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Freemium vs. Premium: A Generation Too Young To Know Better?

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The success of the freemium model is impossible to deny. Taking a look at the top grossing games in the App Store paints a clear picture. In 2013 all ten of the overall top grossing games were freemium titles. The highest grossing paid game, Minecraft ($6.99) only ranked 18th in overall top grossing games.

If you migrated to iOS gaming from a dedicated gaming device like XBox, Playstation, or even PCs then the freemium game model is most likely not that appealing. Likewise, if you came into iOS gaming as a veteran gamer of the 90s or early aughts, then overall the freemium game system is very likely viewed by you as a travesty.

And yet, this hotly debated new gaming modality is undeniably bringing in the big bucks, at least for certain developers and gaming houses. Enough game developers are making money exploiting the freemium model that the trend continues much to the dismay of what seems like the majority of dedicated gamers.



What Samsung's News Means for Apple

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It might not be Apple news, but at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung unleashed a ton of news that will certainly impact Apple. While Apple has yet to release an "iWatch" (if you don't count the 4th generation iPad nano, which I sometimes wear as a watch) Samsung is already on the second version of their Samsung Gear. One of the biggest complaints about the Gear was it only worked with one particular Samsung device, the Galaxy Note 3, and not other Android phones or the iPhone. Now, the Gear 2 works with more Samsung devices. Samsung also announced a lighter version without the camera, dubbed the Gear 2 Neo, as well as the Galaxy Fit, a sleeker model that focuses on health and fitness, and can work standalone or with your Samsung devices. In an about face, the Gear 2 watches no longer run Android but instead run Samsung's own Tizen operating system, and the Gear Fit uses an undisclosed O.S. to make the battery last even longer.



Stabilize Shaky Vids with Emulsio

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Camera phone videos, particularly of outside activities, are often rolling and jerky enough to make one practically lose their lunch when viewing them, which is why a camera tripod is a great tool. You can't lug one everywhere however, and it's usually impractical for your iPhone. Apple has added software image stabilization into the iPhone, but there are limits to its effectiveness. You can save yourself and your loved ones some replay discomfort by adding a more robust video stabilizer app to your iPhone library. There are online tools available on sites like YouTube, but for a finer level of control, you might try Emulsio (free), which was just updated on February 24.



WINNERS of the iPhone Life February 24th Biweekly Giveaway

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Thanks to everyone who entered iPhone Life's Biweekly Weekend Giveaway! We received entries from 509 people in 26 different countries this week! WOW! And we're giving away 3 amazing accessories!

And the winners are... (drum roll please):

 



Upgrade to iOS 7.0.6 Right Now! Latest Update Addresses Serious Security Flaw

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Please update iOS on your iPhone or iPad as soon as possible, if you haven't done so already. On Friday, Apple released iOS 7.0.6 to fix a flaw that had been discovered. And according to this article on Wired, it's very serious. It's simply a typo in the code, an extra GoTo statement, that would allow hackers to bypass authentication procedures on your device and intercept email and other communications that should have been encrypted. 



GBA4iOS Version 2.0 includes iPad Support and iOS 7 Redesign

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The popular Game Boy Advance emulator GBA4iOS has been updated to 2.0, bringing a host of new features and improvements. Unlike the previous release, GBA4iOS can be downloaded from the official website without the need for a jailbroken iPad or iPhone.

The latest update comes with a brand new design scheme for iOS 7, along with a built-in web browser for downloading games. Version 2.0 was designed “with the goal of making everything not only look better, but simpler to use.”



Samsung Goes After Apple in Parody of iPad Air Commercial

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Samsung is really going after Apple in their commercials. I included their video making fun of the iPhone 5s in a recent post. They also have a video that parodies an iPad Air commercial and highlights the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 is marginally thinner than the iPad Air. I suspect, though, that the thinness comes at the expense of battery life. As we saw in a previous post, the iPad Air battery actually lasts for 13 hours of video playback, which is higher than the advertised 10 hours — and 40 percent better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. Apple's original video that Samsung is parodying shows a pencil on a table at eye level, and talks about a wonderful tool that can be used for so many different things. Then the camera pans up, and you see an iPad Air was hidden by the pencil and that the commercial was really speaking about the iPad Air — while highlighting its thinness by hiding it behind the pencil. In the parody, a pencil again obscures an iPad Air. But then hidden behind the iPad Air is the Galaxy Tab Pro.



Game Centered: Hot New Freemium Games with a Freakish Twist.

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Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition.

If you read my recent article about freemium games it's possible you came away with the impression that I'm a freemium hater, which really couldn't be further from the truth. Though the current modality of freemium games could use a shot of ethics and integrity, there are nonetheless some awesome games out there that won't cost you a penny and even though they may offer plenty of in-app purchases, they don't limit your free-flowing enjoyment of the game.

This week’s Game Centered will make you feel like Halloween is just around the corner, instead of almost eight months away, and features three excellent and eerie entries in the freemium category.



Last Chance to Enter our February 24th Giveaway!

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Don't forget to enter this weekend's Giveaway Contest! 

Here's how it works: Every other weekend we raffle off tons of great apps and accessories for FREE then announce the winners through iphonelife.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. To enter, go to iPhoneLife.com/giveaways. If you win an app, we will email you the promo code. If you win an accessory, we will ask you for your mailing address.

 

This weeks featured items are:



Freemium vs Premium: The Rise of Pay-to-Play Games

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Image source, Distimo Report March 2013, "How The Most Successful Apps Monetize Their User Base"

Let me start by saying, not all freemium games are bad. There are some notable titles that don't intentionally extort dollars from gamers. Freemium games rely on what has been referred to as the "friction point," the point in which a game has limited your progress and you either have to wait for your energy to recharge, pay more money to continue, or proceed to grind away at a lower, less challenging level while scraping credits together to gain a more competitive edge. The challenge for many freemium game developers is walking that line between frustrating the gamer enough that they are willing to throw down real-world money to advance and not frustrating the gamer so much that they put the game down and don't come back. Distimo released an interesting report in March 2013 showing just how profitable it is for developers to walk this line.



Everything iPad - Apps, Accessories, Reviews, Wallpapers etc | iPhone Life Magazine

What's bigger than an iPhone, smaller than a MacBook, and the most anticipated Apple product since the original iPhone? On January 27, at a special invitation only event at the San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Steve Jobs announced Apple's new "magical, revolutionary product" -- the iPad. Meant to fill the gap between the laptop and phone, Jobs said it was "way better" than either. Let's take a look at it.

Thin, lightweight, and powerful

The iPad shares many hardware features with the iPhone, including an accelerometer, an orientation sensor to switch from portrait to landscape mode, solid-state memory, and the same 30-pin doc connector. Connectivity is also virtually the same, with wireless 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR included on all models.

iPad runs iPhone apps!

The iPad will run a version of iPhone OS, and the new device can run virtually any app developed for the iPhone or iPod touch. Aps developed for the iPhone can run on the iPad in native resolution but is large enough to touch type on.

The larger screen not only makes familiar iPhone apps like Calendar, Mail, and Safari look stunning, it also provides screen real estate for more complex elements in the UI. For example, Calendar display a split-sreen view that describes the day's appointments on the left and shows you a color map of used time slots on the right. The split-screen view in Contacts displays you contacts list on the left and the full information for the contact you've selected on the right.

An ebook reader and more

Although not build into the iPad, Apple will offer a free app called iBooks, which will allow you to download and read books from it's new virtual bookstore. The new iBooks store will be accessed from and as easy to use as iTunes.

The ultimate media device?

The iPad is not the world's first tablet PC or the first eBook reader. Toshiba, Lenovo, Acer, and others sell Windows-based tablets, and Amazon has had considerable success with it's Kindle. But Apple thinks the iPad will reinvent the category by offering a vastly superior multi-touch interface an easy access to a wide-variety of apps and media via iTunes. Aple hopes to make the iPad the ultimate media device by leveraging it's existing assets which include over 100 million paying iTunes customers, established relationships with music and video content providers, and over 100,000 iPhone OS app developers.