Apps

Apple announces App Store volume purchase program

Apple has sent out a note to developers regarding an App Store volume purchase program that allows educational institutions to make bulk purchases at a 50% discount.

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blockquote>We’re pleased to announce the App Store Volume Purchase Program. Education institutions in the United States now have a new way to purchase your apps in volume for distribution to their students and faculty. You can also elect to offer special education pricing on your app when purchased in volume.

Read more about the App Store Volume Purchase Program and how to get started in iTunes Connect.

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Madden 2011 released into App Store for iPhone and iPad

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Star Wars: Battle for Hoth - app review

Like Star Wars? Like tower defense games? Then you might want to take a look at THQs recent release Star Wars: Battle for Hoth for iPhone. 

The game premise is that of all tower defense games; prevent your enemy (in this case the Imperial Empire) from reaching the other said of the map. As you play the game you get a fairly diverse set of units to deploy in defending Hoth. But, before I get into that, let's look at play mechanics first. 

You start Battle for Hoth with some simple ground troop units and a shovel. The shovel allows you to alter the landscape of the level and force units to move a certain route. This is a great tool in later levels as you can really funnel the Empire to their doom. When you place your units and they destroy a wave of Imperials, you are rewarded with a green wrench icon you have to touch to collect. This gives you points to build or upgrade units. You have to be fast though if you wait too long the wrench will change color to orange then red, decreasing the point value. Wait too long, and your points are gone forever.

As you play through the 15 levels you unlock more types of units including; seated blaster units, radar lasers, turrets, snow speeders, x-wings, shield generators and ion cannons. Some of the more complex units like the ion cannon, shield generators and turrets require an energy generator placed next to them. The energy generator is required to power those units. If you upgrade a unit (say the shield generator) without upgrading the energy unit, you run the risk of losing power to that unit so you always have to keep it in check. 

You can upgrade your existing units to make them more powerful and sell them as needed. I found the most fun in the game building up units under the safety of the shield generator and then taking out AT-ATs with relative ease once my units were upgraded to the maximum.

When writing this review, I have to admit I had some distaste for this game. Simple and not a lot of variety in what appeared to be a shameless use of an awesome gaming license. However, after I made my video review above, I am having a bit of a change of heart. I think I am trying to make Battle of Hoth more than it is;  a simple Star Wars-themed tower defense game to kill a view minutes in your day while standing in line to get groceries. Should you get it? If you are a Star Wars fan I think you will enjoy. If not, I would pass. 

[$2.99- iTunes Link]

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UPDATE: Camera+ update featuring "VolumeSnap" rejected, feature request filed

Developer tap tap tap submitted an update for their app Camera+ which included a new feature called VolumeSnap. VolumeSnap allowed users to use the volume controls to take a photo, a feature that many iPhone users have asked for. Apple, however, does not approve of using the iPhone's hardware in this manner. Here's what they had to say to tap tap tap:

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Let's Golf 2 for iPad- app review

I was excited to see that Let's Golf 2 just appeared in the App Store! I am not a golfer in real life, but I enjoy a good golf game every once in a while. Let's jump right in and see what this new version has to offer.

Let's Golf 2 is not meant as a real golf simulation like a Tiger Woods Golf. Instead, you are greeted with cute, often funny characters in outlandish environments that are beautiful and colorful. This does not mean that the levels are easy, in fact they become quite challenging later in the game (how can that be a par 4, impossible!)

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Frash brings Flash to iPhone Jailbreak

We've seen Frash, the Jailbreak port of Android Flash, on the iPad but now it's making its move over to iPhone courtesy of Comex who coded it and Grant Pannell who compiled it.

Ally is going to look at this more in depth later in the week, but if you're Jailbroken and you've just been dying to get some Flash on your iPhone, there's now an alpha for that.

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iOS4 Apps Updated: Readdle, WeeMee Avatar Creator, Wolfram Alpha, Trism, Reel Director

And the iOS4 app updates just keep on coming. We're finding more and more by the day. Whether it's adding support for the iPhone 4's awesome retina display or taking advantage of new APIs within iOS4, we're still watching for them. Here's the ones we found this time around, and as always, if you see any we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!

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App Store Genius now serving up iPad recommendations

Apple has added a Genius tab to the iPad version of the App Store. Tap the tab, agree to the terms of service, and Apple will upload an (anonymized) list of all your apps and games, compare them to lists of millions of other (also anonymized) users, and recommend other apps and games you may be interested in.

So if the what's new and what's hot sections just don't strike your fancy, if the top selling, grossing, and free stuff has lost its charm, if the categories are just impossible to sort through, give the Genius tab a try.

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Birdbrain for iPhone - App Review

YouTube Link

Birdbrain for iPhone [iTunes Link] is an app that aggregates your Twitter statistics such as followers, following, blocked, and several other variables into one app.  It also shows you differences in how many followers you've gained or lost.  You can also see the specific people that have started following you or stopped following you.  Clicking on a user will also allow you to view certain statistics about that user.

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Regarding Apple including 3rd party app screens in 1st part app patent filings

Apple has begun filing patent applications for 1st party (i.e. Apple produced) iOS apps that include screen drawings of well known 3rd party (i.e. independently produced by developers for the App Store) apps.

Is Apple trying to steal the hard work and shatter the good will of App Store developers? Is Apple merely showing how App Store apps could hook into future Apple apps/hubs? Is it something in between?

Let's take a look after the break...

[Venomous Porridge, Thanks Dev for the tip!]

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