We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in June. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web, or Android apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!
Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!
Best of iPad.AppStorm
Throughout the ages humans have always had to keep track of things, from counting on an abacus, to remembering the milk with a post-it. The iPhone, and now the iPad, have provided us with a vast array of possible solutions for helping us to remember and stay organised.
Let’s take a look at some of the apps that are unlikely to feel too worried about Apple’s recent “Reminders” announcement, and some great solutions for keeping yourself organised!
The Omni Group is known for making some of the best productivity and organizational apps for the iPad, iPhone and Mac, including one of my favorites, OmniFocus for the iPad. Their latest release for the iPad is OmniOutliner, an organizational tool designed for creating outlines and organizational documents on the go.
So now the big question is, can The Omni Group pull off another success? Let’s take a look after the break and find out.
When the iPad was first introduced, it didn’t come with a weather app. Most people thought it was simply an oversight in the keynote presentation. Steve Jobs didn’t want to sacrifice precious time on what was certainly an auxiliary to the headlining features of the iPad. Then the iPad shipped, and the official iOS Weather app was nowhere to be found.
Today I’m proud to present an app from an indie development team that takes a different, more aesthetic approach to presenting the weather on the iPad. Aelios, from Jilion. If you’re a fan of beautiful, useful apps, you’re really going to love this one.
So there we have it. On June 6, 2011, Apple announced iOS 5.
Described as a “major release”, anyone who watched the coverage of the announcement would be hard-pressed to disagree. Over 200 new features, 1500 new APIs for developers to utilize. Apple’s answered many a critic with the 10 key features that they highlighted, even the ones glossed over made big splashes, namely WiFi syncing with iTunes and a new split-keyboard layout for the iPad.
Now that we’ve all had time to mull over the announcements Apple made, let’s take a look at which ones still look great in the fresh light of the day after, and which ones are maybe a little more hype than substance.
Best of Android.AppStorm
I have compiled a list of news reader apps that have both minimal and elegant user interfaces, to share my views with you and some useful suggestions with App developers.
Many Android developers do not give enough attention to user interface and fail miserably in terms of quality of design and usability features; this article highlights those that get it right. It’s more than just a round up: it shows the key features that will help every news-based app to become a success.
With the “smartphone era” came a great thing for musicians: the mobile tools for composing and playing music on a pocket size instrument with the practicality of touch interfaces. We hear so much about apps for iOS around music composition, notation, and live playing, made by the biggest and famous musical software and hardware companies – but what about Android?
Developers have made powerful and useful weapons that every musician with an Android phone should have, covering everything from simple on-the-go notations to a full sequencer in your hands.
Drag Racing is an Android-only game which takes many of the elements of car tuning and drag racing and makes for an addictive game which is great on the go for those spare moments you may have. The idea is simple: take your car over a pre-determined distance before your opponents to win.
In practice however, there are many variables and factors that determine a vehicle’s speed: forced induction or naturally aspirated engine? front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive? These are just a few of the decisions that one needs to make when building the ultimate drag racing machine.
One of the more common complaints about Android is its lack of aesthetic appeal or polish. While Android isn’t by any means ugly, it almost certainly seems to lack that special something its competitors have. In all likeliness, a quick glance at your phone will reveal a random array of icons, widgets, and folders scattered among your home screens in no particular order.
However, thanks to the flexibility of the Android platform, this doesn’t have to be the case. By employing the right launcher and widgets, you’ll find yourself with a layout that’s not only attractive, but more importantly, functional in all the ways your home screen is now. Sound interesting? Let’s get started.
Best of iPhone.AppStorm
Some people (apparently a great majority) get some wild enjoyment out of firing furious fowls into rudely constructed structures that protect a pile of prig-looking pigs. It’s not just iOS devices, but Android, Palm and other charts are topped with the best-selling physics-based destruction game “Angry Birds”. But we already knew that, so I’m always interested in seeing which new app will surface to the number 2 spot on the mobile gaming charts; and I’ve found a winner: “Tiny Wings”.
Tiny Wings features a bird with a problem: his wings aren’t big enough to fly. Your mission is simple, keep your bird in motion with high-and-long glides over the colorful hills of rolling digital islands. Start slow, sliding down a grassy slope, then let gravity and aerodynamic velocity take it from there.
Earlier today Apple kicked off their annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference with a keynote speech that was chock full of new goodies for virtually everyone who uses their software regularly.
Mac.AppStorm has all the info on what’s coming with Lion and iCloud and we’ve got the lowdown on outstanding new features of iOS. Let’s take a look!
There’s been a lot of excitement over the recent iOS 5 announcements. A new notifications center, a promising new Reminder app and Wifi Sync are just a few of the awesome features that we can look forward to this fall.
One feature that I’ve been getting a lot of questions about is iMessage. What is it? Will there be two messaging apps now or will it be integrated into the current messaging system? If you’re wondering about the answers to these questions, read on.
Last week, the Internet was abuzz with talk about a single tweet which caused quite a stir. The head of a PR firm tweeted: “#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far with their reviews-we r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn’t based on today’s venom.” Working hand in hand with PR firms is something we at AppStorm have to do pretty much every day, but it’s not often we’ve seen one of them speak out like this.
Because of that issue, it got me thinking about how we do our reviews here at AppStorm, and it made me wonder if some of our readers think we might have a bias towards the positive side of things, and therefore, we don’t give “real” reviews. So to address that issue, I figured I’d peel back the curtain a bit and talk about how we at AppStorm review an app, and what that means for you, the reader.
Best of Web.AppStorm
Conventional wisdom would say that web apps generally are less feature-full than their native app counterparts. Google Docs is less polished than iWork or Microsoft Office 2010, but that’s just to be expected. And on mobile browsers and tablets, many web apps are much harder to use than native apps, but hey, it’s just a web app. You can’t expect so much, right?
LucidChart is one app that’s proving the conventional wisdom wrong. They’ve created a web app that runs faster and smoother than many desktop apps. Visio can drive you insane after using it for a few minutes, but we were very impressed at how nice LucidChart was at creating diagrams and more when we first reviewed it. Since then, the developers haven’t rested on their laurals. Instead, they’ve added a Visio file importer, offline support, and amazing integration with the iPad that lets you draw intricate diagrams quicker than ever.
Web development is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The value of the web has become apparent and business and individuals alike have jumped on board the web bandwagon. During it’s humble beginners, you might find a web developer writing his code in a text editor like Notepad. However, as the web technologies themselves progress, developers can take advantage of rich web apps to produce their content.
In this extended roundup, we’ll be taking a look at around eighty or so tools that operate entirely on the web, that you can use in your web development workflow. For the purposes of this roundup, ‘development’ refers to the overall process of a website’s creation and not necessarily just the coding side of things.
Unfortunately, for the Apple-consuming public, iCloud won’t be hitting us until the fall. That means we’re going to have to wait several months because all the cloud-based syncing magic becomes a reality for us. However, either for those going crazy in anticipation, or those who oddly despise Apple, there’s a range of online services that offer similar functionality.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the apps you can grab right now to help build up an iCloud-esque ecosystem for yourself.
Over the past few months, there’s one web app I’ve increasingly relied on to keep up with everything I need to remember and write down. From blog posts to random to-do lists, the bulk of the things I write are saved in Simplenote. Best known as an iOS app, Simplenote’s elegant web app and the wide variety of 3rd party apps that work with it such as Notational Velocity make it work wherever you want. is one of the best examples of an app that’s gotten more features over time and yet stayed fast and simple.
At the heart of Simplenote is Simperiumës high quality cloud sync engine. No matter what Simplenote-compatible app you’re writing in, your text will be seamlessly synced to the cloud so you can pick up writing from another device. It’s the promise of iCloud’s document sync, available today on almost every device. You can even use it to look back at previous versions of your notes, or share your Markdown formatted notes with the world.
Simplenote has an incredible number of features to be such a simple app, so let’s take a deeper look at its most advanced features, and how you can use it to keep your notes safe.
Best of Mac.AppStorm
Today we’re going look way back to the beginning and see a platform and a company that was defined by breaking the mold and breaking free of restrictions and uniformity.
We’ll contrast this with a critical look at the direction that Apple is headed in today. Do their current goals reflect the anti-establishment personality portrayed in the infamous 1984 commercial or have they become the establishment?
Like most Mac users, I have mixed feelings about the Mac App store. For app users, the App Store makes it easier to find and manage apps all in one place, but largely eliminates the flexibility of free trials. New developers probably enjoy the increased visibility of being in the App Store, but likely lament about the slow acceptance process and numerous restrictions.
Though it seems like most Mac app developers are following the crowd to the App Store, there are still some real gems out there that haven’t made the switch. In this round-up, I’ll go through an incomplete list of fantastic apps missing from the App Store that are worth straying to the browser for. (I’m not including free apps or popular, well-known software like the Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suites.)
I’ve been using Reeder since the very beginning, since back when it was just a wee little app with no subscription management or automatic refresh.
Since that first public beta, reeder has grown from a buggy iOS port to a fully-featured, beautiful Google Reader client. There’s no shortage of Mac RSS applications, and many have developed loyal fanbases across many niches. In this crowded market, can reeder really offer something new?
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was a phenomenally fun console that successfully ate up a large portion of my childhood. There are so many classic games from this era that have long been forgotten. If only there were a way to download and play those 16-bit masterpieces on your Mac. Oh wait, there is.
Today we’ll flood your memory with enough digital nostalgia to make you teary eyed by showing you where you can grab these games and play them today. Be sure to read the fine print though as emulating old Nintendo games on your Mac is risky business!
Share Your Ideas
Is there something in particular you’d like to see on the site next month? We’d absolutely love to hear your suggestions for articles, topics and giveaways. Just let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading AppStorm!