Happy July 4, readers! It's been a great week for apps in the App Store, and as always Cult of Mac has your back when it comes to the tracking down the best new tools you should be filling your iOS devices with.
Scroll through our gallery to check out our picks for the hottest new apps and updates this week.
Photo: Cult of Mac
I love travelling, and the iOS app I use more than any other is TripAvisor, which is one step down from a dedicated tour guide when it comes to finding your way around a new city.
TripAdvisor’s Watch app features a few nifty unique innovations — such as a “glance” feature which offers real-time recommendations based on your location, and detailed searching so you can easily discover the best hotels, restaurants and attractions wherever you go.
Unlike my brethren in Cult of Mac’s shiny San Francisco HQ, I’m British — which means that weather is a minor obsession which dominates the majority of my waking thoughts and conversation.
There are a number of different meteorological apps for Apple Watch, but Weather Nerd is maybe my favorite: offering detailed notes on rain ("10 minutes away”), forecast comparisons with the previous day, and far more. Oh, and its forecasts are super-precise, too.
Your Apple Watch is never going to be the device from which you reply to most of your messages, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have its part to play in helping you stay on top of your Inbox.
Unlike the functionality of Apple’s own Mail app on the Apple Watch — which lets you only flag messages, mark them as unread, or delete them — Spark allows you reply to messages using quick responses or dictation. The accompanying iOS app is a great email tool in its own right.
Growing up as a James Bond fan, the dream of controlling a car from my watch ranks up there with rescuing a 1973-vintage Jane Seymour.
James Bond doesn't drive a Hyundai, but even he would appreciate this nifty app which lets you use your Apple Watch to control features of your car such as heating, unlocking doors, and even flashing your headlights and honking the horn.
It will help you find your way back to your vehicle if you get lost too, although I don’t remember Bond doing that too often.
Using your Apple Watch to find the right public transport links might not be quite so balling as using it to start your new car, but it can can be just as useful. Citymapper pretty much does what it says on the tin: letting you know all the right bus, train and subway information for close to two dozen cities around the world.
One-tap directions let you plot routes, save locations and find the nearest public transport hubs to get you home.
Sky Guide is a great example of why it’s useful to have an app on your wrist rather than on your phone, where you may only look at it occasionally. In short, the app offers an astronomical event calendar — ranging from meteor showers to different phases of the moon.
It can also help identify constellations that are visible in the sky from where you are currently located, and even sends notifications when the International Space Station (ISS) is passing over so you can tweet the astronauts.
I’m an absolute sucker for text-based adventure games and if the Apple Watch helps bring them back in a big way, I’ll be one happy camper. Lifeline is an addictive Apple Watch game which kicks off with you in deep space, connecting to a far-off radio signal.
From there, things go predictably haywire — but the results are so insanely addictive that you’ll forget you’re playing a graphics-free game on a screen just a couple of inches across.
Never able to find an open Wi-Fi signal when you need one? Maybe you should carry around this sword. Modeled after Frodo’s weapon in The Lord of the Rings, it glows when it’s within range of open Wi-Fi.
Just like Blue Microphone’s non-digital Spark, the new, Digital Spark microphone has been put together with an armful of we’re-not-playing-around components and features. Things like a beefed-up condenser capsule, a Focus selector that toggles between a low-frequency bias and a detail bias, and an adjustable desk stand with shock mount. But this Spark is built for iPads (or iPhones); though its USB connector means it’ll work just fine with your MacBook Pro, iMac, Sony Vaio, Samsung Galaxy Tab or anything else with a USB input.
Like any good father, I love my Lensbabys. Screwed onto the front of my camera they distort the world just enough to make looking at it more interesting, and therefore make me take better photos. But for some, these lenses — which let the photographer move a "sweet-spot" of sharp focus around an otherwise blurred frame — are expensive novelties.
Well, they might still be novelties, but the new Lensbaby Spark are anything but expensive.