Will Google Instant replace Siri?
This week’s roundup features a new Siri competitor from Google, new apps for kids and several “get things done” offerings for the adults.
Google Assistant (free, iPhone) arrived this week for people who own Apple smartphones but aren’t necessarily into using Siri as a digital assistant. You’ll have to open the app—or widget—to use Google Assistant. You can’t open it directly from the home button like Siri does. But after that, you can use it to schedule reminders, navigate around town, play music, send messages and more.
Day Planner (free, paid subscription upgrades, iPhone and iPad) lets you map out how to use your work time most efficiently. Says the developer: “You make a plan by setting a start time or an end time, add a bunch of tasks with their durations, and the app calculates the start time for each task.” Start a task, and you’ll see a countdown timer showing how much time you have remaining.
Add this to the recent trend of music-teaching apps. Fretello (free, paid subscription upgrades, iPhone and iPad) helps you learn and refine their guitar-playing, with more than 5,000 exercises and 250 backing tracks to help you become the jukebox hero you were always meant to be. The latest update includes new tricks to help your picking technique, along with other improvements.
Listen up, meow: Little Kitten - My Favorite Cat (free, iPhone and iPad) lets your children explore the world with the most. adorable. kitten. Ever. It’s packed with feline puns, mini-games within the app, and a lot of cuteness. This recent app got an update this week with a new mini-game, more animations, and more jokes.
Old Man's Journey
One thing we love about iOS is how digital gaming seems to have been fused with an artistic sensibility among game makers.Old Man’s Journey ($5, iPhone and iPad) is the latest example of this phenomenon, “a soul-searching puzzle adventure game about life’s precious moments, broken dreams, and changed plans.” Games can be beautiful. Who knew?
Stop, Breathe & Think
We’ve seen a fair number of meditation apps recently: Stop, Breathe & Think Kids (free, iPhone and iPad) brings the phenomenon to the junior set. “Whether they need to mellow out before bed, develop positive relationships or simply have a peaceful moment, Stop, Breathe & Think Kids offers children a fun and easy way to identify and process their emotions.” They’ll learning everything from taking deep breaths to “frog jumps” to help them maintain their Zen.
Things has launched version 3.0 for iPhone/Apple Watch ($8) and iPad ($16)—a comprehensive task manager that helps you collect your thoughts, plan your day, then stay on task. The app has been redesigned, has a new “today” and “this evening” features that let you separate work and home tasks, and also includes a new “upcoming” list to help you peek ahead.
Want a Snapchat-like app that’s not Snapchat? Wuu (free, iPhone) lets you send and receive private messages that self-delete within 24 hours. An updated version of this app includes new privacy settings, but also lets you save images and texts from the messages, and gives you the opportunity to add hypertext to outgoing messages.