Posted by Andrew Stevens
on July 26th, 2013
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Enjoy a nice cup of coffee this week, along with a free code for Cyto’s Puzzle Adventure when visiting your local Starbucks coffee shop. Starbucks App Store Pick of the Week occasionally has free game offerings for some of the more well known titles, such as Angry Birds Star Wars and Where’s My Perry?, but this is the first time it has picked a newer title for its selection.
Time to go to Starbucks! YAY!
via: Our Review
Over one million apps have made their way onto the App Store during its five years of existence. A million. That’s a pretty miraculous number when you think about it. However it’s not the amount of apps we have to pick from that I find so fascinating, but rather just how much things have changed since 2008. Pickings were comparatively slim at first, and many developers were just starting to dip a toe in the waters of Apple’s new smartphone.
On top of that, the technology itself has changed tremendously in a relatively small amount of time. It makes me wonder if anyone from 2008 would even recognize current iOS devices, and by extension the App Store. Would a newer Apple initiate have any idea what they were looking at if they somehow managed to take a trip to five years ago? I think it warrants a look at how the hardware, the App Store, and the apps contained within it have evolved.
2008 – The Beginning of the Beginning
The App Store’s first year was a rough but promising one. The iPhone 3G rolled out to coincide with Apple’s new software venue and the original iPhone was still viable. The iPod touch was also present and accounted for, while the second generation appeared closer to the end of the year. Even at this point many developers were eager to push these early iOS devices to their limits, to make them more than just a phone or an .mp3 player with a fancy screen.
Handy apps like Pandora Radio, Last.FM, Facebook, and Yelp were to be expected, but that didn’t make them any less impressive to have on a handheld platform. Others such as the intuitive personal organizer Evernote, the eerily accurate song-identifying app Shazam, eWallet’s convenient and secure account password management, and MLB At Bat with its extensive baseball coverage further capitalized on the particulars of the hardware and its general portability. Of course there were also some pretty unnecessary options out there, too. Flashlight kind of served a purpose but was also fairly pointless. It wasn’t as bad as stuff like More Cowbell!, though.
At the same time, the games available on the App Store were beginning to show people that “mobile” didn’t have to equal “mediocre.” Sure there were a few simple ports of the odd classic such as Ms. PAC-MAN, Vay, and Scrabble, but there were also some impressive iOS renditions of popular console games like Super Monkey Ball coming out. Potential mobile gamers also had a few really special titles such as Galcon and Fieldrunners to tide them over. When all was said and done there were over 7,500 apps on the App Store by the end of the year, with more being added every day.
2009 – Moving Right Along
The following year saw even more impressive releases as Apple’s digital marketplace began to expand. The second generation of iPod Touch was the bright and shiny new toy at the time, but it was followed shortly by the iPhone 3GS in June while the latest and greatest third generation Touch closed out the year in September. It all meant better processors, better CPUs, more advanced operating systems, and so on. All stuff that developers needed to acclimate to, but also stuff that meant they could push their boundaries even further. There was no loss of steam when it came to content, either: the App Store finished off 2009 with well over 100,000 apps available.
Many of the basic smartphone necessities were covered, but there was room for so much more. Especially while the technology was improving. Plenty of people used their iPhones as phones, sure, but with the addition of Skype they were able to enjoy the added functionality of instant messaging and voice chat without cutting into their data plans (so long as a wifi connection was present). Big companies were really starting to take notice as well. That same year Starbucks and many other big businesses threw their virtual hats into the ring with their own apps designed to make life a little bit easier for their iOS-using customers. Practicality was also becoming an even bigger focus. The Kindle app gave iOS users a practical e-reading option, and Dropbox was there being Dropbox. By which I mean “an awesome and super-convenient way to transfer files between multiple platforms.” And this same level of refinement could be seen creeping into the games as well.
So many of the App Store’s most notable games and franchises came out around this time. It was almost a mobile rennaisence of a sort. This was the year Real Racing first blew mobile gamers’ minds, even causing some of them to question the legitimacy of in-game video footage until they were able to see the finished product for themselves. Zenonia was just a fledgling action RPG at the time, and while a lot of people liked it I doubt they knew just how many sequels it would spawn. The same goes for Pocket God, although with updates rather than multiple releases. Flight Control began to eat away at peoples’ free time, Angry Birds and Doodle Jump hit it big (like, super big), and Myst and The Sims 3 further displayed the potential for major releases on mobile platforms. Oh, and Canabalt almost single-handedly invented and popularized a genre.
Continue reading 5 Years and Counting – The App Store Then and Now »
Posted by Andrew Stevens
on April 11th, 2013
Touch Arcade has reported that you can now download Angry Birds Star Wars for free through the Starbucks app. If you already have the Starbucks app downloaded, you can go to the messages tab where you’ll find a list of free music, along with Angry Birds Star Wars. If you don’t have the app, go to this link HERE.
Coffee and video games are a perfect match together! So dreamy.
via: Our Review source: Touch Arcade
One of iOS 6’s big new features is Passbook: a one-stop shop for accessing cards and tickets that is not only available from a single app, but is also location and time-aware to make coupons and loyalty cards appear near certain locations and tickets at the time of the event. Now, it doesn’t work with just anything, unfortunately. There’s a limited selection of apps that are available at the moment with support for Passbook. There’s been some confusion on how to activate it with apps, and this guide is here to help.
First, find an app that is compatible with Passbook. Launching Passbook for the first time will come up with a short description of what Passbook can do and launches an App Store section with apps to check out. Tap that, and a variety of Apple-curated apps with Passbook support are listed. Even for apps like the Starbucks app that have a card functionality already, the card needs to be added to Passbook through the app. To show how this Passbook functionality works, let’s download the Walgreens app and add the Balance Rewards card to Passbook.
Create an account with Walgreens and sign up for their rewards card, or log in to the account if you have one already. If you signed up in-store, you can add it to a new account. Now, go to the Rewards section of the app, and the card will appear. Below, there is an Add to Passbook button. Tap this, and it will prompt to tie it to a specific store location, which will make an alert pop up when near that location. Then, a final prompt to add it to Passbook with the location information attached will pop up. Tap Add, and boom, the card is now in Passbook.
Launch the Passbook app, and all added cards and tickets will appear, including the one we just added. Tap the (i) icon to modify the individual card’s settings. This automatic card recall works on the iPod touch as well, though location detection may be spottier due to only being able to detect location by nearby wifi hotspots. Once added, cards in Passbook are accessible offline.
While Passbook is still somewhat limited as developers continue to integrate into their apps, and apps that already had user cards need to be updated to support Passbook, this is still handy, especially with its handy awareness features. Know of any useful apps using Passbook that Apple didn’t feature? Let us know in the comments.
This week, August 22-26, Starbucks introduced a new promotion that features free app downloads for its ka-jillion coffee drinking-customers, similar to the company’s method of distributing free song downloads. 148Apps writer Carter Dotson notes, “What will be interesting to see the effect this has on apps offered in the promotion; Shazam Encore has jumped up to #6 in the App Store recently, which may be due to this feature. This could be due to each redeemed copy going toward the app’s sales, or it could be because the promotion is working exactly how it’s intended; by giving the app away for free, people are talking about it and recommending it, causing other people to pay for it.”
Read Carter’s full article on 148Apps.com.
Also, we celebrated the at-last launch of Peggle for the iPad. This PopCap gem has been a long-time coming, but writer Lisa Caplan assures it’s worth the wait: “This is classic Peggle, and for fans wondering if it’s worth buying the title one more time, the short answer is yes. If, by some chance, this is a first encounter of a Peggle kind, stop reading and start downloading.”
Read all of Lisa’s review on 148Apps.com.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-08-25 :: Category: Games
Meanwhile, the kid-friendly folks at GiggleApps reviewed Sticker Factory, an app that, as writer Amy Solomon says, “is a great choice for grade school and up, and I would not be at all surprised if kids this age do much better at this game than I, as is the case in many speed-based games that I come across.”
Read more about Sticker Factory on GiggleApps.
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-07-05 :: Category: Games
Finally, make sure you stop by and peruse our ever-changing map of apps on our 148Apps Lists page. Whether you’re interested in finding out the latest releases, or just keeping your finger on the most-popular charts, it’s all accessible through one handy page.
That’s it for this week! Until next time, make sure you check in with us on Facebook or via Twitter. There are always giveaways galore going out on both sites.
Coffee and apps are two things that have always been connected in some tangential way. The prices of apps are often described as being “less than a cup of coffee,” often spoken in derision at the people who think that a $0.99 app is too expensive to acquire legally. As well, people who use apps (and especially people like myself who write about them) often find themselves in need of caffeine. After all, that level in Angry Birds isn’t going to 3-star itself, even if it is 3:00 in the morning. What helps people feel awake and alert after these long nights of intense app usage? Caffeine! What does coffee contain copious amounts of? Caffeine! Someone at Starbucks has finally noticed this connection between apps and coffee, and decided to harmoniously bring the two together.
Starbucks is giving out cards with redemption codes for apps, along with various other iTunes content, that are available at Starbucks locations. The first app in the program is Shazam Encore, which is available for $5.99 regularly. This promotion isn’t going to be limited to older, already-existing apps, either; starting on August 30th, Starbucks will be giving away copies of SPY mouse from recent EA acquisition Firemint, which releases this Thursday.
What will be interesting to see the effect this has on apps offered in the promotion; Shazam Encore has jumped up to #6 in the App Store recently, which may be due to this feature. This could be due to each redeemed copy going toward the app’s sales, or it could be because the promotion is working exactly how it’s intended; by giving the app away for free, people are talking about it and recommending it, causing other people to pay for it. The question will be just how often apps are actually featured in this program, or if 2 of the first 3 promotions being apps are just an anomaly. It will be interesting to see how other apps perform with the Starbucks promotion, especially new releases like SPY mouse that have a big-name publisher behind them. As well, will apps from smaller independent developers make any kind of appearance in the program, and will apps share in the kind of sales bump that Shazam Encore is enjoying?
Still, any time a big-name company like Starbucks gets involved in the app business, it’s news worth paying attention to because of the effect they could potentially have on the business of selling and promoting apps. Starbucks appears to be offering a new free app every Tuesday, but it isn’t in all locations yet, so keep hunting, weary caffeine and app addicted traveler!