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Now Alarm Clock Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on September 3rd, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: WELCOMING PORTAL
With a clean interface throughout, Now Alarm Clock is a great app to be woken up by each day, as well as consult regularly.
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5 Years and Counting - The App Store Then and Now

Posted by Rob Rich on July 12th, 2013

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.

Favorite Four - Apps For The Toolbox

Posted by Chris Hall on September 29th, 2010

There are those who buy the iPhone for silly games, and then there are those who buy the iPhone for manly purposes like measuring tables and making sure shelves are made level. While you were putzing around playing Doodle Jump and Pocket God, these people were flicking their digital Zippo lighters in peoples faces, just because they could. They chugged beer after beer whenever anyone walked by and whipped everyone who wasn't working at their Mountain Dew pace.

These toolbox apps for for the tough guys out there, and maybe for a few of the guys like me who have to hang a picture every once in a while. Here's to you, tough guys.

Ruler 2 - Sure, the average guy that needs a measurement probably has a ruler of some sort laying around, but if you don't, save a tree and buy Ruler 2. With Ruler 2 you can measure an object 2 15/16th of an inch at a time, as long as you make sure to mark where the end of the screen touches. With it, you can measure the smallest of objects, or your whole car if you have a good deal of time.

The app also instantly converts inches to centimeters with a touch, so you'll never have to try to do the crazy conversion in your head. Nobody wants to have to multiply things my 2.54... it's just too much work.

iHandy Carpenter/ iHandy Level - Unlike the ruler, there just aren't that many people out there that have levels. The master of all tools, the level makes sure that all of your pictures are hung straight on the wall. All you have to do with the app is calibrate it on something that is level, and then just hold it up. The app will then detect any angle at which the phone might be at with a visual level bubble, just like if you were using the real thing.

If you want to get really handy, you can move on from the free level to the iHandy Carpenter. This app has a level, a surface level, a protractor, a ruler, and a plumb bob. Just make sure that you have a big budget for supplies because you may want to go on and build a house.

Flashlight + - Probably the most consistently useful app on the list, Flashlight + uses the LED flash on the iPhone camera to act as a flashlight. It's just as bright as any flashlight you might own, and it never needs AAA batteries.

The competition in the App Store is steep for flashlight apps, but Flashlight + has a UI that is as slick as any app that is built into your phone. Just for kicks, it also has a strobe light that will work great for Halloween.

DAH-Measure - While most of the objects that you will have to measure will be small enough to use the either of the ruler apps, DAH-Measure is the only one that is handy enough to measure something like a tree. Using the iPhone's camera as a guide, DAH-Measure can roughly measure the length or height of something with a few fancy equations.

Just a warning, because the app does everything by sight, it's not always on the money with the exact measurement. You'll be surprised though how close it actually gets.

Here Comes the iPhone 4 Flashlight App Tidal Wave!

Posted by Jeff Scott on July 7th, 2010

Since the launch of the iPhone 4, we've seen lots of developers release details about their submitted but not yet released iPhone 4 flashlight apps. Apps that trigger the LED flash on the back of the iPhone 4 used to provide extra light for the camera. These flashlight apps trigger that LED to give you enough light to navigate in the dark.

Today it looks like Apple finally decided to approve that type of app and we've seen a rush of this new sub-genre. So far we've seen at least 11 of them appear in the App Store and I'm sure we'll see dozens more in the next few weeks. Most of these apps are showing up at $0.99 while just one has been released as free. Since they are all basically the same, you might just want to pick up the free one and put that dollar toward an app that's a little more original for your iPhone 4.

A huge warning on these apps is that the LED will likely burn through your battery pretty quick. You won't likely notice much of a problem if you are using it for a few second here and there.

So far no one has released the Doodle Jiggle Bikini God LED Flashlight app. That will be the killer one we've all been waiting for. [end sarcasm]

Tweetie 1.2 Released - Did Someone Step on a Duck?

Posted by Jeff Scott on January 16th, 2009
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED :: Read Review »

Tweetie, in our opinion the king of iPhone Twitter clients, has been updated with some really great features -- and some Popularity EnhancemEnts (or PEE) that users have been clamoring for.

In what is a first on any platform and an absolute dream come true to the iPhone community, Tweetie, updated tonight to version 1.2, has added two features that users have been asking to be combined into a single app since the iPhone was first released. Loren Brichter, the developer of Tweetie, has answered user demands and released a single app that has the ability to function as two of the most popular apps in the app store. Oh, and it does some Twitter stuff too.

Tweetie is a multiple account capable Twitter client that just nails the user interface. It's a rock solid and feature packed application. The new version adds some great features like Instapaper integration, a landscape keyboard, swipe controls, block/unblock of users, and draft saving.

Tweetie is a $2.99 Twitter client that, in our opinion, is the best available on the iPhone. The best new feature has to be the new quick swipe control in the UI. You can swipe over a tweet (a twitter message), and quickly reply to, view the details of the user, or mark as a tweet as a favorite. Much quicker than the previous requirement of going to another screen to do those things.

These new features add to the already fantastic full featured interface of Tweetie. I has everything you could need, Twitter search integration, search favorites, multiple accounts, picture integration, location integration, inline web and image viewer, nearby (location services based) searches, and much more.

Oh yeah, and if you go to settings and click advanced and turn the popularity enhancement on, all of your dreams will come true and Tweetie will become the most perfect app, ever.

Rave Light

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jeff Scott on November 4th, 2008
Our rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar :: BELOW AVERAGE
Rave Light is a simple but un-interesting application
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