Archive for the ‘App Store’ Category

Official TouchArcade iPhone App Available Now

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

There are thousands of games for the iPhone and iPad and finding the true gems among the existing offerings in the App Store –not to mention the new titles that are released every day– can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever looked around for unbiased and reliable game reviews to help you make your purchasing decisions, you’ve probably come across our sister site TouchArcade. While accessing TouchArcade is hardly a chore from any device with a web browser and an internet connection, it’s now even easier for iPhone owners with today’s debut of the official ToucArcade app.

The TouchArcade app offers instant access to the most recent reviews and articles posted on the site, which is staffed with writers around the clock to catch new releases as soon as they hit and offer exclusive previews of upcoming titles. The app also offers access to the site’s forum where more than 140,000 members discuss games and share tips and strategies.

The app’s main view provides links to the most recent posts on TouchArcade’s home page, accessible through the News & Reviews link. Recently-reviewed games that earned the highest ratings from TouchArcade staff are accessible from the Top Reviews link. The scrollable Hot New Games strip on the right (the same list is accessible through the Hot New Games link in the main menu) has some extra goodness behind it – this list incorporates feedback from TouchArcade’s forum members, showing the most highly-rated games that have generated the most feedback and discussion.

If you want to do a little more digging among the most highly-rated games, you can customize what’s shown in the Top Reviews list. This list can be modified by timeframe to show the high-rated games reviewed within the past week to every single one since TouchArcade was founded in 2008. You can also change the view to narrow down the genre and paid or free status.

If you’re already familiar with how our own Wish List feature works here on AppShopper (if not, check out this article), then the Watch List feature in the TouchArcade app will be familiar to you. When you look at the details for a game or a preview article about an upcoming title not yet available in the App Store in the News & Reviews category, a Watch List toggle is available. This toggle will let you add the game to a list so you can stay on top of its release and any price changes or updates it receives, and be notified of any new articles published on TouchArcade about it.

You can create an account in the TouchArcade app, which is free. This account will let you post in the TouchArcade forums and will save the contents of your Watch List so you don’t lose everything if you switch devices.

If you’d rather use AppShopper to keep track of the apps you want or have using our own Wish List feature and already have the AppShopper app installed on your iPhone, there’s an “Open in AppShopper” link at the bottom of each app detail screen. Tapping this link opens the AppShopper app so you can add the selected app to your Wish List there.

The TouchArcade app’s settings also let you receive push notifications so you can be alerted when new articles are published or when there’s a change to an game on your Watch List. A Notifications Times setting lets you specify hours during which you don’t want to receive notifications so the app won’t interrupt your beauty sleep.

While the TouchArcade app is currently for the iPhone and iPod touch only right now (it works on the iPad though does not have an interface optimized for this device’s larger screen), a universal version is in the works.

There are plenty more features in the TouchArcade app that I haven’t covered here but I don’t want to delay you any longer from going to the App Store to download it. Which you should do. Right now. Because the official TouchArcade app is awesome and free. So get to it!

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Apple’s 25 Billion App Store Downloads Countdown Contest Concludes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Apple announced today the successful conclusion of its 25 billion App Store download contest that kicked off late last month. Chunli Fu of China downloaded the 25 billionth app, Where’s My Water? Free, winning the contest’s grand prize, a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

We’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve this historic milestone of 25 billion apps downloaded,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “When we launched the App Store less than four years ago, we never imagined that mobile apps would become the phenomenon they have, or that developers would create such an incredible selection of apps for iOS users.

Apple had celebrated 10 billion App Store downloads last summer with a similar contest, also offering a $10,000 iTunes gift card grand prize then. That contest was won by Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent in England.

Apple Sends Out Invitations for March 7 Press Event

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Image courtesy of The Loop

The Loop reports that Apple has sent out invitations to the press for a media event next month where the consumer electronics company is expected to announce the iPad 3. The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on March 7.

The 3rd-generation iPad is expected to have a retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels (the current iPad 2’s display has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels) while its body may be slightly thicker than the current iPad 2. Other rumors indicate that the prices of the iPad 3 models may be higher than those of the iPad 2 and that shipments of the iPad 3 are already arriving in the U.S. from Foxconn, the factory in China where iPads are manufactured.

Apple press events are always exciting and I’m sure this one won’t be an exception. We’ll be at GDC in San Francisco at Moscone Center next week (so close yet also so far from Yerba Buena where the Apple event will be held) and we’ll be sure to post about the news that comes out of the event.

Apple Holding Contest to Celebrate 25 Billion App Downloads

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Apple has posted details about a new contest to celebrate the upcoming 25 billionth download from the iOS App Store, offering a $10,000 iTunes gift card as the grand prize. The contest launched late last week and will conclude when the 25 billionth app is downloaded.

This is not the first time Apple has run a contest like this. Apple held a similar contest last summer to note the 10 billionth app download, also offering a $10,000 iTunes gift card as the grand prize at that time. Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent in England was the winner of that contest.

As before, entering the contest is dead simple – all you need to do is download apps (or submit an alternate entry) and keep your fingers crossed. You can find the official rules here and you can find some great ideas about which apps to get in our official 2011 AppShopper App Picks or our Top 200 lists. Good luck!

Apple Announces iBooks 2.0 Update, New iBooks Authoring and iTunes U Apps

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Billed as a reinvention of the textbook, Apple announced iBooks 2 today, as well as a new textbook creation Mac application, and a new iTunes U iOS app at a special media event in New York City’s Guggenheim Museum.

The updated iBooks app offers more interactive elements to enhance textbooks well beyond their paper counterparts. An on-stage demo highlighted the multimedia features of iBooks 2 using a biology textbook, showcasing a video introduction, animated 3D models of cells, access to the glossary simply by tapping on a word, and comprehensive searching capabilities. Also shown was the ability to highlight text and add notes, which can be turned into digital index cards for studying.

A new Textbooks category is now available in iBookstore where high school textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less to start. Apple has partnered with major publishers Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who have made several textbooks used by millions of students across the country available today in iBookstore with more coming soon.

iBooks 2.0 is available now in the App Store.

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Apple also announced a new Mac application today to create the interactive ebooks for iBooks 2. iBooks Author bears a strong resemblance to Apple’s Pages and Keynote applications, offering a WYSIWYG interface with drag-and-drop editing to add multimedia elements. iBooks Author also features a live preview function to display a work-in-progress on a connected iPad.

iBooks Author is a free app and is available today in the Mac App Store.

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Apple also announced a new iTunes U iOS app that will offer direct access to content from universities around the world, storing courses on a bookshelf interface similar to iBooks. The iTunes U catalog will offer entire courses, with videos, audio files, transcripts, and supplemental material available from the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore.

iTunes U is free and available in the App Store now.

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AppShopper Picks: 2011 Apps of the Year

Friday, December 30th, 2011

There are over 500,000 apps available for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store today and thousands of those debuted in the App Store this year. It can be overwhelming to stay on top of what’s new in the App Store (though our What’s New list can always help, of course) and we wanted to highlight the top new apps that caught our attention in 2011.

The popularity of Twitter, the micro-blogging social networking service, has exploded recently and there’s no shortage of Twitter apps in the App Store. Although Twitter has made several changes to its own official (and free) iOS app this year, Tweetbot by developer Tapbots continues to be one of the more popular alternatives. Tweetbot debuted to much acclaim in April and has an average rating of 4.5 stars in the App Store at the time of this post and it’s been a regular in the Top 200 Paid Social Networking iPhone apps.

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To appease aspiring DJs without the turntables and equipment to go pro, algoriddim released its djay app for the iPhone and iPod touch this year, complementing a version that had debuted in late 2010 for the iPad only. djay essentially turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a portable DJ system so you can become the life of the party at the drop of a hat.

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Flipboard is another developer that brought a winning app previously only available for the iPad to the iPhone and iPod touch. Flipboard is a personalized social magazine app that compiles articles, images and videos from your Twitter and Facebook feeds and other sources you select. A universal version that added compatibility for the iPhone debuted just a few weeks ago and it’s proving to be just as popular on the iPhone as it is on the iPad.

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If you’re making New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, you may want to check out the official P90X app that hit the App Store in November. P90X is a home exercise program that’s been around for several years and used by millions around the world. The app offers the popular program’s workouts in a format that’s easy to use on the iPhone.

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Though it’s been a while since I played the piano after years of lessons as a kid, an iPad app that debuted in September got me excited to get back on that hard, unforgiving bench to try it out again. Tonara is a sheet music display app that can actually hear what you’re playing and automatically turn to the next page, avoiding the need to free up a hand to make the transition. How cool is that? Tonara is free and has a in-app library of sheet music that can be purchased.

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Even though you’d think it’s a mundane topic, knowing the weather forecast is critical for iPhone users if the number of weather apps in the App Store is any indication. Unfortunately, this glut makes it hard for developers to stand out but ITWC Association managed it earlier this year with the release of Fahrenheit, an app that uses push notifications to show the current temperature right on your home screen through a badge on the app’s icon. (There’s a Celsius version as well.)

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We defer to the experts at our sister site, TouchArcade, for recommendations in this area since they live and breathe iOS games. This year, TouchArcade selected Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery by Capybara Games as the 2011 Game of the Year. The first runner up was Chillingo’s Anomaly Warzone Earth and honorable mentions included Infinity Blade II, Mage Gauntlet, and SpellTower. You can read the full Game of the Year article over at TouchArcade here and even hear our editors discuss these selections in their podcast here.

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I consider myself a casual gamer, dabbling in some Xbox 360 games here and there but spending most of my time playing games on my iPhone and iPad. In particular, I love shooting games and just about anything involving killing zombies and I’ve also found myself sucked into easy-to-play games with fun achievements and special in-game equipment to unlock. Given all of this, a couple of games stood out to me this year: Zombieville USA 2 and Jetpack Joyride.

Zombieville USA 2 by Mika Mobile is a cute zombie shooter with a ton of weapons, skills, and characters to choose from. It also has a great co-op mode where you can pair up with a partner to kill zombies galore over Bluetooth or through Game Center. You can read a full review of the game at TouchArcade here.

Jetpack Joyride by Halfbrick Studios (those brilliant folks who also made Fruit Ninja) is incredibly straightforward to play with a simple tap mechanic to make the main character, Barry Steakfries, jump. It may not sound like much but it’s absorbing and easy to play in short bursts and there are a ton of achievements that will compel you to jump through hoops in order to earn them. You can read a full review of Jetpack Joyride at TouchArcade here.

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That’s it for our 2011 selections! We here at AppShopper wish everyone a fun and safe New Year’s Eve celebration and a fantastic 2012!

Happy Holidays! (Also, iTunes Connect is Closed for the Holidays)

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Happy holidays! We here at AppShopper wish everyone a safe, joy-filled holiday season! We plan to spend the Christmas holiday quietly with friends and family and we’ve still got our fingers crossed that we’ll get some snow to make it feel a little more complete.

Apple is also taking a break around the holidays and they’ve let developers know that iTunes Connect, the portal through which developers upload and manage apps in the App Store, will be closed from December 22 through December 29. Since AppShopper gets its information straight from Apple, many of our lists and feeds will show little to no changes during this period as well. So don’t be alarmed – we’re still here and providing you with the latest on app deals and updates but we’re forced to take a little break when Apple does as well.

Mac App Store Surpasses 100 Million Downloads

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Apple announced this morning that more than 100 million apps have been downloaded from its Mac App Store. The Mac App store, which debuted less than a year ago, currently offers more than 8,000 applications for Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher.

In just three years the App Store changed how people get mobile apps, and now the Mac App Store is changing the traditional PC software industry,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With more than 100 million downloads in less than a year, the Mac App Store is the largest and fastest growing PC software store in the world.”

An Apple PR spokesperson pointed out that this download milestone makes the Mac App Store the #1 PC software channel in the world, exceeding all sales of the shrink wrap software market according to sales information from market research firm NPD.

Apple Releases iOS 5

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

As announced at last week’s press event, Apple has released iOS 5 today for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The most recent version of Apple’s mobile operating system includes several new features, such as improved notifications, wireless syncing, Twitter integration and much more.

Some of the apps included out-of-the-box on iOS devices will see major upgrades. iMessage will replace Messages on the iPhone and will be a new addition for iPad and iPod touch users. It offers free text and multimedia messaging between iOS device users and will offer read receipts. The Camera app will have a shortcut button on the lock screen to make capturing images even quicker. The Photos app will offer some basic photo editing capabilities like crop and rotate.

New apps include Newsstand, an iBooks-like app specifically for magazines and newspapers, and Reminders, a tasks app with geolocation capabilities that can notify you of a pending task when you near a specific location.

On the new iPhone 4S, iOS 5 will include Siri Assistant, a system-level voice-centric interface that can handle tasks such as scheduling appointments, reading and creating text messages, and much more.

Apple has created an overview video highlighting some of the new features and changes in iOS 5:

iOS 5 is a free download for all users. It is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, the 3rd-and 4th-generation iPod touches, and the iPad and iPad 2. To update to iOS 5, you’ll need to plug your compatible iOS device into your computer, open iTunes, and follow the update prompts.

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Steve Jobs passed away last night. His death came as a shock to me personally and I am at a loss for words to describe how I feel even though I never knew him personally. Without his vision, AppShopper and many other sites may not have ever seen the light of day. Rest in peace, Steve.