It's a small world
This week's selection of new-and-improved apps includes offerings that give you a closer look at nature—as well as an ability to document your own travels around the world.
Some of the niftiest apps are the simplest. Amount, the free iPhone app from Marco Toretta, does one small thing well: It converts units of measurement—from inches to feet, feet to miles, minutes to hours, and so forth. This week’s update adds some playful touches, including improved animations and the ability to enter “edit” mode— where you can decide which categories and units you want to emphasize—by shaking your phone.
BBC Earth Wonders
This $4 app for iPhone and iPad is about as cool as a trip to the museum or a subscription to National Geographic. The app showcases videos, photos, and other content from BBC’s acclaimed nature programs Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, and Life. There’s more than 700MB of downloadable video with this app, meaning it should keep nature lovers occupied for hours on end.
What’s left to say about this beloved, trailblazing productivity app for iOS? Not much, except that it keeps getting better. This week’s update includes a new “snippet view” for quickly scanning notes, as well as an improved PDF viewer that lets users see two pages of a document in the tablet’s landscape mode; there are also improved formatting choices, as well as new options for Evernote Business users to view their company’s documents offline.
MapQuest Travel Blogs
Hard to believe that MapQuest was once one of the dominant online mapping services—it even got a shoutout in SNL’s classic Lazy Sunday rap—but the service is alive and kicking. The latest offering? MapQuest Travel Blogs, which lets users keep running diaries of their trips, adding photos, texts, restaurant reviews, and more. MapQuest doesn’t just help you get there; it also helps preserve your memories of being there.
Adobe Photoshop Touch
One of the most popular photo-editing applications of all time is now available for your iPhone. Adobe Photoshop Touch, a $5 offering, launched this week as an iPhone app—one that lets you edit and combine images, apply professional effects, share them via Facebook and Twitter. Adobe says the app has “most” of the features of its iPad counterpart.
Spotify/Amazon Cloud Player
A new look from two popular music apps this week. Spotify for iPhone and iPad (pictured) is sporting a new interface, as well as a new “Now Playing” bar that lets you see exactly what’s playing at all times. Amazon Cloud Player, meanwhile, has expanded from an iPhone-only offering to include the iPad, and also features an overhauled user interface.
Toy Story: Smash It!
Who isn’t a sucker for the Toy Story franchise from Pixar? Which other animated film series has so repeatedly brought us to tears? To be fair, Toy Story: Smash It is a $1 game for iPad and iPhone that doesn’t really lean on the pathos of the film franchise, instead concentrating on the fun parts. Especially the parts where you, uh, get to smash things. It’s kind of like Jenga at times, only with a delusional space-commander toy trying to knock down the structures in front of it.
Google has certainly been diligent about making the YouTube app for iPhone and iPad ever-more-interesting: Since losing its status as an included part of iOS, the app’s updates do seem to be occurring with more frequency. This week’s upgrade lets users share video from their iOS device to an Xbox, Sony PS3, or select TVs; it also sports an improved video streaming experience over slow Wi-Fi connections. And users now have the ability to record and upload video directly to YouTube with the new “Capture” feature.
Other apps of note
Dunkin Donuts now features integration with Passbook … Panna (pictured) has launched as the first-ever “video cooking magazine” for the iPhone … and Groceries has been rebuilt from scratch to make it easier for foodies to create and sort lists.