :: Category: Education
Data was the name of the game on 148Apps.biz. Rob LeFebvre writes that, “App search company Xylogic has released 220 app download reports from 29 different countries in order to provide partners with a huge amount of data to be used in decision making process across app publishers, developers and the like. The data is sortable across countries and mobile app platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.”
Read what all of this data could mean for you on 148Apps.biz.
That’s the long and short of it for this week. Keep watching our Twitter and Facebook feeds for lots of news, updates and contests. See you next week, crimefighters!
If there is one thing that Apple has been known for since the launch of the iPod, it’s connecting the audience with their music. After all, this entire tech revolution from Apple hinged around the success of a certain media player, if we’re not mistaken. So, as can be imagined, music quality has been a key feature of all iOS based devices since day one.
The problem is that Apple’s specific suite of software has grown somewhat stale in the actual media player department, lacking many of the features that can be found in other devices. Fortunately SRS Labs saw this glaring discrepancy and stepped in with the release of their new playback tool, MyTunes.
Aside from the obvious feature of being able to play music, here are some things of note:
WOW HD – The heart of audio enhancement. Easily switch between tunings for all kinds of listening devices that includes headphones, speakers, car audio, and the internal device speakers.
Normalize – Never have to adjust the volume again. This tech puts all of your music to the same level when you play it.
EQ – Gain access to a 3-band and a 10 band EQ. For simplicity you can just choose a preset and we’ll take care of the rest.
Driving Mode – Interface optimized for using the media player quickly.
DJ Transitions – Let the player DJ to you and change from one track to the next just like they do in dance clubs.
Player – Have full access to an enhanced player that offers streamlined search, scan, and play controls.
Custom album art – If a song is missing album art we’ll provide art based on the genre.
The idea of a three and ten band mixer alone is enough to get many onboard, so be sure to give the app a look. There is a free preview available now, with a fully functional version of the tool unlockable for $4.99. Ears deserve to be pampered, and this is certainly a step in the right direction.
I’m amazed that no one’s used the name Fanhattan before as it’s an excellent name for a celebrity/movie orientated website or app. This app does exactly what would be expected of it. It enables users to find movies and TV shows from old to new across various video streaming and rental services.
Supporting many different services such as Vudu, iTunes, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Blockbuster, Amazon Video on Demand and the ABC Player, this should be a definitive app for all US based entertainment fans. If the show or movie isn’t currently available to stream, Fanhattan will even state where it can be bought for shipping at a later date.
Search options means that not only is it easy to track down something particular but it’s easy to browse for new suggestions too. Content is grouped into genres like Newest, Top Rated, Critic’s Picks as well as Award Winners such as Emmys or Oscars. That’s not forgetting regular genres like action or fantasy.
Combining everything in such a way is a neat idea that no doubt iPad owners will be keen to try out.
It’s out now and it’s free to download. Don’t forget that the services it links to may incur further charges such as Netflix and acquiring items on iTunes. Fortunately, Fanhattan lists pricing in a detailed manner.
It’s not everyday that we write about hardware on 148Apps. So when we do, you know it’s about something awesome.
Today, Sonos, one our favorite iOS friendly audio hardware makers have released a new, smaller device, the Play3. It’s the little brother to the fantastic S5, now called the Play5 that we reviewed last year. This smaller version has 3 speakers instead of the 5 found in the Play5. It still maintains the features of the Play5 in that it connects with your home network to stream music from iTunes and a huge variety of online services like Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, etc.
I had a chance to test out the new Play3 for a few minutes earlier this week. And I’m impressed. It does a great job, in a smaller package, of still sounding great. You can use this in addition to a Play5, on it’s own, or create a stereo pair between two like devices. The Play5 is a great machine that I’ve grown to love. The Play3 will be a great first device for new Sonos users considering it’s retail price of $299. It will also make a good second device to extend your Sonos range into another room.
We hope to be able to bring you a full review of the Play3 in the next couple weeks.
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.