Alarmy, the annoying morning alarm clock
Waking up is a difficult feat for some. It certainly doesn't help when most alarms require only a simple tap to activate snooze mode. Some people become so adept at serial-snoozing that they don't even have to wake up to do it. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can), by Delight Room, promises to put an end to the phrase "just another ten minutes."
Take control of your own rugby team with Rugby Nations 15
Sports games have existed for about as long as video gaming has and have been popular whether played on arcade cabinets or on the Xbox One. While most would agree that sports games tend to thrive on console, Rugby Nations 15 by developer Distinctive Games makes a strong argument for sports gaming on mobile platforms.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for Black Friday 2014
Welcome to Friday Deals, on today, Black Friday. If you don't fancy wandering through the post-apocalyptic retail landscape caused by ravenous shoppers arguing over cheap televisions, we're listing the best online deals here for you, the discerning (and wise to stay away from the battle) MacNN and Electronista reader. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, and considering the sales today, may change rapidly, so check before purchasing. Check back to this post later, as we aim to add more deals as and when we find them, and also look at yesterday's deals post as many of the deals included there may still be active now.
The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote!
While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is only now upon us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.
Fantastical for Mac, iPhone and iPad + Holiday sale
Flexibits wants your holidays to be Fantastical, so to help make that happen they have launched a huge sale slashing prices on all of their software titles with discounts of up to 65 percent off. That's not all though, MacNN has teamed up with Flexibits to give away 3 software prize packs to our readers. Each pack will contain a redemption code for Fantastical for Mac, Fantastical 2 for iPhone and Fantastical 2 for iPad.
Backup-oriented cloud service offers unmatched prices, options
There are a lot of cloud services out there, and nearly all of them can be used for backing up key files and folders. A few dedicated services are focused on backing up nearly everything the user has, and thus offer large quantities of space needed for the task, but are expensive and slow. Others, like Dropbox, offer far less space but allow instant access to files across a range of devices. IDrive appears to have hit on a good middle ground: offer lots of space at a very reasonable sum, while providing a lot of configuration options, full data encryption, instant sync, multi-platform support, and even alternate ways of getting the data uploaded in the first place. Is it right for you? Find out in our review.
Hit the gridiron with the Peanuts gang
Cupcake Digital is a well-known name in the ring of games for elementary-age children. To date, they've created games for children's entertainment titles such as Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow! Wow! Wubbsy, and Strawberry Shortcake. The company is now tackling two American classics, Peanuts and football, in Snoopy's All Star Football. Is the game worth handing to your little ones, or is it the digital equivalent of Lucy pulling the football away at the last minute?
App helps remove excuses, barriers to learning basics of instrument
Learning to play an instrument takes a lot of things. For instance, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of effort, and frequently it also takes a lot of money. Usually, it's the money that stops someone from picking up the hobby. But what if it was possible to learn to play guitar for just a couple of dollars? If you've been putting off learning to play guitar, now is the time to dust off that old six-string, or head over to the consignment shop, and start strumming with Learn Guitar by Insider.com.
Sing like a pop star with pitch correcting app ImproVox
Until recently, the average person could not get their hands on professional-level pitch-correction software. The software had a tendency to cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and required an engineering degree to use. However, there has been a surge of cheaper but quality voice software available to everyone in the last few years. Among these is ImproVox by developer MuseAmi, which is available for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch -- and is a clever app that puts a simple recording studio in your hands.
If you're looking to relive the 80s arcade culture, give this a try
Vintage gamers and arcade cabinet enthusiasts are likely to remember Arkanoid, which was a riff on a game called Breakout. The aim of the game was to clear a board of all of its bricks by using a paddle to bounce a small ball against them. At first, the game primarily showed up on arcade cabinets. The various remakes have shown up for just about every platform since. One such game is Acky's Breakout Reloaded by Isotope 244.
A race of interstellar cephalopods need your help
It's not unusual for everyone to be looking for the next popular iOS game. We've seen it with the many clones of Angry Birds, FlappyBird, and 2048. While no one will deny that these games are fun, sometimes a user might crave something with a little more thought and care behind the design. That's where Hungry Squid by Michal Malewicz comes in, promising to enchant those who play it.
Minimalist note-taking app uses Apple's new Widget technology
At this point, there's a good chance that most iPhone users are using their devices to quickly jot down notes and reminders on the fly. It's extremely convenient, especially since most people keep their phones on them nearly all the time. However, there are times when a user has so little time to take notes, that going through the process of unlocking their phone and digging for the app they need is simply too cumbersome. That's the exact problem that Neato, by Mohammad Khoman, is trying to remedy.
Reference tool keeps up-to-date, offers options to avoid redundant writing
Are you a budding wordsmith? Then Thesaurus Rex is your new best friend! Thesauruses used to be big, clunky books, that were often found covered in dust at the back of any public or academic library reference section. But as more and more people write, these useful books have managed to find a way into the pockets of millions of people. One such entry is Thesaurus Rex by Dictionary.com, an app which promises to help users find the perfect word for any occasion.
Photo gallery app by Dropbox now supported on iPad
Photo gallery and sharing app Carousel has received an update, now supporting iPad users. The Dropbox-made app provides a private way to share, store and organize image and video content, and instantly back up files to one's Dropbox account. In addition to now being iPad-compatible, the latest version of Carousel also supports integration with Instagram and Whatsapp. Free to download, Carousel requires iOS 7 or later.
A mobile game that exudes charm
While more commonly known for its full-scale action-puzzler series Trine, Frozenbyte recently made its first foray into the mobile game space with the release of Splot ($2). A charming platformer designed to be played in short, sporadic bursts, Splot carries a fairly simple story, which is presented at the beginning as a short series of comic panels. Two groups of aliens -- the Splots and the Blobs -- are struck by an asteroid, and then marooned on a foreign planet populated by the Birdlings. The Blobs look to take advantage of this situation by making a quick lunch out of these little birds, while the Splots vow to protect the Birdlings.
Brother introduces first label maker with full-color LCD display
Brother has announced its new P-touch label maker this week, featuring a full-color LCD display. Designed for high-volume business use, the PT-D600 includes an easy-type keyboard with display that allows editing in real time. High-resolution barcodes and labels can be created with information stored in an Excel or Access database on the user's computer. Brother's label library includes ready-to-print business labels and pre-programmed with 14 fonts, 11 styles, 99 frames and over 600 symbols. The PT-D600 works with other 60 TZe tape cartridges in a variety of colors and sizes as well as specialty tapes. Up to 99 labels can be stored in internal memory for quick reprinting. Priced at $100, more information can be found through Brother's website.
Not sure how to go from miligrams to ounces?
As even casual students of the sciences have learned by now, it's apparent that there's a lot of differences between disparate measurement systems. Be it miles to kilometers, Fahrenheit to Kelvin, or cubic centimeters to gallons, there's a good chance there's going to be a conversion that can't be a done off the top of one's head. With the proliferation of the smart phone, there's no reason to not have a pocket converter at the ready. Unit Converter Infinity by Incpt.Mobis is a choice that stands out.
Match-3 game with RPG elements makes for enjoyable casual game
It's not unusual for games to try and break out of being confined to a single category. More and more, we find games that try very hard to incorporate the best of two or more types of games. We tend to see this in Real Time Strategy games (RTSs) a lot, as they combine rogue-like or RPG elements. But there are other games that are making headway in the cross-genre arena. Gunspell, by Ino-Сo Plus, touts itself as a cross-genre title, combining elements of both RPGs and puzzles.
Service likely to be rebranded under iTunes name
Apple is planning to bundle Beats Music as a native iOS app early next year, sources tell the Financial Times. The shift is expected to happen in the form of a firmware update, that could debut as soon as March. The Times has little other information, but argues that it's likely Apple will rebrand the service under the iTunes moniker, as other reports have suggested.
Home Design 3D Gold helps users draft a design project on the go
Drafting programs on iOS aren't really new anymore. They've been around long enough for users to realize that most are overly fussy, or incredibly impractical with the touchscreen interface, and with some inherent inaccuracy for precise placement. However, there are a few great apps out there for just about anyone to use which take into consideration the limits of the platform -- Home Design 3D Gold, by developer Anuman, has plenty of practical uses.
Shenzhen conference gathered HomeKit, iOS accessory manufacturers
On the heels of reports that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips that feature Apple's HomeKit API already embedded in them are now arriving to accessory makers, Apple announced during its "Made For i" (MFi) developer conference in China that manufacturers can now submit product plans for HomeKit-based products to the iPhone maker for approval, making it possible that the first group of such devices could arrive before the end of the holiday buying season. Apple's MFi certification would be the last step for devices before hitting the market.
Sophisticated malware used forged enterprise provisioning to enter iOS through OS X
Apple's iOS, when un-jailbroken, is so resistant to malware that three Chinese suspects had to come up with an exceedingly clever method of delivering the "WireLurker" threat to the company's mobile devices. On Monday, Chinese officials announced they had arrested the three suspects, and shut down the servers hosting the malware. The threat was never widespread because of the elaborate nature of the scheme and its China-only focus, but it was one of the few malwares able to get onto un-jailbroken iOS devices.
Productivity app DropTask uses bubble-based Visual View of task assignments
Telecommuting is anything but rare these days, and for many people who have to work remotely on group tasks, it often becomes somewhat of a chore to try to stay in contact. Often, users are chained to computers or constant conference calls. DropTask by Think Productivity has a clever solution, allowing users to share a space within an app, where everyone is able to see the progress of the project from wherever they are.
Calendar app updated for iOS 8, adds support for iPhone 6 in redesign
Sunrise, a free calendar app, has been revamped in a recent update. Compatible with Google Calendar, iCloud and Exchange, Sunrise allows users to quickly add an event and have the date sync across calendars. Sunrise v3.0 introduces a new widget in the Notification Center, displaying upcoming events in one's day without needing to open the app itself. Now supporting iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the new app includes an overall redesign for bigger screens. Google Tasks and Eventbrite can now be integrated, so that tasks can be created and edited directly in within the calendar space; and tickets to events purchased through Eventbrite will appear in Sunrise with all the information for travelling to the venue. Sunrise can be downloaded through iTunes, and requires iOS 8.0 or later.
Ever want to be a rampaging Capra aegagrus hircus? Now's your chance.
When most people think of video game protaganists, chances are a goat isn't the first one that comes to mind. Generally, we tend to think of mustachioed plumbers, camo-covered commandos, or spiky blue hedgehogs with a penchant for hoarding gold. However, Goat Simulator by Coffee Stain Studios has, through the cult status of its previous releases, changed all that. In this game, a player takes control of a lively goat, and is set free to do whatever they wish in this quirky sandbox simulation game.
Notepad replacement brings to-do lists, contact info capture
One of the biggest problems with apps that promise to help a user jot down ideas is that they tend to be bulky, poorly designed, or too distracting. No one wants to fight with an app that is slow, or takes too long to find exactly what they need. Sometimes the simplest solution really is the best one. Quick Drafts, by Sebastian Obentheuer, is a slimmed-down, fully-functional notepad app for those who crave simplicity.
Augmented reality app cuts through clouds to expose the sky's full glory
Whether a person is an astronomy buff, or just someone who enjoys the feeling they get when they look up at a sky full of stars, there is something undeniably serene about stargazing. However, it isn't always easy to tell just what someone may be looking at what they look at the night sky. If you're looking for a way to make this activity far more enjoyable, we have found the ideal night-time companion. Star Walk for the iPhone, or Star Walk HD for the iPad, is the perfect guide to at-home astronomy.
Digital cookbook curating app tries to help with recipe organization and storage
If there's one thing that the Internet is good for, it's teaching us how to cook meals we never thought possible. While Pinterest does a good job keeping a collection of links to our favorite recipes, it certainly doesn't do much to hold the recipes themselves, which may be lost behind a morass of links anyway. This is where SavouryPot comes in, an app by Anton Zehrdev, that promises to help organize anyone's unruly collection of recipes, regardless of source.
Microsoft takes .Net open source and cross-platform, adds new development capabilities with Visual S
Microsoft has open-sourced the full server-side of its .Net stack, a platform for running and developing applications, prioritizing cross-platform expansion for running on Linux and Mac operating systems. Microsoft also released Visual Studio Community 2013, a new free edition of Visual Studio that features access to its core toolset. Microsoft is providing the full .Net server stack in open source, including Asp.Net, the .Net compiler, the .Net Core Runtime, Framework and Libraries, thus enabling cross-platform building. The announcements come alongside the release of Visual Studio 2015 Preview and .Net 2015 Preview, which are built to support iOS, Android, and Windows.
Guide to perfect picture taking encapsulated for the iOS
Let's face it, photography is daunting. With a slew of terms and techniques that are less than user-friendly, and an ever-increasing amount of gadgetry to attempt to master, it's not exactly something one can jump right into and do well out of the gate. However, The Great Photo App by Baglan Dosmagambetov is aiming to make sense of all photography has to offer, and pass this information on to the user -- with Apple's handheld devices as the teacher.
Originally released one year ago, game offers new abilities, weapons, threats, more
One year after its PC release, the XCOM game expansion known as Enemy Within has arrived on iOS as a standalone "sequel" to the original title available on most platforms, and on OS X. Contrary to previous expectations, Enemy Within is not available as an in-app purchase for Enemy Unknown.
Alternative music player brings style and functionality to iOS
Listening to music is a very personal thing for most people. As a whole, we generally tend to think of our music collection as an extension of ourselves. Music fanatics often tend to demand a lot out of their personal music players, allowing them the ability to customize their experience fully, from playlists to organization to artwork and beyond. TunesFlow, by Hector Ricardo Garcia Peña, aims to meet and exceed the needs of the average music enthusiast.
STM releases Flip folio case for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
Accessory maker STM has announced its Flip wallet case for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Utilising two micro-suction cups, the front cover attaches to the phone's screen, and also features two card slots. Foldable, the Flip case can act as a stand for propping the phone up for a viewing position. Available in charcoal, black and red, the Flip Folio can be purchased for $35 through Radtech.
App helps to educate users on world geography in quiz-show form
Geography isn't terribly easy subject for most, what with there being almost 200 different countries in the world. Rote memorization can become tedious at best and frustrating at worst, deterring even the most studious of people. Worldly, an app by developer Supergonk, aims to help players learn more about the world around them by making geography a game instead of a chore.
Photo filter application tool excels at a low price
There's no doubt that iPhones are being used more for photography each and every day. This is especially apparent in the vast amount of photography apps that are available in the App Store. Users are sure to be overwhelmed, especially if they're looking for an app that promises to do it all, in terms of photo editing, filters, and camera tools. It's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, but Faded, by Vintage Noir is definitely worth a look.
App makes it easy to turn the 'caption a picture' technique on its head
These days, graphic design is king (again). More and more people are looking to play around with typography and imagery, particularly using their own photos -- whether it be captions on photos or a Facebook graphic. Rather than shell out money or invest time in learning complicated programs like Photoshop to accomplish this, a visit to the App Store is a great way to get started. TextMask, by youthhr, is a pretty neat app that allows users to create impressive text-masking imagery in just a few taps.
Opera Mini 9 for iOS now featuring new video boost feature
Web browser app Opera Mini has received an update, now featuring a new video boost feature. Aiming to provide users with enduring less buffering while watching video, the new video optimization reduces the size of video data. In the description found on the iTunes App Store, Opera states its website compression allows its users to worry less about their data plan capacity, since "your data plan didn't suddenly get bigger and your network didn't magically get faster just because you bought a nice piece of tech." Free to download, Opera Mini v9.0 requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Purchases made through the app may not be refundable
In the wake of Microsoft reversing course, and adding document creation and editing to all iOS users of its Office suite for iPad at no charge, the company is offering refunds for Office 365 subscribers who request it. The offer is limited, with significant restrictions: it requires proof of purchase, is likely not available to those who purchased through the app, and is pro-rated.
Is the 1,000 app limit storage size or quantity of file related?
Ever since reports of issues with large libraries on Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus surfaced, rumors have been flying around -- all claiming to know the true source of the problems, and Apple's future intentions for the iPhone and iOS. MacNN began some tests about a month ago to try and nail down the root cause of the issue -- and as we alluded to last week, we believe that the "problem" lies in the iOS, and not a hardware flaw related to NAND cells. Read on for our methodology, as well as our specific findings.
Home mechanics and pros alike may benefit from this app-driven code scanner
There's no doubt about it, having the check engine light pop on just might top the list of "most dreaded events" that car owners face. The warning doesn't have to herald disaster to home mechanics with the help of OBD 2 scanner tools. One such device, the Lemur BlueDriver, is designed to provide peace of mind and guidance to anyone who might have come down with a case of the check-engine-light-blues. We've had some check engine lights ourselves -- check our review to see how the Lemur BlueDriver did.
Swype keyboard app now free during App of the Week promotion
Swype, a keyboard app for iOS 8 users, is currently available for free download this week as part of Apple's App of the Week promotion. Updated earlier this week, Swype allows users to input words faster and easier when typing due to its intuitive language models, customizable layouts and gesture-based typing features. Normally priced at $1, Swype is available free until the end of next Thursday.
Pages, Numbers, Keynote for iOS, Pages for Mac, iTunes Connect, iMovie and more updated
Apple on Thursday issued a rash of minor updates to various programs, at least some of which have been updated to add or increase compatibility with iCloud Photo Library. Apple has updated all three of the iWork for iOS suite and has updated Pages for Mac (and will likely issue matching updates for Numbers and Keynote for Mac), saying only that the update "includes minor stability and performance enhancements." Developers and testers have seen photo uploading added to iCloud.com's iCloud Library.
Booq introduces new Boa Nerve, Stealth messenger bag
Booq has announced the newest addition to the Boa collection, the Boa Nerve Stealth. A messenger bag that accommodates a 15-inch Macbook, the Boa Nerve Stealth is intended for cyclists or a commuter on foot. The bag is composed of heavy-duty tarpaulin, and features a magnetic strap system that switches from loose to secure, and its stabilizer strap offers the option of additional fitting options. Its interior includes a padded laptop pocket, alongside three flapped pockets with Velcro closures and one large zippered pocket. Priced at $195, the Boa Nerve Stealth is available through various retailers.
Markdown editor makes rich text writing, blog content, or HTML text easy
Byword ($12 for Mac, $6 for iOS, but currently on sale for $10 and $3, respectively) is a straightforward text editor designed specifically for writing either plain (or rich) text or in Markdown, a style specifically designed for blog writers (or anyone who needs to provide text content with HTML tags for emphasis or embedded images, lists and so forth. It's available for both iOS and OS X, and uses iCloud (or Dropbox if you prefer) to sync documents seamlessly between devices with continual auto-save.
Old-school dungeon crawler boasts little handholding, relentless difficulty
When a gamer picks up a video game today, they usually can expect the game to offer lengthy tutorials and the occasional helpful hint when they find themselves struggling. Back in the early days of home video games, retro games were fairly brutal to the inexperienced player. The games themselves offered little to no help as to what to do, and even the instruction manuals proved to be vague, at best. Korigame Entertainment attempts to bring back the frustration of retro gaming, for better or worse, with their dungeon-crawler puzzler: Dungeony.
Move by Apple limits iOS infections to jailbroken devices
Apple has responded to the reports of the "WireLurker" malware infecting users in China. After revoking the certificate being used to install malware through enterprise provisioning, Apple confirmed that the malware existed, and noted that it has taken steps to rectify the situation.
Old-school time management technique timer, simply
There is virtually no limit to the amount of productivity apps in the App Store, and almost all of them are packed to the brim with bells and whistles that claim to increase productivity. However, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones. OneThing by developer BumbleBee Communications promises to help keep users focused and productive, without overwhelming them with needless features.
Beats out BlackBerry, Google, Facebook and Microsoft in security show-down
In a recent "scorecard" report ranking the security and safety of various popular messaging systems, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said that while no system was completely secure against "sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance," Apple's iMessage and FaceTime and the end-to-end encryption they offer made it the best of the "mass-market options" for secure communications, beating out BlackBerry Protected and BlackBerry Messenger and other big-name messaging systems.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
Swype keyboard for iOS users now available in more than 20 languages
Nuance Communications has announced that its Swype keyboard app for iOS 8 has been updated, now featuring support for more than 20 languages. A keyboard app that learns how the user types, Swype now features QWERTY, QWERTZ and AZERTY keyboard layouts, as well as a new layout specifically designed for iPad. Its new intuitive emoji input predicts when to insert an emoji graphic where appropriate. Currently available for $1, Swype requires iOS 8 or later.