App Sniper

With the introduction of App Shopper, the prospect of someone else searching the App Store for you, then displaying this information in a user-friendly way, seemed too convenient. This sparked many people wanting an easier way to do exactly this directly from their iPhone and iPod touch.

A few months back App Sniper made it’s debut onto the store, and apart from a few issues with pricing databases and some apps failing to show up in searches, today App Sniper will serve as a pretty good bargain finder for all you App Store addicts (yes .. you all know who you are ..)

Despite our first reactions to the app, App Sniper has proven it’s worth 10-fold. It’s a rare little app which costs so little, and will have payed for itself within half an hour of you using it. A must buy? – very possibly, and here’s why ..

Designed by Manta Research, App Sniper is designed to show you the latest applications to hit the store and which are currently on sale. Entering the app, there are four tabs along the bottom. On Sale, New Apps, Snipes and Config. Lets first start with ‘On Sale’.

On Sale
The On Sale tab naturally allows you to see … what apps are currently on sale. Apps are grouped into days (Last 24 hours, 1 Day Ago, 2 Days Ago .. etc) and the amount of apps which have gone on sale since you last opened the app, are displayed above the tab in the usual red-bubble-notification way. At the top you can refine your search even more by choosing if you want to see all sales on all apps, or just narrow your search to apps which are ‘Free’. App Sniper shows you it’s full name, previous price (left of the blue arrows), and current sale price (right of the blue arrows). The app will also show you the current price on the right hand side in a coloured bubble. This is so that on a quick flick, you can read the current price of each item quickly and efficiently.

Next? – New Apps
Pretty much self explanatory, this tab allows you to see what new apps have hit the store recently. Just like the ‘On Sale’ tab, apps are grouped into days, and the amount of apps released since you last opened the app, are displayed above the tab.

Snipes
This is what App Sniper was designed for – and so far the concept is unique (as far as iPhone apps go anyway). The snipes tab allows you to set your desired purchase price for any application on the store. Now if you were hoping it would magically reduce the app to this price for your purchase, your going to be majorly disappointed rookie. What App Sniper will do is alert you at a time your desired app(s) reaches or drop below your set desired purchase price. Using this method, you can essentially buy any app and not be disappointed by at – Well, at least not be disappointed by it’s price. That’s the idea …

Detailed views
Tapping through to any application will bring you to the detailed view of that app. Here you can get a feel of the app in more ways than one. Firstly, you can see the basics; the apps icon, what it’s called, the category it falls under, it’s current price, who’s selling it, the date it was released, it’s current version, the overall size of the app, and the brief developer description.

If that wasn’t enough, App Sniper also offers five more options in the form of buttons. The first is screen shots. Yep, just like the mobile App Store in iPhone OS 2.2, App Sniper will show you all of the screen shots (full screen), for each app listed. The second button is very nice. This will show you a full (visual) price graph. Here you can see where the app was highest priced, what date it dropped in price (if any), and even when the developer published an update to the store.

Next we have the snipe button. Give this a tap, choose your desired purchase price, and the app you are currently viewing is automagically added to your ‘Snipes’ tab. The ‘No entry’ sign is for if you ever want to block or exclude the current developer from your searches. Finally, give the buy button a tap in any detailed app view and App Sniper will whisk you out to the mobile App Store, and display the requested App Store page.

Config
As with all decent applications, App Sniper allows you to setup and customise various options which will make your sniping a little more focused. From this tab you can select if you wish sniping to be available over Edge and 3G, turn icon previews on and off, change your currency, change your App Store filter (Choose from – United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Deutschland, Espana, France, Hong Kong, Italia, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, Russia, Sweeden, UK and Japan), ban sellers from appearing in your App Store searches, and even turn off categories of apps you wish not to appear in your search results. Category options include; Books, Business, Education, Entertainment, Finance, Games, Healthcare/Fitness, Lifestyle, Music, Navigation, News, Photography, Productivity, Reference, Social networking, Sports, Travel, Utilities and Weather.

Multiple currency support
Naturally, if your going to have an app which snipes prices worldwide, you’ll need to support the currencies for those major countries .. and it does. With support for USD (United States Dollar), CAD (Canadian Dollar), EUR (Euros), GBP (Great British Pound), YEN (Japanese Yen) and AUD (Australian Dollar) international users will be right at home.

Price change alerts
As well as offering price graphs, sometimes even App Sniper can’t keep up with all the price changes that devs are submitting daily. Sometimes you’ll come across an app which the price that App Sniper is quoting is no longer relevant. In this case, on entering the detailed view of that app, App Sniper will throw up an alert stating:

“Note: The price of this app may have changed.”

Pretty nifty.

Overall
Because of it’s current price and the functionality offered, and because we’re addicts, we highly recommend App Sniper. Especially to users who have just picked up an iPhone or iPod touch and are indeed new to the App Store. This should be picked up first, before anything else. Now we say this because App Sniper is currently the only application in the store which does this.

Arnold Kim has confirmed that the iPhone version of App Shopper is heading to the App Store, shortly.

Things we’d like to see ..

- User controlled search using the built-in iPhone OS search API
(Dedicated search tab / Specific apps)

- The shifting of ‘Config’ tab into ‘iPhone OS Settings’

Current status: Recommended

Reviewed at: v1.4
Reviewed on Firmware: 2.2
Download size: 0.6MB
Released on: 12th Dec 2008
Retails for: 0.59p / $0.99

Compatible with: iPod touch Gen 1 & 2 / iPhone Classic / iPhone 3G

App Sniper for iPhone

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