Four years ago I had the idea to build a blog network dedicated to reviewing and rounding up apps. We started with Mac apps and then quickly expanded to additional channels covering iOS, Android, Windows and Web apps. While the network has been successful in traffic and audience, reaching some 100m+ visitors over the four years, it’s ultimately not fit within our broader company mission. So I’m here today to announce that unfortunately after four years of app guidance, we’re closing AppStorm down.

As many readers will know, AppStorm is a product of Envato. Our company is dedicated to helping people earn and learn online, and our main products are the Envato Marketplaces, Microlancer and Tuts+. AppStorm has always been a bit of a fringe product for us, and one that loses money. Losses on their own would be OK if the site was a great fit for what our company purpose is. But despite my best efforts for the last couple of years, the fit has been loose at best.

If we are to do a good job of our core mission, it’s important that we are focusing our best efforts on it. So without the fit, even a route to profitability wouldn’t save the network for us unfortunately.

For a time we explored selling AppStorm to try to find a good home for the network so that our readers would continue to be served well, but we couldn’t find the right company to sell to.

So we’ve ended up here at a dead end with an announcement that at the end of December we published our last posts. The network will remain live here for at least 12 months, so if you’ve bookmarked posts, or use the network as a resource you can return still to do so.

I’d like to thank all our editors, writers and readers for supporting AppStorm over the four years. We delivered some amazing content, built a wonderful readership, and hopefully helped a lot of people meet a lot of great apps. And ultimately that was what this network was all about.

If you know of other great app review sites that readers will find helpful, please do leave a comment!

Thank you all!
Collis

Worried about your Mac or iOS devices getting lost or stolen? Worry no more. With Hidden, you’ve got the theft protection all your devices need — and it’ll only cost you pennies per month with our exclusive discount.

Hidden is a brilliant theft protection system that’ll keep all of your Apple devices protected. If your device gets stolen, Hidden will track its location, take pictures of the thief and screenshots of what they’re currently doing on your computer, and log processes and keystrokes on your Mac so you can see exactly what apps the thief is using and what he’s typing. On an iOS device, Hidden will show a fake alarm that, when the thief tries to turn off, will launch the app to snap a picture and send it to you just like it would on the Mac, so you’ve got the same protection everywhere.

You can then login to your Hidden account online and see exactly where your device is on a map, complete with all the other data Hidden has collected about the thief. That gives you the info you need to inform law enforcement and hopefully get your device back. It’s the full-fledged protection your devices need that will give you the peace of mind to not worry about your devices disappearing.

We loved Hidden when we tried it out, and are certain you’ll love it as well. It’s an ingenious way to keep your devices protected.

Get Hidden 50% Off!

Hidden usually costs $15/year to protect one device, or $30/year to protect up to 3 devices, but we’ve got something even better. This month, if you signup for Hidden with our coupon code MASL50, you can get 50% off your Hidden subscription. That’d make it cost only $0.63 per month to keep your MacBook, iPhone, or iPad protected! It’s the perfect way to keep your devices protected in 2014!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Ever get frustrated with the color picker on your Mac? It’s nice, but it could be so much more. That’s why you need Coolorus, the one color picker to rule them all.

Coolorus is a Corel Painter like color wheel for Adobe apps (including all recent versions of Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, and more) as well as all native Mac apps that uses native Apple color picker. It started out as just an Adobe plugin, but was so useful the team turned it into a Mac plugin that’ll work in any Mac app, including the color picker you’ll see in apps like TextEdit, Preview, the iWork apps, and graphics programs like Pixelmator. Coolorus is customisable and configurable so you can use it the way it is most convenient. With 2 types of HSV color representations — Triangle (preferred by Digital Painters) and Square (Desigers) — simple and full Hue wheel spectrum, RGB/RYB wheel mode, and a swatch module, with 2 modes — color1-color2 or black-color-white — there’s everything you could need to pick the perfect colors.

There’s more, too. You’ll find themes to make Coolorus look just like you want, panel resizing, keyboard shortcuts, and more. All of that, with the fastest performance of any 3rd party color picker on the Mac. It’s the tool you need to get precise colors every time.

Get the Color Picker You’ve Always Needed

Ready to simplify picking colors on your Mac? Then it’s time to get your own copy of Coolorus. You can download a free 7 day trial of Coolorus to make sure it works for you, then get your own copy of Coolorus starting at $9.99 for use in Photoshop or Flash Pro, $14.99 for use in Finder and all apps that use the default OS X color picker, or $28.95 to use in Finder, Photoshop, and Flash.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

For many of us, recording memories and life experiences is a labour of love — and as with most things in modern life, “there’s an app for that.” Or, more accurately, there are now many apps dedicated to personal journal-keeping.

MacJournal and the now-retired Chronories led the way on Mac, and in their wake have come new, original offerings such as Bits, as well as iOS imports such as Day One.

The latest addition to this genre is Life, a heavyweight diary app built by the folks at MacAppStudio, which features an advanced search and numerous methods of capturing day-to-day happenings, as you might expect of an app that costs $59.99. But does it make life-logging sufficiently frictionless to be worth the hassle? I went hands-on with the premium beta to find out…

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At the best of times, even with the smallest of images, photo editing has always been a challenging process for any app to cope with. This problem has only worsened with the ever-increasing number of pixels being added to sensors, and the ever-increasing size of the files those sensors produce. Add the uncompressed nature of RAW files into the equation, and you have a recipe for crash-inducing disaster — a disaster that is only avoided with highly skilful development.

Adobe has managed to avoid such troubles, in the shape of Photoshop RAW plugin, and with Lightroom, both of which are trusted by photographers the world over. Apple, too, has raised the standard of Aperture over the years, and it is now as good as any all-in-one you’d care to mention. And the choice doesn’t stop at the software giants — Capture One, darktable and CameraBag are great RAW converters as well.

Hoping to join this league is AccuRaw ($29.99), a new, lightweight conversion app from small development studio, PCDMagic. It looks the part and is well equipped on paper; but is AccuRaw an alternative that’s worth having?

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If you looked around an Apple Store today with all the machines turned off — and all the iOS devices out of sight — everything would look almost the same as it did this time in 2012. And yet, a lot has changed. The Mac Pro may be the only Mac with a huge redesign this year, but under the hood, every other Mac has gotten rather significant spec bumps. Battery life has been the huge winner this year, with the new Air giving an astonishing 12+ hours of battery life. And the new Mac Pro proved that Apple *does* care about pro users still.

On the software front, you could again think nothing had changed in a cursory glance in our imaginary Apple store, since on the surface Mavericks looks little different. And yet, it’s faster and more power efficient under the hood, and has new apps that are each rather nice. Plus, there’s the new iWork, redesigned for better or worse and now free with all new Macs.

So that’s 2013. But what’s next? A redesigned MacBook Air, perhaps, or an iOS 7ified OS X? Or a totally new computing product that’ll surprise us all?

Give us your wildest and most hoped-for predictions for Apple in 2014. We’d love to hear them!

Email’s the essential private messaging tool that’s been with us since the earliest days of the internet, but sometimes it can be so frustrating. Most email apps are inflexible, with dated interfaces you can’t tweak. That’s what’s so nice about Airmail, our sponsor this week.

Airmail’s the new email app that’s gotten everyone’s attention this year, and for good reason. It combines the simplicity of a modern Mac email app with the customization you’ll love, so your email app can work just like you want. You can pick from 8 different message styles, so your email inbox is as full-featured or minimal as you’d like. There’s options for a modern or classic window style, and three composer window views. Then, you can tweak font sizes, badges, and language, so everything in Airmail looks and works the way you’d expect.

Airmail

Airmail also includes a ton of extra features so it’ll work with the services you want. It’ll check your email no matter what service you use, and includes IMAP, POP3, and even Exchange support. It can automatically upload your email attachments through Dropbox, Google Drive, Droplr, CloudApp, or your own server, and can archive emails to Evernote so you can easily find them later.

Get Your Copy of Airmail Today!

There’s no reason to start the new year with your old email app, when you can get your own copy of Airmail from the App Store for just $1.99! So why wait? Go get your own copy of Airmail, and see what everyone’s been talking about. It’s a fresh new email app that’ll look and work the way you want, so your email experience won’t be so annoying in 2014.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Writer Pro is a bit bipolar. On the Mac, the app takes writing to a different level; elevating Markdown and a clean workflow into a smooth running system that is a pleasure to use. But on iOS, it’s a mess with very little reason to appear on your homescreen. And both apps cost $19.95.

And so, I’m conflicted. I like using Writer Pro, but I don’t enjoy using it on both platforms. In addition, new additional information about the developers has appeared, making me feel even worse. So should you spend $20 or $40 on the Writer Pro app system, or is it best to just walk away? Let’s find out. (more…)

In order to help improve password security, Apple just recently introduced iCloud Keychain in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7. The service is designed is to sync passwords, credit card information, wifi passwords, and account login information across devices.

Though it appears to do those tasks relatively well, it is Apple’s first foray into this field, and there are several well-established contenders already. Today, we’ll compare and contrast iCloud Keychain to LastPass.

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Merry Christmas!

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone already! And yet, it’s been a great year. Apple showed us they’re still serious about pro users — and, of course, tested our faith with iWork. And then, 3rd party developers did their best again this year, amazing us with great new apps and updates. There’s so many apps that it’s hard to imagine we didn’t have last year — and old favorites that have become even dearer to us.

Whether you got a new Mac today, or perhaps got an App Store gift card that’s burning a hole in your pocket, or just happen to have some holiday downtime and would like to try out some new apps, here’s the very best app reviews, op-eds, and more from Mac.AppStorm this year. So get your reading later app ready, and enjoy!

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