A wretched hive
This week's roundup of apps includes a massive update to Angry Birds Star Wars. Plus, new and improved offerings to help you manage mail, photos, and your knowledge of the entire universe.
Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds Star Wars, a $1 offering for iPhone and iPad, was so popular it spawned a sequel even before developers were finished with this game's updates. The "final conclusion" adds 30 new levels to the game and lets users "enter the Death Star for an epic showdown with Lard Vader and the Emperor!" Just guessing they'll really ham up Vader's death scene.
Flipboard, of course, was the original "social news magazine" for iPad, and it keeps finding ways to push forward. This week's update lets users share stories from the app with their friends—and users can, in turn, receive notifications from their friends. What's this mean? The service that started out by making the links in your social networks look pretty is now becoming a bit of a social network itself.
The free Mailbox app for iPhone and iPad quickly became one of our favorite email clients, letting us delay some email responses and more carefully archive other messages. Now more people can enjoy its features: This week's update expands the app from a Gmail-only offering to include iCloud and Yahoo email accounts; it also now offers background syncing.
The $3 Photos+ app is mounting a direct challenge to iOS's native Photos. Users can see both individual pictures and photo albums in full-screen glory, along with information about when and where their pics were taken and the camera settings used at the time. It's also GIF-friendly, letting users see the animations in their camera rolls—something that the original Photos, at least for now, doesn't do.
Stephen Hawking's Snapshots of the Universe
Stephen Hawking's Snapshots of the Universe is a $5 iPad offering aimed at budding scientific minds—it's rated for users 9 and older—but there's plenty for all to learn here about gravity, planets, black holes, and evolution. There are guided experiments and video segments within, as well.
Tomb Raider I
This makes us feel old: When did Tomb Raider become retro? Dadgummit. Oh well: Lara Croft may have reached a certain age, but she's new to iOS, where her original adventure is just now available for the first time. Luckily, the state-of-the-1990s-art graphics have survived the transition.
Walking Dead: The Game - Season 2
Here's all we're going to tell you about Walking Dead: The Game - Season 2, a $5 offering for iPhone and iPad. If you want to win this zombie game, you're going to have to use your braaaaaaaaaaains.
Back when people watched movies on DVDs, one of the cool parts of the experience was getting special features to tell you how the movie was made, offering lots of behind-the-scenes action. That's rarer to find in the days of streaming video, but AMC's Yeah! restores it in part, offering a number of classic movies to rent, each with plenty of details about the making of these films. Those rentals cost $5 apiece; if you just want to watch a good movie without interference, it'll still cost $2.
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