The best radio, shortcuts, research, and horror apps this week

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App roundup
Radio and research. Horror and HomeKit.
Photo: Cult of Mac

This week we get healthy with Apple’s Research app, build ridiculously-powerful shortcuts with Toolbox Pro, listen to internet radio with Triode, and scare ourselves silly with Layers of Fear. Shiver.

Apple Research

Apple-Research-app
Three studies are available now (if you live in the U.S.).
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new Research app lets users like you and me participate in health studies. In combination with the Apple Watch, the apps let participants share health data with Apple, and its partnered researchers.

Three studies are already available at launch: Apple Women’s Health Study, the Apple Heart and Movement Study, and the Apple Hearing Study.

This is a clever way to approach health research. It puts the user/subject in control from the beginning, and uses a proven method — the App Store — to publicize and distribute the studies. This will probably be huge.

Price: Free

Download: Apple Research from the App Store (iOS)

Triode – Internet Radio

Radio, on Apple TV, Mac, and iOS.
Radio, on Apple TV, Mac, and iOS.
Photo: Icon Factory

Triode is an internet radio app from the Icon Factory. It lets you tune in to all kinds of streaming internet radio stations, and shows you excellent, hi-quality artwork while you listen. It’s also dead easy to use, as you’d expect from Icon Factory, the developer behind Twitterific, and other great Mac and iOS apps.

Triode is subscription-based, and syncs your station choices between Apple TV, Mac, and iOS, as well as offering curated lists. It also integrates with Siri and CarPlay. It’s a great way to dicover new music, but also reminds me of just how great radio is as a way to not take responsibility for everything you listen to.

Oh, and if you like a song, you can tap to open it directly in Apple Music or the iTunes Store.

Price: Free

Download: Triode – Internet Radio from the App Store (iOS)

HomeRun for HomeKit

HomeRun has thousands of new icons
HomeRun has thousands of new icons.
Photo: HomeRun

HomeRun is an easy-to-use and powerful way to trigger your HomeKit scenes, and works on iOS and Apple Watch. This new version is noteworthy because it adds over 4,000 new icons for customizing your automations.

Price: $2.99

Download: HomeRun for HomeKit from the App Store (iOS)

Layers of Fear

Layers of Fear.
Layers of Fear.
Photo: Bloober

Sponsored: Layers of Fear is a Victorian horror game that debuted on computers and consoles back in 2016, to some acclaim. Now, you can terrify yourself on your iPhone or iPad, playing in bed late at night, while you explore the insane mind of a painter, and the creepy, shifting mansion he lives in. Even the game’s icon is scary — it looks like some kind of despairing man-rabbit.

Price: $10.99

Download: Layers of Fear from the App Store (iOS)

Toolbox Pro

Check out some of Toolbox Pro’s new shortcut actions.
Check out some of Toolbox Pro’s new shortcut actions.
Photo: Alex Hay

Shortcuts power-users will LOVE Toolbox Pro. The app adds over 60 new actions to the shortcuts app, including clever programming actions. But the most exciting part is that ToolBox Pro takes Apple’s own under-the-hood technologies, and exposes them for use in your own shortcuts. You can integrate photography machine learning, use Face ID, and extract text from photos, all just by dragging a step into your shortcuts workflow.

Price: Free with $5.99 in-app purchase

Download: Toolbox Pro from the App Store (iOS)