Mac Starter Pack: unleash your iTunes gift card and upgrade your Mac with these great apps

App Starter Pack Mac 2014

Let’s assume you unwrapped a brand new Mac this year (awesome!) or scored a ton of iTunes/iBooks/App Store credit (still awesome!) and you need ideas for awesome apps to buy and check out for your new MacBook or iMac. Tons of new apps have launched on the Mac this year and even more have added new features and remain essential. Below are some of my favorite Mac apps that I’ve used needed from time to time or even use daily and should give you a solid place to start whether your a brand new Mac user or Mac veteran looking to do more with your machine. Read more

Facebook Messenger and Heads Up take top slots in Apple’s most popular iOS app lists

Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 5.19.06 PM

Apple has released the list of this year’s most popular iOS apps, with Facebook’s Messenger app and Warner Bros.’ Heads Up! game taking the top spots on the free and paid charts, respectively. The freemium Clash of Clans was the top grossing app of 2014.

Social networks claimed all of the top five free spots, with Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram coming in behind Messenger. Between the main Facebook client, Messenger, and Instagram, the social networking company managed to capture the majority of the top five slots.

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Robinhood launches on App Store, brings zero-commission stock trading to the masses

Robinhood App

For several years, my grandmother has encouraged me to get involved with the stock market. While she was successful at persuading my older brother into investing in penny stocks, I have never taken the initiative to learn how the stock market truly works. For that reason, I was excited when I heard about a brand new app called Robinhood, which provides zero-commission stock trading at your fingertips.

While online brokers are nothing new, with existing firms such as Interactive Brokers and E-Trade, Robinhood is a mobile-first service that doesn’t require a desktop. Whether you are a twenty-something college student that doesn’t fully understand how the stock market functions, an experienced Wall Street stock trader, or fall somewhere in between, the app makes stock trading easier for the masses. Read more

iTunes Connect shutting down for holidays between December 22-29

iTunes Connect December 2014

Apple has sent an email to registered developers on Wednesday to inform them that iTunes Connect will be shutting down for the holidays from December 22 to December 29. During this time, developers will be unable to submit new apps, app updates or in-app purchases to appear on the App Store. Access to iTunes Connect, Application Loader, iTunes Connect for iOS and making changes to TestFlight Beta Testing will also be unavailable as a whole. Read more

Nintendo patent hints at official Game Boy emulator for mobile phones

Gameboy-emulator-01

TechCrunch points to a newly published patent filed by Nintendo that shows the company is interested in bringing Game Boy titles to mobile devices through emulation technology. Many emulators exist online to mimic old consoles and allow gamers to play back catalogs of games converted to ROM files on Macs and PCs, and Nintendo could possibly do the same to officially bring titles to mobile devices without much heavy lifting in terms of rewriting the games: Read more

App Store changes ‘Free’ button to ‘Get’, likely due to in-app purchase controversies

App Store Free Get

Apple has introduced a small but interesting tweak to the way it markets apps on the App Store. As you can see in the screenshot above, non-paid apps are now presented with the word ‘GET’ rather than ‘FREE’. While the reason for the change in how Apple is presenting non-paid apps isn’t clear, it’s likely due to the popularity of ‘freemium’ apps and in-app purchases, something that has been the source of controversy for Apple in the past… Read more

Paper by FiftyThree updated with Adobe Creative Cloud integration, push notifications and other improvements

Mix Paper FiftyThree

The popular iPad drawing and sketching app Paper by FiftyThree has been updated with Adobe Creative Cloud integration, push notifications and sharing directly from Mix, a camera view during account creation, smoother shadows and general improvements for iOS 8. The updated version of Paper by FiftyThree is available now on the App Store. Read more

Nest Mobile iOS app pulled from App Store following crashing issue

Nest Mobile

Update: Looks resolved…

The official Nest Mobile app for iPhone and iPad appears to have been removed from the App Store for the time being following complaints from users that the latest version of the app crashes at launch. The Nest Mobile app is used to remotely interface with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector from the iPhone and iPad.

Nest has acknowledged the issue via Twitter with a message regarding the software bug: “We’re currently investigating an issue causing the Nest iOS app version 4.4.0 to quit unexpectedly. We’ll provide a status update shortly.” Nest founder and CEO (and former Apple exec) Tony Fadell also acknowledged the issue on Twitter offering an apology to a user.

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Apple seeks Evangelist to promote third-party Apple Watch app development

Screenshot 2014-11-03 07.34.35

Apple wants the third-party app marketplace for the upcoming Apple Watch to be a hit just like on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple has begun seeking an “Apple Watch Evangelist,” according to a posting on its official jobs website. This evangelist position is specifically designed to work with third-party application developers and promote development for the upcoming Apple Watch platform:

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Apple making iOS 8 Notification Center a bit less useful by banning calculator widgets

Pcalc-today-widgetDeveloper James Thomson of popular calculator app PCalc announced today via his Twitter account that Apple is forcing him to remove the app’s Today Widget due to a restriction that iOS widgets “cannot perform any calculations.”

Apple’s new Today Widgets feature in iOS 8, which allows developers to build functions into the system-wide Notification Center, does have some limitations that Apple outlines in developer documentation. For example, Apple encourages developers not to use Today Widgets for multistep tasks: If you want to create an app extension that enables a multistep task or helps users perform a lengthy task, such as uploading or downloading content, the Today extension point is not the right choice.” There doesn’t, however, appear to be specific references to apps that perform calculations in Apple’s developer guidelines. Read more

Phone 2 Go app brings Time Warner Cable home phone service to mobile devices for no additional cost

Time Warner Cable today announced a new smartphone app that will let its customers use their home phone service on mobile devices for no additional fees. That means that users with a Time Warner Cable home phone service, which starts at $10/month, can now text and call through the new Phone 2 Go app on smartphones and tablets. The service requires a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection and will also work for international calling and texting: Read more