Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

‘Reeder’ for iPad and Mac Now Free

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Last month, Google announced that it will shut down its Google Reader RSS service on July 1, 2013, citing a decline in the usage of the service. With hundreds of apps in the App Store relying on Google Reader, this shutdown puts a lot of developers in a tough place, forcing them to find an alternative or retire an app entirely.

In response to the uncertainty, Silvio Rizzi, the developer of popular RSS app Reeder announced via Twitter this afternoon that the iPad and Mac versions of the app are now free. In a blog post explaining the change, Rizzi states that development of Reeder to work around the Google Reader shutdown is in process. While the iPhone version of Reeder already offers support for other RSS services (with support for Feedbin on the way), the iPad and Mac versions will be getting the same treatment in version 2.0 and they will be free until then.

Reeder has been my preferred RSS app for a while now and I have confidence that Rizzi will adapt and keep Reeder as useful as it’s always been. If you’ve had Reeder on your Wish List or are just getting into the RSS game, now is a great time to get the Mac and iPad versions to take advantage of the temporary price reduction.

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Task Manager ‘Things’ for Mac Now 50% Off

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Developer Cultured Code has put its highly-rated task management Mac app, Things, on sale, dropping its price to $24.99 from its regular $49.99 until January 31. This sale is significant because Cultured Code hasn’t ever put Things on sale since it’s been available in the Mac App Store, so if it’s been on your Wish List, now is the time to get it.

Things is a heavy-duty task management app that is flexible enough to let you take a detailed approach to document multiple levels of tasks as part of a large project or create straightforward lists of single tasks you need to complete in the course of a day or week. There are companion apps for the iPhone and iPad (which are, alas, not on sale) and you can sync everything across all of your devices via Things Cloud, Cultured Code’s free synchronization service.

If you’re still not sure about spending $24.99 on Things for Mac, you can download a trial version through Cultured Code’s site. If you like it after seeing the trial or are willing to pony up the money to buy it for keeps sight unseen, be sure to do so before its price goes back up on January 31.

Editor’s note: iCloud was originally listed incorrectly as the synchronization service used for Things but this has been fixed.

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‘Keycard’ Locks Your Mac When Your iPhone Goes Out of Range

Monday, January 7th, 2013

If you’ve ever wanted a quick way to ensure that others can’t use your Mac when you step away from it and you’re the type of person to keep your iPhone with you wherever you go, developer Appuous has a solution for you with its new Mac app, Keycard.

Keycard is a tiny app that lives in your Mac’s menu bar (you can opt to keep its icon in your dock while it’s running as well) that locks your Mac when a paired Bluetooth device goes out of range. Once you and your device get back into range, Keycard will unlock your Mac automatically.

To use Keycard, you must first pair it with an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad (Appuous states that it will work with almost any other Bluetooth device as well though I’ve only used it with an iPhone and iPad mini). The pairing process with Keycard is not as involved as with a headset, speaker, or most other devices since all Keycard does is detect the device, log its identifier, and keep track of its Bluetooth signal so the Bluetooth indicator on your iOS device won’t light up to indicate the pairing.

Here’s a demo video showing Keycard in action:

After using Keycard for the past week with my MacBook Air (a mid-2011 model) and my iPhone 5 and iPad mini, I’ve found that it works as shown in that demo video. The Keycard lock screen appears when my iPhone gets anywhere from 15 to 30 feet away as the crow flies (with walls and furniture interrupting the Bluetooth signal in my house) and disappears by the time I get close enough to my Mac to type. While it’s locked, you can’t access any applications or use keyboard commands to force quit or switch applications. You can still power off a Mac and turn it back on manually, so you should enable a log-in password for your Mac for more security.

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While Keycard works with multiple devices, it will trigger based on the Bluetooth signal of only one device at a time. For me, pairing it with my iPhone is the best method since that’s the device I almost always carry with me wherever I go, which is not the case with my iPad.

In situations where your iPhone or iPad is out of Bluetooth range and you still need to work on your Mac, you can designate a 4-digit passcode that will unlock your Mac. I found this passcode to work as expected but entering it was a little buggy from time to time, with the cursor skipping backwards as I entered the code for no discernible reason. Also, once unlocked this way, my Mac would periodically re-lock as if Keycard momentarily detected my iPhone on the other side of the house and then lost the signal, requiring me to enter the code again. If your iPhone or iPad are going to be away from your Mac for a while, it makes sense to just quit Keycard to avoid this.

Despite these glitches, Keycard does what it promises. If you have mischievous coworkers who might take advantage of a brief absence from your Mac to post something inappropriate through your Facebook account or if you simply want to lock down your Mac to keep its contents relatively secure when you step away for a short period of time, Keycard will be ideal for you.

Keycard debuted in the App Store yesterday and is on sale for a special introductory price of $6.99 and its regular price will be $8.99. I have a hard time reconciling its regular price when comparing Keycard to an app like Clear, which is $9.99 and offers far more functionality albeit in a different category entirely, so I’d recommend you buy Keycard now before its price goes up.

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AppShopper Picks: 2012 Apps of the Year

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Apple’s App Store continues to grow and a number of excellent apps debuted this year. While it’s impossible to look at every single new app, we did come across several stand-outs this year that deserve a place on our year-end list of the best apps.

If you’ve been following the AppShopper blog, you know that we tend to focus on apps that are well-designed and useful. We don’t look at fart apps or silly dating advice apps that will give you a few minutes of entertainment before you delete them off your iOS device or Mac. With that in mind, this list is cultivated from apps we’ve seen this year that have intuitive user interfaces and do what they’re meant to do very, very well. In short, if you have a need for apps in these categories, these apps are worth your money.


I’m a big sucker for productivity apps. If an app will help me get things done more quickly or more efficiently, I’m all for it. Bonus points if it’s fun to use at the same time. In 2012, there were several notable apps in this category that deserve mention. The first is Clear, a lists app created by Realmac Software, Impending, and Helftone that has a gesture-driven interface (look, ma, no buttons!) to create and navigate around your lists. The iPhone version was released in February 2012 (my review) and the Mac version was released in November 2012 (my review). If you have both a Mac and an iPhone, Clear will synchronize automatically between the two devices via iCloud. If you like to keep lists for groceries, tasks, or anything at all, Clear is our top pick for you this year.

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Though Siri can make it easier to create calendar appointments with natural language, sometimes speaking aloud to your phone isn’t always appropriate or practical. Also, what if you don’t have one of the newest iOS devices that supports Siri to begin with? This is where Fantastical by Flexibits comes in. Fantastical lets you use natural language to create calendar events, so you can just type (or dictate if you have dictation-capable iOS device) “Lunch with Susie at 4 on Saturday” to create an event, which takes far fewer steps than it normally would in the built-in Calendar app (or most other third-party calendar apps I’ve seen). To see it in action, check out the video in my review.

(A Mac version of Fantastical is also available and it isn’t technically on this list of 2012 Picks since it was released in 2011 but I use it daily and still recommend it.)

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Apple doesn’t make it easy for you to quickly toggle system settings or add shortcuts to make calls or complete other common tasks on an iPhone or iPad. If you’re a fan of jailbreaking, this isn’t an issue for you with all of the tweaks (like SBSettings) out there that let you get around this. However, if you’re running iOS 6 and unable to jailbreak your iPhone (at the time of this post, an untethered jailbreak method for newer devices running iOS 6 is not yet available), App Cubby’s Launch Center Pro should be front and center on your home screen. Launch Center Pro can act as an app launcher for your most-used apps and lets you set up shortcuts to complete actions in compatible apps (of which there are hundreds – the full list is here). Launch Center Pro has been useful enough to me to boot Safari from my iPhone’s dock and you can read how I have it set up here if you’re looking for ideas on how to use it.

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Though you could argue that it’s easy enough to just look outside to check the current conditions and a handful of weather apps to provide information you can’t glean from a glance out your window should suffice in the App Store, this message apparently hasn’t reached developers. There are thousands of weather apps in the App Store and it’s a tough crowd to stand out in. However, Jackadam’s Dark Sky managed to do something different in this category this year by offering precise precipitation predictions for your location. Dark Sky can alert you before it starts to rain or snow, allowing you to squeeze in that dog walk or finish up the yard work beforehand. While it’s not perfect in its predictions, I’ve found it to work very well (see my review) and it’s gotten me and my dog out of the house in time to enjoy a walk before downpours that would otherwise have kept us indoors all day.

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Social Networking

It seems that everyone is on Twitter or Facebook these days and the App Store is filled with apps to let you share anything and everything through these networks, making it another tough category to stand out in. However, The Iconfactory managed to shine with Twitterrific 5 for iPhone and iPad. The new Twitterrific has a gorgeous interface and plenty of features to make your Twitter experience a treat though it does lack push notifications, which could be a deal-breaker if you like to be notified of your Twitter mentions and direct messages as soon as they happen. Read my review for details and to see a video of Twitterrific 5 in action.

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An honorable mention in this category goes to Tweetbot for Mac. The iPhone version was released last year and it’s a regular in the Top 200 Paid Social Networking apps and the Mac version debuted in October 2012. While it’s every bit as functional and fun to use as its iOS counterpart, its $20 price tag keeps it off this list since there are several other options in the Mac App Store that cost less and are just as capable.


As you probably already know, we usually leave game coverage to our sister site, TouchArcade. However, I’d be remiss in failing to mention a couple of games that have stolen hours of my time in 2012. First is Loren Brichter’s Letterpress, a cooperative word game with Boggle overtones. In Letterpress, you fight your opponent for ownership of as many tiles in a 5-by-5 grid of letters by creating words. The tiles you claim by creating words become yours, which is denoted by the color of the tiles, though they can reclaimed by your opponent if you’re not careful. The player who has claimed the most tiles once all of the letters have been used wins the game. See the full review over at TouchArcade for a more detailed look at Letterpress.

Next is a game called 10000000 that combines tile matching with RPG elements that blew the mind of TouchArcade’s Editor-in-Chief Eli Hodapp and earned a 5-star review shortly after its release over the summer. I’ve played through 10000000 a total of three times now from beginning to end, using the acquisition of a new iOS device each time as an excuse to install it and start over again from the beginning. Check out the review and video over at TouchArcade and download it now – you won’t regret it.

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If you’re looking for more recommendations on the best games of 2012, check out the series of Best iPhone Games and Best iPad Games articles over at TouchArcade.

This last pick was admittedly driven by a little bias but since it’s free (and awesome), I hope you’ll forgive me. Our sister site TouchArcade released an app earlier this year so that you can have even easier access to its excellent editorial content covering the best in iOS games and its active forum. With push notifications, you can even be alerted right away when a game you’ve had your eye on is released or goes on sale. If you like to play games even casually on your iPhone or iPad, the TouchArcade app is a worthy download.

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That’s it for our 2012 picks. We look forward to what 2013 will bring to the App Store and sharing the best of what we find with you as always!

iTunes Connect Holiday Closure: No New Apps or Updates December 21-28

Friday, December 21st, 2012

As in previous years Apple is shutting down iTunes Connect, the tool through which developers manage their apps available in the Mac and iOS App Stores, for the holidays from December 21 through December 28. This means that Apple isn’t approving or releasing any new apps, app updates, or allowing price changes during this entire period. Since AppShopper gets its information in real-time directly from Apple, our price drop, updates, and new apps lists on our site and in our app will consequently not change during this time.

So if you see these lists look the same to you over the next few days, don’t worry – nothing’s wrong or broken on our end. Our site and app are just reflecting the lack of activity in the App Store because of this closure. You’ll start seeing new apps, updates, and price changes on December 29 when iTunes Connect opens back up. Note that our Popular lists will continue to change during the closure since they rely in part on other data that doesn’t come from Apple.

Notable Holiday App Sales

Friday, December 21st, 2012

If you’ve been waiting for price drops to buy some apps, I’m pretty sure the time has come for you to go through your Wish List and browse our Price Drops list and open up your virtual wallet and buy it all because it feels like everything is on sale right now. It’s not possible for me to list every app sale in this post but I’d like to at least highlight some of the significant ones, particularly for apps that were featured or reviewed here on AppShopper this year.

But first things first.

If you’re new to AppShopper, see this article on our Wish list function and how to use it.

Now on to the sales!

First up are a few notable paid apps that are completely free for a very limited time. Snowman’s location-aware tasks app, Checkmark, is free for today only while Blux Camera for iPad has also dropped to $0 from $1.99 for a short time. WhatsApp Messenger, the incredibly popular cross-platform text messaging app, is now free as well, down from $.99.

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Clear, the lists app for iOS and Mac made by Realmac Software, Impending, and Helftone, is on sale for Christmas. The iOS version (my review) is 50% off, bringing it down to $.99 from $1.99 and the Mac version (my review) is 30% off, bringing it down to $6.99 from $9.99. (Realmac Software’s other apps are also on sale for Christmas and you can find a full list of these here.)

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Though you may not want to be thinking about taking notes for class or work meetings or Microsoft Office documents over the holidays, there are a couple of apps now on sale that you should know about. Dataviz’s Documents To Go Premium is on sale for 40% off, bringing the price of the universal iOS app down to $9.99 from $16.99 while Noteshelf, an excellent handwriting notes app for iPad is now 70% off, bringing its price down to $1.99 from $5.99.

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If you plan to play DJ at any holiday parties, algoriddim has reduced the price of its impressive djay for iPad by 50%, bringing it down to $9.99 from $19.99. If you’re not going to get a chance to inflict your DJ skills on friends and family in person, you can chat with them via Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, instant messaging, and more with Shape’s IM+ Pro for iPhone and iPad which is now 50% off, putting it at $.99 down from $1.99.

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That’s all for now. Happy shopping!


AppShopper App Removed from the App Store For Now

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

As some of you may have noticed, our official AppShopper App has been removed from the App Store. The App was removed by Apple due to a conflict with some new rules that Apple introduced with the iOS 6.

Current users of the AppShopper App will be able to continue to use the app, and we are working on a new version that we hope will be approved by Apple.

That new version will support the taller screen of the iPhone 5, that I know many have been waiting for:

We don’t have any more details quite yet, but will post more when we can.

Readers should also be reminded that Apple shuts down their iTunes Developer portal around the holidays, so from the dates of Dec 21 to Dec 28th there will be minimal to no activity in the App Store. As a result, AppShopper will also show little activity during that time.

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Apple Releases iTunes 11 With Redesigned Interface

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Apple has released a significant update today to iTunes, its media store and management app for Mac and Windows.

The update was initially announced at the company’s media event in September along with the iPhone 5. At that event, the release timeframe for iTunes 11 was announced as late October but an Apple spokesperson stated late last month that it would be pushed back to the end of November.

iTunes 11 features a redesigned interface for the media library, a new look for the iTunes store, and additional iCloud features. The complete list of the changes is as follows:

  • Completely Redesigned. iTunes makes it more fun to explore and enjoy your music, movies, and TV shows. You’ll love the beautiful edge-to-edge design, custom designs for each album, movie, or TV show in your library, and getting personal recommendations any time you click In the Store.
  • A New Store. The iTunes Store has been completely redesigned and now features a clean look that makes it simpler than ever to see what’s hot and discover new favorites.
  • Play purchases from iCloud. Your music, movie, and TV show purchases in iCloud now appear inside your library. Just sign-in with your Apple ID to see them. Double-click to play them directly from iCloud or download a copy you can sync to a device or play while offline.
  • Up Next. It’s now simple to see which songs are playing next, all from a single place. Just click the Up Next icon in the center display and they’ll instantly appear. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.
  • New MiniPlayer. You can now do a whole lot more with a lot less space. In addition to showing what’s playing, MiniPlayer now includes album art, adds Up Next, and makes it easy to search for something new to play—all from a smaller and more elegant design.
  • Improved search. It’s never been easier to find what you’re looking for in iTunes. Just type in the search field and you’ll instantly see results from across your entire library. Select any result and iTunes takes you right to it.
  • Playback syncing. iCloud now remembers your place in a movie or TV show for you. Whenever you play the same movie or episode from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, it will continue right where you left off.

iTunes 11 is a free download available from Apple’s site for Mac and PC.

Cyber Monday Mac and iOS App Sales

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Today is the day when online retailers get their turn to drop prices drastically to entice you to spend your hard-earned money in a wild holiday shopping spree all while sitting comfortably at your computer. And it’s also a day that app developers use as an excuse to reduce app prices since you’re already at your computer and buying stuff anyway so, why not?

A few of the app deals we mentioned on Black Friday are still going but a few new deals have popped up, so hop to it if any of these sales look good to you.

For Mac, the fantastic Fantastical calendar utility is down 50% to just $9.99 from $19.99 while Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is down 25% to $29.99 from $39.99. And Apple’s subsidiary, Filemaker, has joined in on the app sale fun by bumping down Bento to $29.99 from $49.99.

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For the iPhone, the location-aware reminders app Checkmark and the daily diary/journaling app Momento are both down to $.99 from $2.99 while Ultralingua has knocked 20% off the prices of several of its foreign language dictionary apps (here’s a full list of all of Ultralingua’s apps).

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If you’ll be traveling over the holidays, Cynapse’s Localscope is just $.99, down from $1.99 (our review) and it’s a great resource for finding businesses and other local information while you’re traveling.

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If digital magazines are your thing, Future has reduced the price of back issues for several of its magazines down to $.99 for the post-Thanksgiving shopping bonanza. Future publishes Mac Life Magazine and Mac Format, among many others. While the apps themselves are free, the back issues can only be obtained via in-app purchase. Here’s a full list of all of Future’s magazine apps.

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If you’re looking for accessories for your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, check out this post over at MacRumors that highlights several online deals available today only.

Happy online shopping!

Black Friday: iPhone and iPad App Deals

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Today is Black Friday and retail stores aren’t the only ones offering massive discounts for you to get your holiday shopping started with a bang– app developers are also using this as an excuse to offer deals on iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps.

I wanted to highlight a few of these sales for you but first, here a few links for you to check out now and bookmark since they can be used at any time to find the biggest deals–when developers lose their minds and make their paid apps completely free:

You just bookmarked those links, right? Also, don’t forget about our Wish List feature so you can mark those apps you want to buy when they go on sale. Our Wish List feature can automatically notify you by email when this happens (or you can get a push notification through our official AppShopper app for iPhone and iPad).

Navigation apps are often the most expensive ones in the App Store because of the map data they requires (getting and updating map data for the millions of miles of roads in countries around the world is not a cheap endeavor) but many of the big name brands in this category have reduced app prices this weekend. TomTom has knocked $20 off of many of its offerings and Garmin/Navigon has gone big by knocking 50% off its iPhone apps for today only.

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Here are links where you can find all apps for each respective developer in a single list so you can more easily find the location you need:

If you’ll be documenting your holiday adventures with friends and family photographically, there is no shortage of camera apps for the iPhone and iPad and several popular ones are on sale today and this weekend. Hipstamatic is now 50% off, and both Blux Camera and ProCamera are currently down to $.99 from their regular price of $2.99,

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Bad weather can wreak havoc on your holiday travel plans and a few app developers out there are making it less expensive for you to get comprehensive weather information on your iPhone or iPad. Weather Alert USA, an app we’ve recommended before that provides NOAA weather forecasts and a bajillion severe weather alert options, is down to $2.99 from $3.99. And the recently-released Check the Weather, which gives you forecast information plus short-term precipitation forecasts powered by Dark Sky, is down to $.99 from $1.99 through tomorrow only.

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While any time off from work you have during the holidays will probably be spent with friends and family, you’ll probably have some time to kill (or need to escape from said friends and family) here and there and games are a perfect way to while away those minutes. Chair Entertainment has reduced the prices of both Infinity Blade and Infinity Blade II by 50% while Electronic Arts has knocked down a boatload of its games to just $.99 (click here for a full list of all of EA’s offerings).

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For an extensive list of sales going on now among the biggest iOS game developers, see this article over at TouchArcade.

We hope you’re recovering well from any tryptophan-induced lethargy triggered by Thanksgiving turkey consumption and that any holiday shopping you’re doing this weekend is safe and filled with the best bargains!