The Final-est Fantasy!
This week's roundup of apps includes the latest generation of a beloved game series and the beginning of a new Disney franchise. Also: ways to organize your email and your gifts this holiday season.
The Elements in Action
You may already be familiar with Touch Press’s The Elements: A Visual Exploration, a beautifully crafted (and somewhat expensive at $14) look at the science of matter. Now comes The Elements in Action, a $4 offering for iPhone and iPad, with a separate and narrower focus from its predecessor: It features “the most beautifully filmed collection videos ever assembled to explore and explain what makes each element unique and fascinating.” (You can watch a heavy cannonball float weightlessly on top of a bath of ultra-dense mercury bath, for example.) You can use this app alone, or in conjunction with its predecessor—when installed on the same device, the two apps will find and link to each other.
Macworld’s Marco Tabini this week called the Mac version of Ember “a great app that targets a relatively narrow set of needs.” That’s also true in Ember’s iOS version—the app is kind of a slimmed-down Evernote with a touch of Pinterest thrown in, letting users assemble images (and only images) to inspire ideas and serve as reference points for current projects. It works in conjunction with the desktop version, with the two apps connecting through iCloud.
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years
You probably already know whether you’re going to spend $16 (!!!!!) on Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, but a quick overview: The game’s central character is Prince Cedore—son of Cecil and Rosa from Final Fantasy IV—and he’s defending the Blue Planet from “vast hordes of monsters intent on destruction.” You can unlock six additional characters across ten playable tales.
Frozen: Storybook Deluxe
Disney’s new film, Frozen is available as a $7 iOS app, Frozen: Storybook Deluxe. It tells the story of the movie from the differing points of view of two characters, Anna and Elsa. There are in-book games to play, as well as “tappable animation” film quotes, and “a few surprises.”
Gifts HD 2
Just in time for Christmas, Gifts HD 2 is probably how Santa makes his list and checks it twice these days: Letting users track loved ones, the gifts they’ve given those loved ones in previous years, and budget for future gift-giving events. Version 2.0 has been updated to match iOS 7’s look and feel; it also includes expanded info about contacts, including their likes, dislikes, and what size clothing the app user should be purchasing for them.
Inbox Cube is a free email client for Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and AOL. It divides the elements of email into different “cubes”—one cube features just the emails and their text; swipe over and you’ll meet the attachment cube, where users can visually find and sort through all sent and received attachments in one place. The contact cube lets users find and sort through email by the person who sent or received them. Inbox Cube also features support for multiple email accounts.
NYTimes for iPad
NYTimes for iPad is an app that is in continuing flux, an apparent effort to be the exemplar of news-oriented apps the way the same organization has long been the exemplar of the newspaper industry. This week’s update is the latest in a series of tweaks from the last month, including an easier-to-find text-size setting, the addition of more videos, the creation of an “international edition,” and the ability to swipe more easily between news.