There's a trend these days toward smart calendars. No longer is it enough to just keep track of our appointments; apps like Tempo and Horizon combine our important dates with weather forecasts, contacts, and emails, and even Apple is getting into the act with directions and traffic reports in iOS 7. On the surface, Cal – the first in a planned suite of productivity apps from the creators of Any.Do – seems too simple to compete with this new class of calendar. But while it won't blow you away with powerful features, its slick interface and attention to detail show that smarts aren't just about artificial intelligence.
The Zumba craze has spread to sports clubs, living rooms, and even video game consoles over the years, and its blend of dance and fitness moves makes exercising feel more like a party than a chore. Making its way to iPad for the first time, Zumba Dance gives you the same tried-and-true Zumba gaming experience, but lets you take it with you wherever you go. It may not offer a whole lot of songs to dance to without spending extra cash, but if you’re looking for a fun way to sweat away some calories, Zumba Dance is the way to go.
Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s blockbuster paean to classic Japanese monster flicks, seems tailor made for a video game adaptation, and Reliance Games' workmanlike effort dutifully pits enormous robot mechs (called Jaegers) against monstrous kaiju in a series of Infinity Blade-esque duels. Unfortunately, control issues and an irritating progression approach make what should be a cool experience feel instead like a grind.
A pint-sized pickpocket and his doe-eyed ferret pal make charmingly mischievous cohorts in this fresh, funny take on the point-and-click adventure genre. Rather than send you gallivanting along through one seamless quest, Tiny Thief challenges you to navigate through individual puzzle stages set up as clever little animated scenes. By studying your surroundings and tapping the environment to see what you can interact with as you sneak around, figuring out how to grab the goods and get out undetected proves a delightful jaunt.
Blurring the line between marketing tool and vanity project, Kavinsky features the music and comic-like visage of the titular French house artist, who released an album earlier this year. Designed around the fictional backstory behind the record – about a teen who crashes his supernatural Ferrari in the '80s and returns two decades later as a beat-making zombie – the free game alternates between beat-em-up and driving segments without ever explaining the events or hinting at that narrative, but it sure does look and sound cool along the way. Too bad the game itself isn't terribly interesting.
Finding ways to improve your health isn’t always easy, but an app that helps you monitor your fitness goals can be a real helping hand. Argus by Azumio is a free alternative to the more expensive and heftier apps on the market, and offers you plenty of ways to keep track of your daily activities, water intake, and even hours you sleep. Just don’t expect it to do anything more than that.
In Le Vamp, it was an angry mob; in Temple Run 2, a giant gorilla. What’s chasing you in Greedy Dwarf? A dragon on a bicycle (!) — but thankfully, he’s not seen during actual gameplay, as you never slow down enough for him to appear onscreen. In fact, you have no enemies to contend with at all. Your only goal in this auto-runner game is to coast through each of its 32 stages without falling off the path into hot lava, grabbing as many gold nuggets and rocket boosts as you can.
When it comes to Google Reader replacements, can there be only one? The folks behind Feedly seem to believe there’s room for everyone, and have engineered a cloud sync solution that extends its reach across rival apps and onto competing platforms. Feedly’s own free, universal app is a spectacularly polished effort capable of turning websites into beautiful, swipe-ready cards. If that’s not your cup of tea, content can also be viewed in title-only, list, or even Flipboard-style magazine views, making it one of the most customizable news readers we’ve ever used.
Building a new kind of obsessive virtual pursuit out of the various parts of two real-life ones, Super Paper Pool combines elements from billiards and miniature golf, challenging you to hit colorful pieces into their rightful spots with a cue ball. It starts simply enough, with early holes featuring just one piece to maneuver around a winding path, but hazards and multiple pieces quickly turn each round of tables into a sometimes-brutal gauntlet. Engaging as it can be, however, the requirements for progression begin to feel too intimidating far too quickly.
Thor Polysonic Synthesizer is a highly-programmable monster, and it doesn’t take much scrolling through the 1000 included presets to get a great taste of what it’s capable of – which is truly rich, thick sound, even when played polyphonically. From subtle bass and pad sounds all the way to animated, pulsing soundscapes, Thor packs a powerful punch. Listening to it through headphones or decent speakers is a must, as the tiny iPad speaker really can’t do it justice.