I love interactive Notification Center widgets. Widgets that let me use Notification Center like a quick entry form for my best used apps. Stuff like PCalc’s calculator widget that gives functionality to users that Apple seems conflicted about.
That’s why I love Neato. It’s a quick jot notepad for Notification Center that lets you speedily enter notes no matter where you are in iOS 8.
A crucial part of making apps involves the beta testing process, and Apple has released a new tool to help streamline the process for everyone.
After initially previewing TestFlight for third-party developers alongside iOS 8 at WWDC in June, Apple made it available for use today. Developers can now invite up to 1,000 beta testers, including non-developers, to try early builds of their apps before they hit the App Store.
Here’s a confession: I was terrible at math in school. From Algebra 1 on, I just couldn’t keep the various symbols, numbers, and denominators I was faced with straight, and so I flunked pretty much every test.
But I grew up in the 90’s. If I was in high school today, I’d never fail a math test again. I’d use the new iOS app PhotoMath instead, which literally solves math problems like magic.
Don’t watch The Simpsons on your iPhone while driving. Photo: 20th Century Fox
If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to have every episode of The Simpsons ever streamable on your iPhone or iPad, there is no longer any reason to, as a certain yellow-skinned tyke might say, “have a cow.”
You can now stream the complete Simpsons archive over an iOS app, no matter where you are. But there’s a catch.
I’m feeling a bit Rocky Horror, here. Screenshots: Gina Pell/LOLy
Tired of being stuck with tiny little Emojis?
Well, the developer for new app LOLy has the solution: huge, animated emoticons that you can send to friends via text message, Facebook, or email. You can also just copy them and send along to any other text-accepting app, like Twitter, Kik, or Whatsapp.
The images are cute and fun to send, and once you’ve used the images included with the free LOLy app, you’ll want to grab a couple more packs for $0.99 each.
“I primarily designed this app for women with a focus on the 30s-50s demographic,” says app developer Gina Pell. “I had a hunch that most emoji were geared towards teens and lacked the sophistication, style, or wit that my friends or I would find interesting.”
iOS 8 introduces a ton of new features and enhancements, including new ways for third-party developers to integrate their apps throughout the iOS experience. With a feature called Extensibility, apps can hook into other apps and areas like Notification Center to enhance their usability and functionality. Third-party keyboards are now possible too, and there are several great ones to choose from already.
Some of the best apps in the App Store are already updated for iOS 8 with new features, and others will be live in the store shortly. Here are Cult of Mac’s best apps that take advantage of what iOS 8 has to offer:
We love Unread, an RSS reader by developer Jared Sinclair. We’re also big fans of Castro, an exquisitely beautiful podcasting app by Supertop. So we’re delighted to hear that both apps are under the same roof, saving one developer from poverty and frustration while making another developer’s catalog ever stronger.
Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.
Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.
WunderStation from Weather Underground hooks into thousands of privately owned weather stations and presents their data in an iPad app. The smoothly animated graphs are beautiful and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about rainfall, barometric pressure and even UV. If you have stations near you, it’s pretty rad. If not, no biggie – the app is $Free
Filthy name, great app. Droool is a “photo gallery for your social networks.” Browse pictures from Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and more, and index pictures from iCloud and other local folders without moving or copying the files. It’s fast, simple and looks great, and it’s free with in-app purchases. $Free
Terrible name, great app. iBetterCharge monitors your iOS devices’ battery level over your Wi-Fi network, using the same connection that iTunes Wi-Fi sync would use, if you still synced your iPhone with your computer in the space year of 2014. It can pop up warnings when the battery drops to a preset level, and a click on the menu bar shows you the level of all the devices on the network. $Free
This is what the Internet is made for. Photogrammar puts 170,000 Depression-era photos in a searchable, browsable archive. Explore on an interactive map, search or get into the Labs section and browse by metadata sourced from the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information archives. Warning: serious time-sink. $Free
PlainTextMenu takes the text on your Mac’s clipboard and transmogrifies it into something useful. It strips out formatting, so you never get big ugly Comic Sans when pasting from a colleague’s Word report, and it can turn the text to uppercase, lowercase or title case along the way. From the school of One Thing Well. $1
Web service re/spin takes Spotify playlists and transforms them into Rdio playlists. If someone’s going to share a playlist, it usually comes from Spotify, and re/spin works with published Spotify playlists. Or you can just paste in a track list copied right from the app. It also works with Last.fm. Remember when PCs couldn’t read Mac floppy disks? It’s like fixing that all over again. $Free
You know all those hard drives grafted onto your Mac? Keep a close eye on them with StorageStatus, an app that turns hard drives into traffic lights in your menu bar and changes their colors when they do something. It knows when they are sleeping, it knows when they’re awake, and it knows when they’ve been good or bad. $3
Not new, but awesome nonetheless. Calca is as close as you’ll get to a plain text calculator. Tap in complex formulas or simple sums and see the results right there in a plain text document. Set variables or just add numbers. And see all your pages synced over iCloud between Mac, iPhone and iPad versions, as well as Windows(!). I love Calca for its balance of simplicity and power. From $3
Finally, a version for the iPad. TVShow Time tracks your favorite TV shows and tells you when they’re on. Browse shows and show synopses, and get notifications when something is about to air. See the shows on a calendar, view news about your shows and read about new shows. It’s pretty comprehensive, and looks great on the big iPad screen. $3