3 Magic Shots

3magicshotsBig thanks to 3 Magic Shots for sponsoring the site this week. This service gives the great but lesser-known apps in Apple’s App Store a chance to be seen by customers. 3 Magic Shots puts featured apps into three categories: Premium, Paid and Free shots. The paid and free shots feature great apps in those categories, and the premium apps are made free to 3 Magic Shots customers. That means you get a look at three super apps that deserve recognition each day.

The folks at 3 Magic Shots choose apps carefully, so you know they’ll be fun, cool or useful. As I write this, Stack The States is featured. That’s a great educational app that my kids love.

Try out 3 Magic Shots to find some hidden App Store treasures and enjoy great, free apps.

If you’d like to sponsor the site for a week, here’s how.


Apple App Store tops 40 billion downloads

Apple has announced that it has delivered 40 billion downloads from the App Store. Almost half of those downloads came in 2012. That’s an amazing statistic.  The iOS App Store was launched on July 10, 2008. That means customers downloaded as many apps in 2012 as they did in the previous three years combined. Wow.

Apple notes that these numbers reflect unique downloads, not re-downloads or updates. Congratulations to everyone involved with this incredible performance. It’s amazing to think that the App Store did exist just a few years ago.

I dislike the iOS 6 App Store’s new look

I took grief about this on Twitter today, but I’m right. Apple has re-designed the look of the iOS App Store with iOS 6, which was released today. App icons “bleed” off of the edge of the screen, prompting the user to swipe and see more.

I hate it.

It’s ugly, it’s cluttered, it’s un-Apple. Worst of all, it’s confusing.

Is my iPhone displaying this improperly?

Should I be holding this in landscape?

Why are these apps cut off?

In the images above, the iOS 6 App Store is on the left. There are seven items displayed. I can’t read the titles of three of them. Some people told me that I find it troublesome because I’m a geek and typical users will find the positioning helpful. I disagree. In the image above, you can see “See All >” on the screen. It clearly suggests that there’s more off screen.

The iOS 5.x App Store layout, pictured on the right above, is tidy, clear and usable. It was far superior.

I’m now dreading iTunes 11.

In Soviet Russia, apps purchase you

Alexey V. Borodin, whose iOS hack lets users acquire in-app purchases for free, [1. Sometimes called “stealing.”]  is now in a cat-and-mouse game with Apple. WAtoday:

“Borodin has responded by moving the server to a new location that is harder for Apple to reach and he now accepts donations using the anonymous Bitcoin service. The hack works by placing Borodin’s server in between the device and Apple – intercepting incoming purchase requests from the iOS device. But now Borodin has tightened up the exploit to avoid interacting with the App Store, making it even harder for Apple to shut down.”

This after telling Macworld, “I think [Apple] will hire me.” What an ass.

New apps I’ve been enjoying this week

Here are a few apps I’ve been enjoying this week.

  • Timer from App Cubby ($0.99). Simple, handy timer utility for iPhone. My review here.
  • Any.Do (free). It’s a bit insistent with the Facebook login, asking every time I launch the app, but still a good-looking, simple to-do list manager. Just mute the sounds. Trust me.
  • Tempo ($1.99, universal). An extremely well-done metronome app for iPhone and iPad. I’ve been practicing with it all week.
  • Astronut for iPad ($1.99). Playing on the iPad with the iPhone as a controller is entirely too much fun. My son and I have spent a lot of time challenging each other.

iOS App Store, iTunes, iBookstore receive UI update

When Apple pushed the weekly content refresh to the mobile App Store, iBookstore and iTunes today, a UI change was added as well. Specifically, the navigation buttons on either side of featured content lists (“Latest TV Episodes,” “New and Noteworthy,” etc.) are gone. Users can now swipe to navigate these sections.

App Store review of the day

Drunkify is a fun little app that turns you text messages into the garbled nonsense one might send after drinking too much. It’s silly and unnecessary but fun and good for a laugh. I get it.

Some don’t.

Here’s my favorite Drunkify App Store review (one star):

“…one could easily do this without the app.”

Do what, get drunk and send a misspelled text? You get right on that, chief.

Pixelmator now exclusive to the Mac App Store

In a huge act of faith, Pixelmator has gone exclusive to the app store, with a fantastic deal to boot:

“…we are fully committed to supporting the Mac App Store by completely moving Pixelmator sales and distribution to the Mac App Store in the upcoming months. To ease the transition to the Mac App Store for our users, we’ve come up with an exciting solution that we think everyone will love taking advantage of. We call it the Pixelmator transition to the Mac App Store….”

That deal includes a huge discount on the app (down to $29 from $59), version 2.0 for free when it’s released and the opportunity for all non-registered customers to participate. And with that, Pixelmator just became my first Mac App Store purchase.