App Store

Vidicast lets you broadcast live videos to your friends in iMessage

Sometimes you cannot help but feel the iMessage App Store still owes us a couple of unique entrants to wholly justify its establishment last year. Games and stickers aside, the depth and breadth of the store leaves a lot to be desired and must-have iMessage extensions are few and far between. With that, it is always refreshing to welcome a new aspirant to the ranks that sets out to shake things up a little by bringing genuinely new functionalities to your keyboard. Vidicast, a video broadcasting app operating autonomously inside iMessage, does just that.

The iMessage application is best synthesised as a cross of any video broadcasting feature on the most popular social networks today (Instagram, Facebook, etc) and FaceTime. When hooked up, it provides the recipient of the iMessage invitation with a one-way live video stream, which then can be responded to in real time. The ambition of Vidicast is bold, bold enough in fact that one should be willing to give it some rope in regard to early days hiccups. Before you whizz to your iMessage App Store, here’s what you need to know about Vidicast’s attempt to break the mould of iMessage app extensions.

The best iMessage games

When Apple took the wraps off the iMessage App Store last year, it quickly became evident that the messaging service would become the next playground for some weird and wonderful applications. Since then, developers have largely graced us with conventional stickers and app extensions, despite another under-represented category increasingly showing promise: iMessage games.

Almost half a year after opening the gate, it seems a good time to take stock of the games playable through Apple’s messenger and hand-pick the ones not only most captivating but also smartest at circumnavigating the limitations of iMessage. If you fancy the thought of challenging a friend to a duel on iMessage but don’t want to waste anyone’s time trialling potential duds, read on to find out about the current top performers on the iMessage App Store.

The best weather apps for iPad

Legend has it that weather apps are about as old as the App Store itself. Their popularity has always sprung from the simple fact that some people like their weather forecast to be scientific and precise to a T. Some like it punchy and condensed, while again others might just want it to be a visual treat. On iPad, it’s much more than a matter of taste though, because whatever Apple’s rationale, an in-house application for weather is still notably absent.

As a result of this choice, a number of third-party apps have become household names as weather surrogates on Apple’s tablet. Even in 2017, some of the old-timers remain too cogent to overlook, but newer arrivals are starting to give the traditional go-to apps a run for their money. Thusly on merits of capabilities and originality, here are some of the best weather apps for iPad you can choose from today.

App Percent displays a percentage for app downloads and alerts you when they’re done

Some apps take longer to download from the App Store than others, and some take so long that you don’t have the patience to just sit there and watch them, you tend to start doing other things on your device until the download finishes.

App Percent is a new free jailbreak tweak by pxcex that might be of interest to anyone who downloads lots of apps or finds themselves in the aforementioned predicament, as it not only lets you see the download percentage in real-time, but it also lets you get notified when app downloads finish.

iOS 10.3 will let apps change their Home screen icon at any time, no update required

Tucked away amid a flurry of new reports covering upcoming new features in Apple’s operating system updates, like Theater Mode on Apple Watch and Siri in watch apps, Night Shift on Mac and Find My AirPods on iPhone, Apple yesterday quietly announced that developers will soon be allowed to change their app’s Home screen icon programmatically, whenever they like.

In other words, an update is no longer required to push out the new icon artwork.

The seemingly unimportant change opens up a world of new possibilities for interactions with your favorite apps that simply were not possible before.

Apple will soon allow developers to respond publicly to App Store reviews

Following yesterday’s release of iOS 10.3 and macOS Sierra 10.12.4 betas, Apple announced new features allowing iPhone, iPad and Mac developers to respond publicly to reviews on App Store and Mac App Store while letting customers provide ratings and reviews without leaving their app.

Speaking to The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, the Cupertino company provided some noteworthy highlights outlining the upcoming App Store review policy changes.

Want podcasts on your Apple Watch? There’s finally an app for that

The ability to store and play podcasts on Apple Watch is one of many features advocated for regarding future watchOS updates, but so far it has fallen on deaf ears at Apple. With the cries for podcasts on Watch slowly reaching fever pitch, developers have taken matters into their own hands and released a fully functional podcast app that enables the transfer of your favorite subscriptions from iPhone to Apple Watch.

The app goes by the name WatchPlayer and (while moody at times) gives a solid account of itself, effectively beating Apple to the punch in the podcast race. Find out below how the data transfer is realized, where it trumps Apple’s stock apps and what areas of WatchPlayer could do with some attention.

Store and watch the latest news stories offline with Hyper News

If you have ever travelled on a metro line you know what it’s like to whiz from one station to the next, always holding out for the next patch of reception somewhere between the constant outages afflicting your iPhone. Most times, the internet will cut out in the least opportune moments, like on your commute home when you slump in your seat and want to mindlessly gaze at moving images on your phone.

To weather the crisis of poor connection, Hyper News functions as a pocket of pre-downloaded news clips to fall back on whenever your data leaves you hanging.

In a spell of news apps being tested at iDB, Hyper News stands out for its utter simplicity and the concerted effort to occupy a unique space in the news realm. Here are the ins and outs to know about Hyper News.

Glimpse is an Apple Watch app news addicts will love (with reservations)

Every once in a while a Watch app comes along that brings something ostensibly new to the table. Glimpse, a project that sets out to relay real-time content from your iPhone straight to your Apple Watch’s watch face, is one of those notable additions. The app is home to a handful of social networks and about twenty prolific news outlets, which subject to your taste can selectively refresh on your iPhone and welcome you with new content every time you glance at your watch face.

The promise and potential of Glimpse is uncontested, but so are the flaws in its execution as of today. So before you speed to the App Store, think over the following items to find out if Glimpse has been tailored to you.

Pokémon Go is dead, long live Pokémon Go!

There is no debate that a large contingent on the internet has been holding out for less Pokémon Go news in 2017, but it is equally clear that this sentiment will not be echoed by the people at Niantic. No matter the side of the fence you are on, the fact that Pokemon Go is hands down one of the most successful apps in the history of the App Store (breaking first-week download and revenue records) is a big deal, and the augmented reality laced game will continue to rake in millions of users and dollars in the year ahead. It’s not all rosy though, as the daily player count is continuously pointing south and engagement data crumbling.

As much as this is Niantic’s battle to fight, Apple too has a vested interest in the preservation of Pokemon Go’s winning streak and will want to benefit financially from the game throughout the current fiscal year. The question both business entities therefore are going to have to find answers to is what’s next for Pokémon Go strategically, and what is Apple’s role in facilitating Niantic’s continued success with the app? Not so much content wise but rather in terms of product strategy, I have sized up a few moves that Niantic, The Pokémon Company and Apple could have up their sleeves over the next 12 months.

Apple: App Store shattered records on New Year’s Day

Apple on Thursday announced that the App Store broke records on the first of January. The company says New Year’s Day was the Store’s single busiest day ever with nearly $240 million in revenue.

The day put a nice cap on a record-breaking holiday season and year. Apple says App Store purchases topped $3 billion in December alone, and developers were paid more than $20 billion in 2016.

The best VR apps and games available on the App Store right now

For years, techy gifts have been on an unstoppable rise and these holidays more than ever, new VR headsets of all kinds were added to the mix. If you are one of the lucky receivers of a Cardboard or any other generic pair of VR goggles compatible with your iPhone, your first address to go for VR-ready apps should of course be the App Store.

To help you get on top the bulk of apps available and break the tedious ‘download, try and delete’ chain, we have been weeding through the vast app-scape and given VR-ready apps a hard look. If you want to put your new toys to good use, here is a list of some of the best VR games and apps we believe you will want to embark on first.