Luckily, every weekend, we round up our favorite new and updated apps. This week’s list includes a social news app, a relaxing game centered around a tree and Google’s immersive Spotlight Stories app making its iOS debut.
Check out the gallery, below, to see our top picks. If you’re looking for more, take a look at last week’s roundup of can’t-miss apps.
Google is finally bringing its immersive Spotlight Stories app to iOS. The app allows you to get a full 360-degree video experience with just the display of your device. Rather than watching a video with your phone directly in front of you, the display acts as a sort of viewfinder for the spherical videos: as you move the device around, you can see new areas of the frame.Keep an eye on: Google has managed to tap quite a few notable names to create videos for the app over the years, including Justin Line, who debuted a new story called “Help” for the app earlier this year.
Pro-tip: It’s easiest to get a full sense of the videos while standing up, that way you can hold the device over your head, behind you and move around quickly as the story unfolds.
Prune ($3.99: iOS)
This tree-themed game is much more than meets the eye. The premise of Prune is simple: Plant a tree so that it will grow toward the sun and flourish while avoiding harmful obstacles. Keep an eye on: The angle at which you plant the seed at the start of each level plays a big role in the trajectory the branches take.Pro-tip: Use two fingers to zoom in on the trees to trim the exact branches you want. If you get stuck on a challenging level, the game lets you skip ahead to the next one.
Storyline (Free: iOS)
This Twitter app from celebrity investor Mark Cuban takes a different approach to sorting tweets in your timeline. Rather than reverse chronological order, the app sorts tweets by account so you can find the accounts you’re most interested in seeing updates from, and see all their most recent tweets at once. Keep an eye on: After you view a tweet, it disappears from your feed forever to help keep you from seeing repeat content.
Pro-tip: Use the app’s search if there’s a particular account you want to view. While you can’t compose new tweets from the app, you can retweet, favorite and reply. The app is a beta right now so there are likely more features on the way.
Vervid (Free: iOS)
A video platform completely dedicated to vertical videos, Vervid allows users to share and edit vertically-shot video clips. Part Vine, part Snapchat and part YouTube, its creators say they are trying to create the “YouTube of vertical videos.
Keep an eye on: The app’s social features, which make it easy for users to follow one another and comment on each other’s videos. The app also has quite a few editing tools so you can shoot or edit existing clips right inside the app.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to record a burst — 8-second video clips anyone can view from your profile. The app’s users tend to be very creative with the feature so it’s worth checking out.
Vizo takes a highly visual approach to the daily news digest format. The app curates the biggest news stories of the day and breaks each one down into a bite-sized summary of the most important facts using a number of sources.Keep an eye on: If you want to dig into a particular story more, tap the book icon in the bottom right corner to see a list of all the summary’s sources, with links back to the original articles.
Pro-tip: The app will also read the news to you; hit the play button at the top an article to begin the audio.
A key component of being professional is organisation, yet many business practices seem outdated and cumbersome in today’s technology-driven world. From holding onto receipts for expense reporting to filing business cards away for networking opportunities, there’s a lot to keep track of. It’s time to simplify.
Travel can be stressful, and travel for business even more so. TripIt alleviates this stress by compiling all of your travel documents in one place to create a business trip itinerary. Simply forward all of your confirmation emails, including flights, restaurant reservations and car rentals, to the TripIt address and the app automatically organises your schedule — putting your entire trip in one, easily accessible place.
The app removes the need to flip through various inboxes, remember passwords or add travel dates and details to your calendar. This master itinerary includes time, date and confirmation numbers as well as weather predictions, driving directions and maps. Synced throughout your devices, your travel plans are also available offline, so you can reference your outlined journey while on the go or in the air.
When you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar you may not know the shortcuts, and when it come to business, being professional and on time go hand in hand. If traffic gets in your way, Waze helps you get around it, showing you alternative routes vetted by other drives on the road with you. Warnings from fellow drivers let you avoid accidents, road debris and even speed traps, making your daily commute or business trip more efficient and timely. These shorter routes can even save you money on gas.
The voice command navigation calculates the fastest route based on community-sourced information that updates in real-time. When you pass a reported obstacle or accident, the app asks you to vet the information and in-turn help those en route behind you. Talk about paying it forward.
Streamline your expense reports with Expensify by citing, photographing and curating your expenses on the go. No more receipts to keep filed away for the end of the month, simply take a picture and throw them away thus keeping your expenses up-to-date. Forward any electronic receipts or confirmations to the designated address for easy additions to the pre-existing records.
Working from home or remotely? The app also reports hours worked with associated pay rate and tracks your miles driven, flight itinerary and travel arrangements. Easily submit your expenses at the end of the month without hassle.
Time for a career change? Maybe you’re moving to a new city or just looking for new opportunities. Find job openings based on location using Job Compass. Simply enter your desired zip code and search terms and you’re on your way to a new job.
With millions of listings in over 55 countries, Job Compass streamlines your job search by narrowing the scope and helping you find your next move. Sourced from non-location focused job boards like Indeed.com, the listings on Job Compass are organized visually to help you see your professional future on a map.
Figure out where you spend your time using Track My Life. The app runs automatically in the background of your phone and determines your travel, what locations you are at most frequently, and from this, creates data that you can use to maximize your time and daily efficiency. This app doesn’t only help you streamline your professional life, but also helps you find any imbalances in your daily schedule and make simple changes.
It quantifies your daily routine in a way that provides concrete room for alterations. Maybe you travel too much, or haven’t taken a vacation day in the last year. If working in an hourly or travel-heavy position, use Track My Life to ensure you are earning maximum compensation for your daily work. Overtime, you can track gradual lifestyle changes, or find where they may be needed.
Make professional networking easier with digital business card storage on CamCard. Exchange e-business cards with QR code scanning, save paper cards by taking photos and store all of your contacts in one place that syncs to the cloud, making it easily accessible from any device.
Rather than enter contact information into your phone manually from a business card, simply snap a photo and watch as the information is generated into a CamCard contact listing where you can make notes, tag, search and share cards. CamCard and electronic business cards save money, time and paper while simplifying the social side of your professional life.
Ramadan starts on Thursday for most Muslims around the world. This means a month of fasting, prayer, and piety, all in an effort to deepen one’s faith. The holy month is also looked upon as an opportunity to increase community ties, bring people closer together, and share blessings with those less fortunate. For some it may also mean a short pilgrimage to Mecca, as it is believed reward for good deeds is multiplied manifold during this time. All in all, the month is revered and eagerly awaited by adherents of Islam worldwide.
There are also a bunch of apps out there to help Muslims with observing their duties during the month. In no particular order, here are 5 Ramadan apps that caught our eye:
Ramadan Legacy was only launched earlier this month but claims to be the world’s first “fully-featured” app for Ramadan. The app includes a step-by-step interactive action plan, which allows you to monitor a checklist of things to do during fasting. These include prayers, taraweeh, and reading the Quran.
The app also notifies you of a new Quranic verse and prayer to learn each day. Other features include a knowledge library with tips and guides on Ramadan topics and a live social stream which allows you to share your Ramadan experience with others around the world. There’s also an iOS version.
AlQuran is an iOS app that allows you to read the entire text of the Holy Quran, along with translations and commentary. It claims to support over 30 languages, with more in the pipeline. Users can bookmark verses and search through the holy text for topics of relevance. There’s also a similar app for Android devices.
Al-Muslim is a free iOS-only app, which is available in both Arabic and English.
The app allows you to schedule daily acts of kindness as well as compulsory activities such as prayers. The embedded checklist is a good reminder of how Muslims can help the community during Ramadan and the app also provides a summary of all what you have done. Additionally, there are options to add preferences for certain types of acts of kindness and to read verses of the Quran.
Instadeen is a photo sharing and editing app which allows users to put religious quotes and sayings on their images. These can then be shared on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The developer claims his inspiration to be from a saying of the Holy Prophet, “It is also charity to utter a good word.”
Prayer Times: Qibla and Azan is a free Android app which provides accurate prayer timing and direction to Mecca in 251 countries worldwide. Useful for frequent travelers and those constantly on the go, the app will also notify you when it is time for each daily prayer and uses a compass to determine which direction to pray.
Apple is opening its ResearchKit platform to developers and researchers who can use the tool to learn more about patient diseases and conditions, like Parkinson’s and diabetes.
The company announced ResearchKit in March, which collects data from patients via the iPhone. People with certain conditions can opt in to participate in various clinical studies and surveys (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) that can be evaluated and analyzed by medical researchers. The goal is to ultimately improve patients’ health and the ability to care for them.
While ResearchKit has already seen success with the first batch of apps that use the tool — more than 60,000 iPhone users have enrolled in the first few weeks of its launch, according to the company — Apple is now opening up the framework to anyone that wants to integrate ResearchKit into their own apps and studies. To do so, developers will add a specific Apple code into the back end of an app.
The move will allow medical researchers worldwide to collect more data about diseases on a larger scale. For those interested in participating in research, the app will ask for permission to access iPhone sensors like the accelerometer, gyroscope and other tools as a way to monitor activity. Participants can also opt in to share details about weight, blood pressure and glucose levels, so researchers can more closely examine how those relate to conditions and overall health.
The opening up of ResearchKit comes just as Apple set the date for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (June 8-12), which — for $1,599 — grants developers access to five days of sessions, labs and special events centered on building software for iOS and the Mac. While selfie sticks are banned from its premises this year, the event will likely serve as ample breeding ground for mobile innovation.
With Meerkat still taking Twitter by storm (despite Twitter’s efforts to limit the app’s reach) and news of Facebook’s big plans for its upcoming F8 Developer Conference heating up, you may have missed some of this week’s best new apps.Luckily, each weekend, we round up our favorite new and updated apps, so you won’t miss out.
This week’s list includes LInkedIn’s job-finding app making its way to Android, a new image-editing app, Atari’s new fitness-themed offering that incorporates classic games and an iOS app-launcher that tuns your notifications menu into one-touch app shortcuts.
Check out the gallery, below, to see all the apps that made our list of top picks. And if you’re looking for more, take a look at our last roundup of can’t-miss apps.
Leave it to the folks at Atari to make a fitness app that uses Pong, Centipede and other retro classics to motivate users to lose weight. The app offers a variety of workout plans based around your fitness goals. Logging exercise earns you coins, which you can use to play Pong, Centipede and Super Breakout.
Keep an eye on: The app’s social features, which allow you to join tams with friends and compete for positions on the leaderboards for the in-app games.
Pro-tip: Connect Apple’s Health app and Atari Fit will pull in stats from your wearables and other fitness-tracking apps like RunKeeper.
The latest image-editing app from the same team behind Facetune, Enlight is, in many ways, an iPhone-photograher’s dream app. The app manages to strike the right balance between traditional Photoshop-like controls and artistic filters and effects. Users can choose from a wide range of preset filters or manually adjust individual elements of their photos, including a sophisticated curves control.
Keep an eye on: The app’s more artistic effects — like the artistic menu, which allow you to make your photos look like pop art — and the text menu allows you to add text, stickers and other additions to your images to instantly turn them into customized means.
Pro-tip: Swiping across your image adjusts the intensity of the filter and other effects. Use the masking feature to apply effects to specific portions of photos.
While iOS doesn’t allow users to customize their home screens the way their Android counterparts can with launcher apps, Launcher comes about as close as any iOS app we’ve seen. The app takes advantage of iOS 8’s notification center widgets, to allow users to place a wide variety of app shortcuts directly in their today menu.
Keep an eye on: Customizable widgets. You can add a Twitter shortcut that opens the app on the “compose new tweet” screen to save time, for example. Upgrading to the $3.99 Pro version makes widgets even more customizable.
Pro-tip: Use the Google Maps shortcut to automatically fill in your home or work address to automatically launch the app and get directions from your current location.
LinkedIn Job Seacrh
LinkedIn finally brought its job-finding app to Google Play this week. The app allows users to search through the network’s many job listings and apply for positions from within the app. When you find a position you’re interested in, you can easily view which of your connections also work at the company.
Keep an eye on: Notification settings — the app will alert you when a new position opens up in a field or company that interests you and will also let you know when a post is about to expire.
Pro-tip: The app’s recommendations improve over time as you search for more positions and view more open listings. It also take into account the experience and skills in your profile so make sure each section of your profile is up to date.
Timing is everything in this surprisingly challenging game. The premise is simple: guide the box-headed Mr. Jump through each level without killing him on a spike or drowning him in the water. But the game is more difficult than it looks and timings is everything as more jumps doesn’t guarantee you a better result.
Keep an eye on:: The stats at the end of each round show you info like how far you made it through the level and hp many attempts you’ve made so far.
Pro-tip: Stuck on a level (and, believe us, you will be): you can skip current level and unlock a new one with an in-app purchase. And turn up your volume for the whimsical soundtrack, which may keep your rage in check.
Gmail may be soon be a lot better at managing your email.The Android version of the app will be updated in the coming weeks with support for Outlook, Yahoo and other types of non-Gmail email accounts, according to a report from Android Police.
The update, expected to coincide with the launch of upgraded operating system Android Lollipop, will allow users to sync non-Gmail accounts with the app for the first time, according to a video Android Police says is from the upcoming app. The video shows users accessing multiple types of email accounts, including Yahoo and Outlook, from within Gmail.
Gmail’s upcoming Android app will reportedly support Outlook, Yahoo and other types of non-Gmail email accounts.
Image: Android POlice
It appears that switching between Gmail and non-Gmail accounts will work much the same way as navigating between different Google accounts within the current app. The video also shows off Gmail’s new Material Design-focused look, with new avatars, icons and menu styles. Material Deign is Google’s new design language, revealed alongside Android Lollipop at Google I/O earlier this year.
It’s an interesting move for Google, which until now has focused on users of its own email platform. But opening up the Gmail app to other types of email accounts could potentially draw thousands of new Android users who don’t use Gmail for either work or personal accounts to the app.
It’s not clear when, or if, a similar update may come to the iOS version of Gmail but Google typically rolls out major updates to its Android apps before bringing them to iOS.