This Week’s App Store Editor’s Choice: Toca Kitchen 2

Toca Kitchen5

The Toca Boca team is back with another fun and educational app for kids. This time, it’s all about food. The original Toca Kitchen was so fun that the creators decided that there needed to be more, more, more.

Toca Kitchen 2 stars your favorite townsfolk in another yummy adventure. Players can play pretend chef and cook all manner of delectable treats for their Toca friends. Never thought to mix fish with jelly? Well, now is your chance to see if anyone would like it.

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App Store Shows Signs of Holiday Discounts, Big Name Apps and Games Hugely Discounted

Halfbrick Studio Holiday Sale

It’s time. The start of the major app and game discount season has begun. Every year, developers drastically drop the price of their most popular titles in order to get on the top downloads list. Apple closes up shop for the holidays and, if an app or game works its way to the top of the Top Paid apps list right beforehand, those titles stay on top until Apple comes back from holiday break.

It’s a clever marketing campaign that we, as consumers, get to take advantage of. So, if there are any games you’ve wanted all year long, but held off because they were too expensive, check out what we’ve found so far and see if the price is right today.

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PadGadget’s Flashback Friday: Dragon Quest III

Dragon Quest III 5

Square Enix is making our holiday dreams come true with the release of all three Dragon Quest titles. First, the original launched in September. Then, October saw the release of the sequel. This month, we get to add the third and final installment of the Erdrick’s Legend storyline.

Dragon Quest III: Seeds of Salvation, which first launched in 1988, finishes with the story of the Hero of our adventure. This time, you must save the world from the dangerous Demon Lord Baramos with your party of brave heroes.

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Apple Spotlights the True Story Behind ‘The Song’

Voice O Graph

Earlier this week, Apple released its heartstrings-pulling holiday commercial that put music in the spotlight. In the commercial, a young woman comes across an old audio recording that her grandmother put on vinyl in the early 1950s. The young woman digitizes the recording and creates a new duet track in GarageBand. She then gives the new song to her grandmother as a gift via an iPad mini. It is a tearjerker.

Today, Apple added a footnote to that commercial in the form of a two-and-a-half minute behind-the-scenes documentary. In a few short minutes, we learn more about the Voice-O-Graph, the young woman who discovers the recording, and the singer that performed “Love is Hear to Stay” for Apple’s commercial, “The Song.”

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FitStar Yoga Launches on iPad, iPhone Ahead of New Year’s Resolution Season

FitStar Yoga_iPad_nobanner_1

This is a true story. During the summer, I woke up with sore muscles and a stiff back (I blamed the “bang-over”). I thought about trying out yoga and wondered if there were any apps for that. Literally that same day, FitStar announced it was developing a yoga-based fitness app. So, I used that as an excuse to not start practicing yoga. I decided to wait for the FitStar app to come out.

Well, today, my excuses have run out. FitStar just officially launched its yoga app on iOS. The app stars international yoga expert Tara Stiles. You can now stretch your self into shape right on your iPad with customized video routines for trainees of all experience levels.

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Oceanhorn Creator Giving Away iPad Air 2 in Fan Art Contest

Oceanhorn Fan Art Contest

Oceanhorn just received a major update with improved graphics and support for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. To celebrate the incredible ultra graphics update and a one-year anniversary, the company behind the Zelda-like adventure game has launched a fan art contest. Between now and Jan. 10, submit your Oceanhorn fan art for a chance to win an iPad Air 2.

The major graphics update to version 2.5 includes “refined graphics with four times the polygon count for pristine XXL picture quality, ambient occlusion, improved lighting effects, and 60fps performance.

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If You Download More Than 17 Apps Per Month, Then You Are An App Addict

Flurry App Install Addicts3

Flurry Analytics is a research company that focuses on app activity based on its enormous database. Information is collected from 150 billion (yes, billion) app sessions per month. With the data gleaned, Flurry comes up with some pretty interesting insights into mobile device users.

This week, the company released a report on how often apps and games are downloaded. Despite what some analysts are calling an app download slowdown, Flurry found that the average number remains mostly unchanged from 2011.

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SimCity BuildIt Now Available on iPad and iPhone

SimCity BuildIt 1

Fans of the ultimate human simulation game series will be happy to know that Electronic Arts recently launched a new adventure on iOS. If tranquil suburbia doesn’t offer the kind of fast-paced lifestyle you want your townsfolk to have, its time to move to the big city where you must deal with things like traffic, smog, and parking.

SimCity BuildIt is a completely revamped version of the original SimCity for iOS that first launched in 2008. The earlier rendition of the game, which was based on SimCity 3000, just didn’t cut it with fans of the series. This new version offers much of the same type of game play as the late 1990s version for PC, but has been redesigned a bit to take advantage of the freemium mechanics.

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PadGadget’s Sound Stage: High School Symphony Replaces Strings With iPads

Photo Courtesy of the News Journal

Photo Courtesy of the News Journal

Whoever said the iPad isn’t any good for learning music is wrong and a high school in Delaware is here to prove it. One innovative educator that teaches both advanced and beginner music lessons has figured out a way to get both classes together in one performance. While the strings sit out on Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D,” the iPad instrumentalists take over and show off their talents.

According to a recent article from the News Journal and reprinted at Delaware Online, the Newark High concert, which took place the week before Thanksgiving, involved six iPads. The students performing with the tablets use ThumbJam to play their eight-note parts. The iPads replace the traditional Cello that would normally play the part.

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Apple Pay Adds New Partners – Now Supported by Companies that Cover 90% of all Credit Card Purchases

Apple Pay

Only a few months into its existence, Apple Pay has hit the big time, big time. The company recently announced that dozens of new banks, retail stores, and small businesses have signed on with the mobile payment service. By adding such financial institutions as TD Bank Barclaycard, and USAA, Apple boasts that 90 percent of card payment options are now supporting Apple Pay.

The New York Times reported that such big named retailers like Staples and Albertsons have joined the ranks. Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic basketball team, will also be taking Apple Pay at its tap-to-pay concession stands during games.

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