One of the great things about the Amazon Appstore is that it gives away a different Android paid-for app for free every day, which means you often find great gems for your phone, provided you check in every day. Apple is now taking a similiar route, and is starting to give away one app on the iOS App Store and another on the Mac App Store for free every week.
For example, this week you can download Cut The Rope: Elements to your iPhone for free, and of course it is the number one downloaded app on the Appstore.
On the Mac App Store you can now find the brilliant Cobook app which enables super-easy address book changes, and syncs with social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. The app quietly sits on your taskbar, and when you need to search for a specific contact’s details you just click on the cobook icon (or tap the hotkeys) and start typing the name or business name.
You can also easily add to or edit existing contacts, which will then be synced back with the Address Book app on your Mac. So if you use a service like iCloud or Google Contacts, the changes will reflect on your phone as well. Nifty.
Apple has been pretty late to the subscription game for its iTunes store, and has only recently started offering its iTunes Match service in the US. But Apple has now made a deal with Big Fish Games, the creator of games like “Mystery Case Files” and “Mahjong Towers”. The service will give dozens of the Big Fish games for $7 a month.
This will work in a similiar fashion to services like Netflix. Instead of purchasing a game once off, you only pay the subscription fee, and use a internet connection to play the game. You can access a free version of the service which limits the games to 3o minutes a day. This is a significant change for Apple, as they have not used a trial version system of software until now, and the use of a monthly fee for a catalogue of games is a pretty great idea. Right now the user will install the Bigfish app, and then purchase a monthly subscription in app, which is taken from iTunes credit. Apps will be streamed over air, so you might need a decent internet connection.
While iOS games typically have low purchase prices, they tend to have limited game time associated with them. While $5 for a great game is a lot cheaper than other handheld platforms, you eventually stop playing it. We can only hope Apple brings this service to other game publishers as well – only time will tell if someone like EA is willing to work with this type of distribution model.
Oh – this is of course not available in SA, so you will need a US iTunes account to make this work. If you want to be able download Apps, Music, Movies, TV Series etc from the US iTunes store, even if you live in SA, here is how to do it.
It sure is great to see some well known SA brand names in the App-space – those of you sporting smartphones might already be using News24. I personally use the app every single day, and it is currently available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and the Nokia Ovi store.. So if you have not gotten round to download the News24 app, head to your relevant appstore.
Apparently the News24 iPad app has taken off very quickly with South African iPad users:
South Africans definitely don’t lag behind in the tech savvy arena, with the both the iPad 1 and iPad 2 sold out within days after the launch it’s no surprise that South Africa’s biggest online news portal has had massive success with their iPad app.
The News24 free iPad app has grown in leaps and bounds with a total of 28,303 downloads.
Says Geoff Cohen, General Manager of 24.com: “Currently we have more than 15,000 active iPad users on the News24 app since its launch which indicates a huge uptake in content consumption on tablet devices. This trend is bound to progress and we have positioned ourselves to get the various brands digitally enabled to keep abreast of what consumers want with cutting edge apps.
In saying that, we are also very pleased about the success of the recently launched City Press iPad app which has shown its successful integration from print to digital.” says Cohen.
With some exciting new apps currently under development to be launched in the near future, as Cohen would say “watch this digital space”.
According to 148Apps.com, Apple has “unofficially” reached 500 000 apps in it’s App Store. The catalogue of apps have grown at a tremendous rate – in Jan this year it was still on 350,000, so clearly Apple has had its hands full approving all these apps. Here are a few key numbers you can take away from this:
From that nearly 3 years of data we know that you’d need a 7.5 terabyte iPhone to hold all of the apps available at once on your device. I guess we have a new high end target for the storage limit of the iPhone 5. Oh, and it would cost you $891,982.24 to buy all of the apps.
37% of all live applications are free while 15% are games. It’s interesting that in recent months Books has been the largest category. But just this last month we saw Games overtake Books once again.
But enough with the jibber jabber – here is the infographic:
The iOS Appstore has been one of the greatest success stories in software distribution, and it revolutionized the way we used our mobile phones. It was universally “borrowed” for other platforms as well, some with greater success than others. The advantages to using an Appstore are plenty – users can instantly see the most popular applications available for a platform, and a central location to download apps from is great. Instant installs and easy payment methods just improve it even further.
Apple will now be bringing this functionality to Macs as well, and first to those running OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The idea is simple – instead of going to the edge of the internet to find apps, you will find a curated store which can easily be searched to find the software you want. Software will be licensed per user, and if you have multiple Macs, the software can be put on all your machines with a single purchase, as long as the machines are linked to a user account (I suspect there will be a limit to this though).
Your account will be connected to your Apple ID, which is in turn connected to your credit card. So you do not have to go type in your payment details into some site you do not trust. One aspect of the Appstore I find exciting as well – centralized updates. Just like on iPhone, you can click one button to instantly update all the apps at once. No more checking for updates within every app or using obscure utilities to the job.
Apple is currently opening the Mac Appstore to developers, and a lot of the same rules as the iOS Appstore exists here. Developers will get 70% of their asking price, but then Apple would host the app for them, and charge no additional fees. For certain software houses 70% might be too little (do you think Adobe would give away 30% of the asking price of CS5?), whereas for smaller developers this might be a great deal (think some small company making a utility who does not want to spend extra on hosting fees). Once again Apple would curate all apps, so if the app is of limited use, or does not function as advertised, it will not arrive on the Appstore. Some people do not like this, but the quality of apps inside the appstore would hopefully then be of a higher quality…
Despite the authorization process by Apple, the potential advantages for new computer users will be great. Its clear to see that iOS and Mac are moving closer and closer together…
Finally! After being released on iPad a few weeks back, VLC is now available on iPhone as well, using a universal app. For those who do not know – VLC player is the “it can play any video format” open source player that is available on a variety of platforms. Doesnt matter what the video file format is, VLC somehow finds a way to play it…
VLC player for iPhone does require a bit of horsepower, because it bypasses the dedicated video decoding hardware on the device. So you will need at least a iPhone 3GS or later, and you can expect the battery not to last as long when you are playing files through the dedicated iPod app.
VLC uses the iTunes file transfer method – you simply connect your iOS device, go to the device in iTunes, select apps, scroll down to “File Sharing” and select the VLC player app on the left. Click on the “Add” button and then select the files you want to throw onto your iPhone or iPad. No need to transcode / convert files for use in iTunes. Most of the files I tested it with played without issue. After you are done watching files, you can simply delete them right on the device.
Go get it here.
These days the Appstore on iPhone has become so massive that its pretty tough to find the best apps for a certain task. Whether its productivity, games or entertainment, you cannot simply go and download the most popular app of the week. While the popularity of an app might be indicative of how good it is, in many cases the top selling app in a week might be merely doing so well because it is on sale, or its just a “fad”.
Luckily there is now a source to quickly find the very best apps out there. No searching through Top 25 lists, just the very best.
Here is how it works:
Applications are nominated throughout each month by our knowledgeable (and good-looking!) committee members. Once each month, our committee will then vote on the nominated applications and induct, at most, 12 applications into the App Hall of Fame. Those inducted applications will be displayed on the site for all time as a reference to app lovers new and old.
Their first twelve apps have just been announced:
I have to agree with their choice for the first month, these are all great apps – I personally use Evernote, Twitter and Shazam. But I dont care about the games. While I do play Angry Birds and Flight Control, games typically fall in the “flavour of the week” category for me. Here is hoping they focus a bit more on actual useful apps as well.
While I am on about this – here is my own personal App Hall of Fame (excluding the ones mentioned already):
Distimo just released their latest report for August, which details sales of all the current mobile application stores. Here are the noteworthy results so far:
While the average price of all applications is only 16% higher in the Apple App Store for iPad than in the Apple App Store for iPhone, the average price of the 100 most popular applications is nearly three times as high in the Apple App Store for iPad.
In the Apple App Store for iPad, BlackBerry App World and Windows Marketplace for Mobile, the respective companies that run each application store, (Apple, Research In Motion and Microsoft) are the top publishers in their own store with only a limited number of applications. Clickgamer.com and Offscreen publish many popular games in the Apple App Store for iPhone and Nokia Ovi Store making them the top publishers in these stores.
People expect higher quality apps from the vendors who design the software, and in most cases this does show. Apple‘s Pages is a prime example of this – while not super functional, the interface and ease of use is way ahead of any other similiar offering from other vendors.
Average prices of the different appstores also bring up some interesting results:
Google Marketplace has the lowest pricing, and the store size is rapidly increasing. Also worth noting is Blackberry‘s cost which is still quite high, but this can be ascribed to their minimum price being $2.99, but this is being changed with the latest release of App World. So expect those prices to drop soon enough. The iPad is still being seen by developers as a higher income “niche” product, so the current prices still reflect this.
Here is some other results from the different appstores:
If you want to read the Distimo report more in-depth, you can find it here.