Iconfactory's Spooky Sticker Packs

Halloween has always been a favorite festivity of mine. My parents would go all-out for Halloween parties for me and my friends when I was a kid. I loved dressing up, gathering up a horde of candy, and going to local science museum which transformed into a haunted house every year. Halloween carries a lot of traditions for me.

One tradition I have come to appreciate over the years is when The Iconfactory dresses up its website to celebrate the spookiest of holidays. This year the gang has gone further by dressing up iMessage with a trick-or-treat bucket’s worth of Spooky Sticker Packs.

Ravenswood, Macabre, & Spook On

First up are Ravenswood, Macabre, & Spook On. These packs feature ghastly portraits from Ravenswood Manor, familiar faces of this frightening holiday, and spooky stickers that are eerily realistic with their peeled edges.

All three packs are 99¢ when purchased separately, or $1.99 when purchased in a bundle. As of this writing, the bundle was still in review with iTunes.


Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the yellow skin of the smiley emojis? BoneHeadz goes beneath the surface to reveal the horrors and hilarity underneath! This pack makes no bones about it and can be yours for 99¢.


As I mentioned before, I love traditions around this time of year and there isn’t a tradition more well known than carving a Jack-O-Lantern. It is something my family does every year and it is a fond memory of carving out a pumpkin with my mom.

I don’t always get to see mom around Halloween, and now we can have fun long distance with Hack-O-Lantern. It’s easy as pumpkin pie to do: pick a pumpkin and get hacking with various carvings and accessories. Scooping out the guts of an innocent pumpkin will run $1.99, which is cheaper than going to the pumpkin patch.


I think I’ve saved the best for last. One of my favorite podcasts the past year or so has been Lore. Each episode is thrilling and draws you in deep right before…the end, mwahaha! Seriously, though, Lore is amazing and you should listen to it. The Iconfactory and Lore have teamed up for hunt of the peculiar with a special Lore sticker pack. The artwork is amazing and fits right in with the podcast, so be sure to get this pack for $1.99…before it gets you.


Each of these sticker packs comes with an wallpaper for your iPhone. To get the wallpaper, scroll down in the sticker pack and tap the pack’s name, then Save Wallpaper. These wallpapers are the perfect decorations for your home screen.

Vanishing Like the Invisible Man

It’s worth noting that most of these sticker packs are limited editions. When October is gone, they will no longer be available to purchase. That said, when you purchase them, you can use them year-round, as they’ll still be available on your device and for re-downloading.

BoneHeadz and Lore will be "sticking" around all year long.

The Iconfactory is making all sorts of amazing Stickers for iMessage, so be sure to grab these limited edition packs, and check out their other packs, as well.

¶ Regularly $19.99

Cultured Code makes a fantastic Getting Things Done (GTD) app aptly named Things. I used it myself for a while though I did eventually find OmniFocus to be a better fit for me. That's a story for another time.

Things is a premium app. It runs $9.99 for iPhone, $19.99 for iPad, and $49.99 for Mac.

The prices until Thanksgiving day are free, free, and $34.99, respectively. Why? Because the two iOS apps are Apple's Pick of the Week, and the Mac app is on sale from Cultured Code to celebrate it.

I don't think I have ever seen a $20 app be the Pick of the Week. Seriously, Things is a stellar premium app with a premium price and it is going for free right now. And Apple wants to show off how great of a deal it is by plastering the value on the App Store.

Regularly $19.99.

As someone whose livelihood is sustained by sales of a premium app with a premium price, I am both delighted to see Things receiving this attention and terrified what dropping it to free means for public perception of the value of the app.

It is good that a premium app is being thrust in front of millions of people, letting them know there are high quality apps out there. It is also good for people learn that high quality apps cost a more than a buck.

What gives me hesitance is the app being reduced to the cost of nothing — even temporarily. I worry that people will look at it and think Things should be free. That even though it exudes polish and talent and quality people will come to expect those characteristics in exchange for nothing.

I worry that giving away a premium app reinforces the entitlement many people display towards apps. I worry someday the App Store will be void of fantastic apps because no one was willing to pay for them.

I am left wondering what kind of star ratings will appear for Things once the price returns to being regularly $19.99.

¶ Making Things "Right"

I have long been a fan of Realmac Software and many of their various apps over the years. They are a fantastic company and some of the most talented developers and designers in the Mac & iOS industry.

But man, do they sometimes make some strange decisions.

For context, late last year Realmac released a new version of their to-do list app, Clear. This new version brought with it an iPad interface and a few other enhancements. They released it not as an update to the existing Clear, but as a whole new app, and they were charging money for the upgrade.

I, personally, fully support this approach. Businesses need money to survive, and making great apps is not cheap. I have absolutely no qualms for paying for a great upgrade to a great app. I am even okay with paying full price for it.

That seems to be Apple's preferred approach for app makers to take in the App Store. They did it themselves with the latest major upgrade to Logic. New app, full price.1

But, it appears that I am in the minority here. Presumably Realmac felt a pretty hefty backlash with the new version of Clear. So, they updated the old app with the enhancements they had made to the iPhone side of things, left out the iPad stuff, and put the old one back on the App Store. Then they made the new app known as Clear+, and its draw was that it has an iPad interface.

I honestly thought they should have weathered the storm and stuck to their guns, and it all would have died down eventually, but, I saw this as a fair compromise, as well. Existing users of the original Clear aren't left out in the water, and those who wanted an iPad version could pay for the new app.

But the drama didn't end there. I guess users still were not satiated, and today Realmac backpedaled. A lot.

They released updates to Clear and Clear+. The Clear update made it completely like Clear+, iPad interface and all. The Clear+ update made provided a way to go back to Clear if the user wasn't using iCloud sync. And it sounds like Clear+ is riding off into the sunset.

Realmac says they are making things right. The users who supported them with Clear and Clear+ paid twice to get shuffled around over a couple months. The users who complained get a freebie.

I'm not sure I agree that was the right move.

I really don't care about the money. It was a few bucks, and I love the folks at Realmac. I'm happy to support them.

What I take issue with is that for great developers to keep making great things, it is obvious that free updates forever is unsustainable. Apple is not going to give developers a way to give previous users a discount, that is abundantly clear. 2 And Apple led the way by example with a major Pro app of theirs. That example was to release a new app and charge money. Simple.

And Realmac seemed to be on board with that, as well as many other developers. It will be rough to train the pricing model that has been used for years out of people. And I don't think it will take long if many developers charge for major upgrades. People will realize the new world order of the App Store.

All that this backstep with Clear has accomplished is reinforcing the entitled folks who complain the loudest and longest that they can guilt developers out of a livelihood.

  1. And quite frankly, software is pretty much the only industry I know of that does upgrade pricing. I've never been given a discount on a TV because I owned a previous model.

  2. No pun intended.

Five Years in the App Store

"Underscore" David Smith reflects on the fifth anniversary of his first release on the App Store:

The road I’ve traveled has been long. I’ve had countless late nights, disappointments and trials balanced almost exactly with elations, successes and growth. I’ve met some of my best friends during this process. I don’t know what the next 5 years will hold for me but if it is anything like that last I can’t wait.

It's a fantastic read, and I greatly appreciate David's candidness about his journey. If you are at all involved with app development and are not subscribed to his weekly 15-minute podcast, you should change that.

¶ July 11

July of 2008 was a busy and significant month for me. Most importantly, I celebrated my first wedding anniversary with my wife, and welcomed our son into the world.

But that month also holds other historical significance, one being recognized by a lot of geeks this week. On July 11, 2008, the App Store launched alongside iPhone OS 2.0, the iPhone 3G, and MobileMe. That morning I woke ridiculously early to drive an hour to my nearest Apple Store and wait in line. In retrospect, it was pretty silly of me to head an hour away from home when my wife was home 9 months pregnant and days away from the due date. I remember standing in line kind of afraid my Motorola RAZR would ring.

The next few hours went by uneventfully. AT&T's activation servers had turned into molten slag, so I was able to purchase my iPhone and head home, where I activated it through iTunes later that day.

Since the prior winter I had been using a first-generation iPod touch, which ran nothing but Apple's stock apps. So July 11 was pretty neat in that the App Store was opening up. My first purchase was Twitterrific, which is now in its fifth version and is still my twitter app of choice. In fact, it has held the same position on my home screen for five years through three different iPhone models I have owned.

The App Store really did unleash the true potential of the iPhone, and later the iPad. The iPhone is essentially my connection to the world at large. Sure, I have my local friends and community, but the advent of the iPhone and the apps people have made have connected me to new friendships across the globe (back int he day those were called pen pals ).

Heck, if it weren't for the booming success of the App Store and iPhone and iPad, I wouldn't be where I am today. I don't think my job would exist without the App Store.

So much has happened in the past five years. I am days from celebrating my sixth anniversary with my wife and my son's fifth birthday. I am coming up on a year of working at the company of my dreams, and Apple's future is shining bright as they prepare to radically re-invent what iOS will be for years to come.

I really can't wait to see where we'll be on July 11, 2018.

1Password 4 for iOS

I am a little late in posting this, as I've been busy at my day job at AgileBits. A week and a half ago we released the much anticipated 1Password 4 for iOS.

It's really fantastic and we worked a long time on it. It is on sale for $7.99 until the end of 2012, and when 2013 arrives it will go to its normal price of $17.99. If you need a last minute gift for the nerd in your life, go get it on the App Store.

Official YouTube App Hits the App Store

Another thing changing in iOS 6 is that the built-in YouTube app is going away. Today, Google released an official YouTube app in the App Store to replace it. I’ve only spent a few moments with it, but already it seems better than the built-in app.

Just like Apple is eschewing Google’s Maps in favor of their own Maps, the change of guard around YouTube feels right for Google. You need to own your experience.

Facebook 5 for iOS

Facebook 5 isn’t too big on visual changes, at least on iPhone. For the most part, it looks a lot like Facebook 4. On the iPad, however, the update brings Timeline and the nuances of Timeline’s effect on all of Facebook’s design across platforms.

But visual change isn’t the focus of Facebook 5. Even though it doesn’t look a great deal different, it acts different. How? Speed. Lots of speed.

Facebook has historically been an HTML5 mobile site wrapped with a few native iOS controls. More or less, it was a slow loading website, especially over 3G. Now Facebook is a fully native iOS app, and everything loads near instantaneously.

This is great for me, as I have been primarily using Facebook on my iPhone and (even more so) iPad as of late. Mobile is my main vehicle to keeping tabs on family, friends, and acquaintances, and a faster and more consistent experience is always welcome.

Facebook 5 for iOS is available on the App Store.

Instapaper is the Free App of the Week at Starbucks

More Instapaper news from The Verge today:

For the next week, Instapaper for iOS is available for free as a part of Starbucks’ “Free App of the Week” campaign. To get your free copy of the app (which normally costs $4.99), you have to physically go to a Starbucks shop and get a promo card, then enter the code into iTunes.

If you don’t have Instapaper already, shame on you. Now get over to Starbucks this week and get it. Or skip the burned coffee and buy it on the App Store.

Apple Starts 'Free App of the Week'

Late last week, Apple started a free App of the Week promotion in the App Store, much like their long-running free Song of the Week for the iTunes Music Store.

They kicked off with a game, Cut the Rope: Experiments(App Store link). I grabbed it because I had remembered a friend speaking highly of the original Cut the Rope.

Later, when on my iPad, I saw Cut the Rope: Experiments HD(App Store Link) was being offered as the free app for iPad. I almost passed on downloading it because I didn’t want to maintain two levels of progress on different devices.

Then I noticed both versions featured iCloud sync. Bingo. This is how gaming should be done on iOS. Now, I can casually play a couple levels on my iPhone, and later pick up on my iPad, with all my scores and progress synced via iCloud.

Another perk of iCloud integration? Should I ever need to delete the app (let’s say if a serious bug crept up), I could choose to leave the save data in iCloud. Reinstall the app and all my progress is still there.

I’ve greatly enjoyed Apple’s inaugural picks for the section of the App Store. And they’ve made me realize how games should start integrating iCloud for saving progress.