Concepts, Lifeline and other awesome apps of the week | Cult of Mac

Concepts, Lifeline and other awesome apps of the week


Have an 'appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s a lazy winter’s Sunday, which means it’s the perfect day of the week to try out a few of the hottest new apps currently hitting Apple’s various App Stores. But which ones to sample?

Whether you’re looking for a great Apple TV media player, an engrossing text-based game for your Apple Watch, or a great iPhone app to plan your first 2016 adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Check out our picks below.


One of the best drawing apps out there.
Photo: TopHatch

A great digital sketchbook app, Concepts lets you do everything from create quick sketches to detailed illustrations.

Now available for iPhone as well as iPad, the app presents users with an infinite canvas, flexible multi-touch shape guides, adjustable vector strokes, and the ability to export in formats including SVG or CAD. Perfect for sketching that great design idea when it hits you.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Get it from: App Store


Liked The Martian? Then you should enjoy Lifeline, too.
Liked The Martian? Then you should enjoy Lifeline, too.
Photo: 3 Minute Games

A brilliant text-based adventure game for iPhone and Apple Watch, Lifeline is a branching story following the aftermath of a crash landing on an alien moon. After protagonist Taylor is left stranded, and the rest of his crew dead or missing, the game plays out in real time, with notifications delivered to your device throughout the day.

Although the game has been around for a while now, this week’s Lifeline update adds a new story in which strange occurrences on Tau Ceti lead to a group of elite Marines being sent in to investigate. With enough content to keep you engrossed indefinitely, it’s no surprise this was named Apple’s “App of the Week” this week.

If you loved The Martian as much as I did, you owe it to yourself to try out Lifeline.

Available for: iPhone, Apple Watch
Cost: Free
Get it from: App Store


A great budget travel app.
A great budget travel app.
Photo: Tribunary

With the excitement of Christmas out of the way, but plenty of months of cold, wet weather still ahead of us, it’s no surprise many people are busy planning holidays. If you’re on a budget for your next vacation, Tripnary is a great app — letting you compare holiday prices from around the world to find the great destination which best fits your budget and requirements.

The app’s most recent update adds the ability to see prices in your local currency, making Tripnary even more useful than before. Whether you fancy “unwinding in sunny bliss” or “painting the town red,” Tripnary has something for everyone.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Get it from: App Store

Venture Kid

There are plenty of retro-inspired platformers available on iOS, but the Mega Man-inspired Venture Kid stands out as a high point.

With tremendous pixel art graphics, a great chiptune soundtrack, and — most importantly of all — fun gameplay, this is one iOS game I’ll certainly be enjoying for the weeks to come in 2016.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $0.99
Get it from: App Store

VLC for Apple TV

VLC on the Apple TV will make your video playback easy.
VLC on the Apple TV will make your video playback easy.
Photo: VideoLAN

Plex may be number one in the media viewer category, but if you’re looking for another Apple TV option for media player — and you want to do it without having to convert natively stored media to other file types in order to play it — VLC is well worth checking out.

With full support for Dropbox, OneDrive and Box all around the corner, it’s well worth giving it a go if you’re hoping to squeeze as much use as possible out of your fourth-gen Apple TV. You can check out our “how to” guide here.

Available for: Apple TV
Get it from: VLC


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    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.