The best guitar, photo, podcast and audio apps you’ll see this week


This week we really have some great apps for you.
This week we really have some great apps for you.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This week we edit photos with AI using Pixelmator Photo, secure our internet with Cloudflare Warp, and enjoy an AI-picked list of our favorite new podcast episodes with Castro Top Picks. And that’s just the beginning.

Stark amp simulator

Stark looks as good as it sounds.
Stark looks as good as it sounds.
Photo: Klevgrand

Stark is an AUv3 guitar amp sim. Audio Units are the iOS equivalent of plugins — apps that run inside other other music apps like Garage Band.

Unlike most other amp sims, Stark doesn’t outright mimic real-world amps. Instead of naming them after famous 1950s-era guitar amplifiers, they have names like British Guitar A2, or General Tube amp. The effects are similarly generic, in name in not in sound. They effects are all competent, and some are excellent. Even the distortion sounds good.

Also great is the look. Stark uses flat colors and plain shapes, instead of skeuomorphic mimicry. I like it.

Price: $9.99

Download: Stark from the App Store (iOS)

Pixelmator Photo

Pixelmator Photo looks like a fantastic editor app.
Pixelmator Photo looks like a fantastic editor app.
Photo: Pixelmator

Pixelmator Photo was announced this week, with an April 9 launch date. It offers all the usual photo-enhancement features and filters, but does so with a super-fast, and super-slick interface. The app also uses machine-learning and AI to automatically adjust filters to fit your photos, as well as suggesting edits — the AI smart crop too for instance. It’s available for pre-order now, and is just $5, so well worth taking a punt to try it out.

Price: $4.99

Download: Pixelmator from the App Store (iOS)

Cloudflare Warp

Cloudflare‘s App with Warp adds encryption for safer iPhone internet access.
Cloudflare‘s App with Warp adds encryption for more secure iPhone internet access.
Photo: Cloudflare

Cloudflare’s app is a secure DNS app for mobile, and it even works over cellular connections on iOS. Now, Cloudflare has added Warp, which is a secure VPN for users.

Unlike other VPNs, Cloudflare says that Warp will actually speed up your connection. “The app takes advantage of Cloudflare’s global network to improve mobile Internet reliability, automatically routing around Internet brownouts and slow downs, and it speeds up connections for better performance,” it said.

Warp will be a paid upgrade to the service, but is free while in beta. To test it, use the q.1.1.1 app to request an invite.

Price: Free

Download: Faster Internet from the App Store (iOS)

Castro Podcast Player

The Castro podcast player has added a new Top Picks feature. Castro is for people who subscribe to too many podcasts, and is designed to help you triage new episodes. Top Picks uses your listening history to choose episodes it thinks you’ll want to listen to first.

This all takes place locally on your device, for privacy reasons, so you’ll have to wait for Top Picks to get an idea of what you like. The good news is that all you have to do to train it is to listen to your favorite podcasts.

Price: Free

Download: Castro Podcast Player from the App Store (iOS)

SoundSource 4

SoundSource should be built in to the Mac.
SoundSource should be built in to the Mac.
Photo: Rogue Amoeba

SoundSource from Rogue Amoeba is an app for controlling the audio on your Mac. It can route sound from any app to the output of your choice, and vice versa. That means your USB mic can be piped into Skype, your Spotify to your built-in speakers,and your iTunes to a USB output. And so on.

There’s also an equalizer, smart sound booster, and more. All this sits in a menubar drop-down, for easy on-the-fly configuration.

Price: $35 with free trial

Download: SoundSource 4 from the Rogue Amoeba