Dark Sky weather app gets a complete redesign

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Some weather.
Some weather.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Another day, another new weather app. Dark Sky was already a big favorite, thanks to its hyper-local forecasts that tell you when it will rain outside your door, down to the minute.

Well, the app just got updated to version 6.0. According to the Dark Sky developers, it’s a completely new app — an update in name only. Let’s take a look.

Hello Weather is my favorite weather app on iPhone and iPad [Review]

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You don't need a weather app to see what's going to happen here.
You don't need a weather app to see what's going to happen here.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There are roughly a billion weather apps on the App Store, and several them are very good indeed. But my current favorite is Hello Weather, which was just updated to get some great international features, as well as some awesome radar maps. It’s so great-looking, and so easy to use, that it’s been my go-to weather app since I discovered it.

Cycle might be the world’s most relaxing music app

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Cycle is wheely, wheely, chilled.
Cycle is wheely, wheely, chilled.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Cycle is both a musical instrument and a meditation device. The app, for iPhone and iPad, is something called a “time lag accumulator.” You play notes on its simple keyboard, and these notes are repeated over and over, slowly fading after time. The result is hypnotic, relaxing and creative, all at the same time.

Write catchy songs in your browser with Hookpad 2

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Anyone can compose a hit song in Hookpad 2
Anyone can compose a hit song in Hookpad 2
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Hookpad is a web app for music composition, and it’s also a killer way to learn about music theory. Hookpad and its companion theory app/book have been around for a while. The problem was, it only worked on the desktop. Hookpad 2 is a complete rewrite, and it works just great in mobile Safari. You can even save it to your home screen.

Load any audio file into Castro by dropping it into an iCloud folder

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Podcasting is like radio, only way better castro
Podcasting is like radio, only way better.
Photo: Tom Page/Flickr

Castro, one of our favorite podcast apps, just added two really great new features that aren’t yet available elsewhere. The first is the ability to load any audio file into the app, just by dropping it into a folder in your iCloud Drive. The second lets you preselect the podcast chapters you want to listen to.

Military bans personnel from using location-tracking tech

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Significant Locations
This information shouldn't fall into the hands of enemies.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Whether it’s our phones, our fitness trackers, or even something as innocuous as a dating app, much of the technology we use on a regular basis tracks our physical location.

Knowing the potential security risk this poses, the Pentagon banned deployed military personnel from using tech with active location-tracking features.

Grab excellent photo app Obscura 2 while you can

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The Obscura 2 photo app is worth the money. But why not get it for free while you can?
Obscura 2 is worth the money. But why not get it for free while you can?
Screenshots: Obscura

Obscura 2 is one of the best camera apps and a bargain at $4.99 if the iPhone is your primary camera.

Today, Apple and the developer of Obscura announced it is available to download at no charge through Sept. 25 via the Apple Store app.

When did Apple’s built-in apps get so good?

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Look at this blank home screen. Just look at it.
Who needs third-party apps anyway?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It used to be that the first-party iOS apps were only used by people who didn’t care enough to download something better. Mail, Notes, Contacts, the Calendar — all of these were immediately dumped into a junk folder by experienced users, to be replaced with a proper app. But something happened along the way to 2018. Now, Apple’s apps are every bit as good as third-party apps. (Well, mostly. The Contacts app is still awful.)

Today we’ll take a look at a few of Apple’s surprise hits.

LiquidText PDF Reader gives paper the upgrade it needs

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LiquidText
Using paper is so old-school. Your iPad is capable of much more!
Photo: LiquidText

Paper’s great for some things, but when it comes to reading and taking notes, the traditional medium is mediocre at best. And when iPad apps try to replicate paper, things get even worse.

“It doesn’t work,” said Craig Tashman, developer of the LiquidText PDF Reader app, which Apple showcased in an iPad ad this week. “They end up inheriting the deficiencies of paper without really inheriting the things that make it work.”

Tashman talked with Cult of Mac about his quest to reinvent paper, and the massive benefit of having a $945 billion tech giant giving an indie developer some props.