When I saw the news that Apple had acquired the DeskConnect team and their very popular app Workflow last week, I was excited. This seemed like a perfect move, especially as the early battle for supremacy in Home Automation (which for someone like myself who works in Industrial Automation is still kind of a joke, but that’s a topic for another day), begins to really heat up. Workflow is just the kind of app that can string together the functionality of many different iOS apps and connected services in a way that still obeys Apple’s App Store rules. This seems like the perfect engine to both run Apple’s future Home endeavors and help iOS power users achieve greater flexibility. Apple lead off their leadership by making the app free, which prompted plenty of new downloads.
It’s that time of year again. Spring is closing in, and one of the best sporting events every created by man is about to tip off. The brackets have been announced. Potential Cinderellas are searching for the right slippers and the hopes of many bubble teams have been burst. People are furiously researching teams like UNC-Wilmington and South Dakota State as they look for the perfect upset pick that none of their friends will see coming. Office work will come to a screeching halt on Thursday and Friday in the name of basketball. It’s time for MARCH MADNESS!!!!
I got a few comments on my original article from Flipboard and Twitter that touched on details I thought were interesting and worth bringing back to the site. Before diving in, thank you to all reached out, and I hope to hear from you again.
First off, the consensus among users I interacted with was that OneNote has a really strong feature set, especially considering that it’s free to use on iOS. However, the responses were mixed on sync performance. Most reported that it worked great for them, but a few others had similar experiences to me. Any app, especially one as flexible and widely used as OneNote can work great for most users, while the bugs and pitfalls hit the rest of us. Considering the widely positive reviews of the app, my experience is more likely an outlier. However, after problems strike a couple of times, the old saying applies- “Once bitten, twice shy.” However it is good to bear in mind that BOTH can simultaneously be true.
Second, I had several commenters mention the relatively new note taking app Bear. I have to admit that one slipped by me on its way to the App Store.
However, it has garnered a fair amount of acclaim since its release early last November, including an App Store Editor’s Note from Apple on its App Store page. After reading the comments and a few reviews, I am going to give it a go myself. I’m not thrilled about paying for the ability to sync, but at only $1.45 monthly, I’m not going to complain too much. Evernote Premium was more expensive and I paid for it for over a year. I will post my own review of how Bear stacks up against iOS Notes and Notability in the near future.
One of the last comments I got came to my Twitter account (jhrogersii), and was the most interesting of all of them. The commenter also mentioned the Bear app, and that he had switched due to recent sync issues with iOS Notes. I have never been affected by any sync issues with Notes, and frankly hadn’t heard anything about this, so I was intrigued. When I asked him what he was referring to, the gentleman sent me a link to a forum thread at macrumors that detailed iCloud sync issues that evidently plagued a LOT of people for a long period of time. It was pretty eye-opening.
It looks like these problems have been cleared up for most users in recent iOS updates, but such an issue calls into question one of my primary points about going back to iOS Notes. I made a big deal about how dependable it was. My exact quote was, “It NEVER fails.” Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. At least not for all iOS users.
If you are a user of Bear and have some good tips as I get started with it, or if you were also affected by Apple’s recent Notes sync issues, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to give me a shout in the comments section below, on our Flipboard page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog or @jhrogersii.
- Subscriptions are opening up for all classes of apps
- The App Store is getting paid search: only on the search page, and only for apps relevant to the search
- App Store review times are down to two days or less
All of these things are worth talking about, but it’s the subscription news that I’d like to focus on most. I’m of two minds about this: on the one hand, I’m really glad to see this move towards long-term sustainability on the App Store, but I’m also concerned about how I’ll account for these expenditures. I use and test a lot of apps: so in this new vision of the App Store, how many things will I end up subscribing to?
Last week Apple released a video highlighting the versatility of the iPad under the umbrella title; Everything Changes with iPad.
iPad can change the way you do things every day. Take on a new project, pick up a new skill, or start a new hobby. We put together some of our favorite apps and ideas to help you get started.
There were six sections in all, and they covered topics from cooking to small business–traveling to learning, and even redecorating. Each section covered one main topic and explored how using apps, accessories and tips & tricks geared toward those topics can enhance the lives of those who use their iPads in these creative ways. With bright, colorful images and recommended apps with links to download them directly from the App Store, Apple showcased what they do best–present solutions and suggestions to real problems and questions people ask everyday.
Apple has been experiencing a series of outages this morning to it’s Cloud services and online stores, including the App Store, iTunes, the iBook Store and the Mac App Store. As of this posting, these stores remain offline, and have been since just before 5 am EST. In addition, their iCloud services, including Mail and iCloud account management were offline from the same starting time, but were restored 4 hours later.
Clear is a task manager centered around dragging and re-arranging your to-do list. There are no due dates, no tags, and no notes section (though I do miss the latter). All you do in Clear is choose a task list, then pull down to create a new task. It’s beautifully simple.
If that has piqued your interest, you’re free to try the app out for yourself, because it’s currently free for 24 hours. The developers at Realmac Software have made the decision to pull one version of the app, Clear+, from the App Store and leave the original Clear as a universal app. If that sounds a bit confusing, this letter from the developers should explain the situation.
However, the takeaway here is that there’s a great $5 task manager has gone free for the day. If iOS Reminders are a bit too cumbersome to create, and hardcore apps like OmniFocus or Things are too complicated, then Clear may be perfect for you.
Apple announced some huge numbers yesterday for the App Store. Crazy big numbers in fact:
— Customers spent over $10 billion in the App Store in 2013
— Over $1 billion was spent last December alone
— Almost 3 billion apps were downloaded in December, which was the most successful month in App Store history.
Jon Gruber adds some useful perspective on how striking this is:
Interesting comparison to today’s App Store announcement. Apple’s retail stores, which the company started in 2001 and which sell hardware costing thousands of dollars a pop, generate $20 billion in annual revenue. The App Store, which started in 2008 and predominantly sells apps costing a few bucks a pop, is already at $10 billion in annual revenue.
These are incredible numbers and it’s still a little amazing to see the momentum and impact of mobile apps. I know I’ve done my share to contribute to those crazy figures – to the tune of hundreds and hundreds of iOS apps purchased.
If you’ve ever used Paypal as your payment method for the App Store / iTunes you may have noticed that Apple seems to have quite a serious vendetta going against Paypal. I’ve used Paypal as my payment method since the very beginning of the App Store and several times over the years the iTunes Store has hit me with messages and roadblocks suggesting that Paypal was ‘not an accepted payment method’.
Well, I’m here to tell you that is nonsense. Paypal has always been an accepted method and it still is now.
This morning I had one of these occasions where the App Store got its knickers in a twist – apparently because there was some issue with payment for an In-App purchase I made recently. For some reason the payment did not clear successfully with Paypal. My balance in Paypal is always far larger than needed to cover any iTunes purchases – so I imagine on that particular day the App Store was just unable to hit the Paypal authorization server or some such circumstance. In any case, I never received any sort of notification of a failed purchase at all – from the ITunes store or Paypal.
The App Store is heading for another big milestone – one million apps. And apps designed for the iPad now account for more than one third of those available in the App Store, despite the iPad being released nearly two years after the App Store opened.
The last announced numbers from Apple, back on their Q3 earnings call, were 900,000 apps total and 375,00 iPad apps. Appsfire.com recently tweeted that the store had hit the 950,000 apps mark – and Appshopper.com shows 953,218 available apps as I type this.
One million apps will be a notable milestone for the App Store. 500,000 iPad apps will be a big one for the iPad as well – and I imagine that’s not far off. We should see a new iPads Apple event next month and I’m sure we’ll get plenty of detail on all these big numbers.
It looks like Apple has now fixed the issue with the blank Updates page in the iPad App Store. As of late last night, app updates are showing up fine again on my iPad mini.
I’ve also heard from several users this morning via comments, email, and Twitter that updates are showing up properly on their iPads too.
Are you all seeing the same? Let us know in the comments.