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Black Friday at the App Store

November 28th, 2010

If you own an iPhone or an iPad, it’s still not too late: a lot of developers are discounting their apps for Black Friday. I’ve downloaded at least a dozen and a half apps, many of them just to try because they were free, and found a few good ones–and paid no more than a dollar apiece, even though some are usually $5 ~ $8. It looks like most of these discounts will be good for the weekend, but of course there are no guarantees.

IcondictOne very nice one: a Dictionary app, “English BigDict.” Apple neglected to include the Oxford Dictionary in the iPhone and iPad, and most dictionaries are online, requiring an Internet connection, and are kind of slow. This one–weighing in at 306 MB–resides on your iOS device. The interface is very nice, and it seems to have an excellent selection of words–220,000 “keywords and phrases,” whatever that means.

It is now going for free–for how long they don’t say.


Iconsketch-1Another good $8 app, this one discounted to $1, is Sketchbook Pro. I have only played around with it for a short time, but it seems like a very nice, powerful drawing app, the best I’ve tried out so far.

This one allows you to select from a wide variety of brushes, with a very nice color picker. The interface is not that hard to learn. More importantly, you can work with layers, allowing you to sketch at one layer and then draw in a background on a lower layer. The main drawback seems to be that it does not have the ability to smudge–at least not that I can find so far. If it really is missing, it’s a huge oversight… but as I mentioned, I am still figuring the app out. There are probably user tutorials on YouTube, and I should check them out when I have time.


IconsdkOne I got for the hell of it is SDK Tutorials HD, previously $5 (though often vacillating between $2 and $5), now $1. It seems to give a very quick rundown of how to make an iPhone app using the Apple Xcode app. I did not expect it to be comprehensive, and it seems to expect some prior understanding, but should be a good help when using a more extensive training book on Objective C and iPhone apps.

One big minus point to this app: the font size is way too small and hard to read. Legible enough for someone who doesn’t mind squinting a bit, but this developer definitely needs to make it easier to read in the next version.


Iconnfl Iconmnfl

For the iPhone–and for the iPad if you don’t mind a bit of the jaggies–two NFL game apps, NFL 2011 and Madden NFL 11. Both usually go for $5, both are on sale now for $1 each. NFL 2011 often drops to $3, but Madden’s just as often goes up to $8. When checking out reviews, each had its defenders and detractors. Each game seems to have a different interface and quality of graphics. I figured, what the hell, they’re just a buck apiece, and picked them both up. Again, I haven’t had enough time to really get used to them, but they look like they could be fun. Both have up-to-date rosters and, I am assuming, play out according to the actual players’ and teams’ real-life strengths and weaknesses.

From NFL 2011:



From the Madden App:



So, keep checking the app store until Sunday or Monday, there should be some more deals waiting. For a powerful and very useful site to search for and keep up-to-date on apps, try AppShopper.com, which not only allows you to search and sort by a lot of very helpful categories (alas, not by specific prices or price ranges except for free or paid), but also gives you a history of each app’s pricing. They also have a free app for that.

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