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Steven Smith

Steven is a freelance writer hailing from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. As well as writing for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac AppStorm sites, he also writes at his own site. He enjoys sports, reading and getting lost in science.

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In July 2008, when Marco Arment submitted Instapaper to the fledgling App Store, there was no preconceived blueprint of how a “read it later” service should look and behave. In fact, outside of Apple’s guidelines, there was no notion of how any app ought to do so — iPhone OS was truly open season for developers. Where others found instant competition, Marco had the enviable opportunity to define an entire genre of app himself. 5 years later, his trailblazing app is now helmed by Betaworks, and yet, time seems to be repeating itself.

Betaworks’ acquisition of Instapaper came with just a hint of serendipity, occurring just over a month before the announcement of iOS 7 at WWDC. With that, the single most drastic architectural overhaul of iOS was thrust upon developers, and just like 2008, Instapaper was handed a clean slate to work with. However, with competitors abound and a dedicated user base to consider, any missteps could prove costly. With an array of new abilities available for use, is Instapaper version 5 a chapter of consolidation or a bold invention?

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When it comes to Apple’s iconic media events, the one thing that guarantees hype is new hardware. No matter what else is on the agenda, iPhones and iPads are the star attractions. Understandably, much of the other news interspersed between device unveilings is swept aside, perhaps given a whisper of coverage after the dust settles. For me, it is those tidbits I find tantalisingly mysterious, a mere breadcrumb hinting at a grander plan. Last week’s iPhone event was no different.

Prior to WWDC I’d have forgiven anyone for thinking iWork had been put out to pasture. With no desktop update since 2009, it’s fair to say the web app versions of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers came with more than a little intrigue. In a sense, Apple had just created its first multi-platform apps. Now, four months later, Apple has dropped another breadcrumb. All three iWork iOS apps are now free for purchasers of a new iOS 7 device — Apple’s strategy is beginning to come full circle with more than a little risk and reward.

Continue reading over at iPad.AppStorm

Growing attached to apps and services is something we have all done as iOS users with Sparrow being a particular sore point. Difficulties can arise when developers attempt to improve upon their previous efforts in the name of innovation and improvement; however, as with Skitch, such plans aren’t so easily fulfilled. Therefore, upon hearing my favourite app of 2012 was being redeveloped, I listened with more than a little trepidation. As it turns out, the team has released a brand new app filled with mind blowing audio and visuals, once again taking it to a new level.

Again based upon Nick Risinger’s stunning cosmological photography, Sky Guide is the new iteration of Sky Survey — the most beautiful app in the App Store, until now. Like Apple, Risinger knows even the best products can be improved, and with Sky Guide his team has brought a wealth of new material to give any astronomy enthusiast goosebumps. The idea may remain the same but there’s plenty of features to get excited about whilst scanning the Milky Way. Let’s take a look. (more…)

In recent months, Google has shown an increasingly intense focus on iOS. In addition to last year’s acqui-hiring of the popular Sparrow and Snapseed teams, they have released new apps for Chrome and Maps, and overhauled existing YouTube and Gmail offerings. However, larger waves are being made under the surface; the uniform design language being rolled out across their entire catalogue may not be entirely innocent. Does Google have a subversive agenda on iOS? Well, if YouTube Capture is anything to go by, nothing is off the table.

On the surface, Capture appears to be just another simple video recording app offering only minor improvements over the stock iOS option. However, its simplicity should not be underestimated; it may just be its most threatening attribute. How does Capture fit into Google’s iOS plans? Can it replace the default Camera app? Let’s check it out. (more…)

The incredible rise of Kickstarter was one of the defining stories of 2012 with the crowd-funding service helping to fund 34,000 projects with almost $400 million in pledges. However, despite the impressive figures, critics are still abound with many lamenting the failures of projects to fulfil their promises. A charge that cannot be levied against 1 Second Everyday.

Cesar Kuriyama’s brainchild was an instant success, managing to treble its initial funding goal. Unlike delayed projects drawing ire from critics, the app was released just a month after receiving funding on January 10. The highly organised and responsive nature of the project epitomises Kickstarter’s ideals and is a model for prospective projects, however, how does the final product stack up? Let’s find out (more…)

Despite the many technological and social advances made so far in the 21st century, there are some areas in the entertainment industry seemingly undergoing a period of stagnation. The number of rehashes and remakes of classic film and gaming brands is ever increasing with largely mixed-to-negative results. Such failures beg the question of whether original works can be bettered? If Conquist 2 is anything to go by there may be hope yet.

Military strategy games have always been amongst my favourites, whether it be the classic board game Risk or the legendary Command & Conquer series. Conquist 2 takes direct influence from the former, Risk, boldly mimicking the title’s famous premise and daring to try and better it. Can it succeed? Or is another rehash destined to fail? Stick around to find out more! (more…)

As the App Store has swelled in size, it has become increasingly difficult to find those sparse gems — apps that can be a real treat to stumble upon. Sky Survey happens to be one of them. I first heard about the app while watching an episode of Horizon on the BBC iPlayer service and, utterly captivated by its premise and development, decided to track it down.

The cornerstone principle of the app is nothing new; in fact, you may have heard of Night Sky as an app that also details the many celestial objects on show above our heads. However, that’s where the similarities end. The end result of Sky Survey is derived largely from one man’s painstaking efforts to capture the Milky Way in unprecedented detail; an effort that has yielded some of the most breathtaking images I have ever seen. Stick around after the break to lose yourself in space. (more…)

Unlike the vast majority of professions, Writing requires no qualifications of its purveyors — anybody can be one. The boundless level of expression afforded to authors of any genre is unmatched by any other art form. A level of expression limited not by talent or ability, but only by the imagination of the craftsman. It has been said that writing itself is not difficult, but rather the difficulty arises with forming good ideas.

Authors cannot be taught how to be creative or imaginative; it is for themselves to coax ideas out of their minds. What can be encouraged, however, is the development of those oh-so-rare seedlings of invention into fully rooted bougainvillea. Writers App isn’t designed to boost imagination, but it does provide the tools needed to help cultivate your ideas into flourishing works of literature. Intrigued? Let’s find out more. (more…)

It’s Game Week here at iPhone.AppStorm, and all this week we’re going to have tons of reviews, giveaways and other good stuff, all centered around the gaming world!

With the ever-rising popularity of the iPad it can be easy to forget about the iPhone’s gaming prowess; a prowess that has set the benchmark for the entire mobile gaming industry. However, here at iPhone AppStorm we haven’t forgotten.

With an amazing summer of Olympic sport behind us and a new NFL season in full swing, what better time is there to present you with our picks for the best sports games on the App Store? Whether you’re a lover of football, an avid follower of tennis or a petrol-head at heart, there’s something here for you. After the jump we’ll get started. (more…)

The fictional nation of Camatuga has been devastated by a huge earthquake leaving the town’s population stranded! Built upon five islands, the only way in or out is via the network of bridges that criss-cross the landscape, but all 30 have been completely destroyed. It is up to you to rebuild the transport infrastructure and get the nation back on track … No pressure! (more…)

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