| Cult of Mac

Concepts, Lifeline and other awesome apps of the week


Have an 'appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s a lazy winter’s Sunday, which means it’s the perfect day of the week to try out a few of the hottest new apps currently hitting Apple’s various App Stores. But which ones to sample?

Whether you’re looking for a great Apple TV media player, an engrossing text-based game for your Apple Watch, or a great iPhone app to plan your first 2016 adventure, we’ve got you covered!

Check out our picks below.

Get lost in Lifeline 2’s fantasy world on Apple Watch


Help Arika avoid mortal danger while she wisecracks at you.
Help Arika avoid mortal danger while she wisecracks at you.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Dave Justus is no stranger to writing video games, having written both Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us adventure game for Mac, PC and console, as well as the original Lifeline, a text-based story game that brought the epic struggles of an astronaut named Taylor to our wrists.

With the help of 3 Minute Games’ lead game designer Mars Jokela, Justus has created another massive adventure that still fits inside your Apple Watch. This time, however, you’ll have a conversation with Arika, a young woman with magical powers who needs your help to escape mortal danger.

Lifeline 2: Bloodline is a funny, moving, and above all human story that really plays to the strengths of the Apple Watch; it’s like having a text conversation (with a cheeky magician) from your wrist.

“We’ve built Lifeline 2 to be a bigger and richer experience,” says Jokela via email, “[but] the story is still focused on a likable, relatable character who desperately needs your help.”

7 fantastic Apple Watch apps you need right now


If you're appy and you know it, check our list!

I love travelling, and the iOS app I use more than any other is TripAvisor, which is one step down from a dedicated tour guide when it comes to finding your way around a new city.

TripAdvisor’s Watch app features a few nifty unique innovations — such as a “glance” feature which offers real-time recommendations based on your location, and detailed searching so you can easily discover the best hotels, restaurants and attractions wherever you go.

Download: TripAdvisor (free)

Unlike my brethren in Cult of Mac’s shiny San Francisco HQ, I’m British — which means that weather is a minor obsession which dominates the majority of my waking thoughts and conversation.

There are a number of different meteorological apps for Apple Watch, but Weather Nerd is maybe my favorite: offering detailed notes on rain ("10 minutes away”), forecast comparisons with the previous day, and far more. Oh, and its forecasts are super-precise, too.

Download: Weather Nerd ($3.99)

Your Apple Watch is never going to be the device from which you reply to most of your messages, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have its part to play in helping you stay on top of your Inbox.

Unlike the functionality of Apple’s own Mail app on the Apple Watch — which lets you only flag messages, mark them as unread, or delete them — Spark allows you reply to messages using quick responses or dictation. The accompanying iOS app is a great email tool in its own right.

Download: Spark by Readdle (free)

Growing up as a James Bond fan, the dream of controlling a car from my watch ranks up there with rescuing a 1973-vintage Jane Seymour.

James Bond doesn't drive a Hyundai, but even he would appreciate this nifty app which lets you use your Apple Watch to control features of your car such as heating, unlocking doors, and even flashing your headlights and honking the horn.

It will help you find your way back to your vehicle if you get lost too, although I don’t remember Bond doing that too often.

Download: Hyundai Blue Link (price varies)

Sky Guide is a great example of why it’s useful to have an app on your wrist rather than on your phone, where you may only look at it occasionally. In short, the app offers an astronomical event calendar — ranging from meteor showers to different phases of the moon.

It can also help identify constellations that are visible in the sky from where you are currently located, and even sends notifications when the International Space Station (ISS) is passing over so you can tweet the astronauts.

Download: Sky Guide ($1.99)

I’m an absolute sucker for text-based adventure games and if the Apple Watch helps bring them back in a big way, I’ll be one happy camper. Lifeline is an addictive Apple Watch game which kicks off with you in deep space, connecting to a far-off radio signal.

From there, things go predictably haywire — but the results are so insanely addictive that you’ll forget you’re playing a graphics-free game on a screen just a couple of inches across.

Download: Lifeline ($2.99)