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App deals for iOS users abounding over the holidays [U]

updated 11:57 am EST, Sun December 22, 2013

Sales galore on games and other apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

[Updated again with yet more app deals] Freebies and discounts on iOS apps are in plentiful supply during this holiday season, and MacNN is scouring the US App Store and web to bring our readers the best of these discounts, most of which should be locked-in throughout the next week or so (Apple is closing its iTunes Connect service, which allows developers to change App Store prices, until December 27). Here are just some of the best deals we've found for you.

Free for Xmas: non-game categories

[Update 2: some new freebies to replace a few that went away] A number of iOS non-game apps have been reduced in price to free, among them video and music remixing app Vjay (normally $10), drawing app Inspire Pro (regularly $5), photography app Split Lens 2 Pro (normally $2), and social network management app My Followers 3 in 1 (regularly $1).

Spark Camera, a movie shooter and editor that nabbed Apple Editors' Choice and App Store Best of 2013, is now free (previously $2), as well as travel app Kayak Pro (normally $1), Spanish: Speak and Learn Pro (regularly $10), comic book creation app Halftone 2 (previously $2), novelty photo app OldBooth HD (was $2), text editor Daedalus Touch (normally $5), and photo editor Laminar Pro (regularly $5). As with any free deals, there may be in-app purchases available.

Free for Xmas: Games

There are, quite frankly, too many discounted and free games to entirely list -- but TouchArcade and other sites have kindly helped whittle down some of the best-known game titles that are now free of charge, including the quest title LostWinds (previously $4), Flick Football (normally $1) and the iPhone-only Flick Football Super Save (reg. $1), Toy Defense HD (usually $3), Toy Defense HD 2 (previously $5) and Toy Defense 2 (regularly $2), Block vs. Block (reg. $3), Ninja Striker (normally $1) and Angry Birds Star Wars II (usually $1). The popular Mario World-esque game Lep's World 3 (formerly $1) is also now free for a limited time. We also found the well-regarded Skulls of the Shogun has been reduced to free from its normal $5 price, as was Pinball HD (normally $2), and Somersault (was $2).

Great app deals: Non-game categories

Fantastical 2 for iPhone
Fantastical 2 for iPhone

App Santa looks at first glance like a bundle deal, but it isn't: it's just a handy collection of developers who have banded together to offer App Store discounts. Among them are Delivery Status (now $3, was $5), Mileage Log+ (was $10, now $5), Twitter client Tweetbot (formerly $5, now $2), journal/diary app Day One (now $3, down from $5), To-Do list Clear+ (was $5, now $2), Perfect Weather (33 percent off its normal $3 price), note-taking app Vesper (was $5, now $3), VNC app Screens VNC ($5 off its normal $20 price), PCalc (was $10, now $7), Readdle's Printer Pro, PDF Converter, cross-platform calendar sync program Calendars 5, and Scanner Pro (all now $3, down from $7), Launch Center Pro (was $5, now $3) and password manager 1Password (normally $18, now $10).

In addition, the well-regarded calendar app Fantastical 2 is on sale for $2 (half off its normal price), as is its Mac counterpart ($10, down from $20). The same company offers an iMessage log search tool called Chatology for Mac that is also half price ($10, formerly $20). The iPad music-remixing app djay is also on sale for half off its normal $10 price, and Mailtab Pro for Gmail is now just $1 (originally $2). Paiting software ArtRage for both OS X and iOS is now half off its normal price (the iPad version is 40 percent off), and even upgrades from previous Mac versions of ArtRage are now half off until January 2. Music app maker Korg is offering 50 percent off its iOS apps, and 30 percent off its legacy collection until January 1.

A rare sale on a augmentative communication app is underway as well. Developer Assistiveware, of iOS assistive talker Proloquo2Go fame, has put its text-to-speech solution Proloquo4text for sale. The normal price of $130 has been slashed to $65, a 50 percent savings. The app isn't for everybody, and is aimed at people with autism, cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, apraxia, ALS/MND, laryngectomy, stroke, or traumatic brain injury.

Great app deals: Games

A scene from Infinity Blade III
A scene from Infinity Blade III

When it comes to iOS game deals (and few Mac bargains as well), Santa's bag truly runneth over. Most of the big game studios have slashed prices by up to 90 percent on many of their game catalogs, offering savings galore. Electronic Arts offers a large selection of games for just $1, including its Sims and Need For Speed lines. In addition, the company has added some holiday cheer to existing games, such as a pet reindeer to The Sims Freeplay, a special holiday storyline and characters for The Simpsons: Tapped Out, "seasonal livery" for the Ford Focus RS in Real Racing 3, and a "Feastivus" celebration from December 24-30 in Plants vs. Zombies 2.

Other notable titles include Infinity Blade III (now just $3, formerly $7), XCOM: Enemy Unknown for half off ($10), Final Fantasy games (the original, II, III, III for iPad, IV, V, VII Advent Children Complete Larger-Than-Life Gallery, XIII Larger-Than-Life Gallery, Tactics: War of the Lions for iPhone and iPad, and Crystal Defenders for iPhone and iPad) all 50 percent off, Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies (now $3, was $7), quest game Bastion ($1, formerly $5), Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (was $5, now $1), the "full unlock" version of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (now $10, $5 off normal), Fruit Ninja HD for $1 (normally $2), Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic half off ($5), and The World Ends with You: Solo Remix (now $9 for iPhone, $10 for iPad; half off regular price).

The Secret of Mana for iPhone
The Secret of Mana for iPhone

[Update 1] We've also found deals on games like The Secret of Mana (now $4, was $9), the Chaos Rings series (including the iPad versions and all up to 75 percent off), Magellan for iPad ($5, was $15) and Magellan Jr. for iPhone (normally $5, now $2), the iPad-only Cradle of Rome series (now $2, normally $5 each), as well as sale prices on Fieldrunners 2 (now $1, formerly $3) and the iPad Fieldrunners and Fieldrunners 2 HD for iPad ($1 and $3 respectively, were $3 and $5).

Game makers 2K are also having an iOS sale, with titles including 2K Drive (was $7, now $1), NBA 2K14 (was $8, now $3), NHL 2K11 (just $1, normally $4), Sid Meier titles like Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies ($3, was $5), Pirates! and Civilization Revolution (both regularly $3, now $1). The iPad versions of Pirates! and Civilization Revolution are also both discounted (now both $1). Popular Double Fine quest and mystery game The Cave dropped from $5 to $2 (the Mac App Store version is also on sale, now just $3), and Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II is now just $1, down from $5.

Mac app deals: Games

There's also few game deals going on for the Mac, including half-off on the LEGO Star Wars Saga, Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, Batman 2: DC Super Heroes and Harry Potter Years 1-4, all now $10. In addition, Anomoly Warzone Earth for Mac is selling for 90 percent off its normal price of $10, now only $1. As mentioned above, the Mac App Store version of The Cave is also on sale, now just $3. Sale prices on items could change at any time, so buy soon.

Mac app deals: Non-game categories

Intensify by MacPhun
Intensify by MacPhun

Non-game Mac programs don't get as much bargain action as iOS apps, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great deals out there. We love the menubar radio app Radium 3, and it's now on sale for half off at $5. Nicely-done and versatile RSS aggregator ReadKit is over half off (formerly $7, now $3), and password manager 1Password for Mac offers 30 percent off its normal $50 price (now $35), and the iOS version is also on sale for $10 (normally $18).

Photo enhancing tool Intensify and Intensify Pro are both on sale, with the former being $10 off, now $20, while the latter is 25 percent off its normal $60 price, just $45 (but only available from the developer, though an upgrade path from Intensify to the Pro version is available). Diary/Journal app Day One for the Mac is also on sale, dropping from $10 to $8 (we previously noted a sale on the iOS version, mentioned above).

Finally, Mac app bargain-hunters should check out the last day of MacUpdate's MUPromo "Appy Holidays" bundle sale, which offers 10 great Mac utilities for just $40 (original retail value: $397!). Included for the first 5,000 buyers are freebies Flame Painter and IconBox, but the bundle also brings users six months of Anonymizer and backup service Backblaze, remote drive tool ExpanDrive 3, two NTFS utilities from Paragon, iStopMotion 3, MailHub, Mail Designer, Labels & Addresses, and utilities Cocktail 7 and Washing Machine.

by MacNN Staff



  1. YangZone

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-24-00

    As of Dec 21st there is no discount on many of those *reduced to free* apps in the beginning of the piece.

  1. macsrwe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-29-05

    "A number of iOS non-game apps have been reduced in price to free, among them... Panorama 360 Camera (both normally $1)"

    The App Store is currently showing this app at $2! Not much of a sale.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Whenabouts was The Elements supposed to go free? It's still at 13€.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Apparently some developers used that last day of iTunes Connect operation to change prices, though Split Lens 2 is actually now free as part of App of the Day (just checked it). I'll correct the others that are no longer free. Thanks for spotting that.

  1. Stuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-11-05

    Yesterday I too looked for "The Elements" for free. It was not listed that way clicking the link in this story. Today, the story has been edited, no indication of that, and still uses "The Elements" screenshot to promote the savings. Just erase this story!

  1. Mike Wuerthele

    Managing Editor

    Joined: 07-19-12

    Okay, gang, here's the deal- this news item was published on Friday, and at the time of publication on Friday, everything was as published. Like Chas mentioned, some developers took the opportunity to make a last minute change to app prices, which we have no control over.

    Sales end. The Elements sale ended, but it was live at the time of publication. Sales have a tendency to do that. If you've come late to the party, and some prices have changed we apologize for the waste of a single click of your time. If we saved you a dollar or two on something, then great!

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Is it possible that the sale was limited to the US?

    Because I checked *before* this article was posted (I read the news elsewhere), and it never budged from its €12.99.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Yes, the prices were only verified in the US store. It is not possible (well, it would require an much larger staff working around the clock) to check every non-US store on every item. I'll add something about that, it's a good point you bring up. Thanks for keeping us on our toes, gang.

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