The App Store is packed to the gills with cool apps. We’ve rounded up five of the best iPhone apps that are new, have been recently updated, or are simply worth a second look. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know about these amazing apps.
Check out an interview with Cover’s founders in the video above.
Not to be confused with the Android lockscreen app of the same name, Cover is an app for dining out. It simplifies your night out immensely. You simply sit down, tell your server that you’re paying with Cover, and the restaurant takes care of the rest.
Your bill is automatically split and tip gets figured out for you (great if you’ve had a few too many glasses of wine to do mental math). That means you can just focus on having fun with friends, or look like a hotshot while you’re entertaining a business client. This also means if you need to eat in a hurry, you don’t have to wait for your waiter to come back with your bill.
While the app has been NYC-focused, as of May 21, 2014 select restaurants in San Francisco are now supporting Cover. You can view a full list of supported restaurants here, or just walk through the city and wait for your phone to send you a push notification when you get near a Cover-approved establishment.
- Takes the stress out of splitting the bill or calculating the tip
- Accepted at some of the most exciting restaurants in America
- Not everyone in your party has to use Cover for the restaurant to settle your bill
- Attractive app interface
- You can choose the amount you want to tip
- Useless if you never dine in SF or NYC
- Some users want a more robust look at their check, to make sure the restaurant charged them correctly
- Sign up process may not appeal to those trying to eat in a hurry
- Does not appear to have the ability to add card nicknames, you just see the last four digits of the card number
- Some reviewers worry this app will limit interactions with your server
2. Swarm by Foursquare
Check out CNET’s overview of Swarm in the video above.
Foursquare’s controversial decision to split it’s app into two separate apps has annoyed some iPhone users. The Foursquare split brought about the creation of Swarm, which has gotten some solid reviews so far.
Swarm is designed to cut through the “clutter” of the old Foursquare system and help you find your friends fast. This app makes it simple to find where your friends are and what they are doing, allowing you to meet up with them and join in on the fun.
- Strippped down features
- Friendly UI
- May appeal to those who were frustrated with the “old” Foursquare experience
- Friends broken down into five categories based on distance from you
- Arguably more useful than Facebook’s “nearby friends” feature
- You now have two Foursquare apps to juggle, which annoys some users
- As a relatively new app, it may be prone to bugs or crashes
- Despite battery conservation efforts from the developers, prolonged use of this app can severely impact your battery life
- Winning a mayorship is no longer as impressive as it used to be
- Some users complain that they miss their badges
3. Curious Ruler
This brand new app hit iOS devices on May 8, 2014. This educational app is designed for kids, but adults will also have a ton of fun messing around with this cool comparison tool.
Here’s how it works. You take a picture of an item you want to measure, then select an object from the database in the app to compare it against. Not only will this app let you use your phone’s camera as a ruler, but you can compare an object against many others to get a comparison. It’s a fun, hands-on teaching tool for kids that also appeals to curious adults.
- Uses a variety of reference objects that are common in the US, Canada, and Europe
- Clean UI
- Fun way to teach kids about measurements, math, ratios, etc.
- Still on Version 1.0, may have some bugs that still need to be worked out
- Apps sends push notifications, doesn’t really seem necessary for this type of tool
- You must have a physical version of the comparison object to include in your photo for this app to work properly
- You must place objects on a flat surface for best results, and should be placed as squarely/levelly as possible for accurate measurement
- Not ideal for measuring moving objects (like, say, some cool bugs your kid found in the backyard)
4. Vyclone – Film Together
Check out the video above to see how Vyclone works.
Vyclone isn’t exactly a new app, but it’s seen a big resurgence in popularity after being updated in May of 2014, and being featured in this article at BGR. Vyclone is also worth knowing about because it was created by Joe Sumner, frontman of the band Fiction Plane and the son of rock legend Sting.
Vyclone is a way of creating immersive, comprehensive videos. You can use this app to film a large event, such as a concert, and intercut your footage with footage taken by other people who were at the same event. It’s a cool way to re-experience an event from multiple points of view, and create a memorable “highlight reel” of concerts, sporting events, weddings, dances, graduation ceremonies, birthdays, and more.
- Allows for both automatic and manual mixing of video footage
- New (as of May 17) Events feature makes it easy to collaborate with people around the globe
- Stunning interface
- Great pedigree
- For best results, you should use this app for filming very large events with lots of other people filming at the same time
- Won’t work for iOS 6.0 holdouts, as the app requires you to be running at least iOS 7.0
- Does recommend allowing push notifications, mic access, and location info, which may be a turn-off for the privacy obsessed
- Requires registration prior to use
- Some limitations on video length
Not to be confused with other apps with similar names, this particular DashCam app is made by St. Edward Enterprises LLC. Version 3.0 of this app dropped on May 17, and the app has been updated to include some new features, including the ability to add effects.
Normally priced at $1.99, this app has gone free. This application can be used with cars, bicycles, motorcycles, boats, or really anything that moves. This is a great way to record footage of accidents for insurance purposes, or just a cool way to make a travel video.
- Free app that’s come down in price
- Tracks both trip time and trip speed
- Map embedded into interface
- Works in both portrait and landscape mode
- Share the videos via YouTube, Facebook, Email, AirPlay enabled devices, or just save them to your Photo Album
- Additional effects cost extra
- IAP arguably adds little value to the app for people who use it for serious purposes
- Interface may be too bare bones for some
- Requires iOS 7.0 or later, iPhone 4 or later
- Not recommended for iPod touch or iPad
For the best mobile experience, we recommend:
Portable charger: Anker® 2nd Gen Astro 6000mAh (2A Output) Portable Charger
iPhone 5 Battery Case: Belkin Grip Power Battery Case
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