Archive for April, 2010

A Quick Look at Two iPad Weather Apps

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

A few of the apps that are included out-of-the-box with the iPhone are conspicuously absent on the iPad. Among these are the weather, calculator, and stock price apps. Fortunately, third-party developers have already provided several options as alternatives to these missing apps in the App Store. For weather hounds, there are a couple of free weather apps (although one is only temporarily free) that can handily fill the gap left by Apple.

WeatherBug Elite (Introductory price: free)

For the iPhone, WeatherBug (free) and WeatherBug Elite ($.99) have proven to be very popular, consistently ranking in the top 20 apps in their respective categories. WeatherBug Elite for iPad became available on the iPad’s launch day, and it’s currently free though its App Store description notes that this is a temporary special. Its price history given on AppShopper shows that it cost $4.99 when it was first added to the App Store and then was reduced to $.99, so it’s real price after the current special could be anywhere in between those two price points.

With the iPad’s larger screen, WeatherBug Elite is able to show at least initial information about everything that required several screens to see in the iPhone app.

The bulk of the screen shows the local map, with several overlays from which to choose. The map can be animated with the small play button in the lower left hand corner.

Panes shown at the top or right side depending on the iPad’s orientation provide information on current conditions, local webcams, the forecast, weather alerts, and the WeatherBug video. Tapping on any of these panes brings it to the center of the screen where the information can be browsed in more detail.

Several locations can be added to the menu, making it easy to browse the weather information for multiple locations without needing to search for them each time.

The Weather Channel Max for iPad (free)

The Weather Channel has also offered iPhone apps for quite some time though its Weather Channel app has not been as popular as WeatherBug as shown by App Store rankings.

The Weather Channel Max for iPad app takes a different approach to presenting information. You must select a location first (or let the app find your current location). After this, a splash screen with six options appears.

The Maps button shows exactly what you’d expect to see and multiple overlays are available using a pop-up menu in the lower left corner.

The Local button gives forecast information plus panes at the bottom that take you to content shown by the other buttons, like video and severe weather alerts. The same content is available from multiple areas within the app – for example, the tweets shown in the Social section can also be accessed in the Local section. This redundancy  feels a bit awkward and unnecessary.

Available video content includes forecast, news, and storm videos, as well as episodes of the The Weather Channel’s Epic Conditions television series.

Compared to WeatherBug Elite, the Weather Channel app doesn’t present as much information at a single glance but it does offer more content overall, albeit in a somewhat repetitive manner. Despite their different approaches to displaying information, both apps are very cost-effective and informative options for iPad users looking for full-fledged weather apps.

NewsRack Is Full-Featured RSS Reader for iPad

Monday, April 5th, 2010

With thousands of apps available on launch day, iPad users are already finding that it takes some time to wade through the App Store’s offerings. When it comes to RSS feed reader apps, there are already several available for the iPad and omz:software’s NewsRack is one that caught our eye with an update on April 3 to a universal version for both the iPad and iPhone.

NewsRack is an RSS feed reader that works as a stand-alone reader if you want to find and enter the feeds you want to subscribe to directly in the app. If you use Google Reader, NewsRack will sync with it (both ways) to allow you to read your saved feeds, add new ones, remove feeds, and more.

NewsRack for the iPhone offers a unique interface element that, while not particularly necessary for reading RSS feeds, does make the app a little more fun to navigate compared to other RSS reader apps. Feeds can be shown in a view that presents them as newspapers in racks like you’d find at a news stand.

Feeds can also be viewed in a standard list view (or by folder, if your feeds are organized this way).

Unfortunately, the cute news stand view of feeds is missing in the iPad version and the list view is the only way to browse them, though NewsRack definitely takes advantage of the iPad’s larger screen size appropriately.

In landscape orientation, feeds are shown in a pane on the left with selected items in the larger pane on the right. There’s a built-in web browser to view the linked article, which will take over the pane on the right side.

NewsRack also incorporates features to share feed items via Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, and email. If you want to mark an item for later reading, ReadItLater and Instapaper are also supported.

The view in portrait orientation mimics that of Apple’s own Mail app on the iPad, with the selected RSS item taking up the entire screen and feeds appearing in a pop-up box on the left.

iPad & iPhone & Selected Category Filtered RSS Feeds

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

In keeping with the expansion of the What’s New filtering, we’ve updated the RSS feeds to match. Most noticeably, you’ll find iPhone/iPad filtering enabled!

You’ll also find that logged in users will get a personal feed url when clicking any of the RSS links at the top of the page. Thus the feeds only include apps in categories selected on your profile page.

Please note, due to the nature of RSS readers, these personal feed urls are not secured like your AppShopper account is.

iPad & iPhone App Filtering Is Here!

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

The iPad apps are coming in strong, and we’re keeping the site updated to go along with. The What’s New page has seen some changes over the last few days given the flood of new iPad apps to reach AppShopper. We appreciate all your comments and suggestions, and pleased to introduce App filtering by iPhone and iPad.

“iPhone” includes both “iPhone & iPod Touch” compatible apps. You may combine these settings with any of the others filter settings.

Kindle for iPad Now in App Store

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Shortly after the announcement that it was in the works for the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle app is now in the App Store in universal format to work on both the iPhone and iPad.

Compared to Apple’s own iBookstore, Amazon’s library is massive, boasting about 450,000 titles while the iBookstore will have only about 60,000 at launch. iPad users will be able to buy and download books from the iBookstore right on the device and it’s not clear without an iPad in hand if this version of the Kindle app will offer the same functionality, though it’s unlikely. A quick look at version 2.0 of the Kindle app on an iPhone shows that the book purchasing process has not changed from previous versions of the app – clicking on the “Get Books” button in the app closes the Kindle app and opens Safari, where books can be browed and purchased.

‘Sites’ Brings Flexible Web Browsing to iPad

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

The App Store has absolutely exploded with iPad apps in the past 24 hours since they first started appearing. From Netflix to Apple’s own iBooks making appearances along with an app for just about everything else in between, there will be no shortage of apps from which to choose for lucky buyers who pick up their pre-reserved iPads tomorrow.

One thing that promises to be a more pleasurable experience on the iPad compared to the iPhone is web browsing, thanks to the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen. While Safari is a very capable browser, it can leave something to be desired when it comes to viewing and switching between multiple web pages. Sites, a new iPad app by Big Nerd Ranch, brings a great deal of flexibility to web browsing on the iPad with the ability to open and display multiple web pages at once along with some nifty navigational features.

In Safari, you can only view one page at a time and must go through multiple open pages sequentially. If you like to open multiple pages at once and browse one as you wait for others to load, Sites will let you do this with ease. To help you manage multiple pages open at once, Sites has an Expose-like feature called Exhibit that will be familiar to Mac OS X users – it will shrink and line up all open windows in a grid so you can easily choose which one to view. Exhibit can be triggered via a button in the toolbar at the top or by shaking the iPad.

Resizing windows is easy – you simply pinch to zoom with one finger on the bars at the top and bottom of a window, and windows can be moved by tapping and holding the top or bottom bar and then dragging.

The search function in Sites brings a little more to the table than Safari as well. Not only will Sites search Google, but it will also search through your bookmarks and browsing history. When you open a new window, you can start typing immediately in the search bar (you can change the default action when opening a new window to let you start typing a URL in the address bar instead via the Settings menu).

If you need to leave Sites and go to another app, the pages you last viewed will appear just as you left them in Sites when you go back to it. You can then choose to refresh or close each window individually.

You can save bookmarks in Sites to make getting to your favorite web sites easier (though you must enter them manually since they’re not pulled from Safari, though we’ve been told this may come in a future version of the app). You can easily email links to others right in the app as well.

The Settings menu allows you to customize some navigation elements as well as the background image. Double-tappping on the background can open a new window or trigger the Exhibit function. You can select a different background image from the iPad’s photo library.

Sites is available now and costs $3.99. We’re looking forward to seeing it in action on the iPad.

iPad Apps Now Live in App Store

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

We mentioned just the other day that iPad apps were starting to appear in the App Store database. Now, less than 48 hours before the iPad is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S., iPad apps are now live in the App Store (link opens iTunes), as pointed out by Gizmodo. While there is no separate category for iPad apps appearing the App Store yet, it’s possible to download the available iPad apps right now. Of course, they will only work on an iPad but this could be a boon for iPad buyers who want to start app shopping early.

Netflix Streaming Coming to an iPad Near You

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

iPad news is exploding across the internet with the release of reviews by prominent technology journalists as more and more iPad apps come under the spotlight. A summary and links to the various iPad reviews is over at MacRumors and the latest list of iPad apps already in the App Store database can be seen right here on AppShopper.

While there had been much speculation about Netflix streaming coming to the iPhone, the appearance of a streaming app for the iPad was a bit unexpected but it will clearly be a winner for iPad users with Netflix accounts.

Get Netflix on your iPad. Just download this free app and you can instantly watch TV shows & movies streaming from Netflix.
• Watch as often as you want
• It’s part of your unlimited Netflix membership
• Resume watching where you left off on your TV or computer
• Browse movies and manage your Queue right from your iPad
Not a Netflix member? Join today and get a 2-week free trial.

The least expensive Netflix unlimited plan that includes streaming costs $8.99 per month. The Netflix iPad app will be free and can be downloaded starting on April 3.