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Last Thursday was a sad day for Sparrow users ’round the world. The company announced, in quite a surprise turn, that it had been acquired by Google and that any new features for their Mac and iOS apps will no longer be developed – presumably because the team are now busy overhauling the default Gmail client with some of Sparrow’s fancy features.

Sparrow was one of the leading examples of the innovative apps on the App Store that helps make OS X a better platform for everyone. Plus, it was one of the few email apps that actually worked better than the alternatives. So what does all this mean for the future of email on OS X?

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In the past few months, I’ve enjoyed using the popular music streaming service Rdio to listen to my favorite tunes on my Mac, in the car with my iPhone, and in coffee shops with my iPad. As I never wished to create a Facebook account just so I could use Spotify, Rdio seemed to be a great solution and it also included a much more decent user interface throughout all the apps – the designers worked hard to make sure the experience didn’t fall short in this area.

Last week, however, someone seems to have stumbled in a hole, for the service announced on it’s blog that they were refining the look of their web and Mac apps to be lighter, apparently both on the eyes and bandwidth. Sadly, it’s far from pleasing to my eyes. In fact, I’ve found it to be worse than Spotify. Please allow me to explain… (more…)

If you’ve been a Mac user for a while, then you’ve probably heard of Fluid. It’s a simple tool that lets you make websites feel like actual apps, with their own webkit-powered window and dock icon. You can customize icons, save userscripts for individual sites, and more. It’s quite the useful app if you use web apps often.

I’ve been using it more frequently lately to replace the Twitter clients I used to have on my Mac. Why, you ask? Well, there are a few reasons. Join me after the break for an example of how you can use Fluid to make your experience with Twitter and other apps on the Internet more up-to-date and smooth.

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Although you may not realize it (and the transition is extremely subtle), Apple is becoming more and more game-orientated and it’s pretty clear to see why. In 2010 (the latest year for which I could find accurate figures for), revenues in the games industry totalled a massive $60 billion, with a market capitalization of around $100 to $105 billion. This is a pretty big market – and Apple certainly wants a slice of it.

On the App Store, there are currently around 116,000 apps in the “Games” category (as of mid June 2012) and on average, around 90 new games are submitted each day. The average game costs around $1.05 (with Apple taking 40% commission of course) and the App Store can turn relatively unkown game makers into worldwide superstars (just look at the success of Angry Birds or Doodle Jump, to name but two examples).

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“I finally cracked it,” Steve Jobs famously said to biographer Walter Isaacson in reference to an Apple-made television set. The elegant set-top box known as the Apple TV has been labeled as a hobby since its conception, and many are guessing that a full-fledged television by Apple would finally elevate their endeavors in television from this hobby status.

But what part of the television experience did Steve believe they “cracked”? Was it just integrating the iTunes Store and TV show subscriptions in a way that could directly challenge the cable package paradigm? Or maybe more exciting to imagine, did he have plans to revolutionize the way that we interact with the television?

Let’s look at some of the possible ways that Apple could let us interact with the big screens in our living rooms.

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The Mac App Store has changed our world. Apps are easier to find, buy and/or download, and upgrade than ever before. Developers can enjoy ease of use for customers, and great exposure with little overhead and minimal web presence if they want to (no need to host the app and worry about server load themselves).

But not everything is a bed of roses for developers in the App Store. Apple provides no clear paid upgrade path for major versions and therefore no incentive to continue developing an app to become even greater.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on May 6th, 2011.

If you’re not already familiar with it, Kickstarter is a website through which you can crowd-source initial funding for a business idea or concept. Anyone can contribute a small investment in your idea, and receive something in return – the more you contribute, the better the reward is.

If a project meets the total investment target set, it goes ahead. If not, everyone gets their money back. People have different opinions about whether Kickstarter is a good idea. Last year, Frank Chimero generated over $100,000 in funding for his book – something that sparked a discussion about whether Kickstarter is appropriate for creative projects such as this.

Personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea. But why bring Kickstarter up in the context of AppStorm? Read on to find out…

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This week, the official dates for Apple’s annual WWDC were announced and most people who have been following Apple rumour sites have a fair idea of what exactly is going to be announced. We here at Mac.AppStorm have a strong inkling that the entire MacBook Pro line is going to be refreshed (possibly with those new Ivy Bridge processors and a high-resolution retina display) as well as the iMac range as well.

But what really got me thinking was the idea of 4G MacBooks (4G meaning cell-network-compatible). Yes, it sounds like a bit of a shot in the dark (especially as we haven’t seen 3G-enabled MacBooks so far) but it does seem like a product that would catch on given the higher transfer speeds of 4G and its suitability to more intense web browsing such as video conferencing, HD video streaming and so on.

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For decades now, voice control over any type of hardware has been the epitome of immersive user interface. From Star Trek to Iron Man, you have seen the benefits of vocal commands used over and over in many forms of science fiction. To date, technology still tries to mimic the essence of voice control from its sci-fi roots.

Like 3D, voice control has been a fun gimmick for computers, video game peripherals like Kinect and even televisions. More often than not, the software fails to capture the greatness that voice control could one day be. Recently however, Apple introduced the iPhone-4S-exclusive voice control behemoth known as Siri — which soon became the most popular feature of the handset. Why hasn’t this extremely helpful and rather cool piece of software made it to OS X yet? Better yet, why should it?

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When OS X Lion was released last year, Apple put a lot of emphasis on how speedy it was on their MacBook Air line of ultra-thin notebooks – or “ultrabooks”, if you will. An example of this can be seen all over the operating system’s main webpage as Apple seems to be giving attention to mainly the MacBook Air in their slideshow of the key features included with OS X Lion. It’s quite apparent that Apple is trying to say something with all of this, but what exactly is that message?

I believe the corporation is hoping to move towards the MacBook Air and oust the Pro from the picture almost entirely. It was obvious that they were going to do this when they discontinued the original MacBook last year; this in turn made the Air their entry-level notebook, which is what they wanted since it sported an SSD that was ten times faster than the white MacBook – regardless of the task. But what is their master plan for all of this? Let’s explore some potential scenarios.

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