Posts Tagged MLB At Bat

 

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 »

 

The App Store launched July 10, 2008 and brought with it a whole new way of distributing and purchasing software. The first several months were a wild west frontier of pricing, business models (or the lack thereof), and genre, making the iPhone the place to be.

As the years have gone by, things have gotten more crowded, more predictable, and perhaps more “same-old” to some. Let’s take a look back at those early, heady days with ten of the best iOS apps from the launch of the App Store.

Cro-Mag Rally

Cro-Mag Rally – Kart racing with cavemen? Yes, please! This launch title from veteran Mac developer Pangea showed us all how much fun the iPhone could be, paving the way for a host of ports and new gaming experiences on the go.

AIM – Before the recent spate of apps that bring multi-client, desktop-style instant messaging to the iPhone and iPad, there was only AOL Instant Messenger, or AIM. This launch title clued us in to the future of always being in touch, even if we didn’t know it at the time.

Fieldrunners – Oh, tower defense games, why do you torment us so? Fieldrunners took the concept already on the web in Flash games and brought it to the devices we had in our pockets every day, iterating its tower defense gameplay to a fine polish. We were hard-pressed to stop playing, to be honest, and still are.

yelp

Yelp – Like Urbanspoon, Yelp brought location-based awareness together with user-based opinions on local restaurants and coffee shops at a level we’d never seen before. Yelp has become an indispensable tool when traveling, and even while staying in our hometown, letting us find interesting places to eat and drink at a price we can afford.

Super Monkey Ball – Wait, we were just playing this on our GameCube! How cool is it that we can tilt our iPhones and roll that adorable monkey around the maddeningly difficult tracks? Ten bucks! That’s a sweet deal! Oh, what a difference half a decade makes.

Google Earth – This one came out in October of 2008, quickly amazing us all with its innovative zooming interface as well as its comprehensiveness. Finally, we thought, an interesting app from Google.

rolando

Rolando – Wow! This game showed us that we didn’t have to own a PSP to get a quality arcade puzzle platform game like Loco Roco. It also allowed the early promise of ngmoco;) to shine forth like a beacon in the wilderness.

MLB At Bat – Updated on a yearly basis since 2008, MLB At Bat came onto the scene like a home run, proving that this little App Store thing was for more than just fart apps and casual games. Serious sports fans rejoiced in 2008 when this baby was released.

Galcon – This real-time space-themed strategy game was ready on day one of the App Store, bringing a depth of gameplay not seen yet. While games like Mushroom Wars and the like have since iterated on the concept, Galcon remains a perennial favorite.

evernote

Evernote – This essential app has been around since day one, and still continues to improve. Evernote showed us how important it was to have access to our notes, files, and pictures across all the devices we used, whether they were on a desktop or in our pocket.

After a long winter, especially for Texas Rangers fans (though Texas weather can rarely be described as wintry), the new baseball season is finally here! Well, technically it started a week or so ago in Japan, and then there were still spring training and exhibition games, but finally, real baseball is here, and all 30 teams are going at it, trying to win the World Series. As a fan, there are several must-have apps to keep up with all the action, even if sometimes baseball can hardly be described as “action-packed.”

MLB At Bat 2012: While this official MLB app does provide live scores, news, and video highlights, same as past years, the fun of it is still in its subscription content. $14.99 unlocks live audio, box scores, and video highlights. However, the app just got sweeter for MLB.TV Premium subscribers. By logging in to the service that offers live game broadcasts from anywhere (and supports AirPlay, though the Apple TV also has the MLB.TV app built in), now the mobile At Bat service comes free, thanks to the app moving to a freemium model. As a bonus, it’s now universal, instead of the iPhone/iPad split in past years.

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Baseball Trade Rumors: This app for the website coveirng all the latest transactions in Major League Baseball takes the old New York Times slogan “all the news that’s fit to print” and reshapes it into “print all the news!” The site reports on news regarding relatively unknown minor league players and free agents. The site is also picking up on their original reporting, as they broke a story on Joey Votto of the Cincinatti Reds negotiating a huge value long-term extension. The app itself provides news filters and push notifications to get the latest news on favorite teams and players as they happen.

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Fangraphs: This app provides live scores in a different way. It offers play-by-play win expectancy calculations, showing that based on past game results, which team is most likely to win given the current situation. It also provides the information in an easy-to-view graph, which provides an interesting visual way ot follow the story of a game, and its ups and downs, to see where victory was clinched, or an amazing comeback happened. As well, each player’s WPA (win probability added, which can go negative) is displayed, showing that based on expected outcomes, how much their performance in the game actually impacted the final result. As well, the database of players and advanced stats is easily serachable from within the app.

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ESPN Fantasy Baseball 2012: Of course, a big part of the fun of baseball season starting up is that it’s also fantasy baseball season. While the game requires more commitment then the ever-popular fantasy football due to the about ten times the amount of games in a baseball season, it’s easier to check up on a team thanks to smartphones. This app in particular makes it easy to update ESPN fantasy league teams’ rosters, check matchups, and catch up on the latest ESPN headlines and tweets from their army of analysts.

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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 »

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