Fortnite, Textor, and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend, everyone!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Fortnite, arguably the most anticipated iOS game of 2018, is just one of our selections for “Awesome Apps of the Week.”

In addition, we’ve got Google’s AI assistant newly landed on iPad, a neat update to one of the most popular third-party keyboards around, and a great basic text-editing app for iOS. Check out our picks below.

Google Assistant for iPad

Google Assistant now runs on iPad, including side-by-side with Google Calendar.
Google Assistant now runs on iPad, including side-by-side with Google Calendar.
Image: Google

Although Apple helped innovate the modern smart AI assistant with Siri, it has long since been overtaken by rivals like Google. This week, Google’s smart Google Assistant landed on iPad, giving you a more competent virtual assistant for your Apple tablet. (It has been available on iPhone since last summer.)

Google Assistant has impressive question answering abilities; unsurprising given that it is the creation of the world’s biggest search company. Beyond this, it can also read upcoming calendar events, set reminders and calendar entries, display turn-by-turn directions, and even control smart home devices.

The downside of Google Assistant is that there’s no “Hey Siri”-style way of quickly activating it without opening the app, due to Apple’s control over its hardware. However, if you’re willing to make that concession, and find that Siri just isn’t up to the tasks you’re demanding of it, Google Assistant is well worth checking out.

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

Fortnite

Fortnite Battle Royale
Fortnite is among the most anticipated games of 2018.
Photo: Epic Games

It hasn’t been possible to enjoy any respite this week from my colleague, Killian Bell, ranting and raving about Fortnite like he’s discovered the greatest invention since sliced bread.

As it turns out, his frothing-at-the-mouth enthusiasm may not be too far off the mark, since this port of the ultra popular co-op sandbox survival game, freshly landed on iOS, is pretty darn awesome.

For those unfamiliar with it, Fortnite is a cross-platform battle royale game in which you’re thrown into an enormous map against 99 others with just one mission: Be the last one to survive.

Right now, the game’s not available everyone though. That’s because it’s still in beta mode, which means you’ll have to sign up with Epic Games and hope you get an invite, after which you receive a download link — along with codes for a few friends.

How many people get invites will largely depend on the coping abilities of Fortnite‘s servers.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Get it from: See above

SwiftKey

One of the most popular third-party keyboards on iOS got a little bit better this week, courtesy of an update which adds a new Toolbar for giving you super-speedy access to the keyboard’s most popular features.

A self learning keyboard, SwiftKey has long been one of my favourites. It’s scarily good at what it does, boasting (among other things) one of the best autocorrect and next word prediction features I’ve seen on any keyboard anywhere.

The Toolbar feature is particularly good for messaging-oriented folks who like to pepper their writing with liberal use of GIFs and emojis. There are 1,000 GIFs within the zoo, which can be easily dropped in with the merest tap of a button.

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

Textor

textor
Textor is like TextEdit for iOS.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Textor is a simple app, and in this case that works perfectly. It’s basically an iOS version of the basic TextEditor editor on Mac, combined with the iOS 11 Files app. The result is the quickest and easiest way to quickly view, edit and even create new text files on an iPhone or iPad.

It can open any sort of text file, from Markdown to TXT to RTF, and even a few which don’t appear to be text files. There are no features fancier than just a text field and keyboard, but sometimes that’s all you need.

For more information, you can check out my colleague Charlie Sorrel’s Textor review here.

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