Posts Tagged Kindle

Are you angry about the new Comixology app, which removes the ability to buy comics from inside the app itself? If so, you should be just as angry at Apple for their policies making such an absurd situation, where an app can offer the ability to consume the content it sells without actually selling it, as much as you are at Comixology/Amazon for inconveniencing you.

Comixology-MoreBooksThe economics for the change are clear: they were giving 30% of every sale to Apple, as per App Store policies. That’s the way it’s been since the App Store opened – every time money changes hands, Apple takes its 30% cut. When in-app purchases were introduced, Apple kept the rate per transaction the same: 30% on everything. Thus, when Comixology sold a comic for $3.99, they only got ~$2.80 from it, for a book they had to sell for the same price on their site, by Apple policies.

It’s likely that this 30% cut hurt Comixology’s bottom line – they are beholden to a number of outside forces and right holders for the comics they sell – and the move to Amazon apparently provided them the opportunity to change their selling model.

For years, Comixology's "Comics" app was one of the top grossing apps on the App Store - especially on the iPad. Source: AppAnnie</a<

For years, Comixology’s Comics app was one of the top grossing apps on the App Store – especially on the iPad. Source: AppAnnie

So, that 30% fee on transactions that Apple takes is problematically high. Certainly, it can be justified for paid apps: Apple provides approval, storage, bandwidth, tax collection, and a variety of services beyond just taking the money, in order to justify taking such a cut of a developer’s revenue.

But for in-app purchases, Apple is serving as little more than a payment processor, though they do track whether non-consumable IAP is owned by the user. And 30% is exorbitantly high for payment processing. PayPal merchant fees are 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. Amazon charges the same for transactions $10 or above, with a 5% + $0.05 per order for smaller transactions. These aren’t counting the bulk volume discounts that these processors provide.

You could go to your local comics shop or to a vendor at a convention, and using a Square credit card reader, they can sell you that comic at a 2.75% per swipe fee. So what right does Apple have to be taking 30% on a similar transaction? I think they should be allowed to take a reasonable premium on top of payment processing for the App Store services they provide, but it’s clear that 30% is unreasonable, especially for low-margin fields like the sale of music, movies, and comic books.

And because Apple specifically restricts outside payment systems, there’s no recourse for anyone who wants to offer media or subscription services through an app but to not sell said services in the app itself. It’s why you can’t buy a Netflix, Spotify, or Dropbox subscription from inside their apps at all – because Apple can’t take their steep tax.

Apps like Kindle have to sidestep just why they can't actually sell you books in the app itself

Apps like Kindle have to sidestep just why they can’t actually sell you books in the app itself

Why would Apple, a seemingly pro-consumer company in the way that they design their products to be easy to use, do this? Well, they’re not actually a pro-consumer company. They’re a pro-Apple-consumer company. Everything they do is designed explicitly to get you to stay with Apple products. Ever thought about getting an Android or Windows Phone but decided not to because you didn’t want to lose iMessage? Exactly.

Remember that Apple sells music, video, and books of their own (though not comics to the scale that Comixology does); they have a weighted incentive to make it hard for outside sources to provide them on the App Store unless they pay the exorbitant 30% fee. And when people are inconvenienced by app makers because of Apple’s policies they get mad at the app maker, not Apple, which has to cause a chill to run up the spine of anyone struggling with a similar decision as Comixology.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Google has a similar setup with in-app purchases where they take 30% of every transaction, but they provide alternatives. Specifically, they have a policy that enables Comixology to still sell comics through their app through their own payment system: “Developers offering additional content, services or functionality within another category of app downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play’s in-app billing service as the method of payment, except: where payment is for digital content or goods that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g., buying songs that can be played on other music players).”

Thus, Android Comixology users can still buy comics through the app. Those who relied on Google Play credit to buy books will find themselves out of luck. Of course, Google doesn’t have a monopoly over content distribution or an interest on keeping people as tied to Google Play and their own services, but it’s still a better way to operate than the monopolistic way that Apple does. The 30% payment processor fee for in-app purchases is still on the exorbitant side, but the nature of it is a lot more fair.

So, what Apple ultimately has is a situation that’s meant to give off the illusion of consumer-friendliness by making it only possible to spend money through iTunes accounts, when it really restricts the freedom that people have to get the content they want, where they want it from.

If a solution that’s actually friendly to users (and not just to those who buy in to the Apple system) is to happen, it’s going to require public pressure. They could enact the exact same policy that Google Play has, for one. This same policy is the one that allows Starbucks to allow for store credit refills through direct credit card or PayPal payments. It just needs to be expanded to cross-platform media so that users don’t get left out in the cold, or compelled to buy from Apple’s stores. Give them actual choice.

Or Apple needs to make their tax on in-app purchases – these purely digital transactions – a smaller fee, in order for it to be viable for sellers in high-margin transactions involving media. Somewhere from 5 to 10% may be more reasonable than the current 30%. Whatever the solution I believe change needs to happen, because right now, the ultimate loser from Apple policies are ordinary people who have had convenience taken away from them because of corporate politics.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2014-04-27 :: Category: Books

 

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

appstoreevo01The 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

appstoreevo02aappstoreevo02bThe 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.


Continue reading 5 Years and Counting – The App Store Then and Now »

This week at 148Apps, we left our white shoes behind and got ready for some football with Carter Dotson’s round-up of apps for the NFL 2012 season: “Are you ready for some football, in particular the 2012–2013 season of the premier American football league, the National Football League? Well, with the season kicking off tonight with the Super Bowl champion New York Giants playing the Dallas Cowboys, I’ve collected four apps to help make the game-watching and fantasy-football-playing experience better. No matter what, they’re better than the replacement refs are going to be!”

Read all of Carter’s picks for the season at 148Apps.com.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-09-10 :: Category: Sports

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-07-23 :: Category: Sports

Over at GiggleApps, Amy Solomon reviewed This Is My Body-Anatomy for Kids, saying, “I have really enjoyed perusing this application, consisting of many sections that cover such topics as how fast one grows, the skin, one’s senses, as well as the different systems of the body, such as digestive, respiratory, muscular, nervous and skeletal, going into a very nice amount of depth for children to appreciate.

As this app opens up, children are given a choice of characters to follow, nicely including boy and girl choices some of which are children of color and an Asian character – lovely inclusions still not seen often enough in the US iTunes store.”

Read more about this fun and educational app for kids at GiggleApps.com.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-08-21 :: Category: Education

And stalwart reporter Carter Dotson returned yet again, this time on AndroidRundown, to look at the latest developments from Apple iPad rival Amazon: “While rumors of a new iPad mini spread, and the Nexus 7 enjoys its sales numbers, Amazon has laid dormant until now with the announcement of new Kindle Fire devices.

The flagship is the Kindle Fire HD. This will come in both an 8.9″ variety and a 7″ variety; the specs on the 7″ are supposed to be the same as the 8.9″, but Amazon was more keen to show off this version. It’s got a 1920×1200 screen (true HD!) which is 254 ppi (compared to the iPad retina display’s 264 ppi), to go along with a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor, which Amazon claims can do 50% more floating point operations as compared to the Tegra 3 processor in the Nexus 7.”

Want more? Get more by reading the full article at AndroidRundown.com.

And that’s a wrap of this weekly wrap-up! Join us throughout the week for the latest contests, reviews and news on our Facebook site as well as on Twitter. Until next week, remember – no white after Labor Day!

With the launch of the new iPad and its Retina Display, it may take some time for apps to catch up with the new high-resolution art requirements. Not for these ten apps, which have all been updated to support the new iPad’s high-resolution screen.

ABC Player: Want to catch up on ABC shows, but don’t want to lose out on resolution? Well, the ABC app now supports the new iPad Retina Display, which should make high-resolution video available from the app shine. It would even be possible, if ABC supports it, to stream 1080p, which is even higher resolution than what local ABC stations display at.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Entertainment

Pandora: How would a music app benefit from a higher-resolution display? Well, it might not, but choosing and discovering new artists and songs to play will look better than ever. As well, the LTE in the new iPad means higher-quality audio is easier to stream while on the go.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Music

Pulse: This news aggregator recently added support for local content, but it got a second update this week adding support for the new iPad. Image previews for articles come through clearer than ever, and reading articles is even easier now with sharper text.

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-05-12 :: Category: News

Evernote: The popular service for sharing notes, audio recordings, and pictures to the cloud supports the new iPad with its latest update. Now, all that shared content can be pulled down and viewed more crisply than ever. Well, besides the audio, the Retina Display won’t change the sound. Apple can only do so much.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Productivity

Readability: Don’t lose any viewability when viewing the web through this app’s easier reading experience. The 1.0.3 update introduces Retina Display support, making the title of the app continue to ring true.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-03-01 :: Category: News

iA Writer – One of the finer writing apps available for iPad, this crisp and clear writing app loses none of its visual fidelity on the new iPad. As a bonus, it now is universal for the iPhone and iPod touch, and still supports iCloud for syncing between devices as well as the Mac version of the software.

$4.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-09-21 :: Category: Productivity

Tweetbot: Arguably the best third-party Twitter app available, Tapbots has updated the assets to make the iPad version of their client shine. The new update also brings live streaming of new tweets, but only over wifi, so no need to worry about wasting that LTE data plan.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-02-08 :: Category: Social Networking

Kindle: Still not giving in to the Apple ecosystem entirely? Well, good news: at least one third-party ebook service is supporting the new iPad, so Kindle books will read clearer than ever. Well, the text will be. The actual content may still be confusing.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-04 :: Category: Books

BeoClock: Normal alarm clocks are just too low resolution to be any good any more. Wake up to a beautfiul alarm clock displayed by the iPad’s Retina Display, and possibly everything in the world will be more beautiful. Or everything will pale in comparison to this alarm clock’s beauty. Either way, it’ll probably look really nice.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-02-24 :: Category: Utilities

CalcBot: Tapbots’ calculator app may just be the most beautiful calculator on earth, and with its new update, the new iPad can display it in full Retina Display glory. It makes the TI-89 look even more pathetic by comparison. Plus, the iPad doesn’t have a built-in calculator app, so this really comes in handy!

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-07-13 :: Category: Utilities

Amazon is introducing an updated version of the Kindle app, which is supposed to be optimized for the new iPad. The app has been a huge success, with Amazon claiming it is the #5 best-selling free app of all time. Users can expect new features and a better look.

The main appeal for the new app is that it was designed with the new iPad’s high-resolution display in mind. Amazon claims that fonts and images will look better and clearer.

The redesigned interface will also give users the options to read “in the cloud”, so they can easily switch between devices with the Kindle app installed and have their books stay in sync. This feature was previously only available for platforms other than the iPad.

The Amazon Kindle store has also been redesigned for the Safari web browser on devices running iOS. Users who wish to buy books on their iPad will still need to access the Kindle store through Safari.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-04 :: Category: Books


Between the Amazon Kindle App and Apple’s own iBooks store, the iPad has firmly established its place as a major player in the e-Reader market. Amazon, also being a very major player, is continuing to secure their own position by making it as easy as possible to get their content anywhere. The latest example of this is their new, touch-friendly, iPad-optimized Kindle Store.

To access the store iPad users must simply enter www.amazon.com/iPadKindleStore into their Safari browsers. From there they can shop for books in the new, touch-screen compatible layout with genres, editor’s picks and top 100 paid and free books easy to search. Amazon encourages adding the site to the home screen for even easier access.

The site also supports the Kindle Cloud Reader function. Any books purchased are stored on the cloud, ready to the accessed on any Kindle device, including this new website. Readers can keep going even if the internet connection is lost. As more mobile versions of sites crop up, it’s good to see that tablets are getting their own sites too.

[Kindle iPad app pictured above]

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-04 :: Category: Books

Happy Holidays! If you’re like many folks, you’ll have gotten a new iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch this holiday season. And if you’re looking for a place to learn all about this new magical device in your life, you’ve come to the right place. 148Apps has tons of resources on using your new device and filling it with the best thing about it: apps.

 

Learning The Basics

The operating system of these devices is one of the most intuitive around. However, there’s always more waiting under the hood to make things just that much easier or better on us. While your new iPhone or iPad may not come with a manual, you can download one fairly simply from the iBooks Store. First, grab iBooks (FREE!, + Universal App), then grab the manual for your new iPad, iPhone, or
iPod touch.

Speaking of the operating system, we’ve written a few articles about the latest and greatest from Cupertino right here on 148Apps. Check out our Full Feature Roundup on iOS 5.

We even published some downloadable magazine-style User Guides last year, on each of the devices. Feel free to grab them and read through them – many of the tips and tricks included there are just as relevant today as they were then. iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

 

To the iCloud!!!

You may have seen some of the information about iCloud in the Apple TV commercials. It’s a great system that gives you unprecedented storage and sharing options. Here’s a short intro to iCloud from Apple.

We’ve got you covered with iCloud as well. Here’s information on both moving your data to the iCloud to help keep things synced and backed up. You may also need more information on how you set up iCloud in a multiple user family. This details all the ins and outs of multiple user groups who may otherwise share iTunes accounts.

 

There Really is an App for That

Once you’ve got a good handle on using that sleek new iOS device, you’ll of course want to dive in and start downloading apps. Whether you’re an avid gamer, a music lover, a book reader or even (gasp) all three, you’ll find everything you need in the iTunes Store.

When it comes to Apps, iOS has no peer. There are over 500,000 apps in the App Store, so you’ll doubtlessly find something you like. The trick, however, is filtering through all of those apps to find the specific things you want. That can be tricky, but luckily there are many ways to help.

First off are our very own reviews. We review a ton of apps weekly to give you the best recommendations about the best apps we find. Be sure to look through our Reviews lists, which can be filtered by type of app as well as sorted by date, app name, or app rating. If you just want to read reviews of our highest rated iPad games, for example, it’s an easy click. And for on the go browsing of 148Apps reviews, grab the 148Apps App (FREE!, iPhone App).

In addition, we have our famous Price Drops lists, which can be sorted to just show the latest drops in prices, or even just the latest FREE apps. Very handy, if we say so ourselves. If you’re looking for the very latest additions to the App Store, we have a list for that, as well as one for the Top Apps across all the App Store categories for each device. Then of course there’s always the very best of the best in free apps available in the free games and free apps lists.

If you want even more app discovering goodness, you might want to check out a few apps made to help you wade through the App Store. Some of our favorites are AppShopper (FREE!, + Universal App), Chomp (FREE!, iPhone App), and AppZapp (FREE!, iPhone App). There are even specific apps to help you find the latest free apps. Some of the best include Free App A Day (FREE!, iPhone App), Apps Gone Free (FREE!, + Universal App), and Free App Alliance (FREE!, iPhone App). These will all help you sort and find and browse apps and games to your heart’s content; we use them all the time to find new great apps to use and write about on the site.

 

Where Else To Find 148Apps?

We’re everywhere, really. However, the best places to find us are on Twitter, Facebook, and now even Google+. Be sure to come visit and chat with us there. We’re ever so responsive.

 

Free Apps You Shouldn’t Do Without

Now, we wouldn’t be the premier Apps review site without some sort of parting gift, now would we? How about some apps you really should try out? To make the deal even sweeter, let’s make them free apps.

iBooks, Nook, & Kindle – Reading ebooks is all the rage these days, especially on these fancy new iOS devices. We love reading on our iPad, and have even been known to crack a virtual spine or two on our iPhone while waiting at the doctor’s office. For those of you with shorter attention spans, there’s always Newsstand, iOS’s magazine subscription service. Some of the best ereader apps include iBooks (FREE!, + Universal App), Nook for iPhone (FREE!, + Universal App), Nook for iPad (FREE!, + Universal App), and Kindle (FREE!, + Universal App). Happy reading!

Facebook, Twitter, & Instant Messaging – Keep in touch with family, friends, and us – your favorite Apps website – with these free social networking apps. Tell ‘em 148Apps sent you!
There’s Facebook (FREE!, + Universal App), Twitter (FREE!, + Universal App) though Tweetbot ($4.99, iPhone App) is much better, though not free like the official Twitter app.

For instant messaging, check out imo (FREE!, + Universal App) and imo for iPad (FREE!, iPad App). And don’t forget Skype (FREE!, iPhone App) and Skype for iPad (FREE!, iPad App). We’ve become big fans of GroupMe (FREE!, + Universal App) lately too for group communication.

Gaming on the Cheap – Now, we put out a sweet weekly article that tells you about the latest FREE gaming apps, but here are a few we think you won’t want to miss. We could go on for hours about it, really, but these should get you off to a good start.

For a great free endless runner, check out Temple Run (FREE!, + Universal App). A wonderful game. For some great physics puzzle fun, the new king is Where's My Water? Free (FREE!, + Universal App) and you can never go wrong with the classic Angry Birds Free (FREE!, iPhone App). A couple other free games we really like include The Sims Freeplay (FREE!, + Universal App) and TinyTower (FREE!, + Universal App).

You should also check out our massive iOS game and app sale post. There are tons of great deals and quite a few temporarily free apps there. Be sure to grab the great Jetpack Joyride (FREE!, + Universal App) while it’s free. It’s one of our favorite games of the year.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about your new magical iOS devices. The iPad, iPhone and iPod touch are some of the best new gadgets to give or receive. Be sure to come back often to see what we have for you; we’re always looking to find the news or apps you want to know about first. From all of us here to all of you out there, Happy Holidays!!!

This Week at 148Apps, November 14-18

This week at 148Apps.com, site founder Jeff Scott welcomed the Kindle Fire into the tablet fold with an overview of his impressions of the device. Scott says, “…while the Kindle Fire is around 40 percent the cost of a base level iPad, it’s capabilities are even less. It just so happens that those capabilities match up well with what a typical consumer uses a tablet device for. Because of that, the Kindle Fire will be a strong competitive device to the iPad. When it comes down to it, it’s the cost that matters to a very large portion of the buying public, not the capabilities.”

Read the full review on 148Apps.com.

Meanwhile, our sister site, GiggleApps, took a closer look at a new educational app for children, iLuv Drawing Animals. Reviewer Amy Solomon writes, “iLuv Drawing Animals is a nice choice for kids who are interested in learning the very basics of drawing cartoony animals that are cute and relatively easy to draw. I like how these illustrations are broken down into smaller shapes that kids will easily understand and have had experience with, and the narration is pleasant and easy to follow.”

Read the full review on GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-10-10 :: Category: Education

Finally, on AndroidRundown, Carter Dotson announced the public availability of Google Music, an interesting development for all music lovers, no matter the device. Dotson writes, “Most importantly, this means that Google is now in the business of one of the big pillars of media, and it addresses a gaping hole in the Android Market. With videos and books already addressed, now the store is complete with music to go along with apps. Google is directly putting themselves in competition with iTunes, and they are making their operating system much closer in terms of features to iOS devices. This was a necessary move for Google.”

Read more of Dotson’s commentary on AndroidRundown.

As we head into the week of Thanksgiving here in the US, remember that you can still enter to win an iPhone 4S, courtesy of 148Apps and Gameloft. To enter, just become a 148Apps and Gameloft Facebook fan – www.facebook.com/gameloft and www.facebook.com/148apps.

Or you can follow both of us on Twitter as well at www.twitter.com/148apps and www.twitter.com/gameloft. Then, write the following public tweet: “Upgrade to a 4S yet? Follow @Gameloft & @148Apps & RT for a chance to win an iPhone 4S! Gameloft gaming on the 4S: http://glft.co/uIR3Y1″

See you next week, true believers! Start thawing that turkey!

Apple’s recent restrictions on apps offering external subscriptions and content are starting to hit, particularly as these apps are starting to remove external links to purchase content that isn’t offered through Apple’s services. However, there’s nothing that Apple can do about web apps – and that’s what Amazon is looking to exploit to improve their Kindle service on the iPad, with the Cloud Reader.

The Kindle Cloud Reader, powered by HTML5, allows Kindle users to read their books either directly in Safari for iPad (it isn’t available for iPhone and iPod touch yet), or by saving a bookmark to the home screen that will let it run as a full screen web app. From there, all the books that a user has purchased on Kindle will be readable, though some books are not yet optimized for the Cloud Reader. These books can either just be downloaded from the web, or can be downloaded to the device for offline reading, which can be done by long-pressing on any book in the library and selecting “Pin Book.”

The most important part of the Cloud Reader besides being able to exist outside of the Apple approval process, is that it has built-in Kindle Store access. Users can browse and buy books from within the Cloud Reader, and start reading them right away. Compare this to the current state of the Kindle app, where the ability to buy new books, and any consideration of book buying is non-existent. It’s like the presence of these books in the library is just a fortunate coincidence for the user. By pushing their Cloud Reader, Amazon can not only be platform-agnostic (though only Safari on iPad, Safari for Mac, and Google Chrome are officially supported, although it will be coming to other platforms in coming month), but can make it easier for them to sell Kindle books to users. Don’t be surprised if Nook and other e-reader services start launching similar HTML5 options in the near future.

Worried about losing those eBooks from the iPad, due to Apple’s insistence on a 30% cut from all items sold as in-app purchases? Well, fear no longer, as all four big eBook apps have it covered, according to John Biggs at TechCrunch. NOOK, Kindle, Kobo and Google Reader have all been updated this past weekend to remove in-app sales buttons. This allows the booksellers to avoid paying Apple the 30% commission, and may or may not confuse readers who use the apps to buy eBooks.

NOOK: “You can read any NOOK Book you have purchased on this updated NOOK for iPhone app, however the Shop link has been removed so to buy NOOK Books from your iPhone, open your Safari browser and go to nookbooks.com. ”

Kindle: “This update removes the Kindle Store button from the app.”

Kobo: “We have removed the Kobo Store from within the application. You can continue to shop at our website.”

Google Reader: No app store description, but the sales links are gone from the app.

In a nutshell, all this means is that folks who relied on buying books via the in-app purchase option in these eBook apps will now need to either use their dedicated device to purchase books, or head to their favorite web site to buy. Not too horrible, right? Time will tell, of course.

We did, however, note that NOOK for iPad is not yet updated in the app store, leaving only NOOK Kids in the Apple tablet space, until a promised update occurs soon, according to a Barnes and Noble press release sent out yesterday. The update will also include “access” to over 175 periodicals, bringing the app into parity with the dedicated NOOK Color reading device. Kobo, Kindle, and Google Books continue to be found in the iPad section of the App Store.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-04 :: Category: Books

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-02-26 :: Category: Books

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-12-06 :: Category: Books

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-08-17 :: Category: Books

Dedicated devices like the Kindle remain popular among book lovers—but did you know that you can get your eBook fix on your iPhone or iPod, too? There are a ton of great apps out there, most of them free, which put all that eReading power right at your fingertips.

Which one to use, however? In this roundup, we take a look at some of the top eReader contenders on the App Store. Scroll to the bottom to see which app we like best! Please note that this roundup focuses on the iPhone and iPod, not the iPad, though many of these apps are universal.

Kindle
Amazon’s Kindle app has a lot going for it. First and foremost is the Kindle Store, which is probably the most robust of all eBook stores and has relatively good prices. Kindle owners should be happy to know that you can transfer any Kindle eBooks attached to your account straight to your iPhone with this app! Reading ebooks in the Kindle app is also a breeze—the app’s interface is clean and simple, with some customizability and quick response times. I particularly like the free sample chapters. Keep in mind that Kindle books have their own DRM, so you can’t transfer them to other eReaders.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-04 :: Category: Books

Stanza
Stanza was arguably the first successful eReader in the App Store, and it remains a contender. Stanza allows you to import your own eBooks from a variety of formats and offers the most customization options out of all the eReaders. (It was the App Store pioneer of the reversed black-screen-white-text option, which is beloved by those reading at night.) Additionally, Stanza makes it easy to access Project Gutenberg’s archives of free classics as well as integrating with a number of partner stores. Alas, Stanza lacks the coherency of the Kindle or Nook book stores (and their lower prices!). But if you want total control over your eBook library, Stanza remains the way to go. Note that Amazon now owns Stanza, giving them two strong contenders in the eReader ring!

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-13 :: Category: Books

NOOK
Formerly the B&N eReader, Barnes and Nobles’ NOOK eBook app is similar to the Kindle app in that it comes tied to B&N’s preexisting eBook store. So, if you own a NOOK, you can access your full B&N library from your iPhone. Barnes and Nobles’ store seems to be somewhat smaller than Amazon’s Kindle store, but still boasts an impressive selection and low prices. The iPhone app itself is gorgeous, featuring colorful book covers and the usual bevy of customization options for the reader. The reader responds snappily. One unique feature to Barnes and Nobles’ eBook approach is the “LendMe” feature, which lets you share books with other users. Nice!

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-08-17 :: Category: Books

Kobo
Kobo is relatively new, and focuses on new and best-selling books. The glossy interface focuses on being pretty, but there’s a fair amount of functionality here, too. The store section of the app works wonderfully, with a number of handy categories. One new book is offered as a free download each week, and the prices are fair. Unfortunately, some trouble comes with the reader aspect. While the interface mostly stays out of your way and feels quite natural, it also suffers from the occasional crash. Ah, well; Kobo remains a nice contender, and it does support Instapaper integration.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-02-26 :: Category: Books

iBooks
You’d think that Apple’s own pet bookstore would have shown up earlier, right? Unfortunately, the iBookstore leaves much to be desired in terms of both pricing and selection—I don’t think it’s comparable to Barnes and Nobles’ selection yet, let alone Amazon’s massive Kindle Store. Additionally, iBooks has a nasty habit of crashing right when you’re getting to the exciting part. I complained about many of these issues last June, and yet many of the problems persist half a year later.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-04-02 :: Category: Books

The Conclusion
There are many strong contenders in the eBook space, and almost all of the popular apps are very, very good. If you own a Kindle or a NOOK, stick with the corresponding app. None of the eReader apps are sufficiently advanced to warrant giving up your existing library.

Otherwise, it’s a much tougher decision. After careful deliberation, I favor Kindle for iPhone. The Kindle app works wonderfully, with few bugs and a consistent history of updates. Additionally, its massive Kindle Store provides more eBooks than you could ever read. It’s a close race, but the Kindle app’s confident competence makes it the winner in my book.

DECISION: Kindle for iPhone

Amazon has just launched the latest update to their Kindle app and this latest edition adds some much-needed new functionality. Update 2.5 enables both side-loading and background downloading of Kindle-compatible material, providing access to a whole range of new content with absolutely minimal extra effort.

Side-loading allows Kindle users to download any compatible materials into the Kindle library. That means mail attachments, files from Project Gutenberg or material from any other compatible source can easily be transported into Kindle. Basically if it’s a .mobi or .prc file you can now import them into the Kindle app without fear of the dreaded incompatible file. In addition, you can now drag compatible files to the Kindle app via iTunes, so files saved on your computer can easily be imported into the app.

The other major new component included in the update is support for background downloading, which takes advantage of one of the signature new features of iOS 4. Now you can start downloading a book or other material and then jump to another app while Kindle continues the download in the background. Great for impatient users or folks who simply prefer to multitask while waiting for something to download and install into the app.

This latest update is truly welcome news, as it flings open the doors of Kindle and provides users with access to millions of books and documents which were previously locked away. As the eReader wars continue to rage on this update puts Kindle near the front of the pack, providing nicely enhanced functionality and some very attractive new features. Though Kindle may not quite be an absolute solution to all your eReading needs quite yet, it’s very quickly moving in that direction.

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-03-04 :: Category: Books

[via MacWorld]

As the year winds down and we look ahead to the next decade it’s time for all those wonderful end-of-year lists we all get so excited about. Today we have some exciting news, as Apple has detailed all the top paid and free apps for the iPhone and iPad, as well as the top grossing apps on each platform. Here’s the full rundown, for your edification.

Top 10 Paid iPhone Apps

1. Angry Birds
2. Doodle Jump
3. Skee-Ball
4. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
5. Fruit Ninja
6. Cut the Rope
7. ALL-IN-1 GAMEBOX
8. The Moron Test
9. Plants vs. Zombies
10. Pocket God

Top 10 Free iPhone Apps

1. Facebook
2. Angry Birds Lite
3. Words With Friends Free
4. Skype
5. Tap Tap Revenge 3
6. The Weather Channel®
7. Paper Toss
8. Bing
9. ROCK BAND FREE
10. Talking Tom Cat

Top 10 Grossing iPhone Apps

1. MLB.com At Bat 2010
2. Angry Birds
3. Call of Duty: Zombies
4. Bejeweled 2 + Blitz
5. FriendCaller 3 Pro
6. Zombie Farm
7. TomTom U.S.A.
8. TETRIS®
9. Plants vs. Zombies
10. Doodle Jump

REad even MORE lists after the jump.

Continue reading Apple Lists 2010 Top Apps »

Most people who have seen my new iPad react with the same question, “should I get this or the Kindle?” Apple, obviously, intended its iPad to be perceived as much more than an eBook reader. Yet the much publicized launch of the iBookstore, along with the iPad’s slim form factor, have led many consumers to perceive the iPad as an expensive eBook reader.

The Kindle is the Premier eBook Reader

Amazon's Kindle 2

The Kindle was launched solely as an eBook reader and is marketed as such. Jeff Bezos, on introducing the device, said of the Kindle that “it’s so ambitious to take something as highly evolved as the book and improve on it. And maybe even change the way people read.” Amazon has definitely done much of the legwork in improving the acceptability of the eBook as a new medium for written material. Amazon’s true innovation was bringing E-Ink technology to the consumer market, along with doing the technical legwork to simplify the reading experience. At its core, the Kindle is a delivery device – a user purchases a book as they would online and finds it available for reading seconds later.

The reading experience does everything it can to mimic the experience of paper, all of which is aided by E-Ink. The screen is technology’s response to those who complained that they would never be able to read a book on a traditional LCD screen or a laptop. The Kindle itself is merely the size of a large paperback and is lighter than most printed books. The Kindle is Bezos’ effort to translate the book for the digital age, and he has largely succeeded in providing a popular and widely accepted new platform.

The iPad as an eBook Reader

Apple's iPad with iBooks

The iPad has benefited from terrific interest from both book publishers and book retailers. As a consequence we’ve seen innovative new packages like the Vook and traditional books from retailers like B&N, Amazon, and more. While the Kindle has a terrific – and probably the largest – bookstore, the iPad offers more choices for where you get your ebooks.

There’s Apple’s iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle reading app, B&N’s new iPad reader, and more. The three largest players each offer different solutions to the eBook problem. iBooks tries to mimic the feel of a physical book, utilizing a color UI with beautifully rendered page turns. The Kindle’s UI is black and white and encourages the same type of user interaction as the physical Kindle – a simple tap on the side of the screen changes pages in a fluid transition not as visually distracting as that of iBooks. B&N’s app allows users to choose from dozens of different visual settings but maintains the same fluid page transitions as Amazon’s Kindle app. Only the iBooks app has a store in-app; the others force the reader to go to Safari to purchase books. This is a definite snag in the clear workflow Bezos presented with the original Kindle, but one that I’m sure both B&N and Amazon will surmount in future applications.

The iPad’s reflective LCD screen probably isn’t the best for simply reading a book. It’s a pain in the sun, where it’s nearly impossible to see the text on a page. E-Ink mainly solves this problem with its screen. People who have issues reading for long periods of time on their laptops may wish to reconsider an iPad purchase if it’s intended solely as an eBook reader. While the reading experience is cleaner and more enjoyable, it’s the same experience as the backlit screens most notebooks include. In addition, the iPad’s battery life is rated at 10 hours, enough for most commuters but nowhere near the weeks the Kindle can last for.

The iPad as a Platform: Bigger Than Books

A Vook on the iPad

The key differentiator between the two comes when we move beyond the simple eBook reading features. The Kindle includes a browser, but not one that functions nearly as well as the iPad’s. It’s black and white and renders incredibly slowly due to the E-Ink screen technology. The iPad’s Safari browser is widely regarded as one of the best on a mobile platform.

I’ve always seen the iPad as more than a traditional book reader as well. The Kindle simply translates the book reading experience into the digital age but strives not to completely alter the way we experience books. New features like Amazon’s Popular Highlights add subtle suggestions about the importance of a passage but do not redefine the reading workflow. Cool ideas like the aforementioned Vook change the reading experience by adding videos, multimedia, more information about certain topics (with links) and more. Could the iPad help the form of the written word change? Only time, and developers, will tell.

Decisions, Decisions
Those of you struggling with the decision to purchase an iPad or a Kindle might want to do some soul searching. What do you want from your portable device? Just books and nothing more? Buy a Kindle – that’s what it’s meant for. But if you’re looking for a small computer, with thousands of different and innovative new applications that could redefine reading, the iPad is for you.

Kindle for iPhone

Kindle for iPhone

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
While not the most robust ebook reader around, Amazon has just laid down the gauntlet in the iPhone / iPod Touch ebook war. Get instant access to over 240,000 books, even ones you've previously purchased for your Kindle!

Read The Full Review »
App Store Insider: August Trometer, FoggyNoggin Software

Website: http://foggynoggin.com/

Contact: Contact FoggyNoggin

Bio: Web developer by day, Mac and iPhone developer by night.

– Created iPodderX, the world’s first podcast client
– Wrote “Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Safari” prior to the SDK being released
– Loan Shark was chosen early on by Apple as a “Featured” app, and is also featured in Apple’s own “iPhone Your Life” pages.

Favorite apps:
Fieldrunners, USA Today, Blocked, Touch Physics, and Things, and Pandora


Interview with August Trometer: Part 2:

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Finishing up our interview with August, I ask him about what it is like being an iPhone developer in the lime-light, or Celebrity Developer. He talks about how much fun it has been to break out of the traditional role from time to time, and how it has really helped out his programming business.

I also get his opinions on Apple’s filing to have jailbreaking iPhones judged illegal, what that means to the development community, and how jailbreaking is actually beneficial to the App Store and making the iPhone a popular development platform. August also tells us why he has avoided it.

Most importantly, August gives us the breaking story about the soon to be released app, YOWZA!!, and how it will change the way you shop and use your iPhone.

Listen to how August met Greg Grunberg (Matt Parkman on Heroes) on Twitter, and joined forces with Rick Yaeger from MacMerc, to create a whole new business model for an iPhone app, and how they have tackled the problems of turning your iPhone into a money-saving shopping tool! And it’s going to be FREE!

Here is a little taste from Greg himself.



Enjoy!

You can check out August’s digital book, Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Safari on your Kindle from Amazon, or buy it in PDF format here.

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