Archive for October, 2012

Realmac Software, Impending, and Helftone Tease ‘Clear’ for Mac

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Earlier this year, Realmac Software, Impending, and Helftone partnered to create Clear, a gesture-driven list app for the iPhone with nary a virtual button in sight. I thought Clear had a beautiful and fluid interface and it remains one of my most often-used apps on my iPhone today. I have occasionally wished that I could access my Clear lists on my Mac to avoid interrupting my workflow to grab my iPhone to make changes and RealMac, Impending, and Helftone will be making that wish come true soon with the release of Clear for Mac on November 8.

Clear for Mac will synchronize your lists between your iPhone and your Mac through iCloud. Check out the teaser video to get a peek at it in action:

Introducing Clear for Mac and iPhone + iCloud from Realmac Software on Vimeo.

With a mouse-driven interface, Clear on the Mac won’t have quite the same feel as on the iPhone but it looks like the spirit of Clear is still intact.

The preview video also gives a sneak peek of at least one change coming to the iPhone version in the next update that will also be released on November 8 –– the ability to swipe left and right between lists (at about 0:38 into the video).

We’ve learned that Clear for Mac will cost $15, a price I will happily pony up to get those lovely lists on my Mac and synchronization with my iPhone.

Clear for iPhone currently costs $1.99 and it’s worth every penny (see our review for more details if you want more info before making that $2 leap, you penny-pincher, you). If you have a Mac and have a need to make lists for grocery shopping, tasks, or count the myriad ways you love AppShopper, go buy it now and stay tuned for a closer look at Clear for Mac when it’s released.

[applink url=””]

A Quick Update on iPhone 5 Support in the Official AppShopper App

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

The iPhone 5 has been out for a little over a month now and developers have been updating their apps to add compatibility with this device’s larger screen ever since. We here at AppShopper are also trying to update our own official app but it’s taking a little more time than expected due to some changes in Apple’s app approval guidelines.

We don’t have a timeframe yet on when this update will be released, but we wanted you to be aware that we are working on it. I personally know how disappointing it can be to have a favorite app that doesn’t quite take advantage of the glorious 4-inch display of the iPhone 5 and I’m right there with you. As soon as we have more details on the timing to share, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, the official AppShopper app still works to show you the latest price drops and updates and lets you add and remove apps from your Wish List despite this, so do get it if you haven’t already. The official app of our sister site, TouchArcade, which focuses on iOS games exclusively has gotten the iPhone 5 treatment already and is a great resource if you want to stay on top of the best and hottest iPhone and iPad games, so get that too if you haven’t already.

[applink url=”,”]

Keep Track of Hurricane Sandy with Your iPhone

Monday, October 29th, 2012

If you’re in the mid-Atlantic or northeastern US or have friends or family in these areas, you’re probably keeping tabs on the progress of Hurricane Sandy. As you’d expect, there are several apps to help you stay on top of the weather on your iPhone while you’re working on staying out of Sandy’s way or hunkering down to wait her out.

First up is a free offering from the Red Cross. Hurricane provides you with a plethora of information from steps to take to prepare for a hurricane and other useful tips to location-based alerts from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Red Cross shelter locations, and the ability to send out notifications via email, text message, and social networks to your friends and family to let them know you’re safe.

[applink url=””]

If you want to actually watch the progress of Sandy or any other storm in excruciating detail, check out Base Velocity’s RadarScope. At $9.99, it’s a bit more expensive than other weather apps but it offers so much radar information it’ll make your head spin.

[applink url=””]

If you’d rather listen to relevant weather updates, most internet radio apps should let you access the NOAA radio stations but you can find them all in a single app if you’d rather not mess around. Christopher Coudriet’s NOAA Weather Radio puts more than 200 NOAA stations and broadcasts at your fingertips and offers push notifications of weather alerts plus forecast information and links to other online weather news sources.

[applink url=””]

If you just want a general all-around weather app that can also give you alerts for severe storms, Vimov’s Weather HD is a good choice. Weather HD gives you forecast current conditions and forecast information in a pretty, animated interface that’s worthy of constant display when you have your iPhone docked on your desk. You can also opt to receive push notification alerts from the NOAA for severe weather issues in your area.

Weather HD is also on sale in celebration of Halloween, so it’s a good time to snap it up.

[applink url=””]

Sandy’s wind and rain have been rattling the windows for most of the day but the electricity is still going strong in the part of Boston where I live but I’m fully expecting it to bite the dust shortly. If you’re in the path of Sandy, stay safe!

‘Tweetie’ Developer Loren Brichter Releases ‘Letterpress’ Word Game for iPhone and iPad

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Loren Brichter, the developer behind the now-defunct Tweetie, one of the first and arguably one of the best iOS and Mac Twitter clients, has released a new app for the iPhone and iPad. This time around he’s trying his hand at a word game and his creation, Letterpress, hit the App Store yesterday.

Letterpress is an asynchronous multiplayer word game that’s not like anything else out there. In a new game, you’re presented with a 5-by-5 grid of letters and your goal is to take control of the board. You do this by creating words, which turns the tiles of the letters you used to your designated color. The game is over when all letters on the board have been used and therefore assigned a color. The person who used the most letters, which is signified by how many letter tiles are shaded by their designated color, wins the game.

There are a few twists. You can only play a word once and you can “protect” letters from the other player by surrounding them with other letters you’ve used. Letterpress uses Game Center to find opponents and you can choose one randomly or invite any existing Game Center friends to play directly.

We usually leave the game coverage to our sister site, TouchArcade, but Letterpress is an outstanding word game from a developer known for designing beautiful applications and Letterpress is no exception to this track record. If you want to learn more about Letterpress, see the full review over at TouchArcade.

Letterpress is free to download and use. There is an optional $.99 in-app purchase that will allow you to have multiple games going at once and unlock additional color themes so you can change the look of the game’s interface and a few other perks.

If you like word games and want to try one that’s different from the Scrabble clones out there, you should download Letterpress toot sweet*.

[applink url=”–-word-game”]

*That was an intentional bastardization of “tout de suite” and my high school French teacher would be horrified to read that. Sorry, Mrs. Thompson.

Apple Announces Fourth-Generation iPad and New iPad mini

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

As expected based on more rumors than you can shake a stick at, Apple announced the new iPad mini at today’s media event. The smaller tablet features a 7.9-inch display with the same resolution of the 2nd-generation iPad 2 of 1,024 x 768 pixels, which will allow all existing apps that work on the iPad 2 to run without any need for modification on the iPad Mini.

iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”

The iPad mini is tiny, measuring just 7.2 millimeters thick and weighing .68 pounds. Like its larger sibling, the iPad mini features both front-facing and rear-facing cameras. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera has a 1.2-megapixel sensor and the rear camera has a 5-megapixel sensor and can record 1080p HD video. The iPad mini also has all of the wireless connectivity goodness available in other models with Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, plus 3G and 4G LTE in certain models.

The iPad mini will come in Wi-Fi and Wi-fi + Cellular models in two colors: black/slate and white/silver (just like the iPhone 5). The Wi-Fi models will cost $329, $429, and $529 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models will cost $499, $599, and $699 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, respectively.

Apple also announced the latest version of the iPad mini’s larger sibling, the fourth-generation iPad. The new iPad gets Apple’s own A6X processor and a FaceTime HD front-facing camera.

Both the fourth-generation iPad and the iPad mini will have the new Lightning connector that first debuted with the iPhone 5.

The iPad mini will be available for pre-order starting this Friday, October 26. The fourth-generation iPad and the iPad mini Wi-Fi models will be available starting on November 2. The iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular models will start shipping in December.

That isn’t all Apple announced today. For more, see the following articles over at our sister site MacRumors:

MetaWatch Smartwatch Manager for iPhone Debuts in App Store

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Ever get tired of pulling your iPhone out of your pocket or purse just to check a text message or see if you’ve got any new emails? What if your iPhone could connect wirelessly to your watch so you could see status alerts like this at a quick glance without having to pull out your iPhone? If this appeals to you, you’ll be excited to know that the app to manage such a watch is now available in the App Store. And then you’ll be sad to know that the watch that goes with it isn’t available quite yet.

MetaWatch is a Dallas-based company that makes smartwatches for iOS and Android smartphones. It introduced its first consumer smartwatch model, the Strata, through KickStarter, the online crowd funding platform, earlier this year. The Strata reached its minimum funding level in August and the first batch of watches are now ready to be delivered pending FCC approval at the time of this post.

Getting back to the new app, MetaWatch Manager debuted in the App Store over the weekend and will let you control what’s shown on the face of your MetaWatch smartwatch. The Strata can show you information in on-screen widgets all of the time, like the current time, date, and temperature, stock prices, and your iPhone’s battery level. Using MetaWatch Manager, you can customize and arrange these widgets and control other features, like Caller ID and text message notifications. Additional control features are planned soon to add email, Twitter, Facebook, and alarm clock notifications.

Here’s a brief demo video MetaWatch created showing MetaWatch Manager in action:

The Strata smartwatch will connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth, using a low-power mode that’s available only in the newer iOS devices with Bluetooth 4.0 radios (the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPad 3). MetaWatch Manager also requires iOS 6.0 or higher.

I backed the MetaWatch Kickstarter campaign and should receive my Strata next month and I’m really, really excited about it. I expect my Strata to be particularly useful while I’m exercising or otherwise have my hands full or occupied and my iPhone is tucked away in my purse or somewhere else out of reach. And since smartphone thefts are on the rise, I’ll also be happy to have an alternative to pulling it out of my pocket to check new text messages while I’m out and about in downtown Boston.

If you want a Strata but missed out on the Kickstarter campaign, you can sign up to hear when they’re available for sale to the public through MetaWatch’s online store.

[applink url=””]

Collins Brings the World to Your Fingertips with ‘Atlas’

Friday, October 19th, 2012

I still marvel at the fact that the enormous dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases I used as a child to learn about the world and complete what seemed like endless amounts of homework at the time are now condensed into digital forms that can be carried in your pocket. And these digital versions can offer so much more interactivity than their older paper counterparts, making them small wonders in and of themselves. HarperCollins’ latest entry, Atlas, in the App Store definitely counts as one of these small wonders.

Atlas by Collins™ was designed to revolutionize how people find information about the world around them,” said Sheena Barclay, Managing Director of the Collins Geo Division. “This app is a gateway to an amazing amount of information about our planet, its people and the way we live. For the first time, the Apple platform provides the processing power and functionality to bring a world-class Atlas app to people all over the planet. Through Atlas by Collins™, Apple device owners can now see the world in context and keep up-to-date with it as it evolves.

Atlas offers information on the earth’s geography, environment, and population plus political maps and overviews of energy and technology usage around the world via seven virtual themed globes. The Satellite Map globe is loaded and ready for your viewing pleasure when you download the app, with the other globes available for download at no charge.

You can pinch and zoom on each globe to focus in on an area or use the search field at the top of the screen to find exactly what you’re looking for more quickly. Double-tapping on a marked point on a globe prompts a pop-up with more information.

Here’s a trailer that HarperCollins created:

As shown in the trailer, more virtual globes focusing on sports, economics, and UNESCO World Heritage sites will be available in the future via in-app purchase, though there’s no official word yet on how much these will cost.

HarperCollins also created several how-to videos for Atlas, which you can find here.

Atlas offers an impressive amount of information in a highly-polished package. If you’re at all curious about our planet and what’s happening on it, go download Atlas now while it’s still at its special introductory price of $9.99 (a bargain considering that a paper version of any reputable atlas will cost you at least twice as much). While Atlas is s universal app, note that it will only run on newer iOS devices because of its graphics-intensive nature, so don’t hit that download link unless you’ve got an iPhone 4 or newer (yes, if you have an iPhone 3GS or older, you’re out of luck here), a 4th- or 5th-generation iPod touch, or an iPad 2 or 3. You’ll need to be running iOS 5.0 or later as well.

[applink url=””]

Tweetbot Hits the Mac App Store with a $20 Price Tag

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Tapbots, the maker of Tweetbot, my favorite Twitter client for the iPhone and iPad, and Netbot, an identical client for the Twitter-like upstart, has released Tweetbot for Mac. Tweetbot had been released as a free public alpha in July and made it into the App Store today at $19.99, a price that’s notably higher than several competing Twitter clients for the Mac.

In a blog post announcing the release, Tapbots explains the new limits imposed by Twitter that are the primary factor driving the price of the app:

Because of Twitter’s recent enforcement of token limits, we only have a limited number of tokens available for Tweetbot for Mac. These tokens dictate how many users Tweetbot for Mac can have. The app’s limit is separate from, but much smaller than, the limit for Tweetbot for iOS. Once we use up the tokens granted to us by Twitter, we will no longer be able to sell the app to new users. Tapbots will continue to support Tweetbot for Mac for existing customers at that time.

Tapbots goes on to explain that the price could change if Twitter allows developers more tokens in the future and encourages users to reach out to Twitter to request this:

This limit and our desire to continue to support the app once we sell out is why we’ve priced Tweetbot for Mac a little higher than we’d like. It’s the best thing we can do for the long term viability of the product. We know some will not be happy about Tweetbot for Mac’s pricing, but the bottom line is Twitter needs to provide us with more tokens for us to be able to sell at a lower the price. We spent a year developing this app and it’s the only way for us to be able to make our money back and continue supporting it with updates in the future. Feel free to let Twitter know how you feel about it.

You can hear more directly from Tapbots developer Todd Thomas in this interview over at iMore.

I’ve been using the alpha and beta versions of Tweetbot to date and just downloaded the official Mac App Store version. Its look and feel has not changed significantly from the pre-release versions and it offers several useful features for avid Twitter users and even those who manage multiple Twitter accounts. However, at $20, it’s probably not an insta-buy for many and understandably so. Comparatively, The Iconfactory’s Twitterrific and my previous favorite, Osfoora, are just $4.99. These apps are also subject to Twitter’s token limits, which may prompt these developers to revisit their pricing.

I really like Tweetbot and I have no problem paying a bit more for a useful and well-designed product that I will use on a daily basis. If you feel the same way, Tweetbot is a great Twitter client for the Mac. If not, there are plenty of other less expensive or free apps that work just as well or maybe even better depending on your needs.

If you’ve used the alpha or beta versions of Tweetbot but don’t plan to buy the official Mac App Store version, Tapbots asks that you release your tokens so they’ll be available to others, which you can do by logging into your Twitter account on the web, going to the Apps section, and finding Tweetbot in that list and clicking the Revoke Access button next to it.

[applink url=”″]

Apple Invites Press to October 23 Media Event

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Image courtesy of The Loop

The Loop reports that Apple has sent out invitations for a media event to take place on October 23 at 10:00 am Pacific Time at the California Theater in San Jose, California.

Apple is widely expected to announce a smaller iPad, dubbed the iPad mini by the press so far, at this event. A strong focus on iBooks is also expected according to a report from The Next Web. If Apple does release a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen, it will compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and tablets made by Samsung, Google, and others.

An updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with a retina display to complement the 15-inch model that debuted earlier this year may also be on the docket for this media event based on a report from 9to5Mac.

I’m hoping for an iPad mini, which I think could easily replace my current iPad 3 that I’m finding just a little too large and heavy for the amount of ebook reading I use it for. I also wouldn’t mind a version of the iPad that’s a bit more portable –– I rarely lug my iPad with me out of the house unless I’m going on a trip that will last more than a day. What are you hoping to see out of this event?

‘Quick Route’ Melds Google Places Data with Turn-By-Turn Navigation

Monday, October 15th, 2012

If you’re running iOS 6 on your iPhone and still really, really miss Google’s map information in the revamped Maps app, you’ll be happy to know that the search giant is reportedly working on its own app to make available in the App Store. As pointed out by our sister site MacRumors over the weekend, iOS developer Ben Guild posted some screenshots of what is reportedly an alpha build of Google’s upcoming iOS maps app and notes that it’s optimized for the iPhone 5’s larger screen, super fast, and more.

While you’re waiting for Google’s own maps app to hit the App Store, you can check out Excited Pixel’s new Quick Route, which uses Google Places data and provides navigation guidance for driving, walking, biking and public transportation. It still uses the raw map image data from Apple but the business listings themselves come straight from Google, showing more search results than Apple’s own Maps in the quick tests I’ve done so far.

Quick Route looks a little busy with it’s dual-pane layout to show your current location and your destination but it can make keeping track of where you are and where you want to go easier if you’re in an unfamiliar area. Though it doesn’t offer voice guidance, it will automatically track your location and move on to the next step as you make progress along your route. A pull-to-reroute feature lets you get an alternate route on the fly if you make a wrong turn or want to avoid a part of the original route.

Quick Route requires iOS 5.0 or later and is optimized for the iPhone 5’s larger screen. It’s on sale at a special introductory price of $2.99 so snap it up now if you can’t wait for Google’s own official maps app but still want access in a native app to all of Google’s business listings.

[applink url=””]