If you’ve been reading this site over the last year, you may have come across one of my many rants on the Apple TV. It’s a platform that I used to love. A device I thought had so much promise just a few years ago. I was excited to get one back in late 2015, when Tim Cook told us “The future of TV is apps.” I thought that, at long last, Apple had finally taken the next step with their television platform.
While in-app purchases turned into dopamine-powered cash registers and Candy Crush knock-offs have dominated the App Store gaming scene in recent years, there are occasionally exceptions that show what is possible on the iOS platform and potentially what could haven been the norm. GRID Autosport from Feral Interactive (actually from CodeMasters originally, but ported to iOS by Feral), which was released for the iPhone and iPad a few weeks ago, is one such a example.
So who here is still playing games on their iPhones or iPads? Maybe I’m just jaded and cynical thanks to the once-bright gaming future that Apple never quite delivered on. While I can understand that many may disagree with me, it is hard to ignore how different things are at the moment in comparison with the salad days of 2009-2012, when apps were all the mainstream rage and games were at the heart of it all.
I’ve been using iOS 11 on my iPad Pro since I got my new 12.9” model, but I held off installing it on my iPhone until last week. I absolutely rely on my phone when I am in the field at work, and couldn’t afford outages, crashes, or widespread app incompatibility. I waited until I was sure that none of those issues would drag me down, and I’m glad that I did. I’ve had a good experience with 11 on my phone, so far.
iOS 11 is a far bigger and more wide-reaching upgrade on the iPad than the iPhone, so not too much jumped out at me at first beyond the new Control Center. However, once I started using it, the App Store quickly became the most notable difference for me between iOS 10 and 11 on the small screen. While I had looked through the App Store a bit on my iPad and updated my apps, I really didn’t notice how big a difference the new design made until I started using it on the iPhone, with its single-column layout.
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.
Apple has published their App Store ‘Best of 2013’ selections and the Disney Animated iPad app has been chosen as App of the Year. Here’s the brief text endorsing the selection:
This enchanting tour of Disney’s legendary film vault awes with a bounty of animated sequences , interactive character models, and a spellbinding presentation.
Badland is the choice for Game of the Year:
With haunting visuals and great controls, Frogmind’s side-scroller is an absolute joy. Alone or with friends, you’ll love overcoming each brilliantly designed challenge.
Runners up in the App and game categories are Traktor DJ and WWF Together (Apps) and XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Impossible Road (games).
I think Disney Animated is a very good choice; I know my daughter has spent huge amounts of time with it and loves it to bits. WWF Together is another excellent choice.
You can see the selections now in the App Store Featured section, and also check out Apple’s picks for movies, music and more in the iTunes store.
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.
For the last several days many iPad users have been seeing a blank Updates page in the App Store, while the App Store app icon shows there are updates available.
There are numerous threads about this on the Apple Support Community pages. So far the best, and still quite clumsy, workaround is to go to the Purchased tab in the App Store and scroll through and install your updates from there. This works for me on my iPad, though it’s a pain in the neck to do because even the All tab under Purchased only shows about 50 apps, while I have over 200 installed and well over 1,000 purchased total. So I have to use the alphabetical listing on the left of the Purchased page and go through letter by letter.
This morning I spoke to Apple Support about this issue and was told the following:
— Apple is aware of the issue and says it has been a problem for at least the last 3-4 days.
— It is only affecting the iPad.
— Apple is working on resolving the issue, but there’s no ETA as yet for when it may be fixed and of course no system status type page where users can check on progress or see when the issue is resolved.
Today marks 5 years since the App Store officially opened. I can still remember the long wait for that day to arrive. I was already using a number of jailbreak apps on my iPhone back in those early days, but I knew there was so much more to come once the App Store arrived.
I had very high hopes for the App Store and I’m happy to say it has exceeded all my expectations. Like many people, I use apps for just about everything these days. Calendar, contacts, note taking, research, web browsing, drafting and writing articles, reading – newspapers, magazines and books, task management, social networking, fitness and health tracking, and so much more. It’s hard to think back to times when I didn’t have an app available for just about anything.
There are some great iPad apps and games available for free right now to mark the App Store 5th anniversary. Apple’s own offer of 10 landmark, groundbreaking apps and games for free is still ongoing, and includes titles like Infinity Blade II, Where’s My Water?, and Traktro DJ for iPhone.
Today I’ve noticed a few other notable titles gone free: Mirror’s Edge for iPad, Dead Space for iPad, and Homerun Battle 2.
I’m sure there will be quite a few more apps going free and big sales to mark this anniversary week – it’s a great time to pickup some top notch iPad apps and games at little to no cost.