The Week in iOS Apps: iOS Heaven

This week's roundup focuses on apps that have been redesigned or relaunched to take advantage of features in (or the hype surrounding) iOS 7. Read on.

iOS Heaven

This week's roundup focuses on apps that have been redesigned or relaunched to take advantage of features in (or the hype surrounding) iOS 7. Read on.


Somehow, the newest update to the free Chrome browser for iOS makes it both more Apple-y and more Google-y. Yes, it’s undergone a redesign to match the look and feel of iOS 7’s leaner, flatter aesthetic. But functionally, the app ties itself ever more into the Google universe as it exists on iOS: Links from Chrome now open in the YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ apps, provided you also have them on your iOS device. The iPhone might just be the best Android phone yet.


Version 3.5 of Drafts for iPad isn’t just compatible with iOS 7—it’s only compatible with iOS 7. And the $4 app has plenty of other new features, including the ability to post directly to Google+, import documents directly from Dropbox, and the addition of a “Magic + Button” that allows you to create new drafts using the contents of your clipboard or selected text from another document.


Evernote’s developers say the design changes in iOS 7 helped them produce a better app for iPhone and iPad: “This is the smartest and most space-efficient home screen we’ve ever had. By eliminating the tabs and shadows of our previous versions, we’re able to show you everything on one screen.” In addition to the design changes—which include making the app much greener—Evernote has imported some features from its sister app, Skitch, now allowing users to annotate images and PDFs.


Instacast 4 for iPhone and iPad does have new design changes for iOS 7, but the revamped app also has a new sidebar menu instead of floating buttons to quickly allow access to menu items; there’s also an “Up Next” feature that lets users know what podcast to expect, improved background downloads, and revamped notifications that tell users when new podcasts are available for listening.


The biggest “read it later” apps on iOS both saw overhauls for the launch of iOS 7. Pocket (pictured) arrives with a iOS 7-friendly redesign, better background syncing, faster scrolling, and a refined layout experience. Instapaper has also been redesigned, and features new ways to sort stories—by length, popularity, or “random shuffle.” There’s also a dedicated video tab, for improved playback of saved videos.


Amazon’s Kindle app has been updated with a new feature that book lovers have probably been hoping for for a long time: “Collections,” a tool that let you group your titles according to your own classifications. Now readers can keep their science fiction books separate from their political philosophy tomes, making it easier to find the reading that they’re seeking. There are also new “translucency” effects that Amazon says improves the connection between readers and content.

OmniFocus 2

The $20 OmniFocus 2 for iPhone is a massive restructuring of the well-regarded get-things-done app. The user interface has been redesigned to show more information—the home screen of the app now includes a “Forecast” feature giving users an overview of the week to come. Users can also give instructions to Siri, which will place the notations in the OmniFocus inbox, and the app syncs in the background, so that when users call it up the freshest possible information is already available.


This is one company that seems likely to take a hard hit from the arrival of iOS 7—after all, the new iTunes Radio feature duplicates much of Pandora Radio’s functionality. But Pandora isn’t conceding anything: iPad users can now track their thumbs up/thumbs down history, see song lyrics, and add variety to their stations. Another new tablet feature lets users swipe into a third window in order to keep exploring new music even while a favorite station continues to play.


We’re not really mathematicians, but even we know that PCalc, the $10 calculator app for iPhone and iPad, is pretty awesome. This week’s redesign gives the app a new “minimalist” look—there’s also a new default theme for iOS 7, “Samurai,” to make you feel like a numbers warrior while making calculations. The iPhone version gets a smarter display, with the app displaying results in larger type when there’s fewer lines of data to display.


Shazam, the venerable song-recognition app, keeps on getting better. Developers say that iOS 7 has made the app “quicker to navigate and lightning fast at recognizing music and TV around you.” Among the updates: A library of recent songs that have been “Shazamed,” so even if you don’t buy the song in the moment, you can return to it later and purchase it then. That’s nice for users, and music companies probably aren’t complaining about that feature either.

Other apps of note

Apple’s Apple Store app (pictured) has been redesigned for iOS 7 … Flipboard now offers magazine covers in parallax view … Uber now lets users share their ETA ... and Voice Dream Reader offers spoken readings of your iOS-based texts in books and magazines.

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Check out last week's app roundup, Famous Food.

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