The Week in iOS Apps: Jazz greats

This week's roundup of new apps includes a celebration of Blue Note, one of the greatest labels in jazz--or music--history. But if that's too heady for you, we've also got Sharknado.

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Jazz greats

This week’s roundup of new apps includes a celebration of Blue Note, one of the greatest labels in jazz—and music—history. But if that's too heady for you, we've also got Sharknado.

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Blue Note 75

The diamond anniversary of a legendary jazz label is celebrated in the Blue Note 75 iPad app. Immerse yourself in the history of the music: If you have a Spotify, Rdio, or Deezer subscription, the app ties into those accounts to give you album-length dips into the history being described. (Other users can listen to 30-second sound clips and buy albums and singles directly from iTunes.) In addition to timelines, artist catalogues, and more, the app also includes an interactive magazine featuring news and other information about jazz today.

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The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast has always been a great site to get a bite-sized chunk of the day’s news—a website that lets you get the headlines and move on. The updated free iPhone app takes an interactive step forward this week, letting you “skip” or “read” each story you see. Over time, the app determines which stories you prefer and displays more of the stories you’ll love.

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The great thing about the advent of the iPhone 5s is that it let some of us do away with our Fitbits—those step-tracking rubber bands we wore around our wrists—and just use the free Fitbit iPhone app. That’s because the M7 processor in the 5s tracks your every movement in the background, without draining the phone’s battery power. All you have to do is put the phone in your pocket. The app has now been updated with MobileRun, which lets users track stats and routes for runs, hikes, and walks.

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The free Kindle app for iPhone and iPad seems to frequently find a great new way to make a giant leap forward, and this week’s update is no exception. It includes nifty features such as Wikipedia integration, letting you look up a word more easily than ever. But the best feature? Students can now export their notes and highlights from “print replica” textbooks to their email, making it easier to study for an exam or write the next paper.

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Microsoft OneNote

The free Microsoft OneNote for iPhone was updated this week with several important changes, including the ability to insert files into your notes and share them easily via AirDrop, password protection for individual notes or sections of notes, and other features involving PDFs, text formatting, and more.

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NPR One is like having a local public radio station in your pocket—only you’re the programmer, deciding what gets aired and what doesn’t. It even includes lots of local content, so you won’t be stuck listening to Renée Montagne forever.

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Sharknado: The Video Game

There are sharks, tornados, and chainsaws involved. Enjoy.

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Encryption seems to be where it’s at these days. Last week we told you about Wiper, which lets you encrypt calls and even erase your photos from a friend’s phone. This week Signal takes the stage, letting you encrypt phone conversations by sending your voice over Wi-Fi or your phone’s cellular data connection—all without using up your voice minutes. It’s a tradeoff, so ask yourself: Just how secret do you want to be?

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Other apps of note

Beats Music now includes “just for you” recommendations … Spotify (pictured) now has an equalizer to let hard-core audiophiles get the most out of their music … and GMail’s updated app offers new integration with company’s Google Drive file-sharing system.

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