All posts in Free

First One’s Free: “Freemium” Games Lucrative for Mobile Developers

Temple RunHave you ever downloaded a free game on your iPhone and wondered how in the world the developer could possibly be making money with it? As it turns out, the so-called “freemium” business model is actually far more lucrative than charging money, at least for mobile.

The New York Times has an interesting article that throws back the curtain on so-called “freemium” games — the ones you can download free of charge but can ultimately cost users far more in the long run than if they had just paid up front. While free games might come with the stigma “of being low quality or full of annoying ads,” it turns out they’re a great way to hook new users — and keep them coming back.

“When you tell a friend about it and they go to the App Store and it’s free, they download it without thinking about it,” explains Natalia Luckyanova, half of the husband and wife team that created the iOS game Temple Run. “Then there’s stickiness and the addictiveness and people talking about it.”

Luckyanova and husband Keith Shepherd released Temple Run in the App Store last August as a 99-cent game where “players must stay a step ahead of angry apes while avoiding booby traps and collecting coins.” While the first month of sales were decent, it was nothing compared to what happened in September, when Temple Run was offered as a freebie through the Free App a Day website.

Since going free, the app has topped 40 million downloads, and Luckyanova says upwards of 13 million people play Tempe Run at least once every day. Currently perched at Number 14 on Apple’s top-grossing charts, these “freemium” games bait users who might otherwise not spend even 99 cents on a given title — and once they’re hooked, they’ll spend money in “a virtual store to buy new characters, different backdrops and power-ups, or special boosters.”

The concept has proven wildly successful for Zynga, the creators of FarmVille who has expanded beyond their former comfort zone with Facebook and into a billion initial public offering — proving that the drug dealer’s mantra of “the first one’s free” can apply to other types of business as well.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of The New York Times)

 

News

The Week's Best Deals for Your Mac and iOS Device, 10 Apps for Free & Cheap Cases

We’ve got cases and apps and a whole lot more on sale for you this week. If you’re looking for some great headphones for just a fraction of the cost, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Mac

Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.3GHz dual-core Intel i5

macbook

Straight from Apple, this sweet little refurb is going for just 9. It’s a nice machine and a nice price.

Apple Mac Mini 2.3GHz Intel Core i5

mini

If you go for new and are interested in switching from your PC, the Mac Mini is the best way to do that. 4 is all you need to get started, especially if you already have your monitor and stuff.

Replacement Battery for 15″ MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro dying on you all the time? Get a replacement battery for a mere .50. Usual price? 9, so get hopping, people.

VMware Fusion 4 and 10 Other Apps

Whoa. An amazing deal. For the price of just VMware Fusion (.99), you get it and ten more apps. This is an 87% discount. Bought separately, we’re talking 8. 

iOS Accessories

iShieldz New Apple iPad Screen

You sprung a load of dough on this New iPad dealio, you want to protect it, so grab an iShieldz optically clear skin to keep it baby soft. 40% off, this normally item is just .

Kensington KeyFolio Pro 2 Keyboard Case

Typing on a virtual keyboard is slow and buggy, so this case can rocket your power, and it’s only .99 for a 42% savings.

Griffin PowerDuo for Car & Wall

Our iOS devices are power-hungry devils. Never see that 20% warning again with this duo pack of chargers for just .97.

Samsung WEP490 Bluetooth Headset

And as long as you’re in the car, do your talking hands-free and for only .99. Twenty dollars off and free shipping to boot. The life you save could be your own, and a cut rate.

Bone Collection Amplifier for iPhone

Put this adorably awesome horn on your iPhone for some boost to your sound. Just .57 nabs you this green number.

Windshield Mount and Screen Protector and Headset for iPhone

3 bucks for the goods and 3 bucks for shipping and handling nabs you this accessory pack

Armor Shell Case with Holster Combo and Screen Protector 

Protect your phone, wear it slung on your belt like a cowboy, and prop it up to watch teeny tiny movies all for one buck more than a fiver. .95 instead of .95 puts this sharp devil in your hands.

Retro Cassette Cover Case

Be the envy of your friends from the 80s with this old school cool cassette tape case for your iPhone and only spend 4 beans to do it. Cheaper than a two pack of Memorex 90 minute tapes.

Premium Noise Isolation Stereo Headphones

If you’re like me, you go through headphones like nobody’s business and it’s pricey if you don’t want garbage. So, if you’re like me, you’ll be ordering five of these for .95 a crack. It’s better than spending 0 for five.

Really Darn Cheap

SanDisk Cruzer Switch 32GB

Even with a host of cloud services, sometimes you need the speed and quick access of a flash drive, and for 32GB is a great deal no matter how you cut it.

 

News

Wednesday AM Recap: 2012 Mac Firmware Updates, Sprint Q4, Free McCartney

Paul McCartney iTunes Live(In our best Robin Williams from Good Morning, Vietnam :) Good morning, MacLife.com! That’s right… thanks to your traffic to our weekday evening news recaps, we’re now happy to offer you twice the fun each day, starting right now. You’ll now get 10 bite-sized news stories each weekday — five in the morning and five in the evening — so you don’t miss a single interesting bit of tech news! Let’s kick things off with a recap of a few stories that made news since our Tuesday night edition went live, shall we…?

Firmware Update Brings Lion Internet Recovery to 2010 Macs

Hands up if you’re still rocking a pre-Thunderbolt Mac from 2010! (Hey, that’s us!) Apple blessed such owners with a little treat on Tuesday night in the form of a trio of EFI firmware updates, all of which bring Lion Internet Recovery onto these older systems. Additionally, the MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.3 “addresses an issue where the system could restart if the power button is pressed immediately after waking from deep sleep” as part of its modest 2.98MB download. If you want the ultimate in internet-based recovery security, head to Apple’s support website and download the 3.02MB iMac EFI Update 1.8 or 3.18MB MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.6, or simply run the Software Update to call up the magic — assuming your system is eligible in the first place. As always, an EFI firmware update requires a restart or two, so be prepared for that.

iTunes Live Presents Free Paul McCartney Show on Thursday

Nobody loves The Beatles as much as Apple and its fans do, so it makes total sense that the iTunes maker would celebrate the release of Paul McCartney’s new album with a free live performance streamed right to your software. The best news is that couch potatoes can also view this iTunes Live presentation from the comfort of their living rooms via the Apple TV, where iTunes Live will appear as an option from the Internet menu. “To celebrate the release of Paul McCartney’s latest album, watch a free stream of his exclusive performance at Capitol Studios on February 9 at 7pm (PST) right here,” the former Beatle’s iTunes page announced this week. “Or stream it on your TV using your Apple TV — just choose iTunes Live from the Internet menu.” Certainly a nice treat from Sir Paul and Apple whether you buy the new album or not — but as luck would have it, a link to buy Kisses on the Bottom is directly below the iTunes Live information, just a mere .99 plus taxes away.

Sprint Q4: 1.8 Million iPhones, 40 Percent to New Customers

Hey, AT&T and Verizon: You’re not the only U.S. carriers who had a boffo final three months of 2011 where the iPhone was concerned. According to AppleInsider, third-place Sprint sold 1.8 million of Apple’s coveted handsets after finally landing the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 in October, breaking the company’s one-day sales records. The iPhone also helped Sprint catapult into the company’s best quarterly results in six years, with 720,000 iPhones sold to brand new customers alone. Of course, those numbers pale in comparison to AT&T’s 7.6 million and Verizon’s 4.2 million activations during the same period, but it’s an otherwise bright spot in Sprint’s overall quarterly results, with a net loss of .3 billion. (Ouch!)

Washington Post Social Reader Comes to App Store

Traditional newspapers continue to find interesting ways to bring their content to mobile devices. Take, for instance, The Washington Post, who recently released a new app for the iPhone which brings their Facebook-connected Washington Post Social Reader into the palm of your hand. “See what your friends are reading and share the articles you’re reading — instantly,” the app description reads. “The Washington Post Social Reader you love on Facebook is now at your fingertips. Read news from sources like The Washington Post, Slate, The Daily Beast, SB Nation, Mashable, Wetpaint and more — with your friends. Articles you and your friends read are shared on Washington Post Social Reader and on Facebook.” The 0.9MB app is absolutely free, but does require a Facebook login to function; it’s compatible with the iPhone 3GS and up, iPod touch third generation and up as well as any iPad (though it’s not a universal app) running iOS 4.0 or later.

Could Apple Bring Aperture (or iPhoto) to the iPad 3?

The folks over at MacStories.net did some interesting prognostication on Tuesday, looking ahead to what Apple might do with at least one software offering for the forthcoming iPad 3. Given that the original iPad was released alongside iWork and the iPad 2 introduced iMovie and GarageBand to the tablet, Gabe Glick theorizes that photography will be a primary focus for the rumored higher-resolution display of the next iPad — which could see Aperture making the leap from the Mac to iOS. It’s an interesting argument and we tend to agree with most of the points made by the author, but it’s more likely that Apple will introduce iPhoto to the iPad, given its consumer-based roots. After all, Apple didn’t bring its high-end Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro offerings down to iOS — at least not yet — so as exciting as the prospect of Aperture on the iPad might be, we’ll cast our vote for iPhoto instead. But either way, we’re looking forward to it…

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

News

Apple Introduces Free iTunes U App

iTunes U app iconApple has set the stage for a textbook revolution with the new iBooks 2 and free iBooks Author software, but as it turns out, that was only the first of the company’s plans to unveil in New York City today — Cupertino is also introducing a new iTunes U app for allowing colleges and universities to share their knowledge with the world.

Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue followed up the announcement of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author in New York City this morning with the introduction of a new iTunes U app. “iTunes U lets colleges and universities around the world deliver content… around the world to anyone using an iPhone, iPod touch or an iPad,” Cue explained.

Touting more than 1,000 colleges and universities that are already using iTunes U with 700 million downloads since launching four years ago, Cue calls it the number one catalog for educational content, but notes that it’s currently only used for delivering lectures. “We want to let teachers do a lot more,” Cue teased. “We want to create full online courses.”

Cue introduced Apple vice president of consumer applications Jeff Robbin to demonstrate the new iTunes U app with an online course from Duke: Core Concepts in Chemistry. The app features an overview of the course, details on the teacher (including office hours), a complete syllabus and information on credits.

Tabs on the right side of the page include Posts, Notes and Materials. Posts are updates from the teachers that can be pushed out to students, such as assignments and to-do lists — assignments, for example, will appear right in iBooks for quick and easy homework (but you’ll still have to do the hard part yourself, sorry). The Materials tab includes a list of everything you’ll need for completing the course, including books, videos, audio and documents, with the ability to buy them with a tap if you don’t already have them.

But what about signing up for courses in the first place? Yes, the iTunes U app offers this ability as well with a single tap. Cue returned to the stage to hail the long list of schools currently using the previous iTunes U, along with six who have had early access to the new app: Duke, Yale, HACC, MIT and The Open University.

The new iTunes U app isn’t just about higher education, either: K-12 schools can now join in the fun. “This means that teachers in these schools will now be able to deliver full online courses to anyone for free,” Cue explained. The new universal app is free and available now from the iOS App Store in 123 countries.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

News

Thursday Recap: 50GB Free Cloud Storage for iOS Users, Apple Cloud Movies?

Box for iOSIf you’re feeling a little groggy and disoriented today, we don’t blame you — Apple unleashed a shotgun blast’s worth of updates on Wednesday and many of us had to stay up until the wee hours to finally install them all. With the release of iOS 5 and iCloud now behind us, let’s look ahead to some other things happening around the internet prior to tomorrow’s iPhone 4S release — here’s the latest for Thursday, October 13, 2011.

Apple Successfully Blocks Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Apple has succeeded in procuring an injunction against Samsung in their bid to block the company from selling the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. The Federal Court there agrees with Apple that Samsung has “infringed on two of its patents relating to touch screens and the gestures that control them” — a move that is likely to intensify the patent wars between the two companies moving forward.

IM+ App Gets 40 Percent Discount for A Limited Time

SHAPE Services, the developers behind the popular IM+ app for iOS, is celebrating this week’s release of the iPhone 4S with a 40 percent discount on their flagship IM+ Pro app for a limited time only. Normally priced at .99, the current price for new customers is only .99 — but hurry, because the new handset will be here before you know it!

Reports Claim Apple Working on Streaming Movies

This won’t come as much of a shocker, but it looks promising that Apple is hard at work on a new cloud-based streaming service for movies, which may finally put Cupertino on more equal footing with Netflix — and the timing couldn’t be better, since the ol’ red envelope seems to be all left feet these days. According to The L.A. Times, this new deal may be tied to the new Ultraviolet format which launched this week with two Warner Bros. titles, which allows DVD and Blu-ray buyers to gain access to their movies through internet-connected TVs, smartphones and tablets. Hey, sign us up…

Phone 4S Lines Already Forming

It wouldn’t be a proper iPhone release without lines starting to form at retail stores around the world, and the iPhone 4S doesn’t seem like it will disappoint. MacRumors has been gathering photos from its readers from faraway lands such as Japan, United Kingdom and Paris, where the lines appear to be steadily growing. Here in the United States, there are apparently only “scattered reports of lines” which are likely to increase as word spreads that the handset is now sold out from all preorder sources here. Everyone keep warm out there!

Box Offering Free 50GB Cloud Storage for iOS Users

Apple may be busy touting the advantages of its free 5GB of iCloud storage, but companies like Box who have been doing this for much longer have a bigger number in mind — say, 50GB for absolutely free? That’s the idea behind a new promotion the company is running which kicks off at 12:01am Friday (that’s tonight!) and runs for the next 50 days. Simply visit the App Store, download the free Box app for iOS, register for a new account (or log in to an existing one) and the company will throw 50GB of cloud storage your way for the trouble. Box also encourages users to share the deal with other iOS owners by tweeting about it using the hashtag #Box50GB — but that last part is optional. (Update: The new version of the app is now live, so the deal is ready and waiting for you!)

Valve Celebrates Four Years of Team Fortress 2 with “Manniversary”

Hard to believe, but it’s already been four years since Team Fortress 2 was launched as part of The Orange Box. Numerous awards later, the title is still one of the most popular online action games of all time. Now, Valve is celebrating with the first annual “Manniversary Update and Sale” on the first anniversary of the in-game Mann Co. Store, with new features including Steam Workshop, 30 new hats and cosmetic items, an item decal system and much more. The company says it’s “one of the largest and most ambitious in TF2’s four-year history,” and the celebration includes a sale until Monday, October 17 on almost everything in the Mann Co. in-game store.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

News

Apple Releases Free Cards, iTunes Movie Trailers iOS Apps

iTunes Movie Trailers appHaven’t had enough free apps from Apple for one day? Well saddle up and hit the App Store, partner — there’s more gold to be found in them thar hills, with the promised Cards app arriving for the iPhone as well as a new universal iTunes Movie Trailers app for enjoying previews of Hollywood’s finest.

Apple has pushed out two more new apps on Wednesday after releasing Find My Friends and AirPort Utility prior to the release of iOS 5 today. One of them is Cards, which was announced at last week’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event, but the other was something of a pleasant surprise: An app dedicated to watching movie trailers posted on iTunes.

Cards arrives right on cue, promising to help you create and mail beautifully crafted cards personalized with your own text and photos, right from your iPhone or iPod touch. The app includes 21 designs which can be customized with your personal message and photo, and U.S.-bound creations will get a push notification when they’ve been delivered — only .99 anywhere in the United States or .99 anywhere else in the world, and those prices include postage.

The free Cards app is a 19MB download from the App Store compatible with all devices running iOS 5 or later — but for some strange reason, it’s not a universal app so using it on the iPad won’t be an ideal situation.

The same cannot be said of the free iTunes Movie Trailers app that Apple also released today, which is indeed a universal build for checking out the latest Hollywood has to offer from your iOS device. Now that it’s here, we’re left wondering what took them so long to make something like this available in the first place!

iTunes Movie Trailers
is a 2.8MB download now available from the App Store and requires iOS 5 or later.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

News

Valve Announces Free DLC Update for Portal 2

Portal 2Valve, creators of games like Half-Life and Counter-Strike, as well as technologies such as Steam and Source, announced that a free DLC update for Portal 2 will be released on October 4.

The free DLC, titled “Portal 2: Peer Review”, will roll out across all regions on Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN. It will be available as a download for owners of Portal 2 on PS3 and Xbox 360, and will be automatically downloaded via Steam on PC and Mac.

The game Portal 2 is described as “a hilariously mind-bending adventure that challenges you to use wits over weaponry in a funhouse of diabolical science.” With Portal 2: Peer Review, you and a friend can continue the story of P-Body and Atlas in a mysterious puzzle-laden co-op test track and match wits with GLaDOS. The release also features a single player and co-op Challenge Mode as well as leaderboards to compare scores with friends and the Portal community.

For more information about the game Portal 2 or to check out the final installment of the Portal 2 soundtrack Music to Test By, visit the Portal 2 website.

News

Steambirds: Survival Hitting iOS Devices Next Month for Free

Steambirds
The awesome flash game Steambirds is officially getting a second iOS version next month as Steambirds: Survival makes its way to the App Store.

Steambirds is like the amazing iOS spawn of Flight Control and Frozen Synapse. The former is, of course, the very well-known international iOS hit that tasks players with trying to land airplanes with the touch screen. The latter is a less-known PC and Mac title that has become an underground sensation in recent months.

In Frozen Synapse, players control a team of soldiers in a battle that takes place in short five-second increments. You have to plan out your strategy for the next five seconds and give your soldiers orders to carry out. It’s turn-based action gaming, essentially. Steambirds carries the same idea. You don’t control the aircraft directly. You give them an order and they carry it out.

Steambirds: Survival will expand on the series with all-new aircraft and missions, and is currently slated for release in “early October.” The launch trailer is available below.

News

iPad Will Have Free Run Over Holiday Shopping Season

iPad SantaAccording to the latest data from Gartner, the iPad will enjoy an unchallenged holiday shopping season this year. The report states that until the competition can get organized with regard to hardware, software and service, the tablet market belongs to Apple. Carolina Milanesi, Gartner analyst, believes that these three things give Apple the edge and “unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal.”

Gartner’s analysts also suggest that Android’s high prices, weak user interface, and a scarcity of tablet apps don’t help its position, either. The data group as posits that tablet sales will reach almost 64 million worldwide in 2011, which is a huge jump from the 18 million in 2010. By 2014, the report expects sales of 326 million units.

For 2011, Gartner estimates the iPad will make up 73 percent of those sales, which is down from 83 percent last year. Android is expected to make up 17 percent of this year’s tablet sales, and the other platforms will own less than 5 percent of the market.

Via ZDNet

 

Adrian covers daily news as well as the weekly Law & Apple column for MacLife.com. You can follow him on Twitter, if you want to.

News

Valve Giving Portal Away Free Until Sept 20


Valve has announced today that their much-revered puzzle game, Portal, will be free for a limited time as part of their Learn with Portals video game education initiative.

And before you even think it, nope, there’s no catch. At least, not one that we can see. The game is completely free until September 20th and it seems to be yours forever, not a temporary license kind of deal.

The deal is emerging as part of the Learn with Portals program that Valve is running to try to use games to get kids interested in math and science. You can check out a video below to see exactly what that means. It’s a fairly adorable little video of Valve hosting a class of students on a field trip and teaching them to make Portal levels.

You can get your free copy on Steam.

News