APPY AWARDS

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BUSINESS MEDIA APP / FEATURED APPS

Atlantic Magazine Digital Edition 


Atlantic
MagazineThere's plenty of free content to enjoy on The Atlantic's free iPhone/iPad app, and that's good enough for me. With anything "free," I set my expectations to a certain level. That way, I'm rarely disappointed and usually pleasantly surprised. Atlantic MagazineIn comparing notes with most of the Atlantic reviewers on Apple, yes, I am indeed easy to please - my standards don't seem to be as high as the average critic. The most common complaint is the app's current inability upon closing to return on relaunch to where you left off, which for me - with what I consider a browsing app - is a non-issue. I understand the frustration, but I'd rather have more free content with a hard close, than less with a placeholder. The main page gives you eight full-length stories considered "Top News," all with full-page treatment, and easy to browse with an east-west swipe. The "Channels" cover everything you expect: politics, business, entertainment, technology, national, international and life. My favorite feature is the in-app video player, which is seamless and crisp. My advice? Manage your expectations, click "free" and enjoy. Available in the App Store
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BUSINESS MEDIA APP / FEATURED APPS

Kiosk Pro for iPad 


Kiosk ProIf you've been to the Apple Store, you've probably seen them, those cool iPad-based interactive displays that recently replaced all paper placards next to products on display. This concept isn't new, and the "kiosk" or "demo" mode for computers has been around for a while. Now, with the new Kiosk Pro app for iPad, anyone can set up a full-featured professional kiosk to present their products and web sites full screen, with no navigation or status bars. The $2.99 Kiosk Pro app, which has a free Lite version and the advanced $29 Kiosk Pro Plus, was developed by the same folks that have spent decades custom making kiosk applications for the likes of Amtrak, Boeing, CocaCola and IBM. The interactive displays in the Smithsonian were also made by them, and now the very best in kiosk development is distilled into this remarkable and inexpensive app. Kiosk ProKiosk Pro app comes with more settings than most people might need, but the initial setup is fairly simple. You set a homepage and the Allowed Domains list to limit the sites your visitors can navigate to, or leave it empty for unrestricted web browsing. Turn on the Digital Sign mode to completely disable the iPad's touch screen and turn it into a non-interactive digital signboard. For kiosks located in high traffic areas (like an expo hall at a big convention) there's a helpful time-out feature - after a set number of minutes of use, Kiosk Pro automatically navigates to a "Goodbye" page and then cycles back to its preset homepage, giving more visitors a turn at your kiosk. Another awesome feature is the option to display all web pages and media from local files stored on iPad directly - a godsend for any location with spotty or slow WiFi or cell service. For multiple kiosks deployment, even if they are in different locations, the External Settings File feature allows you to globally change any of the settings in seconds. Assign a unique ID for each iPad to change individual kiosk's settings remotely by changing the corresponding values in an XML file and uploading it to your server. Monitor your kiosks remotely by setting Kiosk Pro to email you if your kiosk loses power. Speaking of power, the Kiosk Pro Plus version lets your kiosk take a nap with the overnight Dim Mode, setting it to automatically go to sleep and wake up at the times you want. Overall this is one of the best apps for the job we've seen in a while, and it offers many clever and innovative features. For serious applications you'll probably want to purchase once of the hardware kiosk pieces from the developer's website, to secure the iPad itself and restrict use of the Home Button. But even without the hardware component, the app doesn't skimp on features and offers a complete solution to turn you iPad into a professional kiosk device on a small budget. Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / SOCIAL NETWORKING

WeeMee Avatar Creator 


WeeMeeAll great historical figures have their equally memorable clones. Katie Holmes has Suri Cruise. Homer Simpson has Bart. Corey Feldman had Corey Haim. Austin Powers has Mini-Me, and now I have my WeeMee. WeeMeeThe WeeMee Avatar Creator lets me clone myself into millions of WeeMees. With over 40 hairstyles, hundreds of clothing and accessory options, 26 pairs of sunglasses for sunny days and 15 themed backgrounds to play in, I can't decide whether to put on my Snooki look with orange skin and black hair bouffant, or channel Farrah Fawcett with long, wavy hair and a red bikini. I can clone myself anatomically correct, and add color and shade to everything from eyes to underwear. My WeeMee (I call her 'MiNE') gets more unique with the 'closets' feature that lets her shop for trendy, premium and branded items. Adding seasonal accessories, pets, Apple products and beverages (with and without alcohol) makes this app fun and personal. WeeMeeCreating avatars in WeeMee is easy - I had a small army of adorable MiNE's within minutes. Navigation features are identified with playful icons. I can save to the gallery, post to Facebook and Twitter, and add wings and panda slippers before you can say "Dolly." Available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, the app includes a built-in address book so I can create avatars for my friends and use them as the contact's image. I couldn't help but dress my (male) boss as a mermaid under the sea, and my best friend looks good in vampire garb creeping in the forest. WeeMee saves my army of avatars in a gallery which means I have easy access to a new persona each day. The app organizes my 'closets,' which allows for quick wardrobe changes and background switches. Today I'm in Aspen, tomorrow off to Paris! I plan on sharing my new WeeMees with my friends and family. There are more than 50 million avatars in WeeMee, so I have a lot of cloning to do to claim my place in history as the woman with the most personalities. Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / MUSIC

Musicshake Remix [UPDATE] 


Musicshake
RemixAs a weekend DJ hobbyist, I was naturally intrigued when the guys over at Musicshake Remix submitted their B.o.B. Feat. Hayley Williams "Airplane" app for our consideration. While my colleagues pondered their next featured apps, I snapped this one up, and went straight to "work." I have always wanted to produce my own remixes, and with computer tech the way it is these days on the dance floor, why not? The irony is, the ease with which digital mixes are produced has spawned a plethora of remixes - both sanctioned and bootlegged - and tracking down and previewing new mixes consumes most of the free time I have around DJ bookings. Such is life. Musicshake RemixHello, Musicshake. Remixing is simpler than you might think. Dance music (and most pop music as well) is broken down into 32-beat blocks. A typical refrain plays out over 16 beats (four measures) and repeats and resolves over the next 16. A verse is typically two 32-beat chunks strung together. Never was the simplicity of this structure more evident than when playing around with Musicshake apps - they have a number of them, most of them free, though "Airplanes" goes for $2.99. Heck, B.o.B. has to make his Benny's somewhere, right? Anyway, Musicshake breaks these 32-beat blocks into literal colored blocks. Vocal, guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, these are all their own rows of blocks and inside each block you can select which 32-beat segment you want to play, swapping bits and pieces around however you like, surprisingly enough, never ending up with a really bad mix. Start out acapella and then bring in a beat and then the whole enchilada. Or start out full throttle and drop everything after the first block. Or, give up control and "shake" for a new random mix. Shake is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. I first tried valiantly to shake my phone and get a remix. But you actually tap the shake button to get it to "shake" the mix up. Additional features include sharing the song on the Musicshake Web site, Facebook or via email. To share though, you have to set up a free account on Musicshake.com. The site lets you do a lot of what the app does and purports to have over 1.3 million different samples to work with, but that's for a whole other review. When you go to share your song it will post to your Musicshake profile and then that link will be shared with Facebook or via email. There is one thing I will warn you about. Music is not a lightweight medium. The first thing I noticed was how long it took for the app to download. Once it was loaded, it announced it had saved download time by not downloading everything. Downloading the pop samples took twice as long as downloading the app itself. Also, if you buy this one app, you had better really like B.o.B.'s song "Airplanes" because it's the only song this app produces. Though, overall, the Musicshake apps are a wonder and the music mixes they produce, even completely by what appears to be random switch ups, are fun to make and listen to. Happy thanksgiving! UPDATE: After this article was published, we received a comment from the Musicshake developer: "Regarding this passage - "Shake is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. I first tried valiantly to shake my phone and get a remix." - it is actually not a misnomer. You can get a remix either by shaking your phone or the shake button." Maybe it's supposed to work that way, unfortunately on my iPhone 4S it refused to do anything when I shook it - repeatedly. -J. McEwan.Available in the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / TRAVEL

Alaska Air 


Alaska AirRemember that languid moose strolling through the opening credits of Northern Exposure back in the early 90s? (Classic!) Though filmed in Roslyn, Washington, the show heightened my interest in visiting Alaska, and an episode featuring the aurora borealis peaked my wanderlust. Fast forward to 2011, and my interest in the last frontier is back, baby! Alaska AirAlaska Air's iPhone app has everything you need to arrange your transportation. All the standard features you'd expect from a great travel app are present and accounted for: mobile boarding pass options, text & email flight alerts, gate & boarding time info, flight check-in, seat-changing options, etc. But the app also has handy & unique features, including a personal travel concierge who can set parking reminders, remember hotel & car confirmation codes, and remind you of specific day-of-travel resources to help you skip those long lines at the airport. And for peace of mind, all benefits of Alaska Air's website are easily accessible. Our 49th state is one of those distinctive places you have to make a special effort to see. Thanks to Alaska Air's iPhone app, the special effort feels fairly effortless. But Alaska Airlines isn't just all about the last frontier. As we just learned, they're actually based out of Seattle, and are the U.S.'s 8th largest carrier with flights in and out of U.S., Canada, and Mexico. All aboard! Available in the App StoreAvailable on Android Market
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UPDATE

A Great Day to Enter Your Work 


Appy AwardsToday? Yes, today is definitely a great day to enter. Tomorrow's a great day too. So is next Wednesday! And to be clear, what's really great about the Appy Awards year-round entry process is that every day is a great day to enter. Your work will always be considered for whichever Appy Awards show is next! With the upcoming Appy Awards Reception & Awards Ceremony scheduled to rock San Francisco on March 21st 2012, any entry you submit today, tomorrow, or any day up until February 8th will instantly be eligible for two prizes: the actual Appy Award, and the prestige of becoming our Featured App of the Week. Another cool detail about February 8th: all entries received before 2/8/12 will save 20%, and may even be completely free! See our Appy Referral Program page (and our Deadlines and Fees pages) for more details. Good luck!
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FEATURED APPS / TRAVEL

Beautiful Planet HD 


Beautiful PlanetI work 9 to 5 (in reality it is more like 10 to 6). My eyes cross from staring at reports, newsletters and spread sheets, and if I have to look at one more PowerPoint presentation, I might lose my cool. I'm constantly skimming through emails from crazy clients, irritable colleagues, and emails from my mother warning me on the dangers of opening virus-laden emails. Ah, life. Sometimes I just need to escape. And now there's an App for that. Beautiful PlanetI can't physically or financially jet around the world in an hour, but I can continent-hop on my lunch break thanks to the photography of Peter Guttman in Beautiful Planet HD. The App features photographs from all seven continents: Lounging seals in Antarctica, babushkas bundled for the cold of Red Square, and a Pied Piper playing in the street in Germany. I open the Gallery Map and see the world according to Google providing the exact locations where each photo was taken. When I click on the photo in the middle of the Indian Ocean, I'm instantly immersed in the tradition and culture of the Malagasy people. The Beautiful Planet HD App showcases photos in a gallery, and allows me to pause, click the 'caption' icon, and get details of the image from the photographer. More icons allow me to share on Facebook, view as a slideshow, and even add my own music to create a playlist for the slideshow; all excellent features if I want to show my friends these photos as if they were my own. Guttman's photographs are striking - excellent compositions and a diverse range of subject matter and landscapes. He's captured the deep emeralds of the Philippines' oceans to the stark color contrasts of the Kenyan deserts - black and white zebra rumps included. My favorite image is the courtship of two giant tortoises in Aldabra, Seychelles. Nothing takes me out of my cubicle and in to nature faster than two 600-pounders knocking shells. Available for iPhone and iPad, the $1.99 App is a bargain for a true photographic journey around the world. Available in
the App Store
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FEATURED APPS / PRODUCTIVITY

LogMeIn Ignition 


LogMeIn
IgnitionLogMeIn IgnitionIt sounded easier than it turned out to be. Still, it wasn't hard to figure out. And it delivered everything it promised. I'm talking about a tantalizing app called LogMeIn Ignition, a marvelous little app that is part of the LogMeIn suite of products that allow users to remotely access, log into and control their computers from any PC, tablet or mobile device. When I first read about it, immediate uses sprang to mind. Forgot to update that InDesign file, PDF it and send it to your client? No problem, whip out your iPhone, log into your home computer, fire up InDesign, adjust the file, export the PDF and email it, all from the comfort of your bar stool or picnic blanket. And surprise of surprises, this let's you do just that, among many other things. LogMeIn IgnitionYou do need to download and install LogMeIn's free software on any computer you plan to access. The app itself isn't free ($29.99 in the iTunes store where I got mine). However, the basic service is free. You can upgrade to a variety of pro levels, but you don't have to. For an individual, the free level is enough. Once you've set up your free account, you can log into it via the app. That delivers you into your computer where you will still need to log in to your user account to fully access it. Once inside you can either go right to the monitor view, navigate through a folder and file hierarchy to access and transfer files, or check the information screen on the computer. In the monitor mode there are a host of multitouch commands to help you scroll, pinch zoom and use the cursor to click buttons. Tools at the bottom of the screen deploy an easy to use keyboard with clearly marked command, control, option and shift buttons. More than one monitor? Three fingers left or right to toggle between them. It takes a little getting used to, especially on an iPhone like the one I have, but it works and it works well. In the hierarchical mode, you can work your way through folders to a file you want, open it if you have the appropriate app in your device, copy, move, rename, even delete the file. The interface is slick and for the most part intuitive. LogMeIn gets major kudos for a simple list of multitouch gestures that pops up when you first log into your computer. That's a huge help. On a small screen it can be a bit awkward and challenging to navigate in monitor mode, but the results are surprisingly accurate. I have to say for the Appy Awards I get to load up and test drive a lot of stuff, most of which I play with for a while and dismiss. However, I am happy to report that LogMeIn Ignition is a keeper and well deserving of it's nearly five-star rating in the iTunes Store. Available in
the App StoreAvailable on Android Market
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ENTERTAINMENT / FEATURED APPS

Movie Night Out 


Movie
Night OutPicture the scene. You just finished enjoying Real Steel, and you're feeling great about yourself because you talked your girlfriend/wife into it ("Hugh Jackman's the main character," you said. "I think he's shirtless."), and she actually liked it! But now you're standing on the corner like an idiot because you have no idea where to go for post-flick drinks. Almost a perfect night... you blew it! Movie
Night OutWith National Cinemedia's "Movie Night Out" app, you can permanently remove "I don't know, where do you want to go?" from your lame-o phrase repertoire. The app helps you plan an entire evening - romantic, casual, or anything in between - with plenty of backup options for changing your agenda on the fly. For starters, it's terrific strictly as a movie-finding app. You can locate theaters, find show times, read reviews, watch clips, even purchase tickets. And all of your after-movie options (dinner, drinks, dancing, you name it) are conveniently displayed by proximity and preference. Oh yeah: what app would be complete without social networking options? Movie Night Out allows you to share your experience with all your friends, followers and fellow mayors on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. (Though isn't tweeting about what you're eating pass? Or is that cool again? Sheesh, it's so hard to keep up.) Available in the App StoreAvailable on
Android Market
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COMMUNICATION / FEATURED APPS

TalkBox Voice Messenger 


TalkBoxYou spend more and more time liking, tweeting, following and checking in, and not nearly enough time using the telephone for what it was intended for - talking to someone. Language skills not what they used to be? Fear not - there is a happy medium between LOL and a live conversation. Give your thumbs a break and work your voice box. TalkBox Voice Messenger brings sound back to communication by integrating voice, music, laughter and crickets with social networking and instant messaging for iPhone and iPad users. TalkBoxTalkBox blends push-to-talk messaging and visual voicemail, allowing users to send short voice messages to their contacts. Messages can be read immediately, or played at the convenience of the recipient. Voice messages can be one-on-one conversations or group discussions, across the street or across the world - messages are instant, free, and do not require a cellular network to be sent. First you have to add friends and contacts, but after the initial setup, recording and sending a thought is as easy as dialing 1-2-3. The app integrates with Twitter, Facebook, your Address Book, and a special "Voice Broadcast" contact which will send a message to all of your contacts at once. TalkBox is available on the App Store for free. Singing happy birthday in your best Marilyn impression to your BFF and posting it on her Facebook wall - priceless. Available in the App Store
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