With an iPhone in my pocket, a trip to the grocery store isn't nearly as unpleasant as it used to be. Thanks to a slew of advanced features that have made my lists smarter and more powerful, I've learned how to save money at checkout and dramatically cut down on the return trips I used to make after forgetting to pick something up. Shopster wants to make the experience even easier. By eschewing common features like iCloud syncing, virtual aisles, and barcode scanning, Shopster focuses on what's most important: What you need to buy and where you need to buy it.
Yoga apps dominate the health and fitness scene in the App Store, but gaming giant Electronic Arts – best known for action-packed titles like Battlefield and Madden NFL – is something of an unexpected contender in this space. Despite the surprise launch, however, Yogify is an excellent option that makes it easy to pick a target and focus your workout, with various class bundles allowing users to customize the experience to fit their needs.
Like Captain Ahab from Moby Dick, we relentlessly seek our own white whale: A way to curate digital photos on the Mac, sync them to the cloud, and make the whole collection accessible from iOS. All of the services we’ve caught in our net thus far have been tossed overboard, but another has now surfaced on the horizon. Picturelife may not completely live up to “white whale” status, but it’s definitely worth harpooning. With the right subscription plan, we can upload even a massive library to the cloud (with a few caveats), complete with automatic organization and duplicate detection while backing up images stored across multiple social networks.
At this point, it’s easy to get lost in the endless stream of iOS photo apps that basically offer variations on the expected themes of color tinting, vignetting, posterization, and other usual suspects. While lots of them are nice, it all gets a bit repetitive and predictable. Every now and then, something unique and different pokes through the pack, and Tangled FX is exactly the kind of app we love to see. It might seem a little limited in scope, but it’s a darned good gag with enough flexibility to make it compelling, plus a look that is like nothing else we’ve ever seen.
Like all parents in the digital age, we have a couple of folders on our iPhones and iPads dedicated to our young children, filled with apps designed specifically for their growing minds. At first blush, Petting Zoo – an interactive picture book created by New Yorker cartoonist Christoph Niemann – seemed like one more cutesy app for our collection. But once we started playing with it, we realized that we were enjoying it almost as much as our little ones.
If you've ever dreamed of talking like a robot while warping at high speeds through hyperspace, then look no further: Vio lets you simultaneously fulfill both of those wishes. Part toy and part tool, this bizarre musical app takes a little tinkering to get a feel for, but it's a blast to play around with for a while once you figure it out. Using your iOS device's microphone, Vio transforms your voice and other sounds it picks up into a musical mish-mash of sci-fi robotic craziness.
Our iPhones can do so much right out of the box. With the exception of a few games that we can't live without, most of our favorite apps are merely better versions of the stock apps that come installed with iOS: Fantastical, Tempo, Clear, Camera+, etc. CaptureAudio is no exception, serving as an upgrade for one of the least-popular iOS apps, Voice Memos. It wouldn't be too hard to improve upon Apple's barebones sound recorder, but CaptureAudio's fantastic interface and versatile indexing features make the built-in option look downright useless.
Keeping up with comic books has been utterly transformed by apps like Comics by Comixology, as you no longer have to hit the comic shop weekly to snap up new issues, wait for graphic novel compilations, or read on your computer screen. Nearly every new notable comic is right there on day one, ready to be purchased and read wherever you please in sparkling digital quality. Marvel Unlimited acts as a complementary kind of service, eschewing new releases and individual purchases in favor of all-you-can-read access (via subscription) to much of the publisher's deep archive of books older than six months. It's a novel and promising approach, though where and how you can read the offerings are current roadblocks to its success.
As the saying goes, the best camera is the one that’s with you. In our case it's an iPhone, so we tend to pounce anytime a new and potentially better camera app pops up on the radar – although few can top the modest simplicity of Apple’s built-in Camera paired with a good third-party image-editing app. The latest to land on the App Store is Zitrr Camera, an oddly-named but feature-packed solution that claims to do it all for little money, but stumbles when it comes to the one thing we want most from a camera app: Retaining original resolution from start to finish.
Like other popular games ported to iOS, Minecraft: Pocket Edition has spawned an abundance of "me too" clones attempting to cash in on the game's prolific momentum. Block Fortress certainly looks like just another carbon copy to throw on the pile, but it's a very different experience once you dig beneath the surface. Instead of grand exploration and adventure, this frenetic tower defense game mixes first-person shooter combat, base building, and an addicting RPG progression and unlocking system to create something that feels fresh and fun.