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Posts tagged with "app store"

Apple Highlights Apps and Games Updated for iPad Pro

In yesterday's weekly refresh of the App Store's front page, Apple launched a new section highlighting apps updated to support the iPad Pro with design optimizations and new features.

Creativity and productivity soar when you pair great apps with iPad Pro. We've compiled some of our favorites that take advantage of its expansive Retina display and astounding performance. On iPad Pro, everything from drawing to multitasking to watching videos is a stunning experience.

The section is organized in six sub-categories, each grouping apps that have been updated with integrations for specific iPad Pro and iOS 9 features, such as 'Enhanced for Apple Pencil', 'Powerful Multitasking', or 'Desktop-Class Apps'. Featured apps include well-known names such as Evernote, 1Password, Slack, and OmniGroup apps, but also apps from smaller indie studio like Numerics (which takes advantage of the Pencil in an interesting way), LiquidText, Curator, and Workflow.

With the exception of Apple Pencil, apps featured by Apple in this section don't have access to iOS features that are exclusive to the iPad Pro, and they're not iPad Pro-only apps. Instead, Apple is highlighting apps that optimize for the iPad Pro's hardware and bigger screen to augment existing iOS 9 functionalities. Thanks to the 12.9-inch display, multitasking on the iPad Pro is more powerful than its counterpart on the iPad Air 2; with the four speaker audio system, video apps can be more immersive.

In a separate section, Apple is also highlighting games for iPad Pro – which include titles like The Room Three, Broken Age, and Geometry Wars 3. You can find the section here.

App Store Gets New Shopping Category

Rene Ritchie, writing for iMore:

Apple's App Store for iPhone and iPad is adding a new category—Shopping! It's no secret that there's been an explosion in online shopping and iOS has driven a lot of that growth. Thanks to an incredibly rich ecosystem and empowering technologies like Apple Pay, there's no better way to compare prices, check reviews, and grab deals when on the go than iPhone, and no better place to sit back, browse, share, and check out than on iPad. And that's probably why Apple is moving shopping apps out of Lifestyle and into a category all their own.

From Apple's developer blog:

The new Shopping category is now available in all 155 App Store territories. This category makes it easy for iPhone and iPad users to find and enjoy apps that enhance the shopping experience—including mobile commerce apps, marketplace apps, coupon apps, and apps that incorporate Apple Pay.

Interesting that Apple has teamed up with some of the featured companies to run promotions to celebrate the new category. And it's a smart move to do this before the holiday season, when millions of people will be buying gifts and browsing catalogues directly from their iPhones and iPads. Yet another example of just how much mobile has changed online commerce over the past few years – it needed its own App Store category.


Apple Adds Categories to the Apple TV App Store

Jeff Benjamin on iDownloadBlog notes that the Apple TV App Store now has a Categories section:

Good news for Apple TV owners looking for better ways to discover new apps on the App Store. After adding Top Charts, Apple has added a new Categories section to the App Store as well. As of now, the Categories section appears to be a bit limited, so far listing only Games and Entertainment.

On Monday it was the introduction of Top Charts to the Apple TV's App Store, and today it's the introduction of Categories (albeit limited to just two at the moment). Apple's listening and (thankfully) moving quickly to address concerns about app discoverability. The next thing that should be on their list, in my opinion, is the ability to link to Apple TV apps and preview them on the web. And whilst we're on the topic of Apple TV wishes, let's hope a few developers at Apple have also been re-allocated to quickly update the iOS Remote app to support the new Apple TV.

Although the Categories section appears to be US-only for the moment, this will likely roll-out internationally within a few days. Top Charts was also limited to the US at first, but is now available internationally.


Plex Now Available on Apple TV, and Apple Adds Top Charts to Apple TV App Store

The highly anticipated official Plex app for the new Apple TV is now available on the App Store as a free download. The Plex Apple TV app can play all of your video, music, TV and photo collections from any computer or NAS device that you install the Plex Media Server on. You can view more screenshots of the Plex Apple TV app on the Plex Blog.

There truly isn’t any other platform we’ve wanted to be on for as long as we have the Apple TV. Today’s the day, and we’re celebrating. The app is free in the app store for everyone, and requires the latest media server.

Meanwhile, Apple appears to have listened to some of the complaints about the lack of discoverability in the Apple TV App Store and added a Top Charts section. Just as it does on iOS, the Top Charts section is broken down into Top Free, Top Paid and Top Grossing lists.

Top Charts is currently limited to the US App Store, but it seems likely that the feature will roll out to international stores over the coming days. Unsurprisingly, the lists for the Top Paid and Top Grossing apps are dominated by games, whilst the Top Free list is mostly occupied by media and entertainment apps. If you don't have access to an Apple TV or live outside the US, you can see the top 10 apps in each list on MacRumors.

Perhaps in another effort to increase the discoverability of Apple TV apps, Apple has refreshed the App Store Featured page and is now highlighting some new apps. Typically on the iOS App Store they only refresh the App Store Featured page once a week on Thursdays. Hopefully this happens more frequently on the Apple TV App Store, at least until they introduce categories or some other ways to discover apps that aren't featured or trending.

When a Dev Dies

Craig Grannell has written about a topic that is very dear to me – app preservation in the age of the App Store. Specifically, he wonders what happens to an app when its developer passes away:

Recently, I was asked by a games mag you’ve probably all heard of to write about Apple TV and gaming, largely from a development standpoint. As ever under such circumstances, I went through my list of email and Twitter contacts, seeing this as a good opportunity to offer some exposure to indie developers whose work I’ve enjoyed over the years. One response came back very quickly, albeit from a name I didn’t quite recognise. The message was in fact from a developer’s wife; the person I was trying to get in touch with had died the previous week.

The developer in question was Stewart Hogarth, who’d lost his battle with congenital heart disease; he was just 34. We’d only been in touch a few times, but I’d been captivated a couple of years ago by his truly excellent 8-bit tribute I Am Level for iOS and Android. This was a smart, charming, entertaining title that married eye-searing Spectrum-style graphics, old-school single-screen platforming challenges, and modern mobile tilt-based controls. It was still installed on all of my devices, and it was strange and very sad to think that the person who created it was no longer with us.

I know that this topic is uncomfortable to discuss, but it's an important one. If we want to treat apps as cultural artifacts more than ephemeral utilities – at least some of them – we need to talk about ways to preserve them.

I genuinely believe that, years from now, apps and games will be studied as interesting data points and references for our society, behaviors, and sociological traits. Today, quite paradoxically, in many cases it's actually easier to preserve physical media than digital app store (lowercase, as it applies to every company) content and developers' back catalogues. Servers that eventually disappear, expired contracts, apps that are no longer supported on the latest OS – it doesn't make much sense to me that the rules and limitations of software make it harder to preserve apps than something which physically decays.

I continue to believe that app preservation is a topic worth discussing, and Craig is touching on an important aspect of it.


App Store Prices Increasing This Week in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden

AUD/USD from 4 April 2014 (when App Store prices were last adjusted in Australia) to 13 October 2015.

AUD/USD from 4 April 2014 (when App Store prices were last adjusted in Australia) to 13 October 2015.

As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple is set to increase the prices of apps in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden within the next 3 days. The new prices will affect all paid apps, In-App Purchases and In-App Subscriptions. As an example, in Australia, the App Store pricing Tier 1 will be increasing from $1.29 to $1.49.

In an email to developers, Apple explained that the price increases are a result of changing foreign exchange rates. In the case of Australia, the above chart shows how the Australian dollar has depreciated in value against the US dollar since the last pricing change in April 2014.

Source: 9to5Mac

Source: 9to5Mac

Apple is also introducing the Alternative Tier A and Alternative Tier B pricing tiers to Australia. Apps sold at these price tiers will cost Australian App Store customers AU$0.99. These tiers have previously been used by Apple to enable developers to sell their apps at very low prices in some developing countries such as China where Alternative Tier A (¥1) is equivalent to US$0.16.

If you want to know a bit more about App Store Pricing Tiers, I wrote an article about them which has more information on how they operate and why Apple needs to adjust them occasionally.

Apple Refunding All Purchases of Peace

Apple has informed Marco Arment that all purchases of Peace will be refunded to customers after he pulled the app from the App Store:

Apple notified me this afternoon that they’ll be proactively refunding all purchases of Peace. It will probably take a few days to process.

As far as I know, this effectively never happens. When I decided to pull the app, I asked some Apple friends if this was even possible, and we all thought the same thing: iTunes billing works the way it works, period, and no special cases can be made.

This is the first time I've heard of Apple proactively refunding an app removed from sale. I wonder what will happen to purchase history in iTunes: will Peace be available for redownload from a user's account, or will it effectively disappear forever?

(In the meantime, I'm keeping Peace on my devices. It's still a great app.)


Apple Launches App Store Games Twitter Account

Casey Newton, writing at The Verge:

Apple has launched a dedicated Twitter feed for gaming just days before the company is expected to reveal a new Apple TV that doubles as a gaming console. Apple confirmed the authenticity of the account to The Verge, which sent out its first tweet this morning. It included a GIF featuring some of the platform's most popular games, including Clash of Clans and Angry Birds.

Staffed by App Store Games Editors, the new @AppStoreGames Twitter account will feature various kinds of content, as Apple told The Verge:

The Twitter feed will feature more than just the usual picks for app of the week, the company said. App Store editors will run the feed, and plan to populate it with sneak previews of games, tips and tricks, and profiles of talented gamers. Editors will also interact with game developers on the feed, Apple said.

This is far from Apple's first foray into actively using social media, but in recent times they've become more sophisticated in the way they approach it, and the frequency to which they use it. Just a few short weeks ago Apple launched a Snapchat account for Apple Music, which has been incredibly well produced. Just looking at the first day of tweets from @AppStoreGames (a sample of which are embedded below) and it looks like this account is well worth a follow.

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A Beginner’s Guide to App Store Pricing Tiers

It might be common knowledge to developers, but some readers might not be aware that Apple only permits developers to sell apps at certain price points. For example, customers in the US App Store will see apps costing $0.99, $1.99, and $2.99 but they won't find any apps costing $5.20 or $2.75.

For various reasons, which we'll cover, Apple permits developers to choose from 94 price tiers, which range from US$0.99 to US$999.99. Developers pick one price tier, which applies to every country that their app is distributed in.

In this story we'll go into the details of the App Store price tiers, explaining how they work, some of the reasons why they exist, interesting consequences of them, and hear from developers who use them.

This is a bit of an experimental story, exploring an iOS/Mac developer topic for the benefit of anyone interested in the iOS/Mac app ecosystem. If enough people find this useful we'll look at covering other topics.

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