Does Apple Dominate the World of Apps?


Apps and smartphones go hand in hand, and it could be said that each is responsible for the other’s rising success. Apps, or to give them their full name of applications, are an ingenious idea: self-contained computer programmes that give users access to resources making life a whole lot easier. No matter how up-to-date your phone, you are not utilising its full potential unless you have the right apps.

Everybody from taxi firms and television companies, to online casinos and restaurants have discovered the power of apps to provide services and entertainment via mobile ‘phones and tablets. Here we look at five of the most popular apps available at the moment, and the way in which Apple’s iTune app store continues to monopolise the market.

Apple Music Versus Spotify

Unless you prefer old school vinyl or the swiftly disappearing medium of cd, iTunes is the go-to app for music downloads. However, if you prefer to stream your music for free, chances are you are doing so via spotify. Free access to an impressive catalogue of over 30 million songs via a free downloadable app has made Spotify a most popular music streaming accessory for both the mobile and home computer. However, the launch of Apple Music reveals Apple to be a serious contender to Spotifys throne.

This app was launched among much controversy after initially Apple intended to withhold royalties from artists during the music app’s three-month trial period, but this bad idea was soon dropped after much uproar from several artists, most notably Taylor Swift, and its popularity is growing with, especially as it still offers a three-month free trail period and also provides access to a similar number of songs (at least 30 million) to Spotify. With 10 million subscribers and by allowing users to access the entire iTunes library, Apple Music is definitetly the music app to watch.

Most Popular Dating App

Online dating has never been more popular and long gone are the days when people would deny meeting one another via a dating site. It has never been easier to quickly select or reject a potential love interest and with a simple swipe left or right of a screen, mobile users can interact with multiple potential dates on a daily basis. Competition to be the most popular dating app is fierce and developers know that by supplying a free service and by making the app as easy to use as possible, users are more likely to stay signed up to their app.

One element of online dating that remains constant is the need for security, which is perhaps why Tinder, from the Apple app store, is such a popular dating tool. Tinder uses information from Facebook to determine your location and can also show any mutual friends, which can go some way to show that the person you are interacting with actually exists and may be known to someone you already know. Yes, this app has been accused of being shallow due to the fact that users choose whether to interact with someone based on appearance, but this could be why the app is so popular – it is quick, easy to use and to some degree, brutally honest.

Gaming Apps

Online gaming has never been more popular and again, Apple’s iTunes app database is at the forefront, making it easier than ever to access online entertainment and gambling whether you are at home or out and about. As online bingo goes from strength to strength, evolving into a more visually exciting and diverse game, and as betting on sports and casino games becomes increasingly popular, companies such as Coral Interactive LTD are turning to Apple to provide gamers with the apps required to enjoy easily accessible gaming. There is no other company to rival Apple’s reputation and as long as it continues to provide a sterling service, it is evident that both companies and users will be confident using Apple’s app services.


Fitness Apps

Dieting and exercise have always been fashionable, but where fitness videos and slimming clubs once held the market, it is now the turn of the fitness app. Successful weightloss and fitness can be attributed not just to personal will power but to the support and encouragement that a person receives. However, if you just don’t have the time to attend meetings at a church hall or you prefer not to be weighed in front of a room full of people, NexTrack could be the fitness app for you.

This app claims to be a fun tracking tool, using motivation, competition and challenges to help users get fit and lose weight. It is even said to challenge the famous FitBit activity tracker which requires a lot of initial logging of information and is not as user friendly as the NexTrack app. Of course one can download fitness apps from another source, and onto android mobiles, rather than onto an iPhone via iTunes, but Apple has this covered too with a product that is ideal for convenient fitness tracking: the Apple Watch. By allowing users to download apps they already use on mobile devices and by giving developers access the Apple Watch technology, Apple again reveals just how intuitive it is to the marriage between mobile technology and apps.

Social Networking Apps

Over the past two decades, Social networking has exploded like a burst pinata, spraying the internet with a whole host of sites and apps on which people can connect. Never has the world of celebrity been more accessible, with fans being able to tweet their icons directly and popstars sharing intimate photos via Instagram which, would have, once upon a time, been confined to the dusty recesses of their personal family photo albums.

Twitter, especially, has provided endless entertainment in the way of celebrity spats and political indiscretions. No longer do we have to wait for breaking news stories to discover what our political leaders have been up to, as, if there is an embarrassing picture to be seen, chances are it will end up as a meme on facebook. Likewise, the cringe-worthy public arguments between celebrities on twitter: ex partners, Kanye West and Amber Rose being a prime example. Social networking apps may have started as a way to keep in touch with old friends and current acquaintances, but with celebrities so keen to over-share and politicians unable to prevent the speed at which news travels via the internet, social networking is now considered the public’s first port of call for up to the minute news.

Although there are many that attempt to topple Apple from its position as a leading mobile technology company, a real contender is yet to be discovered, and with Apple’s ability to predict user trends, alongside the company’s access to incredible advances in mobile technology, it is doubtful anyone will be successful any time soon.

New movie based games at Microgaming

Microgaming is one of the pioneers of the iGaming industry. Its first operation was launched in 1994 – it was the first of its kind. Later Microgaming has abandoned this line of business, focusing on the development of online games instead. The company turns 20 this year, and the list of its games includes over 500 titles.

Microgaming releases new games quite often. New games are added to the company’s offer every month. This year Microgaming has released several new titles this year, like the Lucky Koi, Avalon II, Untamed – Crowned Eagle, Loose Cannon, Girls with Guns – Frozen Dawn, Football Star (a title honoring the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will take place this summer in Brazil) and Cool Wolf. And the good news is more great games are set to follow.

The company has announced at the beginning of this year that it has made arrangements with Studiocanal S.A. for the rights of an iGaming adaptation of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a massive blockbuster and instant classic with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role. The game is set to be released this summer.

Only a week later Microgaming has announced a similar deal, this time with Universal, for the release of a game based on one of the most game-changing movie trilogies of all times, Jurassic Park. This game will also be released in the summer of 2014.

Game of Thrones is one of the most popular TV series of our days. This HBO series, based on the novels from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series written by George R. R. Martin. This epic tale has stolen the hearts of millions of people all around the world, even having the dubious honor to be the most pirated TV series of all times. Microgaming has signed an agreement for the release of a game based on the TV series in February, with a release in the second half of this year. Surely a piece of good news for the series fans.

Microgaming has a long history of releasing games based on successful movies and TV shows. Some of their games have become instant classics – The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, based on the popular Batman movies directed by Cristopher Nolan, are hugely popular titles in their offer, and the game based on Battlestar Galactica (the favorite TV show of yours truly) is also among the preferred ones of the players.

Want to play Microgaming games? You can do so by visiting one of the operations that offer their games to their registered customers – websites like Platinum Play, Royal Vegas or Euro Palace, among others. Good luck, and have a good time playing the latest Microgaming titles.

Could Shrimp Save the Planet?

Scientists in China have reportedly found a new use for shrimp – developing a catalyst from shrimp shells which could aid production of biodiesel fuel.

In a world increasingly concerned with global warming, there is a growing turn towards more renewable sources of energy. Xinsheng Zheng and colleagues in China have noticed the importance of renewable fuels like biodiesel.

Current biodiesel production processes produce large amounts of waste water, and the catalysts required to speed up the chemical reactions that transform plant oils into diesel fuel cannot be reused. This new research suggests that a catalyst derived from shrimp shells converted canola oil to biodiesel more efficiently, and quickly than some traditional catalysts, and additionally can be reused.

Their study is scheduled for release in the Aug. 20 issue of ACS’ Energy & Fuels.

Conficker worm fails to strike on April fools day

From BBC News

The chaos predicted by some as the Conficker worm updates itself have so far failed to materialise.

There had been concerns that the worm could trigger poisoned machines to access personal files, send spam, clog networks or crash sites.

Many of the infected machines are based in Asia where there have been no reports of unusual PC behaviour.