Swift Playgrounds, Ember and other awesome apps of the week | Cult of Mac

Swift Playgrounds, Ember and other awesome apps of the week


'Appy weekend all.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With new iPhones, Apple Watches and the official launch of iOS 10, this was quite the week for fans of Apple’s mobile devices. But which apps were we feeling in the time between putting our new iPhone 7 through its paces or reporting on Tim Cook’s Good Morning America interview?

Check out our picks below.

CARROT Weather

Everyone’s favorite harsh-talking weather app got a big update.

I’ve long been a fan of the CARROT apps developed by creator Brian Mueller, which combine genuinely-useful functionality (weather forecasts, fitness trackers, alarm clocks) with a high dose of snide and sarcastic humor from an AI that’s half HAL 9000, half Sue Sylvester from Glee.

Timed to coincide with the launch of iOS 10, the latest CARROT Weather update — version 3.0 — allows the app to be used in the iMessage app, where you can share forecasts with your friends. There’s also the ability to toggle between light and dark modes, customize the data points you receive, and more.

If you’re an Apple Watch user, the update additionally includes faster background updates and a bunch of new Complications. All in all, it’s a fun app — as are the rest of the ones in the CARROT family — and if you fancy your weather forecasts with a bit of humor, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Available for: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch (Mac too, but in a separate version)
Cost: $3.99
Get it from: App Store

Oz: Broken Kingdom

Oz: Broken Kingdom, the game showcased during the iPhone 7 event to demonstrate Apple’s A10 fusion chip, launched in the App Store this week. A mobile RPG with turn-based combat, the game features the regular Oz characters — Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion — from L. Frank Baum’s famous novel (and let’s not forget the movie), along with a new heroine character called Ophelia Shen.

It’s definitely worth checking out, and if you’ve got a new iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus to put through its paces, what better way to push its capabilities — not just with the A10 processing chip, but also taking advantage of new haptic feedback taps, wider gamut of colors, immersive audio and more.

Don’t worry, though: you can still play the game even if you’re on older iPhone or iPad running iOS 7, 8 or 9.

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

Swift Playgrounds

Apple wants to teach kids how to code.
Photo: Apple

Apple this week debuted its new Swift Playgrounds app for iPad, with the noble goal of teaching kids how to code and create their own apps with the Swift programming language.

This probably isn’t something the majority of adult Cult of Mac readers are going to be too interested in for themselves, but it’s exactly the kind of thing they may want to show their kids — since teaching young people to code is giving them an invaluable skill.

The standalone app is also being used by more than 100 schools around the world, so downloading Swift Playgrounds at school is a way of giving a leg-up to your kids on something they may soon be using in their classroom.

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


Ten years in the making, Ember is a tribute to classic RPGs, with a branching, 30+ hour story, plenty of exploration and character customization, and some of the most gorgeous graphics you’re likely to see in the App Store.

There’s also a tremendous fighting system, which will appeal to anyone who enjoys their role-playing with a bit of action.

The story sees you taking on the role of a so-called Lightbringer, a powerful druid, charged with seeking out “Embers” which fell from the sky and are now dotted around the world. As with any RPG worth its salt, there’s a lot more to it than that — and if you’re a fan of the genre, I can’t stress enough how you should consider downloading this game to get the whole story.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $6.99
Get it from: App Store