The latest App Store rejection controversy has surrounded a critically acclaimed game called Papers, Please. When developer Lucas Pope finally brought the title to iPad, he was forced by Apple to remove all nudity, no matter how pixelated.
Never mind that the nudity in question was not “pornographic content” as Apple billed it, since it only showed when people went through body scanners in the game. After talking with Apple, Pope said the decision was chalked up to a “misunderstanding,” and he’s been allowed to add nudity back to Papers Please in the App Store.
Readdle is known for making quality productivity apps like Scanner Pro and Documents. Its new PDF Office app is all about creating and editing PDFs on the iPad.
But wait, doesn’t Readdle already make a popular PDF viewer for iOS? What’s the difference?
“PDF Expert 5 is more of a reader, annotation app, whereas PDF Office is an all-in-one tool for document conversion and creation,” explains Readdle Marketing Director Denys Zhadanov to Cult of Mac. “If a person has to create PDF documents, forms, congrats, notes, etc., PDF Office is definitely the right choice.”
You can scan documents with the iPad’s camera and turn them into fully editable PDFs, which is a great way to clear out the office. Most people probably won’t need all the power that PDF Office provides, but for those who could benefit from the best PDF tool on the iPad that money can buy, it’s definitely worth considering.
Readdle is offering the app through a subscription system, and you should read this blog post if you want to understand why.
Available on: iPad
Price: $4.99 per month/$39.99 per year (Existing PDF Expert users get a year for free)
The next generation of stock trading is upon us thanks to Robinhood, a new iPhone app that came out this week.
Most brokerages charge between $7 and $10 for individual stock trades, but Robinhood eliminates fees entirely by cutting out the middleman. You’re in charge of your trading, and you don’t have to be well versed in the ways of Wall Street to use the app.
The interface is dead simple, and it makes the possibility of trading stocks a reality for more people than ever before. There’s a pretty huge waitlist right now, so you won’t be able to use it right away. But if you’re interested, claim your spot in line.
The official Google app got updated with Android’s new Material Design philosophy, which is interesting to see on iOS. The design is based on traditional ink and paper with a reliance on animations to create depth, so it’s pretty different from where Apple has been headed with mobile post iOS 6.
You can see your recently visited businesses, start a new search from the center Google button, and use Street View without leaving the app on iPhone. The app has also been optimized for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Vemedio released Instacast 2 for Mac, a complete visual overhaul for OS X Yosemite.
“We redesigned the entirety of Instacast's interface, including the app icon, the MiniPlayer and each individual dialog in Instacast's settings,” said Vemedio’s Martin Hering. “The MiniPlayer's interface looks fantastic with Yosemite's dark mode too. We also added the new episode lists from Instacast 5 on iOS, including list syncing via Instacast Cloud.”
Instacast is already a fantastic solution for streaming podcasts on iOS, and this new Mac update means that it’s one of the most attractive cross-platform podcast clients available.
Those with an existing Instacast Membership ($14.99 per year) get version 2 for Mac free along with all in-app iOS purchases. A standalone license for Instacast 2 on the Mac costs $19.99, and an upgrade from version 1 costs $5. There’s also a 15-day free trial available to try.
Available on: Mac
Price: $14.99 per year for subscription that also unlocks premium iOS app, or $19.99 for single license
Slacker’s big redesign makes it a highly compelling take on internet radio. Not only does the new interface look gorgeous, but Slacker is debuting new partnerships with celebrities and content creators like Tyler Oakley, Rooster Teeth and Nerdist Industries.
In total, there are nearly 400 stations to choose from, and new customization features allow you to fine tune personal stations by artist, song, and genre.
Slacker is free to use on the web or mobile, but $3.99 per month gets you unlimited skips, no ads offline listening, and custom feeds from the likes of Disney and ESPN. A $9.99 per month subscription basically turns Slacker into a Spotify competitor with full access to its catalog of music.
Available on: Web/iPhone
Price: Free (with $3.99 and $9.99 subscription options)
A new app called Workflow aims to close the divide between the power of OS X and the convenience of iOS. By offering curated and custom workflows, the app can automate just about anything you’d want to do on the iPhone or iPad — along with actions you probably haven’t thought of before, like calling an Uber car to take you to your next meeting with one tap.
It’s an ambitious undertaking for any developer, but what makes Workflow even better is that it was created by two brilliant teenagers with great aspirations for making mobile devices as powerful as they can be.
I just recently got into writing in Markdown, a special syntax that lets you easily convert to HTML for publishing on the web. There are several decent Markdown editors out there, but the best one I’ve used has to be Typed, a new app from Realmac Software.
The discreet word count view, keyboard shortcuts, and preview options are all great, but my favorite feature is Zen Mode. Typed goes fullscreen and plays six ambient, soothing music tracks in the background to help you focus. Don’t knock it till you try it.
Realmac is most well known for making Clear, a quality todo app for iOS that’s pretty popular. Typed serves a little more of a niche market, but for those interested in a minimalist, easy to use Markdown editor for the Mac, it’s an excellent choice.
By bringing together some of the best mobile app designers out there, Themeboard has created an attractive repository of custom keyboard themes for iOS 8.
Once granted access in Settings, Themeboard lets you install new keyboard designs and layouts from designers all over the world, and many of the available themes look quite good. Keyboards function the same as Apple’s default layout with predictive text support and everything, and there’s an optional Emoji Bar add-on that displays your most used emojis in a row above the keys.
Themeboard is slick, and while it won’t necessarily give you any extra typing functionality, your keyboard will stand out from the rest.
Available on: iPhone/iPad
Price: Free (with in-app purchases for certain themes)
Telltale Games, maker of the famed Walking Dead game series, is back with a Game of Thrones role playing game that looks amazing.
Based on the first book in George R.R. Martin’s saga, A Song of Ice and Fire, the first installment of Telltale’s six-episode release is called, "Iron from Ice.” Reviews have praised it for masterfully inserting itself as a side story surrounding the infamous Red Wedding (if you know, you know).
Several actors from the show lend their voices to the game, and although App Store reviewers have noted some early bugs in the game itself, the general consensus is that playing it feels just as gripping as watching the TV show. So buckle up for a couple of hours and play through this bad boy before the next episode from Telltale comes out.
When Square bought the food ordering service Caviar, it wasn’t immediately clear if the functionality would be baked into an existing Square app or continue to operate on its own.
The latter turned out to be the case with the release of the new Caviar iPhone app. See mouthwatering pictures of local dishes and have them delivered right to your door with the ability to track a delivery in transit.
Hungry yet? Too bad you can only use Caviar if you live in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Manhattan, or Brooklyn. The service is still in the early stages, but here’s to hoping it expands to more cities soon.
Junecloud’s alternative to Apple’s stock Notes app has been updated with a design makeover for iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. We’re big fans of Deliveries at Cult of Mac, and Notefile is another quality app by Junecloud that usually doesn’t get as much attention.
iCloud Drive integration, easier access to share, export, and delete options, Dynamic text support, and a visual refresh are just a few of the updates you’ll find on the iOS and Mac version.
Apple has lost its third appeal for ownership of the term ‘App Store’ in Oz. Photo: Apple
In some bad news for Apple, Australia’s Federal Court has rejected an appeal by the company to trademark the term “App Store.”
In a ruling made Wednesday, judge Justice Yates dismissed Apple’s case and ordered it to pay the court costs of Registrar of Trade Marks.
Apple has been locked in a long-standing tug of war with Oz’s Registrar of Trade Marks over whether it should have ownership over the term it popularized on Mac and iOS. The company first took the registrar to court in March 2013, after the “App Store” trademark was revoked following its initial accepted. Since then, Apple has lost a total of three appeals: firstly by the trademark examiner, then by the Australian Trade Marks Office, and now today’s ruling.
Every weekend Cult of Mac brings you a roundup of the past week’s very best new apps and updates.
This week, we’ve got what you need to make awesome PDFs, trade stocks, and more.
Without further ado, here are this week’s awesome apps to check out.
One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “What’s on your iPhone homescreen?” Fellow Apple geeks love to know each other’s favorite app layouts, and there’s a new app specifically for showing them off.
Homescreen by betaworks (the great company that brought Digg back to life) is a simple app that takes a screenshot of your homescreen, analyzes it, and lets you quickly share it on social media. The neat trick is that it attaches App Store links to the third-party apps you’re using so that, when someone hovers over the icon, there’s a description and link to download. Sometimes the app links it chooses can be wrong, but all in all it’s a nifty enough app to try out at least once.
For a little additional reading, check out betaworks CEO John Borthwick’s insightful Medium post on how people are using smartphone apps these days.
What if you could nuke every screenshot in your Camera Roll with the tap of a button? That’s the premise behind Screeny, a great new app released this past week.
After scanning your Camera Roll, you can choose which screenshots to delete if you’d rather not delete everything at once. Screeny shows you how much space you’ve saved once the deed is done. Give it a try. If you take as many screenshots as I do, you’ll feel better after.
Canopy is the new iPhone companion app for the website of the same name, which specializes in surfacing beautiful things on Amazon to buy.
Think of Canopy like a curated hipster boutique of Amazon’s massive catalog, now in your pocket. There’s a trending section based on popular purchases from other Canopy users, and you’ll enjoy browsing different categories like “Art & Design Books” and “Bar.”
You have to create a free account to like and save products to your collection.
1Writer is an all-in-one writing tool for iOS, and this past week it got optimized for iOS 8 and the iPhone 6/6 Plus.
With support for the Markdown syntax, 1Writer lets you write with a custom extended keyboard layout, different themes/fonts, a built-in browser, and syncing with iCloud Drive and Dropbox. Touch ID can be used to protect your files, and there’s a Notification Center widget to quickly access your most recent documents.
App Store downloads hit a new high in October. Photo: Apple
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are shattering all kinds of sales records, and that knock-on effect is starting to be felt elsewhere: The overwhelming interest in Apple’s next-generation handsets pushed iTunes App Store downloads to new heights last month.
How much of an increase are we talking about? In October, the top 200 free iOS apps hit a collective 7.8 million app downloads per day, according to new research from Fiksu, a Boston-based marketing firm.
When it comes to the App Store, there’s rarely such a thing as a “free” app. If you’re not paying for it upfront you’ll probably get hit up with exorbitant in-app purchase offers later. So in a move to change the way apps are advertised on iOS, Apple had decided to remove the “Free” download button entirely.
People queuing for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus all across China. Photo: People’s Daily/Weibo
Apple has announced that its China App Store, the second biggest in the world, is now accepting UnionPay as a payment option for customers.
As the most popular payment card in China — with over 4.5 billion cards issued to date — the move will make it simpler and more convenient for Apple users in China to purchase apps, since customers can now easily link their Apple ID with a UnionPay debit or credit card.
“The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most requested features from our customers in China,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, is quoted as saying in Apple’s statement. “China is already our second largest market for app downloads, and now we’re providing users with an incredibly convenient way to purchase their favorite apps with just one-tap.”