Archive for June, 2011

Official ‘Appshopper’ App Updated, Gets App Ratings, Links to Reviews, More

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Our official AppShopper app has been updated, getting several new features including links to 3rd-party app reviews at 148apps and TouchArcade, a way for users to rate apps directly, push notification scheduling and more. Version 1.4 of Appshopper hit the App Store just now though it may take a few hours for it to become available to you depending on your location.

A frequently-requested feature – the ability to turn off push notifications for a period you define, like at night when you’re sleeping – has also been added. And you can now view the Top 200 apps in any category for the iPhone or iPad, paid or free within the app as well.

The full list of what’s new in this update is as follows:

  • Top 200 rankings
  • App Ratings
  • Links to 3rd party app reviews
  • Automatically loads apps when scrolling to the bottom of a list
  • New filters for search
  • Email notification settings
  • Disable push notifications during certain times of the day
  • In-app AppShopper account registration
  • Share an app’s info via Twitter, Facebook, email and more
  • Various bug fixes

AppShopper remains free and is ad-supported. A one-time in-app purchase of $.99 removes all ads forever.

We hope you enjoy the official AppShopper app! If you have any questions or need support, please email

[applink url=””]

Nexmap Boston: Gorgeous Public Transportation Maps, Schedules and More

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Forgive me if you’re not in Boston, Massachusetts since this app won’t do you any good – it’s all about public transportation here in Bean Town. But if you do live in in the Boston area or will have a chance to visit the Cradle of Liberty in the near future, read on since Nexmap Boston by Nextransit is a must-have app if you take the T (subway), commuter rail, or bus.

Nexmap Boston provides real-time information about the entire public transportation system in the Boston metropolitan area. It includes interactive maps of the subway, commuter rail, and bus systems that are optimized for the iPhone 4’s retina display.

Its interface is very simple, showing only a map of all of the public transportation systems when you first open it. You can pan and zoom to find the station you’re looking for and tapping on a station will reveal the next subway, bus, or train scheduled to arrive and depart.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has done something pretty neat in the past few years – they’ve been adding GPS trackers to buses and subway cars and have made this information available to developers, which Nextransit has tapped into to provide more precise location information where available. This also yields ETA information so you can see if you need to run to make your bus or train or if you have a little more time to grab a coffee on the way to work.

At the top of the screen is a virtual pull tab that, when dragged down, will reveal a search bar where you can enter a station name to go directly to it. Nexmap Boston will also show the official MBTA system alerts – these can be viewed by tapping on the exclamation point in the top right corner of the screen.

Screenshots don’t entirely do Nexmap Boston justice and this demo video shows off the interface effectively:

I use Nexmap Boston every time I venture out into the city and I’ve found it to be incredibly useful and a pure joy to use. My only wish is for a “find me” button that would automatically pinpoint me on the map in relation to the closest station in case I venture outside of the areas I know well and just want to get to the closest station possible.

Nextransit has another app in the App Store called Nextime dedicated to public bus systems in Boston and a handful of other locations. I haven’t tried this app but if you live in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. or Québec and use the bus systems often, I’d wager it’s worth a look as well.

[applink url=””]

Apple Posts ‘Final Cut Pro X’ FAQ, Offering Refunds to Some

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Following last week’s release of Final Cut Pro X and the subsequent backlash of mostly negative reviews, Apple quietly posted an FAQ page addressing questions about the revamped video editing application last night.

Final Cut Pro X is a breakthrough in nonlinear video editing. The application has impressed many pro editors, and it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community. We know people have questions about the new features in Final Cut Pro X and how it compares with previous versions of Final Cut Pro. Here are the answers to the most common questions we’ve heard.

The FAQ addresses questions about importing, editing, and exporting projects as well as media management. Responses to some questions indicate that Apple is working on updating Final Cut Pro X to include additional features such as multicam editing and XML export.

In the meantime, The Next Web reports that Apple is refunding the purchase price of Final Cut Pro X to some unhappy customers. Despite the “all sales are final” clause in the terms and conditions of the Mac App Store, Apple is apparently considering and processing refund requests submitted through the Mac App Store Customer Service contact form.

Final Cut Pro X is available now in the Mac App Store for $299. At the time of this post, it has earned a total of 1,376 ratings of which nearly half are 1-star ratings.

[applink url=”424389933″]

‘Phocus’ Helps You Get Things Done

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Having trouble staying focused on your work because of distractions? Looking for a timer to help split your work day between working time and breaks? If so, do check out Phocus by One Tiny Pixel, aka Marshall Bock. Phocus hit the App Store late last month and offers a polished interface with adjustable timers to separate your work day into manageable chunks of time in between breaks.

One Tiny Pixel has created a demo video to show how Phocus works:

Phocus counts down intervals of work time and break time, repeating this cycle 4 times. On the fourth cycle a “reward time” is added at the end. You can easily adjust the default intervals to suit your entire work day or devote time to a specific project or task.

The area behind the countdown timer fills up and changes color to provide a visual indicator of your progress. You can pause any timer in case you need to step away from whatever you’re doing and then re-start it when you return.

Settings allow you to turn off auto-locking to keep your iPhone on at all times, enable push notifications to be alerted when a countdown has ended when you’re using another app, and more.

Phocus is not nearly as extreme as some desktop Mac apps we’ve seen that hide or actually disable distracting apps on your computer to allow you to focus on your work. Since it’s on your iPhone or iPod touch, it really becomes a clock to keep an eye on as you work and it’s only useful if you’re disciplined enough to follow its guidance of course. If a timer is enough to keep you on track, Phocus is definitely worth a look.

[applink url=”—-a-beautiful-productivity-timer”]

‘Fring’ Updated to Bring Group Video Calling to iPad

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Fring, a free communications app available for a number of platforms, has been updated to be universal with an interface optimized for the iPad. The latest update also brings Bluetooth audio support for the iPhone and connectivity improvements.

The full list of what’s new in version is as follows:

  • NEW iPad optimized version!
  • The 1st GROUP VIDEO calling app for iPad. Use it for Video chat on 3G/WiFi to iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Android and other smartphones.
  • NOW 4 friends see each other at the same time.
  • Fun drag & drop navigation. Unique combo communication with simultaneous voice/video + chat and more.
  • iPhone now with BLUETOOTH support – I can hear you clearly now!
  • Connectivity improvements so you stay connected.
  • Bug fixes. It’ll be even smoother fringing now.

Fring created this slightly goofy video to showcase the new interface on the iPad:

Fring was last on our radar in April when 4-way video calling was added as well as last summer when it was one of the first 3rd-party apps to bring 2-way video calling to the iPhone 4.

[applink url=””]

‘’ Brings Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Gowalla to You

Monday, June 27th, 2011

The social networking craze is off the charts these days and the App Store is certainly a reflection of this with thousands of apps in the Social Networking category alone. Many of them focus on one social networking service while others work to provide more comprehensive access to several at the same time, like Taptivate’s Friends. Debuting last week in the App Store, is in the latter category but with a slight twist that makes it a more compelling app than others. offers immediate access to the Twitter, Facebook, Gowalla, and Foursquare posts made around you based on your current location. These posts are publicly available and visible even if you don’t have an account with any of these services or haven’t logged in. Also (and this is my favorite part) you don’t need to create yet another account to use

Banjo has created a video demonstrating how the app works:

The Who’s Near tab shows you everyone who has posted around you recently while the List tab provides a list of of the recent posts made by those people. The Map view displays everyone in the Who’s Near tab on a map. You can designate favorite places on the map to quickly access the posts made around that area, and post to Twitter or check in to Facebook, Gowalla, or Foursquare right within the app.

Of course, works best when you’re a well-populated area and it can definitely give you a feel for the vibe of a place or event at a quick glance. Alternately, it can feel a bit stalker-ish in showing the locations and current activities posted by random strangers though you can limit what’s visible to your friends only. is free and works on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and requires iOS 3.1.2 or higher.

[applink url=”″]

Review: ‘Balance Forecasting’ for iPhone – Watch Your Account Balance Like a Hawk

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

I wouldn’t call myself an impulsive spender but I am frequently attracted to shiny objects at the mall more often than I should be and I was looking for a way to forecast the impact of unplanned purchases on my bank account. A search through the App Store revealed Balance Forecasting by indie developer Robert Chitoiu, an app that focuses on tracking your bills and income and forecasting your balance well into the future. I’ve been using it for several months now and have found it to be an incredibly useful app with only a few minor issues.

Getting set up to use Balance Forecasting takes a little bit of effort but is well worth it. For each account you want to track, you must manually enter your recurring bills and income in the Money tab. The frequency of recurring items can be weekly, biweekly, monthly, yearly, or a custom schedule and you can also set an end date to stop recurring items at a point in the future.

You can also enter one-time expenses and income as they occur. There are fields for all items where you can make additional notes and flag items as important (which highlights them in other views) and even switch on reminders, which are controlled in the app’s settings, to get a push notification alert or email when income or a bill is due.

Once you’ve set up these items for each account you want to track, the Forecast screen will show you a running balance for up to four years into the future based on what you’ve entered. You can also access a Chart view from this screen which shows you a line graph of your balance over time.

The Forecast screen is where the money is (see what I did there?) for me. I use this screen and the Chart view to see the impact of any unexpected expenses or impulse purchases on my primary checking account and it has proved to be a fantastic tool. It has made me more mindful of my expenditures and helps me plan ahead for major purchases I want to make.

The app offers additional settings like a passcode option to protect your information from prying eyes. Chitoiu also offers an automatic online back-up/synchronization option to keep your data in sync across multiple devices. And, Chitoiu has created a version of Balance Forecasting for the Mac, available in the Mac App Store, which also works with the online synchronization option and offers the same features (minus the handy chart view) as the iOS version.

There is one important limitation to the sync feature: it is not 2-way sync and utilizes only the most recent version of your data to overwrite what you have saved on other devices. In other words, if you make edits in the app on both the iPhone and Mac, the changes you make most recently in one instance of the app will overwrite the information in the other.

While I have Balance Forecasting for the Mac as well, I have encountered an issue where it doesn’t quite sync up exactly with the information shown in the app on my iPhone, which is where I use the app most often. Also, while completely functional, the app doesn’t have a very polished or customizable interface, though this is not an issue for me given how well the app fits my needs.

There have been a few bugs here and there and Chitoiu has been responsive in addressing them. For example, I had noticed that the Paid button didn’t work when viewing an individual item in the Forecast list view and he had responded to my email promptly and addressed it in the next app update.

If you’re looking for a full-fledged financial tracking app that will handle multiple accounts, budgets, and analyze your financial status seven ways from Sunday, Balance Forecasting is not for you (though you may want to check out Catamount Software’s PocketMoney). But if you’re looking for something to track balances for one or two accounts to keep a close eye on the impact of bills and expenses on your bottom line, Balance Forecasting is fantastic and earns a full recommendation from me.

Balance Forecasting for the iPhone costs only $.99. There is a free version as well that is ad-supported but when the full version without ads is already under $1.00, my recommendation is to just go for the paid version. Knowing what I do now about how well Balance Forecasting works, I would have paid much, much more for it and $.99 is a bargain-basement price.

You can find more information at, including full descriptions of the features of the iOS and Mac versions and a link to walk-through video of the Mac version.

[applink url=””]

NBC Shows Come to iPad (Well, Not Really)

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

As a fan of the shows 30 Rock and Chuck, I was excited to see this entry show up in the What’s New list here on AppShopper but I was quickly disappointed as it turns out. NBC has released an app for the iPad that offers access to its shows and other information and the description reads as follows:

The all-new NBC app allows you to take all your favorite NBC shows on the go. Watch the latest video clips, view photos, read recaps, play games, keep track and see previews of upcoming shows, and interact with other fans.

However, there’s a substantial disclaimer in all caps at the bottom of the app’s features list:


I was hoping that NBC was joining the likes of ABC, PBS, and HBO in offering on-demand streaming of full episodes of its most popular shows on the iPad but I was wrong. It is possible, though, that this disclaimer indicates that full episode streaming is coming in the future and is just not available yet.

If you’re interested in seeing tantalizing yet unfulfilling clips of shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, and Chuck on your iPad, go ahead and download the free NBC app now. If you’d like to encourage NBC to offer access to full shows via this app, submit feedback to them here.

[applink url=””]

Apple Releases ‘iTunes Festival London 2011’ Featuring Live Music Streaming

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Earlier this week Apple released its iTunes Festival London 2011 iOS app that provides scheduling information and live streaming of concerts daily throughout the month of July at The Roundhouse in London. The iTunes Festival kicks off on July 1 and will feature performances by Paul Simon, Duran Duran, Coldplay, Kasabian over 31 days.

31 nights. 62 bands. 1 official app.

This July, the iTunes Festival returns to London, England. Featuring 31 consecutive nights of incredible live music in one of the UK’s best venues, this is the hottest ticket in town. The lineup includes Coldplay, Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, Paul Simon, Bruno Mars, Adele, My Chemical Romance, Duran Duran, Lang Lang and Moby — to name just a few of the great shows you can watch live on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Download the official app now to explore the lineup in more detail and watch the shows LIVE or on demand for a limited period from wherever you are in the world. You can even invite your friends to watch on the big screen with AirPlay support for streaming the gigs to your Apple TV.

iTunes Festival London 2011 is free and available in the App Store now and it’s definitely worth a download if you’re a fan of any of the 62 bands scheduled to perform. The app is universal and works on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 4.1 or higher. Additional information on the festival can be found on the web here.

[applink url=”″]

Apple Releases ‘Final Cut Pro X’, ‘Compressor’, and ‘Motion’ in Mac App Store

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

On the heels of a quiet update to its Time Capsule Wi-Fi base station and wireless storage device this morning, Apple has announced the release of Final Cut Pro X, its professional video editing software, and companion utility apps Motion 5 and Compressor 4 in the Mac App Store.

Final Cut Pro X is the biggest advance in Pro video editing since the original Final Cut Pro,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “We have shown it to many of the world’s best Pro editors, and their jaws have dropped.

Final Cut Pro X is now a 64-bit application for compatibility with the more recent computers made by Apple and requires Mac OS 10.6.7 or later on a Mac computer with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better.

Compressor  4 is a companion utility application that allows exceptional customization to Final Cut Pro X‘s export functionality while Motion 5 offers customization of the application’s titles, transitions, and effects.

Final Cut Pro X costs $299 while Compressor 4 and Motion 5 each cost $49.99. All three applications are available for purchase now in the Mac App Store.

[applink url=”424389933, 424390742, 434290957″]