Best iOS apps of 2016

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Best iOS Apps
Appy holidays!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac It’s been a banner year for iOS apps. From smart photo-editing tools to music-generating apps, Apple and third-party developers alike brought some serious heat to the App Store. We’ve combed through our home screens to pick out the best iOS apps of 2016.

Check out our picks below.

iPhone app gives treasured photos new life [Review]

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PicScanner
Pic Scanner Gold and an iPhone will preserve treasured family photos.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

For longer than I have allowed myself to believe, the iPhone has been called a scanner that fits in your pocket. But if I wanted a high-quality copy of an old photograph, I still sought out a flatbed scanner, presuming the results would be superior to taking a picture of a picture with a phone.

But the iPhone camera, as maybe you are tired of hearing, improves with each generation and the so-called scanner apps prove more valuable as a way to copy a photograph for sharing and even printing. One such app is the new Pic Scanner Gold.

Indie rockers Airplane Mode get their spark from Apple

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These guys rock — and design great apps. Bassist Joe Cieplinski, left, and lead guitar and vocalist, Dave Wiskus, of the band Airplane Mode.
These guys rock — and design great apps. Bassist Joe Cieplinski, left, and lead guitar and vocalist, Dave Wiskus, of the band Airplane Mode.
Photo: Airplane Mode

Cult of Mac 2.0 bugThe indie rock band Airplane Mode does indeed get its name from the feature on an iPhone that shuts off wireless transmission.

The name and the resumes of three of the band’s musicians — well-established iOS designers — have led more than a few people to assume they have found a source of cute parody music about Apple culture.

In fact, you won’t find any iPhones, iMacs or odes to Steve Jobs in the lyrics of the tight, hard-charging synth-driven music. However, the band’s roots in Apple culture permeate everything else, from its use of technology and understanding of social engagement to its start-up energy.

And there is one other way: Airplane Mode is making money.

Official Reddit app finally gets an iPad interface

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Reddit
Reddit finally got around to supporting the iPad.
Photo: Reddit

Seven months after its debut, the official Reddit app has finally been optimized for iPad. The new interface lets you enjoy the most popular posts and the latest memes in all their high-resolution glory on the tablet’s larger screen.

Why freemium apps suck for everyone (and how Apple is killing paid apps)

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Only one of the top 200 grossing apps is a paid app
Paid apps are an endangered species: Only one of the 200 top-grossing apps on the App Store is a paid download.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I work on an iPhone app called Reps & Sets as a hobby project in my spare time. This week, my partner and I came to the conclusion that there is no future for our app as a paid download, so we have reluctantly decided to make it free.

This was an incredibly tough call, because we have invested literally thousands of hours in developing our app over the years. Giving all that hard work away for free is heartbreaking. But we didn’t feel we had much choice.

Week’s best Apple deals: Super-low prices on iPad minis

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Snag great deals on tiny Apple tablets, a third-party Apple Watch band and an essential iOS app.
Snag great deals on tiny Apple tablets, a third-party Apple Watch band and an essential iOS app.
Photos: Apple, Cambond, Duet

We’ve got iPad minis for every budget (as long as your budget falls between $220 and $325). You’ll find those, plus a super-affordable third-party Apple Watch band, in this week’s roundup of the best Apple deals.

This pillow is sleep-inducing music to your ears [Review]

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Dreampad is a pillow that joins forces with your iPhones to help you sleep.
Dreampad is a pillow that joins forces with your iPhones to help you sleep.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

A good night’s sleep could start with a good pillow. But the part of our bed designed to rest our head doesn’t do anything to shut it off.

But what if it could?

The Dreampad along with an iPhone app promises to do just that. The firm and fluffy pillow uses a patented technology that delivers relaxing music through the pillow that can be heard only by you and not the sleeper next to you.

Revamped iPads and next-era Apple tech, this week on The CultCast

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Apple's bold vision of future tech inches closer to reality.
Apple's bold vision of future tech inches closer to reality.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: Revamped iPads coming this spring; Apple lays the groundwork for the next era of personal technology; how smart homes get hacked; Google’s Pixel phone versus iPhone 7; and we reveal our favorite new iOS and Mac apps!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to build a website that looks beautiful on any device that visits at Squarespace.com. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10 percent off.

Week’s best Apple deals: More refurb and open-box MacBooks and iPads

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refurb and open-box apple deals
Embrace "new to me" and you'll save big with refurbished and open-box Apple gear.
Photos: Apple, Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Discounts on not-new laptops and tablets continue to shine this week, with Apple itself offering its legendary factory-refurbished MacBook Pros, and eBay offering an open-box 10-inch iPad Pro. You’ll find these deals and more in this week’s roundup of best Apple deals.

Set up your new Apple Watch to max out your fitness gains

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Get in shape with your new Apple Watch
Get in shape with your new Apple Watch.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If you’ve just bought a shiny new Apple Watch Series 2, hoping it will help you get in shape, then here’s some advice: Invest a little time setting it up so your wearable is tailored to your personal fitness level and goals.

These quick and easy setup tips will help you get the most out of your Apple Watch fitness routine.

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the new Cult of Mac Fitness Handbook. It’s coming soon, loaded with iPhone and Apple Watch fitness tips — and it will be exclusively free for Cult of Mac readers.