Yes, the Best iPhone and iPad Apps of the Week is back. Raju PP, our Founder-Editor is handing over the baton to me. The last time he reprised the segment, he noted “The App Store continues to get pounded with several new apps and games from old and new developers, most of which are run-of-the-mill. It has become increasingly difficult to spot quality apps from the rest (not sure if it’s because I was away from iOS for almost an year).”
I’ve been using a dingy old iPhone 5 and iPad Mini and iOS app’s quality and finish is still unmatched by anything on Android. As you’ll see in this edition and in coming weeks, the iOS App Store is well alive and thriving (and below the run-of-the-mill apps, there’s still some gold to be discovered every week).
This week marked the launch of the Apple Watch. Which means many developers took this opportunity to come out with new apps or big updates for existing apps. Nothing like a new Apple product launch to climb the App Store charts. For instance, Hours, the acclaimed time tracker app went completely free and Pacemaker came out for iPhone and Apple Watch.
1. App Store’s Free App of the Week: Djay 2 for iPhone
Every Thursday, Apple makes one paid app free for 1 week. This week it’s Djay 2 for iPhone. Here’s a hot tip: most of the time, free apps of the week are worthy enough that you should just download them. That way, you know, you have it.
Djay 2 is a DJ app for the iPad, iPhone and now even for the Apple Watch. If you’ve ever looked at a DJ in a club playing with his MacBook and thought to yourself “I could do that“, this is your chance.
While you’re at it, also check out Pacemaker, a similar music mixing app previously only for iPad that saw a big update this week and is now available on the iPhone and the Watch.
2. TechPP’s iOS Game of the Week: Does Not Commute
Does Not Commute is a new game from the makers of the smash hit Smash Hit. It’s a free game that follows the pricing model of the predecessor. You can play the game for free but if you want to save checkpoints you need to pay $1.99. Which, after two tries, you’ll decide to pony up.
Does Not Commute is a top-down driving arcade game. You need to get a car from one place to another. You need to do it for around 15 such cars in one level while you’re on the timer. You do this one by one, with the last car ride embedded in the next one- that’s what makes it interesting, and oh so challenging.
The game is also pretty funny. You get descriptions for each driver – where they’re going, what they are up to and the likes. The game looks good, it has the GTA Vice City vibe to it.
Any.do’s version 3.0 recently launched on the App Store (along with all other major platforms) with a major redesign and jumped from being a to-do app to a task management system. It takes a visual approach when it comes to sorting lists. There’s a new daily planner, better collaboration feature, notes support, subtasks and more.
Any.do’s betting big on value added services. So if you sign up for an account (which is discounted to $25 a year right now) you can attach any kind of file without size restriction, share unlimited lists, get location based reminders and more.
4. Funny or Die News Flash
News is cherry picked to be horrifying. To not give you much details or help you form an informed opinion – but to just scare you. If you’re going to keep consuming news this way, why not get a laugh out of it?
The funny people over at Funny or Die have a new app called News Flash. It’s a very simple app with side scrolling newsfeed of real life news with sources and everything. Only, there only two lines. One line tells you about the news, the second one’s supposed to make you laugh. And when they can’t they show you an adorable kitten. It’s not going to revolutionize the news industry but the app is surely worth a look.
Pacifica is a new wellness app. It will help you deal with anxiety attacks and generally help you become a calmer person. You need to sign up for an account and then set your current mood. Based on that the app will recommend exercises. Each exercise comes with instructions and then timers.
Say you’re having an anxiety attack, the app will give you cues on how long to exhale and inhale, how deeply and tell you about the technique. The app also has meditation and other kinds of relaxation sessions.
Add a new entry, take a photo, add a value, tag, product info or lending info and save the entry. You can add new folders as well. The $5 premium account lets you add videos, scan QR labels (because of course you mark your stuff using QR labels) and supports PDF and Dropbox exports.
Hours is a beautiful and simple time tracking app for the iPhone. When it was released last year, it cost $6.99. Still it did quite well for a paid app on the App Store. Now, the makers have decided to expand Hours’ scope well beyond the iPhone screen. They came out with the Apple Watch version this week and made the app completely free till they are on other platforms like Mac and Web. If you’re a freelancer, student or anyone who needs some time tracking done, It’s a great time to give Hours a try.
8. Health Mapper
Health Mapper is an easy way to track all things related to your (or your relatives’) health on the iPhone. You can easily track symptoms, medication, measurements, diet, sleep, mood and more. All this data will then be analyzed and presented to you in a visual and an easy to understand way. Health Mapper lets you export a report card that you can then show to your doctor.
The app has a simple on-boarding process. Select what conditions you have, what variables you want to track and the medication you’re taking.
9. Memories – Instant Photo Scanner
Memories helps you digitize your old film camera collection. All you need to do is pull out the old photo album, put each photo over a white paper, hold the iPhone as shown in the app (on a 45 degree angle, not straight) and the app will automatically detect the borders and tell you to take the photo. If it doesn’t, you can take manual control.
Memories will then digitally enhance your photo to look better. And because of the times we live in, you can also add filters to the scanned photo. I don’t think you’re going to need the Sepia filter this time though. Getting old photographs digitized commercially takes a lot of dough. Now you can do it with your iPhone while watching TV.
10. Cow Tipper
What first looks like a joke is a really simple tip calculator app. You answer some questions about how your meal was – was it served hot and the likes, enter the amount and the app will spew out the appropriate tip amount. What’s better, there’s also a Watch app.
Bonus: Apple Watch Extravaganza
It’s Apple Watch week and on Friday, around 3,000 Apple Watch Apps were made available. We don’t have enough time to cover all of them, or even the most important ones, because we don’t have an Apple Watch, yet.
But there’s no shortage of great Apple Watch coverage on the internet.
- WatchAware has a catalogue of close to three thousand Apple Watch Apps. You can actually preview them on the web – see what the Glances look like, how the app works and more.
- iMore has a category wise break-down of Apple Watch apps worth trying.
- If you haven’t checked out any Apple Watch reviews, we recommend John Gruber’s 6000 word review, Jonna Stern’s review for Wall Street Journal and Nilay Patel’s review for The Verge.