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apple

My first iOS experience came by way of an iPod Touch that was given to me at Christmas  in 2008.  I remember feverishly setting it up so I could comb the App Store for goodies; making sure to download all the best apps and games available at the time. Now that Christmas is upon us this year, some fortunate few are being introduced to iOS for the first time.

When you find your way into the App Store for the first time, you’ll soon discover that it houses a lot of apps. Like, millions. Many of them bring a unique feature to the iPhone that you don’t get from first-party apps, but then there are the apps that compete with Apple’s offerings. Now, being that Apple owns and operates iOS, its apps often include killer features that you won’t find in third-party alternatives. However, even with this advantage, some third-party apps are capable of offering a superior experience.

With this in mind, I’ve rounded up a list of what I believe to be the best free and paid alternatives to Apple’s first-party iOS apps. Read on and get ready to download! (more…)

Most iPhone owners I meet are content with using the apps provided by Apple. Whether it’s from lack of interest or uncertainty about what’s available in the App Store, they stick with what’s provided to them and go about their business. I, on the other hand, only use a few of Apple’s apps for which alternatives are available and stash the rest away in a folder. There are many reasons why I opt for third-party apps, but anyone that visits an app review blog, such as yourself, probably doesn’t need must explanation why they’re often much better.

With iOS 7’s release, a few of Apple’s apps that I abandoned long ago got a reprieve; mainly due each app’s stark redesign from their iOS 6 predecessor. Of those apps, iTunes Movie Trailers is by far one of my favorites. Beforehand, I was using a combination Wigglehop, Fandango and Google for all my theater going excursions, but now Apple’s all-in-one movie app offers nearly all the information and features I’ll ever need. (more…)

Last June, Apple released a standalone podcasts management app with the rather simple moniker, Podcasts. To say the app was met with little fanfare is putting it quite mildly. In my original review of Podcasts, I too found the app to be underwhelming, with a list of issues and very few features for power users.

Recently, Apple released version 1.2 of Podcasts, bringing with it an all-new Now Playing view, custom stations, and a host of supposed syncing and stability improvements. Aftering putting Podcasts through its paces, I’m ready to give each and everyone of you fine readers the inside scoop on what these updates have to offer. (more…)

A few weeks back, Apple had a pretty big shakeup in their management structure. Out is Scott Forstall, and in his place is Craig Federighi, who will handle both iOS and OS X. But the big news is Jony Ive’s expanded role. From the official press release:

“Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.”

Understand that although Ive isn’t in charge of iOS directly, because he’s handling direction for Human Interface, he will have an impact on the way OS X and iOS looks in the future. Many are theorizing that this means we’ll lose the felt in Game Center and the leather padding in Calendar, but we want to know what you think. Will Jony Ive help make his mark on iOS, or will his touch be more subtle? Let us know in the poll to the right!

Well, wouldn’t you know it. Just a few days before my podcast management app roundup went up, in which I stated that “the system of downloading podcasts in iTunes and then jumping over to the Music app to listen to them isn’t very simple or intuitive,” Apple released their own dedicated podcast management app for iOS. Boy, don’t I look foolish.

However, even with the release of Podcasts, Apple hasn’t necessarily guaranteed users an podcast management app that rivals the experience found in third-party apps (e.g. Instacast, Downcast and Pocket Casts). Hit the jump and find out if Podcasts has what it takes to unseat the competition from your iOS device. (more…)

No matter what generation of Apple TV you own — first gen, 720p or 1080p — the preferred method of input has always been this tiny remote that’s as minimal as you can get. Sure, it’s great to work with and all that, but if you’ve got a decent sized collection of movies and television shows to navigate through, things can get a bit tricky.

Remote solves that problem and more, plus does it all from your iPhone or iPad. Don’t believe me? Then sit back and find out how Remote takes the Apple TV and kicks it up a notch.  (more…)

Last week, Apple dropped a few big products our direction. We saw a new AppleTV, 1080P video for true HD content, a new iPad and even more. And then there was iPhoto, the latest and greatest piece of software for the iPad that allows you to edit your pics right there on the device. Oh, and it’s a universal app too, so it’s on the iPhone! Yay!

But how would an app that’s built to perform well on the expansive screen of the iPad work with the iPhone? Let’s file down those fingertips and find out.  (more…)

Years ago, the iPod won the digital media player wars. It wasn’t really a fair fight; the iPod had Apple and the record companies behind it, pushing for people to purchase music and providing a smooth, streamlined way to do so. The iPod’s dominance continued for years, and when Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone, he also said that it was the finest iPod that the company had ever made.

Now the iPhone is a product category unto itself, and it’s left the iPod’s legacy in the dust. While you can still listen to music with your iPhone, you can now do something that no iPod ever could: create music. While there are many apps out there that make this possible, my favorite is GarageBand, sold directly through Apple. (more…)

I’m used to reviewing apps. I’ve reviewed quite a few over the past months, and I plan on reviewing many more. I purchase each application that I end up reviewing (as well as many others), so I spend a lot of time in the App Store.

Using the App Store has been more painful than I would first imagine. If you only use it every once in a blue moon I’m sure that it’s fine, but for someone like myself, Apple’s marketplace is sorely lacking. Today I want to look at what the App Store could improve upon in order to create a compelling, enjoyable experience.

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When the iPhone 4S was announced, Apple also introduced quite a few other products including Cards, which made everyone tilt their heads slightly to the left and say, “Huh?” It didn’t make a lot of sense to most people, but to me, I got it. I tweeted this right away:

New Cards app for iOS. My mother will buy this today, guaranteed. Make your own greeting cards on your iPhone.

Apple has sold greetings cards for a long time now through iPhoto, but this will take it up to the next step. Get ready to see lots of Apple cards in your mail this holiday season.

(more…)

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