ANILOG Help – User Manual

Download ANILOG on the app store

Thanks for buying this app! You support my music and further development of this synthesizer. It means a lot.
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What’s New

v1.1.3:

Merry Fix-mas! 🎄 There is a new song and a bunch of fixes:

  • MIDI works better in AUM now! (Not just Audiobus!)
  • New song “Impulse”.
  • Instruments can be sorted by name (ignoring their “[category]”).
  • Hardware keyboard tweaks: Tab key will change tabs, pressing arrow keys outside of the Sequencer grid won’t navigate the grid cursor.
  • Moving the MIDI mod wheel doesn’t make the sound crackle and pop.
  • Sequencer Play button is large and in charge on iPhone screens too (not just iPad).
  • In-song instruments are now known as Song Instruments (S.INST for short).
  • Other little tweaks.

v1.1.2:

  • The song loading list can now be sorted. Instruments too!
  • Demo songs that are used in the YouTube tutorials.
  • Little fixes here and there.


See Older news and release notes.


Getting Started

Just start pushing buttons! That’s the fun of it! Worst case: just reset back to factory settings! #YOLO

There are three main modes:

Setup mode thumbnail Sequencer mode thumbnail Instrument editor mode thumbnail
  • SETUP Setup mode lets you configure the app.
  • SEQ Sequencer mode plays and edits songs. It also lets you edit the song’s instruments. Tip: Load a song and just play!
  • INST Instrument Editor mode lets you focus on designing instruments and live performance.


💡 Tip: Do you want to keep this help doc open while you use the app? You can open it in a web browser: www.seqmedia.com/anilog-help/


User Interface Overview

There are some common UI elements in any mode:

Diagram of major parts of the ANILOG UI

Tip: On an iPhone, some parts of the UI might not be visible until you hide the keyboard with Keys.

  • ?: show this help screen
  • SETUP SEQ INST: change to interface mode to global setup, song sequencer, or instrument editor
  • Mod: sound shape and amplification adjustment
  • Hold: tap to sustain. Tip: double-tap as a “MIDI panic” button if notes won’t stop playing.
  • Octave: choose visual octaves from 2 to 9, long-press to reset to 3
  • Bank and Program: tap the left/right sides to select the next bank or programmed instrument. Tap the center of the Program button to pull up the whole instrument list (factory and user banks) or the instruments loaded into the song.
  • Keys: show / hide the onscreen keyboard, expands the editor region
  • Pitch: bend pitch of playing sounds

SEQ Sequencer Mode

Play and create your own songs in ANILOG! Share your creations too!

Sequencer Mode Buttons

  • Play: Begins song playback. Tap again to pause. (Press Space on a hardware keyboard to play/pause from any screen.)
  • Step Rec: Enters “step recording” or “live recording” modes:
    • Step Recording: When the song is paused … key-down presses are recorded (note, velocity) at the cursor position.
    • Live Recording: When the song is playing … key-downs (note, velocity) and key-ups (note Off) are recorded at the current playhead position. Also, the sequencer grid will scroll with the playhead.
  • File Menu: Opens the menu. Note: file names are not shown and are automatically generated. When you export a file the contents are copied to the clipboard.
    • New song: Create a new song
    • Save song: Save current song. If you leave the app ANILOG will save a backup of the current song.
    • Save song as copy: Save as a new song.
    • Load song: Load a song
    • Delete this song: Delete the current song
    • Export song to clipboard: Exports the song in JSON format and puts it in the clipboard. If you bring another iOS device nearby you can paste into the other device to share it!
    • Import song from clipboard: ANILOG will try to import the song and save it on your device

Sequencer Mode Tabs

Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer song tab

Song About the Song Information tab

The “Song” tab gives you information about the song. Press Edit to open the menu to enable editing various fields like the song title, album, and so on.



Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer editor interface

Grid About the Grid Tab

Create multitrack songs in a grid format called a “tracker”. It’s like a piano roll, but vertical and shows all the notes (and commands) to be played. Notes will play until they either turn themselves off, or a new note is triggered, or you insert an -Off- or -Stop- command.

  • Rows of notes are triggered from top to bottom. The current row being played will be highlighted.
  • Rows are grouped into patterns. See the PATS tab.
  • Each column is a “track”, and tracks have volume and reverb send sliders. Tap track header to show this menu.
  • If a new note is triggered in a track, any playing note will be turned off.

Notes in the Grid

Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer notes grid

Notes in the grid are in a compact format. When the play head reaches the row, it will trigger the note on with the following:

  • Note: The note triggered (C, D, E, etc. Flats are indicated like “Gb”) and octave.
  • S.Inst: The song instrument number. (Note: numbers in hexadecimal.)
  • Vel: The velocity value, small numbers are weak velocity and big numbers are strong velocity. (Note: numbers in hexadecimal, 00 to 7E.)
  • Vol: The volume value, small numbers are quiet and big numbers are loud. (Note: numbers in hexadecimal, 00 to 7E.) The track volume multiplies this value.
  • Pan: The panning value in % from Left to Center to Right. Panning changes affect all future notes! To “unset” the panning and use the last set value, slide the value slider to the right.
  • Glide: The glide time (glissando, portamento) from the previous played note to the new note value. To “unset” the glide, slide the value slider to the far right.

Editing note values

There are two ways to edit:

  • Tap on the value button and move the slider.
  • Turn on Step Rec or Live Rec and press a note key.

About Hexadecimal Numbers

Why the odd numbering? It is a more compact format to write numbers in the range of 0 to 127. It does take a little getting used to, but here’s a quick guide:

  • Each number digit isn’t just 0 – 9, it is: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F
  • After “F” the “tens” digit increases, e.g. … D, E, F, 10, 11, 12, …
  • The equivalent of common hexadecimal numbers to normal decimal values is:
    Hex Dec
    00 0
    01 1
    02 2
    09 9
    0A 10
    0F 15
    10 16
    40 64
    64 100
    7E 126
    7F 127
    80 128

Stopping a playing note

Press the Off / Stop button:

  • Tap the button to insert the -Off- command, which will cause the playing note to “release”
  • Long-press the button to insert the -Stop- command, which causes the note to cut off immediately

If you have selected a region then the selection will be erased and the -Off- or -Stop- commands will be set on the first row.

If you have a hardware keyboard attached, you can use the shortcuts . to insert -Off- or . to insert -Stop-

Clearing note data

Press the Clear Cell button to delete the selected region.

Selecting a region of notes

If you long-press a cell then a menu will appear to select a range.

If you have a hardware keyboard attached, you can hold down and tapping on the arrow keys will change the selection.

Copying, cutting, and pasting a region of notes

Once you have a selection of notes (or just the current cell highlighted), pressing the Copy/Paste button will bring up a menu to copy, paste, or cut the region.

When you paste copied notes the cursor will be placed on the next row just after the pasted region. This makes replicating sections of songs super fast!

If you have a hardware keyboare attached then C will copy the selected notes. ( X and V will cut and paste.)



Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer patterns interface

Pats About the Patterns Tab

Songs use patterns as a way to group a block of grid notes together. Think of it like a phrase—the default grid is 4 measures of 16th notes (64 rows, 4 rows per beat).

Tap on a pattern number (e.g. 004) to select it. Long-press to open the menu. You can then edit the pattern descriptions or clear them.

If you have selected a range of patterns, the Pat Rows slider lets you change the number of rows. You can also duplicate and delete ranges of patterns.

Use the Song Pos slider to scroll through the list of patterns.



Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer instrument editor interface

S.Inst About the Song Instrument Editor Tab

If the song’s Instrument Editor tab looks familiar to the Inst Instrument mode … that’s because it is the same! You get the same editing workflow, same import/export, same undo/redo/save.

What’s different: song instruments are not split into banks. There is one list of instruments that the song uses. You’ll notice that the song instrument numbers are also in hexadecimal and correspond to the note instrument commands in the grid.

Importing ANILOG instruments into the song, exporting

You can copy instruments from ANILOG’s main Instrument mode to the song, and vice versa. Just use the Menu button to open the menu, then Copy instrument.

Then you can either change to a different song instrument and then Paste instrument, or you can change to Instrument mode and paste.



Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer properties interface

Props About the Song Properties Tab

The song properties tab lets you set global properties. The reverb is a more granular feedback tank. Tip: In this version of ANILOG it is still a little bit “grainy”, so you may want to reduce the Feedback Brightness to compensate.

  • Song BPM: this is the song’s beats per minute (BPM).
  • Rows / Beat: this subdivides the beat into a number of rows. The grid will also highlight each beat.
  • Feedbk Damp: the reverb feedback can be lengthened with no dampening, or shortened with maximum dampening.
  • Feedbk Bright: a high frequency cut on the reverb chamber.
  • Feedbk Amount: the global amount of feedback.
Screen shot of ANILOG sequencer track properties

Though you set the global reverb feedback level here, each track has its own “send” percentage slider. To increase a track’s reverb level: tap on the song grid column header, then adjust the FX Send slider.


INST Instrument Mode

Changing sounds is just as much fun as playing them! There are 3 Oscillator pages (with generators and envelopes), 1 Noise Generator Page, and 1 Properties Page. Change pages with the Prev Page and Next Page buttons. Here’s what’s on each:



Some notes about the sliders:

Sliders go up/down or left/right, and you can touch anywhere on the strip—not just on the tiny current value! Each has a default value indicated by a thick bar. Tapping above/below the current value will step up/down. For more precision long-press and then drag outside the slider.

ANILOG sliders diagram
  • Current value: white bar is the current value, and you can touch anywhere on the slider strip to change the value!
  • Tap above/below: step up/down the current value
  • Tap thick bar: touch to reset to a default value
  • Drag outside: tap in the slider strip, then drag outside to make smaller increments

Oscillator Pages (OSC1, OSC2, OSC3)

Oscillator page, generator tab

GEN1 Generator Tab

Each Oscillator makes sound from its Generator engine and are added together:

  • Gain: oscillator loudness, values above 1.0 are hard-clipped. Tip: set it high for square waves or overdrive.
  • Tune: adjust frequency by semitones. Tip: add a second Oscillator slightly detuned for a chorus effect.
  • Saw Ramp: the waveshape—this is really the “special sauce” of ANILOG! Far left is 100% Saw, in the middle is 100% Sine, far right is 100% Ramp. (In reality, the actual saw/sine/ramp is passed through a sine function to smooth the wave a tiny bit, so this is not pure digital saw/ramp but a more “round” midtone-heavy generator.) Tip: set the value to full saw or full ramp for a sharp buzzy sound, set it right in the middle for a smooth sine.
  • Left Right Output panning Tip: make a wide stereo effect by panning two Oscillators left/right and detune one of them.
  • Noise Add sample-and-hold style noise—see the Noise page for envelopes. Tip: add breath effects with a tiny by of noise
  • Out Level: Overall output after clipping. Tip: over-Gained Oscillators seem louder so turn the Out Level down.
  • If you don’t see the X/Y graph try hiding the keyboard by tapping KEYS.
Oscillator page, shape tab

SHAPE1 Shape Tab

This is part of the “ANILOG magic” that affects the Saw/Ramp values with an envelope:

  • Delay: Milliseconds before beginning the Attack phase.
  • Attack: Milliseconds to go from pure Sine (middle of the Saw/Ramp slider on the Generator tab) to the Saw/Ramp value. Tip: small values for plucked instruments, 100.0ms for horns or woodwinds, and longer for strings or pads. This can be affected by key Velocity.
  • Decay: Milliseconds to go to the Sustain value. Tip: small values for plucked or synth instruments, longer for natural instruments.
  • Sus Cut: When 0 or greater, the sustain amount of Saw/Ramp in the Generator tab when a key is held down. When less than 0 sustain is disabled: after the Decay phase the note will be released. Tip: use 1.00 for pads or strings or bells, small values for pianos and synths. Choose a large negative value for a quick pulse.
  • Rel: Milliseconds for the Generator to return to pure Sine after a key is released.
Oscillator page, amplifier tab

AMP1 Amplifier Tab

The amp envelope controls the loudness of the Generator:

  • Delay: Delay (milliseconds) before Generator begins making output.
  • Attack: Milliseconds for the Generator to go from 0% Gain to 100% Gain. Tip: shorter values for hard attacks and plucks, longer values for soft pads.
  • Decay: Milliseconds from 100% Gain to the Sustain amount. Tip: shorter values for plucks and synths, long for pianos.
  • Sus: Sustain percent of the Gain when a key is held down.
  • Rel: Release (milliseconds) from the Sustain percent to 0% Gain when a key is released.
  • Touch parts of the graph to modify the corresponding slider, the dotted line is the Sustain point.
Oscillator page, effects (FX) tab

FX1 Effects Tab

Various effects such as pitch change, velocity-to-envelope, and bit crushing:

  • Tune Inc: automatic pitch glide over time. Tip: very big or very small values sound unrealistic or electronic, moderate negative sound like drums, and tiny values sound natural.
  • Vel->Shp: amount of key velocity to affect the Saw/Ramp value of the Generator. Tip: set your initial Saw/Ramp to its harshest sound and set Vel->Shp high to make soft keypresses mellow out the sound and hard keypresses really ring out.
  • Vel->Out: amount of key velocity affecting the Generator’s Out Level. Tip: set this medium-high to make soft key presses quiet and hard key presses loud.
  • Vel->Atk: amount of key velocity affecting the Attack values of the Amplifier and Shape tabs. Hard velocity shortens the attack, soft velocity lengthens it. Tip: if your Amp and Shape envelopes have a small Attack (16.0) then hitting keys hard makes a metallic pluck sound, while soft key presses make a softened sound!
  • Vel->Dcy: amount of key velocity affecting Decay values of the Amplifier and Shape tabs. Hard velocity lengthens the Decay and soft velocity shortens it. Tip: with a short Decay (120.0) hard presses make the Generator ring out long but soft key presses make the Generator brief and soft.
  • Bit Crush A value quantizer that adds some digital distortion for a harsh distorted metallic sounds. Turn up for very hard digital distortion!

Noise Page

Noise is not a white noise but more of a sample-and-hold randomizer which creates weird overtone effects.

Noise page, envelope tab

N-ENV Envelope Tab

Like the Oscillator Amplifier tab, this is the output level envelope of the noise generator. Tip: for sustained noise set the Sustain and Release values to maximum.

Noise page, effects tab

N-FX Noise Effects Tab

Applies various effects to the noise generator:

  • Noise Color: high values cause white noise effects, medium values make brown noise, and low values sound like bit rate errors.
  • Noise Inc: adjusts the Noise Color over time

Properties Page (INST, FEEDBK)

Settings that affect the overall instrument:

INST Instrument Properties

General settings

Instrument general properties page
  • Main Gain: overall gain of the instrument, high values may cause digital clipping. Tip: most instruments sound best between 0.30 to 0.60.
  • Glide, Poly: at the bottom this instrument is in Polyaural mode (each key press is a new instance of the instrument), any other value is the milliseconds of glide time when more than one key is held down. Tip: use 0.00 for pianos and synths, use 60.0 for a nice glide with woodwinds and leads.
  • Aft=>Shape: the aftertouch amount (dragging fingers after holding a key) that affects Oscillator Generator Saw/Ramp shaping. Tip: set it to 0.0 for piano sounds, but set it to 2.0 for expressive wind, strings, and brass sounds.
  • Note Autopan: larger values shift the panning left/right based on the played note below/above C4 (middle C). Tip: set it to 0.2 or larger to get natural left/right panning with piano sounds.

FEEDBK Instrument Feedback

Feedback loop buffer settings. Feedback works either like metallic resonance or a line delay.

Instrument feedback properties page
  • Feedbk Length: ANILOG uses a looping feedback buffer that has two modes:
    • Milliseconds Mode: move the slider up to set a fixed length buffer. Tip: this is good for creating robotic sounds or delay/tap echoes.
    • Percentage Mode: move the slider down to set the length of the buffer based on the length of 2.0 periods. (It is similar but not quite Karplus-Strong resonance.) Tip: this mode creates metallic sounds best used in bells, guitars, and pianos.
  • Feedbk Incr: increment of the Feedback Length over time, and creates a phasing effect.
  • Feedbk Amount: the percent of feedback added back to the generated sound. Greater amounts create very metallic sounds or long tap echoes.
  • Rel-V FB Damp: the amount of feedback dampening applied to released voices. Tip: low values make for long echoes (useful when Feedback Length is in milliseconds mode), high values sharply cut off the feedback (useful when Feedback Length is in % mode).
Edit tools menu

More Tools Menu MENU

Various tools are tucked away:

  • Save instrument: save instrument
  • Copy …: can copy the whole current instrument or just the current generator/amp/shape tab. Tip: to swap two instruments, copy the instrument, change to a different patch, then reopen the More Tools Menu and choose Tools > Swap
  • Paste …: can paste the copied instrument or just the generator/amp/shape tab
  • Rename instrument: instruments can have up to 30 ASCII characters
  • Tools …: powerful extra tools:
    • Export instrument to clipboard: exports a JSON format of the current instrument to the system cut/paste
    • Import instrument from clipboard: imports the JSON format of an instrument that was copied to the system cut/paste
    • Swap instrument bank – prog – with bank – prog -: an instrument that was copied with the “Copy instrument” menu will be swapped with the current instrument
    • Reload factory instrument: current instrument will be replaced with the original factory version if it’s in one of the factory banks (0-7)
    • Reset instrument to blank: initialize the current instrument to a default sawtooth patch with some basic shaping options

SETUP Global Setup Mode

The Setup mode shows you system status, how many voices are being played, global tuning, user interface changes, MIDI commands heard by the system, and other tools.

  • Status: shows current instrument voices being played (up to 16 voices at one time) and the current CPU load
  • Globals: various global settings:
    • Global Tune: tune the base keyboard pitch up/down
    • Bass Freq: set the cutoff frequency where bass oscillators begin to taper off to 0% volume. This is a kind of EQ. Set to a low value to get a big thump, set to higher values to reduce the “muddy” bass notes. Tip: mobile phones have weak bass response so lower values are better, large stereo systems have subwoofers so higher values are better. If doing studio recording then a cutoff around 50hz-65hz is ideal.
    • Bend Range: change the pitch bend slider’s range in semitones
    • Key Octs: show more/less onscreen keyboard
    • Lo EQ Mid EQ Hi EQ: main EQ filtering. Tip: the factory setting is 42% Lo, 21% Mid, 100% Hi. In tests this made the synth sound the most crisp with enough bass to be rounded.
  • In.Filt: note input filtering
    • Velocity is the intensity of a note and these values affect the actual envelopes and shaping of the instruments. Velocity affects the expression of the instrument.

      Volume is the output level of the instrument.
    • Note Vel: if 0 then the velocity of the key is what is recorded into the Sequencer and live instrument playback, otherwise the velocity is set to the slider value.
    • Note Vol: the volume of the note in the sequencer.
  • MIDI: realtime MIDI log of events being received
    • MIDI Vel: multiply the MIDI keyboard velocity by a factor up to 250%
  • Utils: more utility functions!
    • View help documentation: another way to see this page
    • Reset factory banks: hard-reset the factory bank programs
    • Export factory banks: export banks 0 – 7 in JSON format to the cut/paste buffer
    • Export user banks: export banks 8 – 15 in JSON format to the cut/paste buffer
    • vX.X.XX: current version number of this app!

Note: reset patches to factory will totally erase all instruments and set things back to the original sound set. Proceed if you are sure!

You can also export the entire sound set as a JSON blob for sharing. At this moment you cannot import.


Keyboard Shortcuts

If you have an external keyboard connected to your iPad or iPhone, you can take advantage of these key commands!

Global Key Bindings

  • ? open this help popup

Change Mode

  • Q switch to Setup mode
  • W switch to Setup mode
  • E switch to Instrument mode

Interface Control

  • K toggle on-screen keyboard

Sequencer Playback

  • Spacebar play from cursor
  • Spacebar play from top of current pattern
  • Ctl Spacebar play from start

Sequencer Mode

Files

  • O load song (open)

Copy, cut, paste

  • C copy region
  • X cut region
  • V paste region

Deleting

  • Del clear selection
  • . set selection to “off”
  • . set selection to “stop”

Editing notes

  • [ transpose selection -1 semitone
  • ] transpose selection +1 semitone
  • [ transpose selection -1 octave
  • ] transpose selection +1 octave

History

  • Z undo edits
  • Z redo changes

Instrument Mode

Navigation

  • Ctl 1 go to Instrument Osc 1
  • Ctl 2 go to Instrument Osc 2
  • Ctl 3 go to Instrument Osc 3
  • Ctl N go to Instrument Noise
  • Ctl P go to Instrument Properties/Feedback

History

  • S save changes
  • Z undo edits
  • Z redo changes

Working with MIDI

ANILOG supports MIDI via Inter-App Audio or Audiobus. Just connect your hardware MIDI device, then:

Connecting your device

Presently, ANILOG requires a host app to pass MIDI commands, such as Audiobus or AUM:

  • Connect using Audiobus:
    • Get the app:Install Audiobus.
    • Connect the audio stream: tap the Audio tab, tap [+] INPUT, select ANILOG.
    • Connect your MIDI device: connect your device over USB or Bluetooth, tap the MIDI tab, tap [+] INPUT, select your device.
    • Route MIDI to ANILOG: tap [+] OUTPUT, select ANILOG.
  • Connect using Kymatica’s AUM:
    • Get the app:Install Kymatica AUM.
    • Connect the audio stream: tap [+], tap [+ AUDIO], tap the top (+), tap Inter-App Audio, select ANILOG.
    • Connect your MIDI device: just connect it!
    • Route MIDI to ANILOG: tap the Z-shaped icon in the top right, tap the square whose column is your device name and the row is ANILOG.

What is currently supported

ANILOG will respond to:

  • Playing keys, with velocity
  • Moving the pitch wheel
  • Moving the mod wheel
  • Sustain pedal
  • Song start/stop

Additionally, for the Korg taktile these default buttons are supported:

  • Sequence play, stop
  • Record

Troubleshooting Guide

  • PROBLEM: Audio is stuck on
    Double-tap the Hold button to “MIDI panic”.
  • PROBLEM: Audio sounds very quiet or “soft”
    The Mod slider might be turned all the way down. Try pushing it all the way up.
  • PROBLEM: Audio seems to stutter when connected to Audiobus
    Try increasing the latency: 1) Launch Audiobus, 2) tap the Settings gear, 3) tap Latency Control, 4) select a larger number like 512 frames or 1024 frames.
  • PROBLEM: Briefly tapping an instrument leads to a buzzy release or a weird “whisper”
    Before v1.0.55 a very short Feedbk Amount (small % or short ms) would cause a long enough tapering of the sound it made the feedback loop repeat quickly. A feedback dampener (Instrument Properties page, Rel-V FB Damp slider) has been added. Check it out!

Older News

v1.1.1:

  • Various fixes. Sorry, we’re not perfect!

v1.1.0:

  • We have a sequencer! Yes! Load the demo songs and check out the Sequencer section below. Each song has its own bank of instruments.

v1.0.67:

  • Finally. MIDI is more stable and stuck notes almost never happen anymore!

About ANILOG Synthesizer

Thank you again for downloading ANILOG! This has been a labor of love for many years to try to bring something new into this world. There are so many great synthesizer choices out there, but I had a few design goals in mind:

  • Mobile-first: No functionality is compromised on the smallest screens. It was built with the idea: the best synthesizer is the one you always have with you.
  • Built for the stage: The UI is optimized for high-contrast low-light-friendly situations.
  • Quick and responsive: Buttons and sliders instantly respond to you and tweaking sounds should not require “menu diving”.
  • Expressive: ANILOG heavily relies on keydown velocity to impart effects to the output levels and envelopes. With just a couple of sliders you can affect sharp attacks and long decays. Oh, also, many patches support aftertouch drag up/down for more modulation!
  • Opinionated engine: The engine has a number of “secret sauce” shaping that goes on that gives it its character: the oscillator waves are passed through a sine functions that produce perfect sine waves and “rounded off” saw waves; note oscillators auto-taper off volume at very low tones and above C8; higher notes are forcibly made more sine-like to give smooth highs; the most saw you can have is 0.05 or the most ramp is 0.95; noise is really more of a sample-and-hold/granular effect, the note played can affect its pan position.
  • Shareable: The main storage format for all instruments and songs is a common web format called JSON. That makes it an “open source” format that you can inspect and share! Yes, you are encouraged to create your own tools and community to utilize these formats.

Thank you!

Big thanks to the many people who have been part of the production of this app:



Pssst … do you want to keep this help doc open while you use the app? You can open it in a web browser: www.seqmedia.com/anilog-help/

Download ANILOG on the app store