Great content, not great design
In full, this is the LexisGoo English Dictionary & Thesaurus 4.8, and now you know just about everything. While you can always ask Siri to define a word, or you can easily search online for a definition, having a dictionary on your iPhone is quicker than either of those options. It's also better for that extra use of a dictionary that online can't match: the ability to lose yourself looking up one word, and heading off across hundreds of others you notice.
App attempts to recreate the feeling of desktop artist programs on iPad
We're back with another art app for those of you who are still Goldilocksing their way to the perfect tool, trying to find the perfect balance between enough options and not too many options, one that has great tools, and works with the type of artist you are. Today, we're here to show you the illustrator-centric Medibang Paint, an app that attempts to give you the feel of a full art program in your iPad.
A dashboard for all your social media
You do spend far too long on Facebook -- hang on, we've just had a friend request -- and Twitter, and we have absolutely no problem with that. Well, time spent reading what your friends are up to is great, it's far quicker than phoning them up, or actually going to see them. Equally, reading the news on Twitter, or writing some brilliantly witty tweets, that's great. It's all the other faffing about, getting oneself to read and to write, that bothers us -- and that is where Hootsuite 2.9.2 comes in.
Alleged app said to provide help for common issues, book Genius Bar visits
Apple may be working on an app to help users self-diagnose problems with their iOS devices, before attempting to get help from employees. Supposed leaked images claim to show an app that will suggest to customers ways to fix their iPhone or iPad themselves using online guides and other support documents, before helping with contacting relevant support staff, organizing a repair, or a visit to the Genius Bar at the user's nearest Apple Store.
Hand-crafted with rich Corinthian voices for extreme effect
Episode 42 is, first and foremost, a gorgeous-sounding episode. It features Mike and Charles, a good connection, and a fair amount to talk about even in a slow news week. As is the norm with these two, they wander around to various topics, but among the things that are for sure discussed in the repairability (or rather, the lack of it) in the Apple Pencil (and whether anyone should care), what's up with MacUpdate.com, and more.
Manage your YouTube videos in one solid app
It used to be that all you needed to know about making YouTube videos was to forget every lesson you should've learned from years of watching broadcast-quality television –– and to be certain to begin every video with the words "Hey, guys, what's up" or similar. Get that licked and you were away in the wild west that was YouTube. It's still pretty crazy on the now-Alphabet video service, but the service wants to give you some solid tools for getting things right. You're on your own with video framing and audio but for managing your work like a pro, there is YouTube Creator Studio 1.6.21 for iOS.
Grab your camera and your bug spray as you snag photos of elusive animals
If you haven't checked out Snapimals yet, maybe you should. It's one part Seabeard, and one part Pokemon Snap, which was a popular Pokemon-based photography game on the Nintendo Gamecube. The goal of Snapimals is to become the best wildlife photographer-slash-museum-designer in the whole world. How do you do this? By taking pictures of animals, of course!
Board game update gains portrait view, and goes universal
Back in February, we praised the game Ticket to Ride but apologized to the makers, because we didn't review it so much as review how people reacted to it. Specifically, we gave it to people who play games, and those who do not. We didn't judge them, we weren't "judging" TTR as the cool kids call it, we wanted to see how one game worked for fans and for total newcomers. Now it's been updated to Ticket to Ride 2.0, and we'd like to inform you that the world has changed.
Developers warned of yearly iTunes Connect downtime
Apple will be holding its annual shutdown of iTunes Connect from December 22 until December 29, the same dates as last year, the company has confirmed. Announced over the weekend in a news update on the Developer portal, the downtime warning advises developers to get any new apps or app updates in order and submitted to Connect in a timely manner before that eight-day period, as they will not be accepted or approved over the holidays.
Your favorite world-traveling villian is back, but she isn't better than ever
If you grew up in the '80s and '90s, you're probably familiar with Carmen Sandiego, the sassy, classy, and especially slippery thief who is known for stealing everything from artifacts to famous locations. If you've been a fan of The Lady in Red, or at least a fan of thwarting her plans, you should be excited to know that she's up to her old tricks in a new game. Today, we're checking out Carmen Sandiego Returns, an iOS game that features the antics of the Miss of Misdemeanor herself to see how the game holds up to the rest of the storied franchise.
MacNN's Friday freebie column for November 20, 2015
Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches. Freebie Friday is the post where the MacNN staff find stuff you can make use of this weekend, without spending a single cent. Today, entertain the kids with two iOS apps, learn how to create your own, play Blu-ray movies on your Mac, and pick up a free Mac app bundle.
There's a Bing app?
Not only is there a Bing app for iOS, but it is now Bing 6.0. That's a lot of revisions for a product you may not even have realized exists -- but then that could be the life story of search engine service Microsoft Bing. While Google remains a verb, and Bing barely enters the language, Microsoft has been improving it and this new version is very good.
My MacNN tool belt
In the interest of keeping these stories both interesting and relevant, I am going to attempt to follow Charles' self-imposed rule to not cover any apps that have been previously mentioned. For those of you who are not familiar with me, I first began working here as a writer back in 2008, but since then have become something of a swiss army knife for the team. You will still find my writing around the site, however, you will also now find me contributing more in the way of graphics, audio, and video content. With this in mind, I am going to highlight a few apps that are vital to my day-to-day workflow.
Carmen Sandiego Returns resurrects the venerable educational software series
Global learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced the return of the iconic Carmen Sandiego brand, with the first-ever app for iPad and iPhone. The launch of Carmen Sandiego Returns also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the mysterious character, adored by millions of children and nostalgic adults alike.
Eat or be eaten in this fast paced multiplayer game
Multiplayer games on iOS are somewhat of a rarity still, especially live-action multiplayer games. But we found one, and we're excited to show it to you. Allow us to introduce you to Agar.io, a massively-multiplayer action game.
Excellent podcast app but you'll need the in-app purchases
Ferrite Recording Studio 1.0 is a complete podcast recording, editing and to an extent even distributing app which does what it does very well – though it isn't yet the one-stop-shop it aims to be. Plus, it's a free app -- but you have to have at least one of the in-app purchases to even really try it out. We do like it a lot and do expect it to get better over time, but also time is something you need to devote to the app as it stands now. You won't pick up how to use Ferrite without reading through the online documentation.
Learn about animal biology, evolution, and biochemistry in this beautiful educational app
You should never stop seeking out knowledge, regardless of your age. A decade or two ago, information required a lot more legwork, but thanks to the era of the Internet, we've got tons of information at our fingertips. If you're interested in biology, we're going to show you an educational app sure to entertain and educate adults and children alike, Brian Cox's Wonders Of Life.
Control a six foot tall cephalopod as he attempts to fit in with the human race
We love silly games, which should be fairly obvious to regular readers at this point. We've checked out a ton of games that are on the "weird" side, and we're always excited to add more to that list. Today, we're here to talk about Octodad: Dadliest Catch, which is as heartwarming as it is bizarre.
Race across the grasslands and don't get eaten in this endless runner
How many times have you watched a nature documentary and found yourself rooting for the inevitably doomed herbivore? Don't you want to see the gazelle outrun the lion, or just once, turn around and give him a taste of his own medicine? Well, in Oh My Giraffe, you can take control of your own digital grasslands herbivore and play to outsmart those cocky carnivores.
Silly puzzle game has you singing, jumping, and shaking to get through 100 action-packed levels
Puzzle games are fun, right? Of course they are! And it's a broad genre, but for the most part they tend to be fairly stationary games. There are some titles out there, though, like the Warioware and Mario Party series that feature some interactive puzzles and arcade games, but largely require a group of people to play them. So what's a puzzle lover to do? That's easy, you grab Progress to 100, an action-based puzzle game for iOS.
App Store searches get smarter, go beyond metadata or strict spellings
Developers over the last week have reported that the algorithm that powers App Store searches is evolving, now offering suggestions that go beyond simple title or keyword identification. The biggest changes appear to have debuted on November 12, but tweaks and other noticeable (to developers) differences in results have been happening all during November, and are continuing. The overall effect appears to be that searches are more intelligent, with for example "Tweetbot" turning up in a search for "Twitter" when it didn't previously.
Apple News and Flipboard rival
It's Facebook Notify 1.0.0 but it has nothing to do with the incessant notifications that Facebook regularly sends you. Instead, this is actually a news app which wants to keep you up to date with the news that most interests you. It's really competition for the likes of Apple News and Flipboard in how it wants to be where you go to look up what's happening.
When, why and how fast to stop running two calendars
Please consider this a sequel to a previous Pointers about Syncing Google and Apple Calendars. Please consider it a relief, too, as we wrote that article to help us figure out a problem and now that problem has been taken away from us. We no longer have to juggle both calendars and the first new event we added afterwards was a party to celebrate this fact. You can juggle both, you may well need to and that previous Pointers will tell you how, but the short version is that mixing two of anything is terrible.
Live out your spookiest fantasy, scare the pants off unsuspecting humans
Ghosts are an enigma. They mostly go around trying to scare people, and aside from Casper, when's the last time you heard of a friendly ghost? After playing Haunt the House: Terrortown, we can't say we blame them for all the spookiness, as it seems like quite a bit of fun.
Step into a virtual world with professionally filmed, 360-degree videos
Once upon a time, the concept of virtual reality was pretty far-fetched, but thanks to things like Google Cardboard and the Oculus Rift, it's finally arrived. App developers have taken notice as well, creating and collecting content specifically for full immersion, and we couldn't be happier. Today we're checking out Vrse, aN app that allows you to enjoy immersive video.
All work apps and no play apps make Chas a dull boy app
With my self-imposed rule of not writing about any of the programs already covered in the previous installments by William Gallagher and Malcolm Owen, I'm left with not a lot to talk about in terms of my core work apps: I rely on Simplenote for my daily MacNN writing, Pixelmator for creating web graphics for the site, I use Fantastical more than Calendar directly (though I'm frankly balking at the sky-high price for the Mac upgrade), and I mostly use default Apple apps unless there's a good reason not to. So here's my other apps, mostly outside my day-to-day job, that I rely on the most.
Charming adventure game presents engineering puzzles in the big city
If you're a fan of point-and-click adventures, you're in luck. Today we're here to feature what might be our favorite point-and-click game for iOS that we've come across yet. We're talking about Lumino City, an impressive little adventure game set in the eponymous magical city.
Challenging puzzle game for kids offers fun for adults as well
We've covered a lot of children's apps in these parts, but generally they tend to fall into two broad categories: educational or simulation-role playing. There's not a lot of games that are designed for elementary age kids to just enjoy for the sake of playing a game. That's why we were excited when we heard about Leonardo's Cat, a game that is designed to be challenging and fun for any puzzle-loving kid.
The browser comes to iPhone and iPad for some reason
Firefox 1.1 is now available for free on iOS and it brings you, er, um, well. Give us a minute. There must be something. Got it. Firefox is -- no, that's not it. Hand on heart, all we can think of is that if you're a fan of Firefox on the Mac, you'll enjoy having something that looks and works like it on your iPhone and iPad -- just don't think that its equivalent to Firefox on the desktop.
Bug fixes, better Microsoft Office compatibility on tap for minor update
On Wednesday, Apple issued minor updates for all six of its "iWork" apps -- Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for both iOS and OS X -- to address some bugs and improve compatibility with some Microsoft Office documents. Stability for the apps across both mobile and desktop platforms was also addressed. Fixes for the Mac included problems with exporting presentations, or looking up definitions under certain circumstances in Pages. For iOS, fixes for issues in Numbers and Keynote were addressed.
Also fixing the common problems you'll get
It's very easy to say why you should use Airplay on Apple TV: it means any video you watch on your iPhone or iPad can be played directly on your television set. Since the odds are that your TV, even if you have to dust it off a bit first, is bigger than your iOS screens, this is nice. Back in the day families used to watch shows together so there's also a handy nostalgic angle too.
Stream video directly from your iPhone and iPad to your computer
Have you ever wondered how so many people have figured out how to record their iPad and iPhone screen? Have you ever wanted to walk a group of people through a new app? Are you a developer looking to make a quick tutorial on how to use their app? Never fear, we've found a super quick, super easy way to do all these things, by utilizing an app called AirServer.
New technology cuts streams to 480p, also for tethering users
At today's tenth T-Mobile Un-Carrier event, the company announced several initiatives that it claims will reduce user prices. Beginning this Sunday, and as part of the T-Mobile's "Binge On" initiative, video streams from HBO, Hulu, Netflix, Showtime, Sling TV, Starz, WatchESPN, and other popular video providers, don't count against data allocations for customers on Simple Choice qualifying plans.
The unimaginably useful yet unimaginably under-used news service
There's an argument that this year is the 20th anniversary of RSS. Strictly speaking, the first technology called RSS was launched in March 1999, but it uses ideas from 1995, at least according to Wikipedia. Whether it's 16 or 20 years, though, it still hasn't caught on -- and yet I and the rest of the MacNN staff are fans who use it daily, very often hourly.
New tablet could push revenue share back up, analyst predicts
On Monday, Apple debuted its first iPad TV ad since the initial blitz announcing the iPad Air 2, this time for the forthcoming iPad Pro. The ad, dubbed "A Great Big Universe," shows off a third-party app specially optimized for the new 12.9-inch tablet, Sky Guide. Separately, Adobe has released a video that shows artists using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil with iOS apps Photoshop Fix, Photoshop Mix, Photoshop Sketch, and Illustrator Draw.
Brutal board game pits you and up to four friends against pathogens
You've probably noticed that we're fans of board games here, and we especially love the convenience of the iPad ports of physical games we've been playing for years. One such port that we finally got around to playing is Pandemic - The Board Game, a game we've appreciated in physical form for a long time, and have wanted to see how it ported over to iPad.
Apple pushes 9.0.1 update to fourth generation Apple TV owners
Apple has released the fourth generation Apple TV's first patch, incrementing the version to 9.0.1. Cupertino has declined to provide information on what the patch resolves or updates. Following the update, the tvOS version is now build 13T402. The update does not restore support for Bluetooth keyboards, excised from previous developer builds of the software, pre-release.
Get more from Apple's presentation tool
If you want to be really harsh about it, Apple's Keynote presentation software might only be better than Microsoft PowerPoint because fewer people use it. We are all so used to sitting through PowerPoint presentations that we recognise the software no matter how fancy the speakers get. Keynote seems newer and fresher just in comparison. Only, there is a huge amount of power behind Keynote and this is only increasing.
Physics puzzle combines air hockey and mini golf into fun skill shot game
We're big fans of physics puzzles like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, even though they're not exceptionally rare these days. There's something fun about relaxing with a game that requires you to do a bit of thinking. That's the idea behind the skill-shot game we'd like to talk about today, named Gentlemen Ricochet.
Other travel apps are available, but we like the trip-planning features
This is a case of the Internet solving a problem that the Internet caused. Back in the day, if you wanted to go somewhere, you consulted a travel agent, and he or she presented you with a neat little agenda, a smart little itinerary, and a not very little bill. Now that we book our own planes, trains, cars and hotels, maybe we can see why they earned their money. Or maybe we can just see how useful an app and service like TripIt is.
RPG fans rejoice in knowledge of a Final Fantasy mobile title that is actually good
The Final Fantasy franchise is huge, and with FF7 getting a remake, we thought it'd be a good time to talk about one of our favorite mobile Final Fantasy titles. Today we're here to show you Final Fantasy: Record Keeper, a game that manages to encompass what the Final Fantasy series is about in a compact form.
Fast-paced local multiplayer game brings fun, competitive pay to the iPad
There's a shortage of action-packed local multiplayer games for iOS, and there's an extreme shortage of any good ones. Sure, there are tons of great board game ports, and there's some decent card games as well, but where's the action? The suspense? The drama? Well, it turns out that it was hiding in our new favorite iOS game, Wrestle Jump.
Arcade shooter offers up classic nostalgic gameplay
If you grew up playing arcade games through the 1980s and 1990s, you probably spent a fair amount of time flying through space, shooting enemy spaceships and saving the day. These sort of shooters may not be as prominent today, but thanks to mobile gaming they've seen a surprising comeback. Today, we bring you a shooter that feels like it would be equally at home in an arcade cabinet as it would be in your iPhone: Cosmos - Infinite Space.
Will have limited features compared to Windows version
Microsoft is planning to bring its Cortana voice-powered personal assistant service to iOS, and is looking for a pool of iOS users to help the company beta-test the technology. The company is now accepting signups in the US and China from "Windows Insiders," or those who helped beta-test Windows 10, and will limit the number of people who can get early releases of the software. Microsoft has been testing Cortana for iOS for six months already, and there is no known release date for a final version.
Everyone's favorite mining simulator finally gets a story
We've been fans of Minecraft since the old days, and we mean the "small, medium, large" map days. We also mean the "no biomes" days. We mean way back, when the game didn't have an endlessly-generating map or multiplayer days. So when we heard Minecraft was getting a single-player, narrative-based game, we immediately turned up our noses. However, we decided to snag Minecraft: Story Mode to see if the game really lives up to all the hype it's been generating.
Great iOS microphone, terrible app
Apparently, you shouldn't call them clip-on or lapel mics, that's passé. Instead, they are lavelier microphones. Get it right: lavelier. No matter how much your Mac or iPhone tries to change that word to "lovelier," "love liar," or (once) "Cavalier," it is a jewellery term and it accounts for a key part of the name Røde SuperLav+ Microphone. Still, it's really a lapel mic. You clip it to your shirt or blouse and you look like you're a professional broadcaster -- plus, the sound recorded is very good, even though it is just plugged directly into your iPhone. So there you go: we're recommending that you buy the Røde SuperLav+ microphone.
Through fire and flames, we delivered the podcast anyhow
After an attack of the Halloween gremlins in staffers' hardware, Episode 39 is ready for your listening pleasure! Mike bowed out, as his hardware ate itself, but join an especially acoustically-challenged and gallivanting Charles, with amazingly stable and problem-free cohort Malcolm, as they chat for a bit over an hour about Apple's fight against extracting data from a suspect's phone, the new Apple TV, and Amazon's purge of the Chromecast and Apple TV from its shelves.
Winter-themed skill jumper is cute but challenging
We've spoken at length about Orisinal games here before, often citing how they're the perfect mix of cute visuals and challenging single-player arcade mechanics. Today, we're going to look at a game that's rapidly going to be season-appropriate, at least for us northern-hemisphere folks: Winterbells, a skill-jumping game that's as addictive as it is adorable.
Endless runner has you squishing opponents and dodging holes
If there's one genre we're experts in by this point, it's got to be the endless runner. We've tried out dozens of them, honing our skills, dodging obstacles and collecting points. We're back to show you one more today. Boxy the Box is an adorable endless-runner style arcade game about -- you guessed it -- a box.
Neat cross platform clipboard manager
It's getting to be a more common and a much more crowded class of app: the clipboard manager. We've long had it on OS X, we've more recently had it on iOS, now we're getting apps that work across the two. Select and copy something on your iPhone, paste it into a document back on your Mac. That's what these apps do and that's what Copied 1.0 for OS X and Copied+ 1.0 for iOS want to do better than anyone else.