Tag: Christmas »
This week at 148Apps.com, we got into the holiday spirit with a review of a gadget that might be on many people's wish lists this year - the iRig Keyboard. Site editor Rob LeFebvre writes, "IK Multimedia might be trying to take over the music peripheral world. The company has a wide range of apps, instruments, and support items that could, in theory, be used to build a band entirely out of iOS instruments. The latest offering from this prolific manufacturer is titled iRig Keys, a super portable iOS keyboard with 37 velocity-sensitive keys, modulation and pitch wheels, low power consumption, and core MIDI compliance. The iRig is aimed at the portable musician, the composer on the go, the backpack virtuoso, and as such, it succeeds brilliantly."
Think you might ask Santa for this? Check out Rob's full review at 148Apps.
The upcoming holidays were also on our minds at GiggleApps.com, as Amy Solomon reviewed Ice is Nice: All About the North and South Poles. Amy says, "As the name may suggest, Ice Is Nice does indeed give a lot of great information about the earth’s North and South Poles, as well as animals found in these areas that children and their adults will enjoy a great deal.
As with the other titles from this series, go on an adventure with The Cat in the Hat, Dick and Sally as well as Thing One and Thing Two, who are all here to learn such topics as the harsh temperatures found at the Poles or why there are six months of darkness or perpetual sun."
Finally, 148Apps.biz writer Carter Dotson explored the improvements made in Tapjoy's latest SDK: "Mobile advertising service Tapjoy has announced version 9.0 of their SDK for iOS and Android. The purpose of this update is meant to expand out and improve their current set of features to improve user engagement with their ads, and to integrate daily rewards, a popular feature that developers can now easily implement. These are meant to provide advertisers ways to developer targeted ads in a better way, and for developers to generate revenue even from non-paying users through incentivized ad viewing, service signups, and app installs."
And that sets us up for a week of pre-Thanksgiving hysteria here in the States. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of holiday app sales, news and reviews across all of our sites...and do yourself a favor and start thawing that turkey now.
Historically, Christmas is one of the biggest days of the year for entry of new mobile devices and the apps that make them more productive and entertaining. This year is no different with mobile analytics company Flurry reporting record-breaking mobile growth for both Apple and Google. Apple is on pace to exceed a staggering 10 billion downloads. This would double the overall downloads earned across 2008, 2009 and 2010. With multiple Android operating systems available with multiple carriers, it's no surprise that the Android Market also set records, more than tripling its life-to-date downloads of 3 billion, reached in May 2011, to now over 10 billion cumulative downloads reached this December.
With an average of 1.5 million mobile activations from December 1 to December 20, Christmas day hit 6.8 million, a 353 percent increase. And with all of those new devices there was a surge of app downloads with an increase from 108 million to 242 million, or 125 percent. That's a lot of mobile presents and rightly so as they're no longer a way to only make calls, but to access social sites, video, music, games and much more. The full report is available here.
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 [appinline:364709193,"iBooks"], then grab the manual for your new iPad, iPhone, or
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 [appinline: 444792529,"148Apps 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 [appinline:387037496,"AppShopper"], [appinline:348286549,"Chomp"], and [appinline: 383151779,"AppZapp"]. There are even specific apps to help you find the latest free apps. Some of the best include [appinline:348650932,"Free App A Day"], [appinline: 470693788,"Apps Gone Free"], and [appinline:484505841, "Free App Alliance"]. 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 [appinline:364709193,"iBooks"], [appinline:384910586,"Nook for iPhone"], [appinline:373582546,"Nook for iPad"], and [appinline:302584613,"Kindle"]. 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 [appinline:284882215], [appinline:333903271] though [appinline: 428851691,"Tweetbot"] is much better, though not free like the official Twitter app.
For instant messaging, check out [appinline:336435697,"imo"] and [appinline:405179691,"imo for iPad"]. And don't forget [appinline: 304878510,"Skype"] and [appinline: 442012681,"Skype for iPad"]. We've become big fans of [appinline: 392796698 ,"GroupMe"] 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 [appinline:420009108,"Temple Run"]. A wonderful game. For some great physics puzzle fun, the new king is [appinline:467810884,"Where's My Water? Free"] and you can never go wrong with the classic [appinline:409807569,"Angry Birds Free"]. A couple other free games we really like include [appinline:466965151,"The Sims Freeplay"] and [appinline:422667065,"TinyTower"].
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 [appinline: 457446957,"Jetpack Joyride"] 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!!!
(Abridged - With serious apologies to Clement Moore)
Twas the week before Christmas, and at 148Apps
All our writers were writing, and no one took naps.
The reviews were written and posted with care,
In hopes that our readers would soon find them there.
The staff were nestled and ready for sleep,
with visions of iPads, and not jumping sheep.
My iMac in sleep mode, my iPhone now mute,
I settled my brain and sighed a large, “w00t.”
When out of my office there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to my iPad I flew like a flash,
And searched for an app I could boot in a dash.
The light of my iPhone on the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a ping from the app store; new apps are now here.
When a little old email arrived on the spot,
I knew in a moment it must be Jeff Scott.
More rapid than IMs his websites they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now GiggleApps! now, 148Apps! both .com and .biz!
On, Android Rundown! On, BestAppEver! That’s all there is!
From the greatest new games, to the best apps of all!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
He spoke not to me, but to my device,
And Jeff quickly asked Siri if I had been nice.
Her answer was good, so he connected Wi-Fi,
And filled my gadgets with even more apps to try!
His work here now done, he gestured with a wave,
And called for his assistant, the jolly Rob LeFebvre.
But I heard them exclaim, as they logged off for the night,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Christmas is creeping ever nearer. The decorations are up, the presents wrapped and under the tree, and there's that hopeful feeling for a White Christmas (at least in the UK where that doesn't happen often!). Why not celebrate such a festive season with the release of Elf Rescue?
Offering action-packed platforming puzzle fun, Elf Rescue is all about Aava the elf and dedicated Elf Rescue agent who must save Santa after a sleigh crash in the wilderness. Everything about Elf Rescue oozes Christmas spirit as players find themselves using Aava's jetpack to navigate the snowy scenery and the plentiful supply of balloons throughout. There's even the fearsome presence of the mysterious Sasquatch!
It looks like it'll be the ideal game for families to play together in the build up to Christmas. There's also the promise of new levels throughout 2012 included in the very reasonable price of $0.99.
Elf Rescue is out now and it's an Universal app.
As Christmas fast approaches there are gifts to be bought, lists to be made, and of course children, old and young, whose anticipation needs to be kept in check. As always, during a holiday season the App Store gets a slew of half-baked themed offerings, so we've put together our favourite four apps for getting through the pre-Christmas madness for you here.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! - Dr. Seuss
The beloved Dr Seuss Christmas book-turned tv-holiday-special comes to life in this digital rendition for young and old alike. For the little ones there is a read-to-me as well as a read-to-myself option. For everyone else, there is wonderful narration, classic illustrations, and the timeless tale of a decidedly green Scrooge, a town full of friends awash in Christmas spirit and Cindy-Lou Who to open the Grinch's very small heart.
An all-purpose seasonal app and a classic of sorts, Christmas!! is a countdown and Advent calendar full of surprises. But, the app also has games to keep kids occupied, jokes, songs, holiday wallpaper to dress up your iPhone and even a shopping list.
The website, by the same name, known for helping make all group holiday gift-giving and ecard-sending a breeze is now an app. Elfster keeps gift lists for anyone, has hot gift ideas, and is ideal for planning office or school parties and Secret Santa exchanges.
Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas Edition
For those of us who are a bit older but still find ourselves wishing the big day would arrive, Adult Swim has a new version of its hit endless runner, Robot Unicorn Attack, all dressed up and ready to race us through the holiday season. If this offering proves as much fun as previous ones in the franchise, players will still be addicted right into the new year.
This week at 148Apps.com, we opened the floodgates for the 2011 Best App Ever Awards. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, "In its fourth year, the Best App Ever awards is a people’s choice awards for apps. Last year over 500,000 votes were cast in the quest to find the best apps, not just the best selling. This year it’s back bigger and better than ever. In a big change this year, not just iOS but also Android applications and games are up for nomination in the awards competition. Users can nominate their favorite apps and games in any of the multiple categories by heading to the app nomination page and choosing a category."
Read more about the 2011 Best App Ever Awards on 148Apps.
Over at GiggleApps, our site dedicated to reviewing the latest apps for kids, reviewer Amy Solomon took a closer look at the new Charlie Brown Christmas App, saying, "It is lovely that children can decorate their own tree with included ornaments and other decorations, as well as a few that must be earned by finding all the hidden items as accomplishments. This area is found on the first title page of the book and can easily be overlooked as one starts to read. Please look for it. I am also smitten with the last page of this app where the characters are all shown with image and name, and a tap letting readers hear the line they are most noted for in this story, a great section for me to go over with my son as he is new to these characters."
Get into the Christmas spirit and read the full review on GiggleApps.
Finally, AndroidRundown writer Carter Dotson published a commentary regarding the recent CarrierIQ revelations. Dotson says, "Some of the fallout is settling from the explosive Carrier IQ revelations – naturally, most parties involved are denying any kind of wrongdoing, or even that their tools are even installed at all on the phones. Apps to search for the existence of the tools on phones now exist. As well, apparently even Carrier IQ was found on iOS devices, although Apple has pledged to remove them in a future iOS software update. Interestingly, one researcher has found that the software likely isn’t sending vast swaths of user personal information back to carriers and manufacturers, although there are still some questions about the data that is being recorded by Carrier IQ tools. In fact, a lot of this data may be used for benign purposes such as determining where phone calls are being dropped, rather than any kind of purpose of spying on user information."
Read the full CarrierIQ rundown on AndroidRundown.
We're done for this week. But next week brings us that much closer to Christmas, and closer to the new year. Keep informed by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Jingle on your merry way....and see you next week.
Cooking a roast is quite a skill to master. Getting the timing is just right. How long does the beef need to be beautifully rare? Or how about that huge turkey? How long does that need to be cooked safely and deliciously? Thanksgiving may be behind us but Christmas and its delightful food is just ahead. Why not use an app like Is It Ready Yet? to help keep an eye on when things are cooked.
Is It Ready Yet? is simple to use. Choose from a selection of 23 different meat choices encompassing beef, pork and poultry then select the weight of the food. Is It Ready Yet? then suggests what temperature to cook it at plus how long it'll take. Both of these figures are viewable in either Imperial or Metric units.
With a built in cooking timer that runs in the background, Is It Ready Yet? keeps things running smoothly. Just what anyone needs at this busy cooking time of the year!
It's out now priced at $0.99.
Remember making Christmas present lists as a kid? In a way, it was the most exciting part of Christmas. All that anticipation of working out exactly what deserved to be on the list and the preciouse hope that Santa would buy all of the items.
Pen and paper seem to be increasingly going out of fashion, but now people can create personalized Wish Lists to share with friends, family and Santa via Amazon Santa! Yup, Amazon is so popular, even Santa is using it for some gifts.
Amazon Santa offers all the functionality of the Wish List feature on the site but in a simplistic way that's ideal for children. Kids can browse more than 500,000 family-friendly toys, games, books, music, video games, movies and TV shows, adding items at the tap of the screen.
Parents can then review and edit the Wish List, sharing it via email with anyone they want such as grandparents, siblings or family friends. It's secure too, with Wish Lists only viewable by the contacts that parents select.
Amazon Santa is a modern interpretation of a tried and tested part of Christmas. It's out now for the iPad and it's free.
Helping children through charitable causes is always a noble effort. It can be a fun effort too when it comes to games like JetPack Santa.
JetPack Santa has been designed as part of the UK charity Prince's Trust 'Million Maker Challenge 2011' project. It's an initiative dedicated to raising money to help young people get back into work in deprived areas across the United Kingdom. As anyone who's experienced the job market around the world recently, it's tough out there, and young people need all the help they can get. The Prince's Trust does precisely that.
Developed by volunteers at Hewlett Packard and in partnership with the Serious Games Institute at Coventry University, JetPack Santa isn't just a honorable purchase to make. It's also a fun and seasonal game with Santa needing to fly around the world to deliver presents to children. It's a great way to get into the festive spirit and help some deserving young people too.
It's out now for the iPad, priced at $1.99.
Thanksgiving has only just passed yet already we're looking to the future; Christmas, to be exact. It's only a month until Santa hops down everyone's chimneys and we revel in a day of present exchanging and eating huge quantities of food.
The season also brings with it a good dose of Christmas-themed gaming delights. One such game is that of Zynga's CityVille Holidaytown, the company's first Christmas-themed app.
I was quite a fan of CityVille Hometown when I looked at it in the summer. While deeply seated in freemium elements that actively encouraged in-app purchases, it offered a solid structure of fun ensuring that players felt like they were constantly achieving things.
CityVille Holidaytown looks set to offer a similar experience but with one crucial difference: everything is in order to save Christmas! Players must help Santa rebuild the North Pole after a terrible blizzard. Enticing elves back home is vital in order to rebuild workshops and make more toys for the children of the world. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to do that.
A steady supply of objectives pop up as the player grows their economy by building new workshops and harvesting magical winter crops to use. Plenty of cute Christmas themed decorations can also be placed around the area. Players can also help their Facebook friends by visiting their towns.
It's a cute idea and no doubt one that's bound to entice families and children alike. Further incentive comes from the special prizes that can be earned each day, plus CityVille Hometown players get an added bonus. It should all keep players entertained in the run up to the big event.
To get into the Christmas spirit, why not download CityVille Holidaytown now? It's a free and universal game with plenty of in-app purchases available, but none vital to progression.
Ah, mid-November. The time of year when everyone starts buzzing about gift exchanges, menorahs, fat guys in red suits and all manner of "tidings." Yessir, nothing like getting the holiday into full-swing before December. Suffice it to say, I'm personally not very thrilled with the practice of jumping the gun. But just because I'm morally opposed to shoving holiday cheer down the throats of the masses well over five weeks too early doesn't mean I'm against general preparations. And what better way to prepare for the inevitable and lengthy trip to a distant relative's house for a seasonal meal then to have an assortment of topical audiobooks on-hand?
Tales2Go is a fairly popular subscription-based (1,600+ books and counting) kids audiobook app in its own right, but Tales2Go - Happy Holidays is something a little different. This is a stand-alone app, with no subscription fee needed to access the 20 different stories contained within. These include The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi (read by Jim Weiss), The Story of Hanukkah (read by Joel Ben Izzy) and many, many more.
Tales2Go - Happy Hoidays is already available, and all of these audiobooks can be had for a total of $0.99. That's one dollar for 20 audiobooks. It might seem a tad too soon for this kind of stuff, but it couldn't hurt to be ready once it's time to jump in the car and drive 14 hours to grandma's house.