Associate, an affiliate linking app for Amazon

For many bloggers and publishers, affiliate linking programs are a common way to boost your income when talking about products and services. Popular programs in the tech space include iTunes and Amazon (both used here at Noted), but a plethora of programs exist online across all manner industries. 

While gaining a small kickback from links on the site and social media is pleasant (and crucial for maintaining a business for many), often the process of generating those links is not. Clunky link generators or manually embedding tracking codes in links make the process tiresome and time-consuming. 

Developers Squibner solved the problem on iOS for iTunes links with Blink, a simple, intuitive and straightforward link generator for the iTunes Affiliate Program that allowed iPhone and iPad users to quickly create links to apps and media with embedded affiliate tokens and campaign tags. As a frequent Blink user, my process went from minutes of typing and fiddling to just a few taps (app links in this post were created using Blink on my iPad). 

Squibner is now turning its attention toward Amazon with its new offering, Associate. Launched today, Associate does for the Amazon Associates Program what Blink did for iTunes. Having tested the app for a week in beta, I can confidently state that Blink users will feel right at home with Associate's powerful in-app search, customizable link styles and variety of export options. Associate also has a Share Sheet extension that makes creating Amazon affiliate links from other apps — be it Amazon's own app, the web or any other app with a Share button — a breeze and, with support for Split View, you can be easily generate links on one side of the screen and insert them into your text editor on the other. 

Associate is a must-have tool on iOS for any member of the Amazon Associates Program. It does all of the hard work in converting your links and allows you to get back to work.

Associate is available for iPhone and iPad for $4.99

Marco Arment's new Mac app: Quitter

Marco Arment, famous for apps like Instapaper and Overcast, has just released his first Mac app. It's relatively simple but can have a profound impact on your productivity. Marco detailed the reasons for creating the original scripts in a blog post entitled Automatic Social Discipline.

Essentially, the app lets you specify certain applications to watch, an amount of time to check for inactivity, and whether you want to quit or hide that particular app. This is great for closing unnecessary apps in the background on your Mac while you're working. That way you can stop getting all of those Tweetbot notifications that might otherwise interrupt you.

I started using it today on my work Mac. Instead of killing apps, I'm choosing to hide the corporate email client. I think it's a visual distraction and, while I want it open to notify me of new email, I don't want it to stay up in case I forgot to close it.

I haven't set it up on my personal Mac yet, but I'm sure I'll be doing that soon.

If you're a Mac owner and want to try and remove some distractions in your life, check out Quitter. It's currently free on Marco's website.

Castro goes free with version 1.5, welcomes patrons

Supertop today released Castro 1.5, a significant update to the popular iOS podcast client. The update brings a number of new features tailored to those using iOS 9 and the iPhone 6s but the news likely to garner the most attention is the company's move to a patronage-based business model for the app. 

Castro, previously $3.99, is now entirely free. You can download the app and use all of its features for zero dollars. Instead of charging up front for the app, Supertop is hoping loyal Castro users will voluntarily contribute towards the app's continued development with an optional patronage of $1/month. From the Supertop blog

Yesterday, Supertop needed an endless stream of thousands of new customers to sustain our business. From today, we can be successful with a far smaller number of much happier customers. We can offer better support. We can add new features more often, instead of holding them back for splashy major releases. In other words, we can do the things that indies do best.

It's obviously not the first time we've seen patronage appear in the podcasting space, with Marco Arment pioneering same business model for his Overcast podcast client last month. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, and other services have also proven the viability of crowdfunding in recent years. I'm confident Supertop with its extremely well-polished Castro offering and solid fanbase can achieve success with patronage. 

Version 1.5 of Castro, available today, features 3D Touch home screen shortcuts and Peek and Pop capabilities throughout the app, as well as support for Spotlight search and Safari View Controller. Castro patronage options, purchased in-app, come in 3, 6 and 12 month bundles that do not auto-renew. 

Source: Supertop

Bugshot becomes Pinpoint

Pinpoint is a great update to Bugshot and provides a really lightweight experience for quickly marking up and sharing screenshots on iOS. While you might not use a tool like this every day, when you do it's really important to be able to get in and out of such an app quickly while getting the desired results. With Pinpoint, you can. 

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Pedometer++ hits 1,000,000

I use Pedometer++ every day to check my step count. You can get the same data in the Health app (and Activity app if you're a Watch owner), but I find Pedometer++ to be a much lighter and more pleasurable experience and that keeps me coming back. It's great to read the story behind the app. 

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Hours goes free to celebrate Apple Watch launch


Jeremy Olson, Tapity founder:

Our time-tracking app, Hours, has done really well for itself. It has sold tens of thousands of copies as a $6.99 app and has earned six figure revenues in less than a year on the market.

Today we are celebrating the launch of the Apple Watch version by making Hours completely free — no strings attached…

As a man with multiple projects on the go, I love Hours and use it throughout my day, every day. The Apple Watch version of Hours looks like an even more efficient way to track time.

Going free is risky — and the company is forgoing thousands of dollars of Apple Watch launch day revenue — but Jeremy explains why the team has decided to go down this path with Hours:

We will have ways to monetize power users and reward users who have already paid for Hours, but we imagine most individuals will use Hours for free. Then we focus on taking every ounce of friction out of Hours spreading from an individual to a team and eventually to an entire company. Get a few thousand teams paying a monthly subscription and now we have a real business.

We have a lot in the pipeline to put this strategy into play this year and it all starts now with the Apple Watch.

I recommend you read all of Jeremy's blog post at the source link. It's a fascinating and refreshingly frank insight into app development and how Tapity plans to turn Hours into a better business. But most of all, I recommend you download Hours and give it a spin. 

Source: Medium

App Bubble

We've been asking if the app bubble was about to burst since at least 2010. I genuinely wonder if we are indeed in an app bubble that is about to burst or a growing market that will continue its momentum. Right now, following today's news, there's no reason to believe it won't be the latter.

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