With version 4, popular news aggregator Pulse fully embraces its corporate branding, with a new name, a fresh iOS 7-inspired interface, and a re-imagined way to read and find content. The first release may have been met with a loud backlash, but Alphonso Labs quickly responded to users’ complaints with a 4.0.1 update — and while it fixes many of the major gaffes, it still feels like a downgrade from the previous take.
Billed as a “modern creativity tool,” Curator is a virtual, iPad-only notebook for organizing websites, images, or text into beautiful, visually rich checkerboards. Up to 25 tiles can be opened full-screen or relocated anywhere on the screen (using just a finger) into a single board. The free app can be used to create up to five such projects, each with a unique name, and move between them with a swipe. Create a sixth board, however, and you’ll be prompted to pony up $6.99 via in-app purchase, which enables you to create an unlimited number of boards.
There are lots of ways to quickly create compelling works of art on our iPhones and iPads. One-touch filters and easy overlays have turned us all into amateur graphic artists, even if we don't have the most artistic of eyes. Notegraphy is cut from that cloth. With an emphasis on social sharing, the app automatically stylizes everything you write with a keen artistic flourish, turning your most mundane thoughts into stunning inspirational displays.
When Pages for iOS was released alongside the iPad in 2010, it was a showcase of all that was possible with Apple's revolutionary tablet. A natural extension of the Mac app, it set the tone for multitouch content creation, with powerful page layout and word processing templates plus tools that complemented the ones we used on our MacBooks. With the new version 2.0 release, however, Pages is no longer a companion app. A complete rewrite for iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks has brought parity across all platforms, and you'll find the same templates, menus, and features everywhere you go, with a strong emphasis on collaboration and editing.
Updating a beloved app for iOS 7 is no easy task. Simply tweaking the interface to match Apple's lighter, cleaner style can affect the user experience in unexpected ways, but a full-on overhaul can bring its share of problems too, as features are squeezed out in the name of simplicity. Released as a new standalone app, Fantastical 2 has neither of these problems. With an effortless redesign that refines everything we love about the original version, the calendar app retains its spot at the head of the class.
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) got off to a rocky start on iPhone and Android when it was surprisingly launched (and then pulled) in September, but the free app is finally here for real and ready to connect the world’s most popular mobile operating systems with the remaining 60 million active users of BlackBerry smartphones. It’s a mostly capable messaging app, but it’s so tardy to the cross-platform messaging party that it faces an uphill battle due to strong competition.
Classic Note doesn't exactly bring anything new to the world of iPhone text editors, but as a magazine with "Mac" in our name, we couldn't ignore it. Basically, it's an homage to the early days of the Mac System Software, with monochrome accents, bitmapped corners, and crude springy animations. There's a delightful simplicity to its interface that harkens back to a time when docks were still control bars and dogcows roamed our screens, and anyone who fondly remembers extensions and longs for the original Chicago typeface will adore it.
In preparing this year’s 20 Under $20 list, we loved the idea of presenting 20 killer Mac apps you might not know about — 20 is such a round, pleasant number, and would hopefully let us find something for everyone. But $20 per app might not seem like the bargain-basement price that it used to, even just back in the summer of 2011 when we did our last 20 Under $20 feature.
But guess what? Most of these polished, stable, user-friendly, and utterly useful applications don’t come anywhere close to a full Andrew Jackson, anyway. Four of them are free, and only two cost over $10. We thought about calling it “18 Mac Apps Under $10 and Also Two That Are More Than $10 But Still Less Than $20, and By the Way, Four Are Free,” but that’s just too long, wouldn’t you agree
When Drafts for iPad hit the App Store just over a year ago, it immediately turned heads for its minimal workspace and lengthy series of actions that turned a simple note-taker into a powerful and versatile text editor. A year later, the file-less file system is no longer a novel concept, and a crop of recent utilities have given Drafts a run for its money, offering tighter Dropbox integration and quicker navigation. With the new version 3.0 release, Drafts (also available on iPhone) looks to put a bit more space between it and its competitors.
For those who were looking for a better iPhone email experience coming into the new year, it's certainly been a good few months so far. Mailbox and Mail Pilot helped us regain control over our inboxes with varying degrees of success, Tempo helped organize our messages by date and appointment, and even the Gmail app was updated with a faster, cleaner interface. But Triage might be the most radical of the recent newcomers. With a focus on your unread messages, it aims to help clear out overwhelmed inboxes with a simple, refined approach that will change the way you tackle your incoming mail.