The Week in iOS Apps: Robots! Space! Westeros!
This week’s roundup of iOS apps includes offerings across a variety of realms—including Westeros. Already this week, we’ve brought you reviews of Fantastical for iPhone, WordPress for iOS, and Minecraft Reality, as well as news of updates to Google Drive’s iOS app.
Other new and improved apps that caught our eye this week:
George R.R. Martin’s A World of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones fans will lose their heads over this free app for iPhone and iPad, a guide to the more than 500 characters and nearly 400 locations depicted in Martin’s sprawling series of novels and the popular HBO television show. That’s a lot of information, but the app also includes “anti-spoiler functionality” to keep users from accidentally peeking ahead in the narrative. Users can also make in-app purchases—usually a dollar—of “info packs” that contain additional info about specific novels.
Chrome/Mercury Browser: The free Chrome browser for iPhone and iPad continues to sand off the ages and transform itself into a sensible alternative to iOS’s native Safari; this week’s Chrome update now lets users open PDFs in other apps, and better yet, allows them to save boarding passes and tickets directly to Passbook in iOS 6. The free Mercury Browser Pro app also saw some improvements this week, including the ability to view new tabs as thumbnails in the iPhone version, as well as a new “autofill password” feature.
Kashoo Accounting: This accounting app for iPad has more than 100 new features in the version that launched this week, including an overhauled interface that allows users to view accounts, transactions, and details on one screen; new “professionally designed” invoice templates; and the ability to share real-time information with your accountant or bookkeeper. The app can be used to track accounts for multiple businesses, and can integrate with other business cloud services. Users will have to pay a $20-a-month subscription fee to use the service, however.
News360/Wavii: The battle for supremacy among news-aggregating apps for iOS continued this week: News360 unveiled a revamped version of its iPhone app, with a redesign that places more emphasis on big pictures to draw users into stories, along with new ways to adjust the news feeds to reflect the user’s interests. Wavii saw a similar update to its user interface, and now offers tighter integration with Facebook and Twtitter.
Real Estate by Zillow: The update to this house-hunting app for iPhone and iPad features free foreclosure listings, letting users get the jump on real-estate auctions and the sale of bank-owned properties. Users can now also keep track of homes they’ve already viewed in the app, with the listing for a house dimming once it’s been seen.
Remote: In conjunction with this week’s launch of iTunes 11, Apple also released Version 3.0 of its Remote app for iOS. Users can still control iTunes and their Apple TV from anywhere in their house using the app, but the iPad version has been redesigned to show all the songs in an album using the same “Expanded View” feature as iTunes 11. Other new features: A more powerful search engine to help users more easily find the media they’re looking for, as well as improved design for viewing and editing upcoming songs in the play queue using the “Up Next” tool.
Robots for iPad/Spaced: One of the delights of the iOS system is how it enables us to wallow in our nerdier pleasures more deeply than ever before. The $5 Robots for iPad app is a perfect example of the phenomenon, a catalog of more than 100 robots from 19 countries, all displayed using 360-degree views. The app features more than 500 photos, interviews with leading robot builders, and a summary of “daily robot news.” The $1 Spaced app for iPhone and iPad has been updated with more stuff for space junkies, including new image galleries from NASA, news from Universe Today, and a Mission Tracker feature that keeps you up-to-date on in-progress missions.
Other apps of note: Camera Plus Pro has been updated for iPhone 5 compatibility … Photoshop Touch has a number of improvements, including iPad mini compatibility … and the Rdio music player as a redesigned interface.