TIME Software

Photo App Makes You Wait an Hour for Your Snaps to ‘Develop’

1-hour photo
The 1-Hour Photo app makes you wait to see your photos Nevercenter Labs

Free for iPhone, this 1-Hour Photo app aims to whisk us all away to simpler times.

The premise is straightforward: You can use the app to snap photos, but you have to wait an hour for photos to virtually “develop” before you can see them. And just to add an extra old-timey touch, your photos are converted to black and white.

The interface is even more straightforward: just a big button, flanked by the number of photos processing on the left and the number of minutes until the processing’s done on the right.

The idea is that you shouldn’t get so caught up in reviewing, sharing or deleting photos right after you take them that you miss out on whatever’s actually happening around you. As a super bonus (for the rest of us — maybe not you, though), the front-facing camera is disabled, meaning no selfies.

[Uncrate]

TIME Smartphones

10 Free iPhone Apps Everyone Should Download

+ READ ARTICLE

There are tons of apps on my iPhone that I love and use all the time, from my local supermarket’s app to fun games like Threes. It’s really hard to choose favorites, but that’s exactly what my editor Suzanne asked me to do: Pick my 10 favorite free iPhone apps.

It wasn’t easy. But after much deliberation, I narrowed the apps I use every day down to a list of 10 that spans multiple genres, from GPS navigation to fitness tracking. Take a look at my faves, and if you’d like, use the comments section to tell us all your favorite free apps that I might have missed.

 Maps
Google

Google Maps

To be sure, the stock Maps app on your iPhone has improved a lot since its disastrous launch two years ago, but it’s still not as well designed and robust as the Google Maps app it replaced. Google Maps 3.0 offers highly accurate traffic reports, construction alerts and road closings provided by Waze, lane guidance so you don’t miss your next turn, the ability to save maps for offline use and even mass transit directions with schedules built in. And if a new, faster route becomes available, Google Maps will alert you and ask if you’d like to switch.

You can download Google Maps for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Weather Channel App

Yahoo has long been the provider of your iPhone’s stock weather app, but that’s about to change later this year in iOS 8 when Apple will switch to The Weather Channel. But you shouldn’t wait for iOS 8 – the stand-alone Weather Channel app is leagues ahead of Yahoo’s version now. It offers extended 10-day forecasts and hyperlocal rain reports down to your exact location. It looks great, and as an added bonus, it doesn’t glitch out like the stock iPhone app occasionally does.

You can download The Weather Channel app for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Stitcher

I’m a big fan of NPR shows like Radio Lab and Wait, Wait, but I’m rarely around a radio when the shows are broadcast. That’s why I like the Stitcher radio-on-demand app. It streams podcasts direct to your phone from all the biggest names, from popular NPR shows to The Nerdist to Penn Gillette to Joe Rogan. There are plenty of news briefs, too, so you can stay current on what’s going on in the world.

You can download Stitcher for iOS on the Apple App Store.

gas-buddy-ios-app-510px
Gas Buddy

Gas Buddy

I recently took a cross-country road trip, and as you can imagine, I spent a lot of money on gas along the way. But I was able to save a lot of money on gas, too, thanks to the Gas Buddy app. It relies on crowdsourcing to constantly update gas prices at fueling stations across the country, letting you compare prices no matter where you are. You can even overlay prices on a map, pinpointing the best, cheapest location to refuel on your route. Prices tend to be accurate, and are generally quickly updated when they’re not.

You can download Gas Buddy for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Facebook

Pretty much everyone is on Facebook these days, for better or worse. To stay connected with everyone in your social circle, I recommend downloading the official Facebook app. It learns your preferences as you use it, delivering content it thinks you’ll find most relevant. And you can change your own profile and write your own updates on the go, making all your friends jealous of your exciting night out on the town. It’s a guilty pleasure that I just can’t do without.

You can download Facebook for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Google Now

It the past, I’ve called Google Now “creepy” – and it is. But that’s just because it’s so good at learning about you and your life. Google Now learns where you work, where you live, and where you travel, providing you with instant weather alerts, traffic and mass transit updates based on where it thinks you’re going. And if you’ve got a Gmail account, Google Now pulls travel bookings and restaurant reservation confirmations from it, automatically notifying you if your flight is delayed and letting you know when you’ll need to leave home to catch it. Plus, it learns from your Google searches to deliver sports scores and news headlines it thinks you’ll be interested in. You have to give up a lot of privacy to Google to use it, but Google Now is so good that doing so feels worth it.

Google Now is part of the Google Search app and is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Adidas miCoach

There are plenty of great fitness apps available on your iPhone, but one of my (and Suzanne’s) favorites is Adidas miCoach. It offers coaching, training plans, exercises, performance tracking that includes steps taken and calories burned, and GPS tracking. You’ll get the most out of miCoach by pairing it with a compatible activity monitor, but it still works great as a standalone app. Give the free app a try – you have nothing to lose but a few pounds.

You can download Adidas miCoach on the Apple App Store.

yelp-app-ios-pizza-search-510px
Yelp

Yelp

Whenever I’m feeling hungry away from home, I reach for the Yelp local discovery app. It ranks local businesses based on user-submitted ratings and reviews, making it easy to discover a great new hair salon or the place with the best pizza in your town. Yelp learns your preferences as you use it and check in to businesses, tailoring recommendations to your own individual tastes. Yelp also helps you save money: Occasionally, businesses offer coupons and specials on the app just for stopping and checking in.

You can download Yelp for iOS on the Apple App Store.

RedLaser

RedLaser is a shopping assistant app designed to help you find the best prices on any item with a barcode. Just use the app to take a photo of an item’s barcode and RedLaser will figure out what the item is, which local stores and websites sell it, and at what prices. And as a bonus, the app stores all your loyalty card info and offers coupons, helping you turn a good deal into a great deal.

You can download RedLaser for iOS on the Apple App Store.

Spotify

I’ve said it before, but Spotify is my absolute favorite app for streaming music to my iPhone. I pay for the $9.99 monthly premium service, but there are plenty of free listening options available for those who don’t mind a few ads every now and then. Spotify lets you create and modify your own radio stations, create playlists and shuffle through songs by your favorite artists. And if you install the app on an iPad, Spotify now lets you listen to individual songs on demand without you having to shell out the cash to become a premium subscriber.

You can download Spotify for iOS on the Apple App store.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME apps

50 Best iPhone Apps, 2014 Edition

From mainstay essentials to notable newcomers, here's the 2014 edition of our 50 Best iPhone Apps list.

  • 1Password

    iTunes

    Using the same password for all your accounts is like taking a skeleton key that opens every secured thing you use or live in and hanging it around your neck with a sign that reads “rob me.” On the other hand, keeping track of hundreds of different passwords in an ad hoc way, say a document stored on a USB key or in the cloud, can be agonizing (and just as insecure).

    AgileBits’ 1Password app for the iPhone — arguably the finest, most versatile password management app in the field — lets you plug all your usernames and passwords into a single encrypted “vault” you can synchronize across almost any device (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) and summon at will to access your login information. The iPhone version further supports locking on exit, forcing password requests after a set number of minutes and setting an optional pin code to let you more quickly access the app (without having to type in your much lengthier and confounding master password) if you already have iOS-level “auto-lock” enabled.

    1Password [iTunes]

  • Allrecipes

    iTunes

    All Recipes’ “dinner spinner” angle — which lets you shake your iPhone to roll random meals based on dish styles, ingredients and “ready in” categories — is arguably the least interesting aspect of this otherwise wonderfully helpful menu-planning app.

    Dinner planners are less than a penny a dozen, but All Recipes complements its iPhone app with a sprawling online backend, flush with tens of thousands of user-submitted recipes of all styles. The menu planner alone is invaluable: assign recipes to days of the week, tweaking servings as you like (or customizing each recipe to taste), then add them to your shopping list, and presto, All Recipes assembles a checkable list, sorted by grocery store section and in precise quantities that synchronizes with your iPhone in lieu of have to scribble items down by hand.

    Allrecipes Dinner Spinner [iTunes]

  • Any.DO

    iTunes

    There’s no shortage of to-do lists and task managers in the App Store, but Any.DO has a knack for tying important features together into an easy-to-use interface. You can type tasks the old fashioned way, or add them by voice if you’re feeling more adventurous. Everything gets synched to Any.DO’s site, and you can give your phone a satisfying shake to clear it of any tasks you’ve completed.

    Any.DO [iTunes]

  • Audible

    iTunes

    The reigning king of digital audiobooks, thanks in large part to Amazon’s pickup in 2008, Audible is still the best and most comprehensive site to get your spoken-word fix. The company’s iPhone app has improved by leaps and bounds over the years, now letting you download purchases direct to your iPhone, peruse an audiobook by chapter, set or queue to bookmarks, tap to back up at 30 second intervals, crank the narration speed (down to .75x or up to 3x), or bring up a clever “button-free” interface that lets you swipe left, down or right to either rewind, set a bookmark or leap ahead.

    Audible [iTunes]

  • Baby Monitor HD

    iTunes

    Baby Monitor HD by SunshineApps is really the jack-of-all baby monitors. It requires pairing with video capture hardware, say something like WiFi Baby’s superlative device, but supports the broadest array of models, allowing you to connect up to four devices simultaneously if you have multiple kids (or quadruplets!) and need to keep tabs on them all at once.

    You can set “home” and “away” profiles (the latter for viewing feeds through secure Internet channels, if you’re on the go), tweak audio settings (like whether to start up audio automatically or manually) and control whether the video feed reorients or remains fixed when you flip your iPhone between vertical and sideways orientations.

    Baby Monitor HD [iTunes]

  • Backdrops

    iTunes

    Most iPhone users probably have plenty of backgrounds to choose from just by pulling from photo rolls of family and friends, but if you want access to some of the highest quality images on the web, taken by professional photographers, Backdrops is a must. It links to InterfaceLIFT, arguably the finest editor-managed retina-quality image repository online — updated regularly — then lets you browse by metrics like date, popularity, location and artist.

    Backdrops [iTunes]

  • BaconReader for Reddit

    iTunes

    BaconReader is a slick and simple way to browse the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet.” Pick a section that interests you, and you can move through each post with a swipe, or swipe up to view the comments. The app is free, but a $5 in-app purchase gets rid of the ads.

    BaconReader for Reddit [iTunes]

  • Beer Buddy

    iTunes

    Use the $4 Beer Buddy app to scan the UPC code on a bottle, can or case of beer and you’ll get instant info about its alcohol content, tasting notes and ratings from RateBeer.com. And if you find yourself drinking a beer you really like, rank it and add it to your favorite’s list so you can make sure to order another one (or several) in the future.

    Beer Buddy [iTunes]

  • Carousel by Dropbox

    iTunes

    Carousel automatically uploads photos and videos to Dropbox, and also makes it easy to share those photos with anyone in your contact list. It’s a less cumbersome alternative to sending photos by e-mail, and is more private than putting your photos on Facebook or Instagram. The app is free, though you’ll want to be mindful of how much Dropbox storage space you’re using.

    Carousel by Dropbox [iTunes]

  • Circa News

    iTunes

    With an almost unlimited number of news sources nowadays, it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything that’s going on without a little help. Circa rounds up the most important news events and breaks each one down into a stream of bite-sized snippets, letting you see the latest updates first before flicking your way downward to get more of the back-story.

    Circa News [iTunes]

  • EasilyDo

    iTunes

    EasilyDo is the personal assistant you never knew you needed. It digs into your e-mail, contacts, social networks and calendar to automatically organize your life down to just about every last, granular detail. The app does so much that it can be overwhelming at first, but take the time to familiarize yourself with everything. You won’t regret it.

    EasilyDo [iTunes]

  • EndlessTV

    iTunes

    Need to kill a few minutes? EndlessTV lets you pick from well-known video sources such as Comedy Central and ESPN, and gives you a steady stream of clips with no ads. And if you don’t like what you see, you can swipe to the next video. It’s sort of like channel surfing, but on your phone, and it’s free.

    EndlessTV [iTunes]

  • Fantastical 2

    iTunes

    If you find the iPhone’s calendar app to leave you wanting more, check out Fantastical 2. The $5 app lets you set calendar events and reminders using plain-English phrasing such as, “Remind me to pick up dry cleaning tomorrow at 5pm.” You can dictate commands by voice or type them in the old-fashioned way, and the app plays nice with all the same calendars as the iPhone’s built-in version.

    Fantastical 2 [iTunes]

  • Feedly

    iTunes

    News aggregation can get messy, with dozens of feeds and categories to rifle through. Feedly’s iPhone app handles all of this as elegantly as anything could, given the iPhone’s limited screen space, maintaining the minimalist approach that earned studio DevHD plaudits on the web while giving you all the essential configuration options you’d want. Read immediately or save items for later, search by keyword, view by category, display by lists, titles or cards, share stories you find interesting, or try the “explore” option, which lets you swipe through recommended feeds that queue based on your prior reading or sharing habits.

    Feedly [iTunes]

  • Find My iPhone

    iTunes

    There are very few guarantees in life, but one of them is that you’ll misplace your gadgets. Some of you will merely misplace them in your couch cushions from time to time; some of you will leave them on the roof of your car as you careen down the highway. If you own multiple Apple devices, the company’s Find My iPhone app is a handy app to install, allowing you to track down your household’s missing iPhones, iPads, connected iPods and Macs on a map. Once you locate a missing iPhone, for instance, you can lock it, wipe all the data from it or send a message to the screen asking whoever found it to contact you.

    Find My iPhone [iTunes]

  • Flipboard

    iTunes

    Flipboard is no stranger to best-of apps lists. The slick service presents web content in an aesthetically pleasing layout, with stories selected by Flipboard’s editors or culled from your social feeds. You can build your own personal magazines, too, which can be perused by other Flipboard users or shared online with the rest of the world. If you do any sort of daily reading using your smartphone, Flipboard is a must-have.

    Flipboard [iTunes]

  • GasBuddy

    iTunes

    As mobile apps go, GasBuddy is something of an institution. If you spend any time in the car, this app should reside somewhere on your home screen. Pull it up and you’ll see all the nearby gas stations plotted on a map, along with their respective prices. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can submit prices yourself in order to help out the rest of the GasBuddy community.

    GasBuddy [iTunes]

  • Genius Scan+

    iTunes

    Expense reports are the bane of humankind’s existence. If nothing else, the $7 Genius Scan+ app lets you snap photos of your receipts on the fly, intelligently determining the corners and sides of each document. You can then send your scans by e-mail or save them to several popular cloud services, and multi-page documents can be scanned and compiled into a single PDF document.

    Genius Scan+ [iTunes]

  • Google Maps

    iTunes

    The reigning champion of helping you get from point A to point B, Google’s mobile Maps app is a must-download for just about any iPhone owner. Sure, the app helps you get where you’re going (or figure out where you are), but it also pulls in restaurant recommendations leveraged by Google’s purchase of Zagat, and real-time traffic information leveraged by Google’s purchase of Waze (another app on this list).

    Google Maps [iTunes]

  • Google Play Music

    iTunes

    If you’ve got tons of music and not enough space on your phone, why not stream those tunes instead? Google Play Music lets you store 20,000 songs in the cloud using the Music Manager desktop software, while the free iOS app lets you listen without taking up precious storage space. You can, however, download your favorite albums and playlists for offline listening.

    Google Play Music [iTunes]

  • Google Translate

    iTunes

    Google Translate does exactly what you’d think: Plug in some words — either by voice, text or handwriting — and the app can translate it into 80 other languages. You can also bookmark specific translations for quick offline access so you’ll never have trouble finding a bathroom in a foreign country.

    Google Translate [iTunes]

  • IFTTT

    iTunes

    With so many web-based services to take advantage of nowadays, a little automation goes a long way. Think of IFTTT (If This, Then That) as a middleman that sits between all of them, letting them interact with each other. You can get an e-mail when it’s raining, save your iPhone photos to a cloud-based storage service, or get a text message when your stocks go up or down.

    IFTTT [iTunes]

  • Instagram

    iTunes

    A bajillion square-photo-taking, filter-adding, online-sharing shutterbugs can’t be wrong. Instagram has quickly turned into the preeminent photo app for the mobile generation, letting users instantly upload photos for their friends to comment on, and a video recording mode for capturing quick moments where a single photo just won’t do.

    Instagram [iTunes]

  • Kayak

    iTunes

    Finding flights is generally about as fun as having your teeth worked on by a far-sighted dentist with the shakes. Kayak makes the experience (finding flights, not the dentist) bearable by returning clean, organized, deep results from the various airlines. You can book hotels and car rentals, too, and the app gives you quick access to flight info and customer support numbers.

    Kayak [iTunes]

  • Launch Center Pro

    iTunes

    Unless (or until) iOS gets the same powerful app shortcuts as Android and Windows Phone, Launch Center Pro is a pretty good stand-in. From this app, you can quickly call or message a particular contact, jump to the directions prompt in Google Maps, create new reminders and more. The app will set you back $5.

    Launch Center Pro [iTunes]

  • Mailbox

    iTunes

    Mailbox looks to tame your Gmail and iCloud inboxes by letting you quickly archive e-mails with a swipe or turn them into task-like entities to deal with later. The app’s design emphasizes speed and simplicity, helping you to slice through your mountain of messages in a matter of minutes. Yes, you’re basically engaging in digital procrastination, but at least it’ll help you feel somewhat organized. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of reaching inbox zero, if only for a short while.

    Mailbox [iTunes]

  • Microsoft Office Mobile

    iTunes

    Microsoft’s productivity suite used to cost $99 per year with an Office 365 subscription, but not anymore. The iPhone version is now free, so you can view Office documents in full fidelity and make light edits. (You’ll still need that subscription for the iPad version, however.)

    Microsoft Office Mobile [iTunes]

  • Mint

    Mint

    Your various banking institutions and credit card companies may each have their own apps, but Mint.com’s app ties them all together and adds up your income and debt so you can put an exact number on the soul-crushing feeling of being constantly in the hole. There’s hope, though: The app helps you set a budget for yourself, tracks your spending and presents you with money-saving offers on financial services.

    Mint [iTunes]

  • Movies by Flixster

    iTunes

    Flixster, which picked up critic aggregator RottenTomatoes in 2010 and was then itself purchased by Warner Bros. in 2011, is what you want if you’re after a simple, efficient, no frills rundown of what’s playing in theaters or out on DVD — as well as what’s upcoming.

    With a tap of a category button, you’ll get an instant look at everything playing near you (using the iPhone’s location features, so no need to enter your zip code manually). It also sports a handy IMDb-like database of movies, actors and directors, say you need a quick bio on David Lynch, or want a filmography of all the films Daniel Day-Lewis has been in. That, and there’s a “My Movies” option that lets you list what you own, want to see, your movie ratings and an optional Facebook/Google connector that lets you check your friends’ ratings and reviews.

    Movies by Flixster [iTunes]

  • MyPermissions

    iTunes

    You’re signed up for various online services, and many of these services have additional services and apps hooked into them. The MyPermissions app lets you see how many apps have access to your personal information, sending you alerts when new apps connect and letting you quickly remove apps that you’re not okay with.

    MyPermissions [iTunes]

  • OpenTable

    iTunes

    OpenTable helps you skip all the nonsense of trying to make a restaurant reservation over the phone and get right to the point: what’s nearby, which times are available, and how are the reviews? Potential eateries can be filtered by cuisine, distance, price and more. Once you find a restaurant that looks good and has an available table, tap to reserve it. Done and done.

    OpenTable [iTunes]

  • Paper

    iTunes

    Facebook’s Paper app lets you peruse the popular social network as though it were assembled by a team of new-media art directors. It resembles a slick news app filled with the goings-on of your pals, but you can also add regular news sources spanning a wide array of topics — just in case you want to keep tabs on what’s going on outside your social circles.

    Paper [iTunes]

  • Pocket

    iTunes

    Pocket serves as a repository for all the articles you find on the web but either don’t have time to read right away or don’t want to sit in front of your computer to read. The service integrates nicely with web browsers and popular third-party apps to make saving articles a snap; once saved, they’re formatted for easy reading, can be downloaded for offline reading and can be accessed from a multitude of connected devices.

    Pocket [iTunes]

  • Quick Scan

    iTunes

    No smartphone owner should ever be without a good price-scanning app. Quick Scan uses your phone’s camera to scan the bar codes of products you find in real-world retail stores, returning price comparisons from competing retailers and letting you purchase items directly if you find them online for cheaper.

    Quick Scan [iTunes]

  • Rdio

    iTunes

    Rdio’s free app lets you create radio stations for artists and genres, with a five-point scale for how familiar or adventurous you want to be. And as you listen, Rdio also creates a “You FM” station that rolls all your musical tastes into one big playlist. For $10 per month, you can upgrade to full, on-demand listening of any song or album, and the service easily holds its own against rival Spotify.

    Rdio [iTunes]

  • Runmeter

    iTunes

    Runmeter’s selling point is its gorgeous multi-sectioned interface, presenting everything you need to see in a series of swipe-able readouts, from high level stuff like its real-time map, calories burned, pace-per-mile and elevation changes to historical info, ascent grade and percentile, and splits — all within easy swiping distance.

    You’ll have to spend $5 a year to add “Elite” trend analysis, check traffic or download additional voice types, but the base version is swarming with options, including graph breakdowns, announcement triggers, stop detection, a gazillion little exertion-related metrics and your choice whether to let the app override the iPhone’s lock screen if you want the screen to stay “on” at all times.

    Runmeter [iTunes]

  • Secret

    iTunes

    One of several apps that lets people anonymously air their dirty laundry, Secret digs through your contact list and builds a network of people you may or may not know. You’re then given an endless feed of secrets to read through, revealing people’s innermost fears, desires and impulses. It’s sort of addictive, but don’t believe everything you read.

    Secret [iTunes]

  • Shazam

    iTunes

    If you hear a new song that you like on the radio or in a bar or anywhere you encounter new music, Shazam will analyze the song’s waveform and match it with the artist and track information. You can then download the song or learn more about the artist. It’s one of those apps that leverages just about every piece of cool technology in that little handheld wonder of yours.

    Shazam [iTunes]

  • Shopular Coupons

    iTunes

    The mall isn’t generally considered the place to go to get the lowest prices on things, but that doesn’t mean you need to pay full price. Shopular’s app can tell when you’re at the mall — it finds your location based on cell towers and your phone’s Wi-Fi connection — and alerts you to daily-updated coupons for popular stores.

    Shopular Coupons [iTunes]

  • Songza

    iTunes

    Sometimes you don’t want to put too much thought into your music. In that spirit, Songza offers up mood-based playlists cobbled together by music professionals. Stream a mix for working out or driving or unwinding or singing in the shower. The moods can get as specific as you like, and the service is free and unlimited if you’re willing to put up with some ads here and there.

    Songza [iTunes]

  • Spotify

    iTunes

    If you haven’t checked out Spotify on smartphones lately, it’s worth another look. The recently-overhauled free version lets you listen to any playlist on shuffle–that’s far more generous than any other free streaming music service–while a $10 per month subscription gives you on-demand listening, offline playback and higher sound quality.

    Spotify Music [iTunes]

  • Sprout

    iTunes

    Sprout is a beautifully designed pregnancy status tracker that walks you through all three trimesters with realistic 3D renders of the (average) baby that change weekly and offer hotspot info-bites, like when the baby can first hear your voice, or when to expect those first kicks.

    Tap over to “the doc says” and you’ll get insightful tips on topics like travel, “starting to look pregnant” and “fundal height.” Or see upcoming routine events, like “second trimester screening tests” or the timeframe during which an ultrasound can determine your baby’s gender. Helpful extras include a “weight tracker,” “kick counter,” “contraction timer” and for papas-to-be in particular, a checklist for pulling together all the things you’ll need in your hospital bag when the big day arrives.

    Sprout [iTunes]

  • SwiftKey Note

    iTunes

    The next time you need to write a long note on your iPhone, give the free SwiftKey Note a try. The app has its own special keyboard with a row of word predictions that changes as you type and learns from your tendencies. You can then copy and paste your notes into another app or sync them to Evernote.

    SwiftKey Note [iTunes]

  • Team Stream

    iTunes

    Bleacher Report’s Team Stream app has a pretty fitting name. You pick your favorite sports teams and the app serves up a heaping helping of scores, tweets, articles, videos and photos in short order. You can set yourself up to get various notifications as they happen, and easily share updates over social media and via text messages to your friends.

    Team Stream [iTunes]

  • The Weather Channel

    iTunes

    The Weather Channel’s iPhone app recently traded its old left-right, tab-based interface for a seamless scrolling column of information packed with visually polished meteorological data. Now, instead of one screen sporting multiple levels of left-right tabbed information, you simply scroll downward from the default temperature view through a parade of features: hourly weather, the 10-day forecast, a radar square, a carousel of video stories, a feature for entering and perusing crowdsourced weather, a news carousel, a pollen index, current airport conditions for your area and a flu report. The column is intercut by a few tastefully unobtrusive banner ads, but that’s it.

    If you’re looking for the prettiest weather app on the market — and that includes Yahoo’s lovely-looking weather alternative — as well as one that wisely keeps ads and non-weather-related stories to a minimum, The Weather Channel’s latest is the one to beat.

    The Weather Channel [iTunes]

  • TripIt

    iTunes

    TripIt acts like a virtual travel assistant. When you book travel — whether planes, hotels, or car rentals — just forward the confirmation e-mails you get from those bookings on to TripIt, which will automatically organize the information into a mobile itinerary for you, complete with maps, directions and weather info. If you use Gmail and Google Calendar, the entire process can be automated, too.

    TripIt [iTunes]

  • TuneIn Radio

    iTunes

    Think of the free TuneIn app as being able to turn your iPhone into a radio capable of pulling in almost any station from anywhere in the world. The service boasts more than 100,000 live radio station feeds and more than 4 million podcasts to choose from.

    TuneIn Radio [iTunes]

  • Umano

    iTunes

    Believe it or not, sometimes there’s just too much stuff on the Internet to read every day. Umano picks out some of the gems and recreates them as audiobook-like pieces read by professional voice talent. It’s a nice way to get caught up at the end of each day, with articles from popular sources spread out across a wide array of content categories.

    Umano [iTunes]

  • Waze

    iTunes

    Waze is an incredibly useful app for anyone who spends a meaningful amount of time in the car. Aside from providing turn-by-turn GPS directions, you’ll be alerted to speed traps, accidents and slowdowns up ahead of you thanks to data gleaned from other Waze users just like you. You can play the hero yourself, too, by reporting incidents along the way.

    Waze [iTunes]

  • Yelp

    iTunes

    As smartphone apps go, Yelp could be considered an old-timer by now. But it’s still a must-have for finding the shops, restaurants and attractions located nearby, complete with ratings from Yelp’s army of loyal users. This app helps you find out where to go but — perhaps more importantly — often gives you an indication overpriced tourist traps and mediocre eateries to avoid.

    Yelp [iTunes]

TIME Microsoft

Microsoft Office Goes Fully Free on iPhone and Android Phones

Microsoft

No more paid subscription required for document creation and basic editing.

Along with the big news that Microsoft has launched Office on Apple’s iPad, Microsoft has also made the iPhone and Android phone versions completely free.

Office was available for iPhone and Android phones before, but you couldn’t create or edit documents without an Office 365 subscription, which starts at $7 per month. Now, all you need is a free Microsoft account. (Full editing on the new iPad version requires an Office 365 subscription.)

The smartphone versions aren’t particularly robust. In Word, you can type, search, add comments and perform some basic font formatting, but that’s it. In Excel, you can search, filter and perform five simple mathematical functions. You can open existing PowerPoint files and edit slide text, but you can’t create new presentations.

Still, it could be useful for light editing and note taking. Because all files save automatically to OneDrive, I’m looking forward to jotting down thoughts from my phone and using Office Online on my desktop to pick up where I left off.

If you’re looking for an Android tablet version of Office, no such luck. Microsoft’s productivity suite still isn’t supported on larger screens, so you’ll have to use an alternative like QuickOffice, Kingsoft Office or OfficeSuite.

TIME iPhone Apps

Starbucks iPhone App Will Start Asking for Tips Soon

Starbucks

An update to the coffee company's iPhone app, arriving next week, will let users add a tip of between $0.50 and $2 to payments. Those who forget, but totally meant to, can use the two-hour, post-purchase window to show their appreciation

An update to Starbucks’ iPhone app, arriving on March 19, will let users add a tip of $0.50, $1 or $2 while paying for coffee. According to Engadget, the app will also send a push notification encouraging users to tip after they’ve paid. Users will have up to two hours to alter their tip amount.

“As more and more customers are using their phone to pay, they have also asked for a convenient and meaningful way to show their appreciation to store partners,” Cliff Burrows, Starbucks’ group president for the United States and Americas, said in a statement. Starbucks says mobile payments account for 11 percent of all transactions, 5 million transactions per week.

The update also adds a way to immediately bring up the payment screen from within the app by shaking your phone. Android phones will get the update later this year.

TIME Technologizer

Attention Caffeine Addicts: Jawbone’s Up Coffee App Is for You

Up Coffee
Jawbone

Log your jitter-inducing refreshments on your iPhone.

Jawbone’s Up and Up 24 fitness bands let you track a bevy of factors relating to your well being, from the number of steps you take each day to how well you sleep. Today, the company is announcing a second Up app for the iPhone. Developed by Jawbone Labs — an enterprise that lets Jawbone employees get experimental with personal projects — the new software is free and doesn’t require an Up wristband. And it’s designed to help you do one thing: monitor your caffeine intake.

Though its name is Up Coffee, the app tracks caffeinated beverages of all sorts, including tea, cola and energy drinks. With a few taps, you can enter the specific liquid you intend to quaff, such as a Diet Coke of a certain size or a particular Dunkin Donuts coffee drink. As you do, Up Coffee visualizes the increasing quantity of caffeine’s effect on your system as a collection of little balls jumping around a beaker, with ratings such as “Edgy,” “Wired” and “Sleep Ready.”

Or maybe you’ll cut back at least a little on your self-caffeination if you faithfully use Up Coffee: If it thinks you’re overdoing it, it’ll tactfully ask you if you’re positive you want to have that extra cup. Or two or three.

For people who do own an Up or Up 24, Up Coffee works in concert with the main Up app, which uses the data Up Coffee collects to tell you how much sleep each 100mg of caffeine is going to cost you, on average.

's Up 24 wristband
Jawbone’s Up 24 wristband Jawbone

The primary Up app is getting updated to version 3.1, for iOS at first, with an Android edition in the works. The new version adds features for tracking what Jawbone calls “sound sleep” — a non-technical term for the time you spend in truly restful repose rather than moving about. It adds more personalized stats drawn from the data it gathers about you: It might note, for instance, that you step 800 more times per day for every 30 minutes earlier you go to bed. And rather than just letting you set a daily vibrating “silent alarm” to help you wake up, it allows you to create up to four vibrating reminders per day to nudge you to do stuff such as go to the gym or take medication.

As part of its celebration of National Sleep Awareness Week, which is going on now, Jawbone is sharing factoids based on aggregate stats from its users and survey results. For example, Up users who said they had a laptop in their bedroom, for instance, got 38 fewer minutes of sound sleep per night; those who slept with a phone got 13 fewer minutes. If you saw the collection of gadgets on my dresser, you’d understand why I have the horrible feeling that those two stats, cumulatively, mean that I’m sleeping at least 51 fewer minutes a night than I should.

TIME Apps & Software

Gmail iPhone App Gets Less Sucky, Shows New Mail Faster

Products from rival companies Apple and Google don't often play nicely together, but Google introduced an update to its Gmail app for iPhone Wednesday that vastly improves the user experience, pre-fetching and syncing emails for easier reading on the go

Not that it was super sucky before. The one glaringly sucky thing about it has been de-suckified, however.

From Google’s blog:

The app now fully supports background app refresh, which means your Gmail messages will be pre-fetched and synced so they’re right there when you open the app—no more annoying pauses while you wait for your inbox to refresh. This feature requires iOS 7, and you’ll also need to turn on background app refresh and notifications (badge or any other type) for the Gmail app.

Note that this can take a toll on your battery life, depending upon how many emails you get every second. Check out this video to see how to turn off background app refresh on the iPhone to save battery life. Note: I have background app refresh turned off for just about every app, but I’ll be turning it on for this new Gmail feature. Mark my words. That’s not a threat: It’s a promise.

Get your mail faster on the Gmail iOS app [Google Blog]

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