Riding the success of Disney Infinity's huge console launch last month, the Toy Box app for iPad allows players to build and test their creations from inside Infinity's creation mode, and then transfer it all back to your console. It benefits from the intuitive nature of touch controls and portability that the tablet allows, but struggles with keeping a constant frame rate even when dealing with a low number of items in your world. That takes some of the shine off of the experience, especially when transitioning from a glossy home console game.
Whether you’ve preordered a 5C or just plan on updating a scratched and dented 4S, iOS 7 will make your iPhone feel like a million bucks. Due to various UI tweaks, you'll likely find yourself swapping out your wallpaper a lot more often than you did in iOS 6. This is why we love Blur, which lets you create subtle backgrounds with incredible ease that fit spectacularly well with the iOS 7 aesthetic.
Until Apple opens up the iOS file system — and don't hold your breath waiting for that — we'll likely continue to be reliant on cloud services to transport our files to and from our Macs. There's no shortage of ways to do this, but keeping track of everything can be daunting, especially if we can't remember where (or if) we uploaded a file. Doo attempts to solve this problem with a master cloud service that brings all of our files under one roof. On our Macs, it definitely simplified things, but it was missing a mobile component to make it truly useful. Doo for iOS opens the service up to our iPhones and iPads, but unfortunately, it isn't the stellar complement we hoped it would be.
As former users of the Commodore Amiga, we fondly recall the quaint simplicity of graphics editors like Deluxe Paint. Those looking to revisit that bygone era will have plenty of fun with Pixaki, assuming they have the chops to actually paint with pixels in the first place. Pixaki is a touch-powered painting app for the iPad, but unlike modern tools such as Adobe Photoshop Touch, developer Luke Rogers has created a playground for retro artists to embrace those chunky pixels from the glory days of personal computing.
There are tons of faux guitar apps on iPad, and frankly, most of them aren’t worth the pixels they occupy on your screen, especially if you happen to own and play the real thing. While it’s still not what we'd call the Holy Grail, Pearl Guitar shows some real promise, especially for anyone who has been completely underwhelmed by previous offerings. Pearl Guitar is based on samples recorded from a 1979 Martin acoustic dreadnought guitar, and includes many subtle touches, like the sound of the guitar's wood being knocked if you move the iPad, or the string buzzing sound that happens when you move your fingers around a real fretboard.
There are more than 150 million iPads in use around the globe, but accessing Mac or Windows desktop applications from them can be an exercise in frustration. The folks behind Parallels Desktop have come up with an ingenious solution to this situation, but only for those who can afford the rather daunting per-computer subscription fee. Together with a Mac or Windows-based agent, Parallels Access “applifies” desktop applications to make them iPad-friendly, complete with audio.
As iOS apps become ever more sophisticated and feature-laden, it’s nice to see some creative developers opting for a more barebones, streamlined approach to app development. Loop is a notable example of a program lacking a long list of features, instead delivering a tool that serves as a solid introduction to the mechanics of cel animation. But as refreshing as that focus on simplicity may be, it also keeps the app from being particularly useful.
The impending arrival of iCloud Keychain has thrown a spotlight onto apps used to store sensitive data, including our longtime favorite, 1Password. The folks behind lesser-known contender Passwarden have seized this opportunity to overhaul their own app, but they haven’t gone far enough quite yet. Like 1Password, Passwarden stores login, credit card, and other data with 256-bit AES encryption, with the option to sync it between OS X and iOS. Although the core functionality is largely the same, Passwarden’s freemium business model is a real kick in the teeth.