This week's roundup of apps brings all the benefits of working in a coffee shop to your home office. Well, except for the coffee.
The $1 Chordion app for iPad is a nifty way of making music—use your left hand to control cord changes, while your right hand creates a melody on a mini keyboard. Even if you’re an inexperienced musician, you can create plausible-sounding tunes. This week’s update is a response to the app’s international popularity—developers say it’s made the iTunes music app charts in 35 countries—and adds French, German, Italian, Korean, and Portuguese language options.
My favorite place to work is in a coffee shop. Apparently I’m not alone. Coffitivity is a $2 iOS app that streams the sounds of a coffee shop to your iPhone or iPad because, developers say, “research shows ambient noise boosts creative thinking.” Hopefully, it will soon be able to make a cappuccino for you, as well.
Jim Henson's Chatter Zoo
Jim Henson’s Chatter Zoo is a $2 offering for iPhone and iPad that features adorable animal babies who can guide your young child through stories and activities like meals and feeding time, in order to help them master those activities in the real world. The virtual animal babies are needy—“They need YOU!” the promotional materials say—but again, very, very adorable.
Here’s how big the GIF renaissance has gotten: Flipboard has just updated its app to accommodate them, ensuring you never have to leave the app in order to view a short animated picture of somebody from Game of Thrones saying something funny. Another new feature: Some of Flipboard’s native news sections are getting more editorial control, with a new “Top Stories” section in each.
The free Gogobot app aspires to be the Yelp of vacation planning, offering crowdsourced reviews of places to stay, things to do, and places to eat when you’re on the road. This week’s update makes the app more social, letting users create vacation plans with their friends so that everybody can have input on making a good time.
Rdio for iPhone and iPad was updated this week with new and improved radio stations drawing on a catalog of 20 million songs. There’s also now “You FM,” a personalized station of your favorite tracks. Unlike Spotify, which offers radio for free on iOS, you’ll have to subscribe to Rdio to receive this service. Subscriptions cost $15 a month.
Super Stickman Golf 2
This golfing game was updated with significant revisions this week, including eight new courses, new course obstacles, more multiplayer modes, instant replay video sharing, and 11 new achievements. Time to give up: You’re not getting any work done today.
One area where iOS isn’t always a fun option is in blog-writing—at least for folks who prefer WYSIWYG writing to writing in HTML or Markdown—but the apps are getting better all the time. WordPress updated its free iOS app this week with a new “native” reader, giving you the best possible view of other WordPress blogs; the update also ramps up security by offering you two-step verification of your password before you get in and start blog-making.
The free Yelp iOS aspires to be the Gogobot of local restaurant reviewing, but it’s always been hampered by one shortcoming—a flaw that was finally fixed this week. Folks: You can finally add a review to Yelp directly from your iPhone. Now you can complain about a restaurant’s poor service while you’re still at the restaurant.