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February 18 2014

February 08 2014

After 5 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes

Persistence, it turns out, does pay off. After rejecting it five times, Apple has finally approved an app that tracks every U.S. drone strike and sends a push notification to users every time a flying robot carries out a deadly mission around the world.

Josh Begley, the data artist and developer who made the app, finally got through Apple's careful approval process on Friday, more than a year and a half after the first rejection by the company's App Review Team

It took persistence, but it took also some semantic trickery. Begley got the app approved because he removed the word "drone" from the name of the app and from its description. For the first three attempts, it was called Drones+, then Dronestream for the last two. This latest, successful time, it's called Metadata+, and Begley initially submitted it with no content or functionality, adding the archive of strikes later Read more...

More about Apple, Iphone App Store, App Store, Us World, and Us

January 27 2014

80% of Apple Mobile Devices Now Run iOS 7

iOS 7 now runs on 80% of iOS devices, according to new numbers Apple released on Monday.

This is an increase from the 74% rate Apple reported in early December. The latest numbers, which were posted on the App Store's developer support center page, show the operating system is continuing to broaden its reach four and a half months after its release

Apple's most recent numbers are based on App Store data gathered during the week of Jan. 19. According to the report, just 17% of iOS users are still using iOS 6 and 3% are using iOS 5 or earlier.

iOS 7 first rolled out in September 2013. It appears that widespread initial complaints about the OS were negligible; its growth has already outpaced that of iOS 6 Read more...

More about Apple, App Store, Tech, Apps Software, and Ios 7

January 15 2014

App Store Pulls 'Barbie' Plastic-Surgery App Following Backlash

Apple's App Store pulled a Barbie-inspired plastic-surgery app on Tuesday, following intense backlash fueled in part by a Twitter campaign.

The game, which launched last week and was rated for children 9 and older, walked players through the graphic steps of liposuction that must be performed on an "unfortunate girl" to make her "slim and beautiful."

The dubious steps included injecting anesthetic, making incisions with a scalpel and suctioning out fat with a pump. This process was then repeated multiple times on Barbie's different "problem areas."

photo 2 (2)

The game's description in the App Store was also highly questionable: "This unfortunate girl has so much extra weight that no diet can help her. In our clinic she can go through a surgery called liposuction that will make her slim and beautiful. We'll need to make small cuts on problem areas and suck out the extra fat. Will you operate her, doctor?" Read more...

More about App Store, Ios, Tech, and Apps Software

January 03 2014

What Happens After Apple Features Your App in the App Store

Luis von Ahn and his team received the email from Apple in mid-December. The gist of the message was straightforward enough: "You might want to prep yourself."

A few days later, Apple named von Ahn's app Duolingo as the best iPhone app of 2013. Duolingo, a free app for learning languages, launched on iOS in late 2012 and had been featured in various sections of the App Store before, but little compares to being called out as the top app of the year. Duolingo's total app downloads across platforms spiked from an average of about 80,000 per day before the announcement to "hundreds of thousands" during the days after, von Ahn told Mashable Read more...

More about Apps, Apple, Startups, App Store, and Business

December 20 2013

Freemium Is the Most Profitable Pricing Strategy for Apps

If you're looking to make money on an app of your own, your best bet is a freemium model. In seven of the Apple App Store's 10 largest categories, the majority of revenue comes from in-app purchases in free apps

But there are a couple of exceptions: Just 22% of revenue earned by navigation apps and 29% of revenue from productivity apps purchased between January and November 2013 were via freemium models.

Statista's chart, below, breaks down the revenue of each of the App Store's 10 primary categories, between freemium apps with in-app purchases, paid apps and paid apps with in-app purchases Read more...

More about Apple, Freemium, App Store, Tech, and Apps Software

December 17 2013

Apple Announces Top iPhone, iPad Apps of 2013

Finishing the year atop Apple's App Store list has never been more competitive. The company announced in October that the App Store features more than one million apps that have combined for more than 60 billion total app downloads

So, what does it take to reach the top? Apparently lots and lots of candy

Candy Crush Saga was a star for iOS users in 2013, taking the top spot as the most downloaded free app on both iPhone and iPad this year. The addicting game was also the top grossing app on both iPhone and iPad, an impressive feat considering the app is free and relies on in-app purchases for revenue Read more...

More about Apps, Iphone, Apple, Features, and App Store

November 09 2013

8 Apps to Make You a Better Reader

How many books did you read last year? If your answer is more than one, congratulations: you're more well-read than about 25% of Americans over age 16, according to a 2012 Pew Internet survey.

Ironically, as we become more surrounded by words in the digital age, less of us are finding time to actually read them. The good news is that your smartphone or tablet can help.

Trying to stray from the obvious reading apps, like e-readers, we've gathered eight excellent apps that'll help you improve your reading ability and become a better literary citizen, while simultaneously boosting your brain function. Read more...

More about Apps, Features, App Store, Reading, and Roundup

October 31 2013

U.S. Department of Defense to Get Its Own App Store

The U.SDepartment of Defense is getting its very own app store, so soldiers can more efficiently book plane tickets and call in airstrikes.

The department awarded a contract to Digital Management, a Maryland-based firm, for an initial amount of $2.9 million to build the "mobile device management system," according to a release.

Along with apps that would streamline paperwork and the airstrike process, the department is interested in translation software, facial-recognition apps and a more advanced Google Maps, among other tools.

"Across [the Department of Defense] there is a huge demand for applications," Alana Johnson, a department spokesperson, told Mashable in an email. "Our mission partners are looking for a solution, which closely resembles the experience and user interface that they have grown accustomed to while using their civilian devices." Read more...

More about Military, App Store, Troops, Department Of Defense, and Apps Software

October 22 2013

Apple's App Store Tops 1 Million Apps

A little more than five years after launching, Apple's App Store has topped 1 million apps.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook revealed the milestone at its big iPad event on Tuesday, adding that there have been more than 60 billion app downloads to date and $13 billion paid out to developers. By comparison, Apple had 700,000 apps and 30 billion downloads at the same time last year

While it's an impressive figure, Apple's App Store is likely still behind Google Play, which passed the 1 million mark in July

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

More about Apple, App Store, Tim Cook, Business, and Apps Software

September 19 2013

Apple Doubles Over-the-Air App Store Download Limit to 100MB

With the advent of iOS 7, Apple also quietly raised the limit for over-the-air App Store downloads from 50MB to 100MB

This means you no longer have to connect to a Wi-Fi internet connection to download apps or other content that's up to 100MB in size

This simple change will make life easier to many users, as modern apps — especially games — quite often take well over 50MB

The question, perhaps, is whether Apple should've raised the cap even more. For example, the freshly launched game Infinity Blade III has a whopping 1.47GB in size, and the current top paid app in the app store, Pixel Gun 3D, is 132MB big Read more...

More about Apple, App Store, Tech, Apps Software, and Mobile

September 18 2013

iOS 7 Apps: Download These Now

From Evernote to Shazam, it’s a big day for app updates.

iOS 7 is now available for download, and many of the App Store’s biggest players updated their apps accordingly.

iOS 7 represents a complete re-imagination of Apple’s mobile operating system. The OS, which is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, brings a new look and brighter colors to the devices.

Check out the gallery above for a look at some of the apps that received major updates for iOS 7. Select the button on the bottom-left corner of the gallery to view as a list, and check back throughout the day for more additions. Read more...

More about Apps, Itunes, App Store, Ios, and Tech

August 25 2013

Apple Changes App Store Ranking Algorithm to Favor Ratings

Apple appears to be testing out some new changes to its iTunes App Store ranking algorithms, taking into account app ratings and other new factors in the Top Chart rankings.

It's not clear if the changes are more experimental or part of a larger overhaul, but they have resulted in apps losing and gaining positions without a corresponding increase or decrease in app downloads.

App marketing startup Fiksu spotted the trend in late July, after observing that apps with ratings of four stars or more received a ranking boost, which they've maintained throughout August. Meanwhile, apps with fewer than three stars dropped down in the charts, and haven't moved back, despite downloads remaining relatively consistent. Read more...

More about Apple, App Store, Ranking, Tech, and Apps Software

August 20 2013

The Harsh Reality For Mobile Developers Trying To Hit The Top Of App Store Charts

You just spent months building an app with the hopes that it would be a boon for your business or usher your way into the lucrative world of top end app publishers. You have Candy Crush dreams and Evernote aspirations. 

After you publish your app, nobody downloads it. Those that do download it aren’t coming back into it more than once or twice. 

“This sucks,” you tell yourself over your morning (and afternoon) Ramen noodles. 

Making noise in the App Store and Google Play is harder than ever. At last count, Apple has more than 900,000 apps in the App Store while Google boasts more than one million in its Android market. Even if you have the chops to develop an app and push it out, the competition is fierce for mobile users’ time, attention… and dollars.

Nearly two-thirds of developers do not break even with their app investments. Most apps average much less than 50,000 downloads (which may seem like a lot, but it is not the peak of app store performance). 

Gross downloads are not always a sign of success. If one million people download your app but only use it once, that is also a failure of execution and retention. According to data from mobile analytics and marketing firm Localytics, 66% of app users open apps between one and 10 times. Only about 34% of users open an app 11 or more times, as of the third quarter of 2012 (and that number is up from 26% for the same time in 2011). 

Getting app downloads and increasing user retention is a problem for every app publisher, from the indie developer to big, established brands to the current flavor of the month (think Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Temple Run). 

Even though the incumbents in the App Store and Google Play have the same type of problems that many other app publishers face, they also have mastered the art of acquiring and retaining users. Hence, they hold the keys to the house that are the top rankings in the app stores. According to analytics company Trademob, only 2% of the top 250 app publishers in the Apple App Store are newcomers while only 3% are new to Android’s Google Play store. 

What is your apps problem? Foremost, it may be low on signal and high on noise (it is not original and just not good enough). Really, there a lot of apps and many, many of them are just not that good. A generic game or brand app can get lost in the nearly two million entrants between the two stores. Second, the environment for mid-market apps is really, really thin. Only one in every 10,000 apps generated more than $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Trademob. 

Third, you probably do not have the money to compete with the top of the heap of the app stores where all the money is made. Top app publishers have large marketing budgets and teams dedicated to nothing but getting their app seen (through public relations campaigns, advertising or cross promotion to social networks, television and other apps). 

Even if your app is not generating hundreds of thousands to millions of downloads, there are things you can do to hold to the users you do have. Localytics offers three tips for retaining and engaging app users after they have downloaded your app.

  • Optimize customer acquisition: Tie customer acquisition sources (e.g., Facebook ads, cross promotion) to the long-term retention, conversion rates and most importantly lifetime value of app users. This focus shifts acquisition resources to those providing the highest quality customers.
  • Engage / nurture customers:  Use tools such as in-app messaging to communicate with customers within the app. You can provide special offers, nudge customers through conversion points (e.g., registrations) and request customer feedback as input to app development.
  • Continuous improvement: Use app analytics to discover opportunities to continuously improve the app experience, remove bottlenecks, smooth app user flow and move popular content and features forward.

Check out the infographic below from Trademob on app downloads and the difficulty in breaking into the top ranks in the app stores.


Tags: App Store

July 08 2013

Apple Gives Away Top iOS Games and Apps Ahead of App Store's 5th Birthday

Several popular iOS games and apps have had their price reduced to zero

The promotion is not formally explained anywhere on Apple's website, but The Verge says it could be related to the App Store's 5th anniversary.

The list of free apps includes Traktor DJ, Day One, Over and Barefoot World Atlas

Free games include Infinity Blade II, Badland, Tiny Wings, Where's My Water? and Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP

For comparison, the standard price for Infinity Blade II is $6.99, while Traktor DJ for iPad goes for $19.99

We're waiting for an official explanation from Apple regarding these discounts, but in the meantime, we recommend you go and treat yourself to some freebies Read more...

More about App Store, Ios, Tech, and Mobile

August 13 2012

Romney or Obama? Predict the Election With Fox News’ iPad App

Will Barack Obama win another four years in the Oval Office or will Mitt Romney be the country's next president? You can make your predictions with the "You Decide 2012 Map," a new iPad app from Fox News.

The app lets you make your own election forecasts based on the electoral college -- just tap on a state to designate it as "Democrat," "Republican," "Leaning" or "Toss Up," then see which candidate gets to the magic number of 270.

You can share the predictions with your Facebook friends or Twitter followers directly from the app.

If you'd like an expert opinion along with your own, former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove and former Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi both…
Continue reading...

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Mobile, Politics, app store, apps, ipad

July 31 2012

February 07 2012

Apple Says it Will Boot Developers Who Manipulate App Store Rankings [VIDEO]

Apple says it will not tolerate manipulation of App Store rankings even if a third-party service is responsible for doing the dirty work.

Making it to the top of the charts is tough, considering more than 500,000 apps are available for download. Apple knows app developers pay third-party services to increase app rankings and some of them have wiggled apps into Apple’s top 25 most-downloaded chart through illegal methods.

“Once you build a great app, you want everyone to know about it. However, when you promote your app, you should avoid using services that advertise or guarantee top placement in App Store charts,” Apple warned developers Monday on its site. “Even if you are not personally engaged in manipulating App Store chart rankings or user reviews, employing services that do so on your behalf may result in the loss of your Apple Developer Program membership.”

SEE ALSO: 8 Best Practices for Deploying a Top-Ranked Mobile App

The New York Times Bits blog wrote about a Walter Kaman’s post on Touch Arcade’s forum. The programmer said he found a $5,000 service promising to push his app to the top of Apple’s most-downloaded list by using software “bots” that download an app repeatedly until its rating reaches the top 25 list. The man behind the fraudulent service showed Kaman eight of its clients who were all on the top 25 list through bot downloads. Kaman says he didn’t pay for the service he called “the biggest fraud ever.”

“It’s really disheartening to know that Apple is aware of this issue, but yet, they still allow these 8 apps on the App Store to use bots,” Kaman wrote on the forum. “For all these time that I’ve been working hard at developing my app, I am very disappointed to know that these 8 other apps are getting insane exposure on the app store by paying a mere $5,000.”

Watch the video above to learn more, and tell us what you think about Apple’s warning to app developers in the comments below.

More About: app development, app store, apple, apple app store, apps, mashable video

December 27 2011

App-y Christmas: 242 Million Downloads Sets New Record [STUDY]

Apparently, a lot of people spent Christmas Day turning on their new smartphones and downloading apps. Assessing the data from the busiest day of the year for activations and app downloads, Flurry Analytics found consumers shattered records for both this year.

Activations topped 6.8 million, a 140% jump over Christmas Day 2010′s 2.8 million, according to Flurry. Consumers downloaded 242 million apps that day, an increase of 125% over last year. The day caps off a strong year for both iOS and Android. Apple’s App Store, which exceeded 10 billion downloads overall in January, is on track to post 10 billion downloads for 2011 alone. The Android Market, meanwhile, surpassed 10 billion downloads overall this month.

Unfortunately, Flurry doesn’t break down Android downloads vs. iOS. “Frankly, they’re neck and neck,” says Peter Farago, vp of marketing for Flurry, who adds that the company chooses not to share that data with the public. Android’s share of the smartphone market was 43.7% vs. 27.3% for iOS in August, according to comScore.

Flurry also tracked app downloads for all of Christmas Day and found a big increase around 9 a.m. and then another jump around 11 a.m. The amount stayed at that level until about midnight. (Time zones were “normallized” in the research, so 9 a.m. in London, New York and San Francisco were all considered 9 a.m.)

The “appy Christmas” is expected to continue. Flurry is predicting that between Christmas and New Year’s Day, consumers will download 1 billion apps.

What do you think? Did you spend your Christmas Day at the App Store or at Android Market? Tell us your story.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto,sjlocke

More About: android, android marketplace, app store, apps, flurry, iOS, Mobile, smartphone

November 24 2011

Apple Removes Game Subscription Service from App Store

Big Fish Games made headlines Wednesday when it announced that it had become the first app developer to offer games by subscription through Apple’s App Store. That app has now been removed from the App Store without explanation.

The app, dubbed Play Instantly!, let subscribers play dozens of iPad games over streaming Wi-Fi for $6.99 per month. It was not only the first subscription game service offered in the App Store, but also the first cloud-based one to our knowledge. To date, App Store games have only been available for individual, one-time purchase and download.

A spokesperson for Big Fish Games said in an email accompanying the original announcement Wednesday that the company “worked collaboratively with Apple over several weeks to ensure the service met all their guidelines” and that “it was handled via [Apple's] standard submission and review process.” Apple wanted “to verify that the service we were offering was a good customer experience and that the value proposition warranted a recurring monthly charge,” the spokesperson added.

It’s not clear why Apple has pulled the game, nor if it intends to introduce game subscriptions to the App Store in the near future. Apple commentator John Gruber suggested the app might have been accidentally approved by an App Store reviewer in violation of App Store guidelines, despite what appears to have been a lengthy collaboration period.

Apple could not be reached for comment by press time.

More About: app store, apple, big fish games

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