This week's app gallery assembles a number of promising newcomers along with return of a Bitcoin payments app and significant new updates to a pair of popular productivity apps. Most of these new arrivals are free to install, but most of the paid titles are currently discounted for a limited time, so don't hesitate to get downloading before those prices go back up!
Each week, developers fill the App Store with new and improved iOS apps in every category. You could spend hours combing through virtual shelves in search of the next big non-gaming hits, or simply refer to the list of top picks we post every Monday — starting with the lineup you’re about to read.
Apple demonstrated that it's continuing to improve iWork in the wake of the substantial overhaul last year with an update today that adds new features and upgrades the suite's effectiveness when sharing files in real time among large groups of people. In addition, it increased the maximum storage size for files and docs.
One of the few advantages to owning a tablet other than an iPad is the ability to view and work with two applications at once, but as 9to5Mac reports, unnamed sources suggest the Apple faithful may soon get to enjoy the feature as well.
The Google Drive app has been a handy all-in-one tool for creating and editing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, but if you didn’t already know that the company’s cloud storage service held such features within, the name alone probably wouldn’t give it away. Luckily, Google aims to remedy that with today’s standalone releases of Google Docs and Google Sheets apps for iOS.
Following years of speculation, Microsoft finally unleashed a trio of Office apps on iPad a few weeks back, with Word for iPad, Excel for iPad, and PowerPoint for iPad all offering good-to-great touch-enabled takes on the long-running productivity favorites. Curiously, though, all three launched without printing support, which made them not-fully-ideal options for users looking to untether from a traditional computer. Luckily, that oversight has been swiftly corrected, as Microsoft announced today via its Office blog that all three apps can now print over the air to any AirPrint-compatible printer.
The recent Heartbleed bug managed to turn even the most secure Internet passwords into a potential security risk, but for those smart enough to invest in good password management software, the situation appears considerably less dire. 1Password is hands-down the best such solution, and we’d go so far as to recommend it as a required purchase for anyone with a Mac or iOS device.
With a gorgeous interface and a good developer pedigree, we had high hopes for Scanbot. There's a clean, simple aesthetic that runs through every screen, helping you capture and organize your documents with ease. The priority here is speed, as Scanbot's foolproof interface can attest to, but it doesn't come at the expense of professional features, including high-resolution output, a low-light indicator, and automatic edge detection. Our final products weren't always perfect, but the powerful cropping tool and one-touch enhancer fine-tuned things nicely.
Wherever Word travels, Excel cannot be far behind—and at long last, Microsoft has allowed the number crunching favorite to follow the money trail straight into the App Store with a touchscreen version built just for iPad. Microsoft Excel for iPad ends years of suffering with less-powerful third-party solutions that have been all too happy to encroach in Redmond’s absence. Like Word, Excel for iPad is in most respects a superior effort over the venerable Mac application, offering an impressively clean user interface that doesn’t skimp on features.
When Apple redesigned its apps for iOS 7, the iPad versions got something of a short shrift. Stale staples like Notes and Calendar were happily stripped of their skeuomorphism—but somewhere along the design process, they lost their character too, as Jony Ive sought to bring greater aesthetic harmony across the various iOS screens. Flexibits’ Fantastical 2 for iPad does well to avoid this trap. Instead of a dull port from the smaller screen, it sets a new standard for universality, reinventing its brilliant calendar concept with a streamlined interface that takes everything good about the iPhone app and makes it bigger and better.