It has been another great year for the App Store. Another record-breaker, in fact, according to Apple’s figures. New and updated apps, alike, have taken advantage of iOS 8’s new openness, and the ever-accelerating speed of A-series chips has allowed for great new functionality. Yes, there have been frustrations for developers, and the change from “FREE” to “GET” was hardly inspired. But the ‘Store is still full of brilliant things to burn your money on.
Here’s a look at the apps that have filled my homescreen this year.
Quite simply, my favorite app. Always stylish and ahead of the game (i.e. Instapaper), Pocket’s app lets you save articles for later. It is one of the best reading experiences on iOS, and it also features the kind of intuitive swipe-to-sort controls that Mailbox so beautifully introduced. A must have for any web text addict.
A close second in terms of pure quality is Watchup. This app allows you to combine online video from dozens of well-known sources into your own personalized, daily newscast. Not only does it replace the tedium of rolling news, but it actually learns your preferences, and delivers the headlines each morning accordingly.
TickTick (free, in-app upgrades available)
There are more to-do list apps available than days since Christmas 2013, but this one won me over with its clean interface, cross-platform syncing (iOS, Android, web) and basic integrations with the likes of Google Calendar. The tagging system is also mighty useful.
Prismatic is a social news network that is still, inexplicably, relatively unknown. Rather than feeds, Prismatic lets you follow subjects, publishers, and other users, with all stories being presented in a single stream. It won’t replace your RSS reader of choice, but it is great for discovering interesting content from new sources.
I’m a photographer at heart, so I had to fit in this gem. While Snapseed and Photoshop Express are both good editors, Photogene is the best I’ve tried. Unlike many, it is truly stable and provides full RAW and metadata support, along with a great range of adjustments and even a few filters. It’s very reasonably priced, too.
Wikipedia is full of great information, but it isn’t really presented in a “read this over a coffee” kind of format. Discover, made by the recently sold CoolIris, fixes that by turning entries into a daily magazine. It doesn’t quite have the polish of Time, but it definitely makes knowledge digestible.
Letterpress (free, in-app upgrades available)
Finally, a great little time-waster. Riding on the popularity of Words with Friends, Letterpress is a simple one-on-one game of vocabulary and strategic thinking. Only to be avoided if you don’t like letters, I guess!
What’s your favorite app of the year? And how does your homescreen look right now? Let us know below.