TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week

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Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Google Calendar, VOX Player and more are our favorite iPhone apps of the week.

Linkagoal

Linkagoal describes itself as a “goal-based social network,” letting you post all sorts of personal aspirations so people can cheer you on and help keep you motivated. But the flip side is also true: Using the app brings a newfound sense of shame when you don’t complete your goals, further helping you stay on target. Once you post about your dreams online, motivation from strangers won’t get you there — the fear of public failure, rather, does the trick.

Linkagoal is free in the App Store

Sketchat

Sketchat is essentially Snapchat for drawings, but you don’t lose your sketches into the ether. The most fun part of the app is that you can send your sketches to friends, who can then make modifications of their own and send them back to you. Staff meetings and lecture halls will never be the same.

Sketchat is free in the App Store

VOX Player

VOX gives you cloud storage for your music, meaning you don’t have to take up your iPhone’s storage space with a whole bunch of .mp3s. You get unlimited music storage for $4.99, as well as the ability to create offline playlists and access music you have stored in different places, making it a great app for those managing multiple music subscriptions.

VOX Player is free in the App Store

Office 365 Video for iPhone

Office 365 Video is a great way to share videos with your employees or coworkers. Record a video, then submit it to your personal portal for others in your organization to view — assuming you’ve got an Office 365 subscription.

Office 365 Video for iPhone is free in the App Store

Google Calendar

Many of us have been waiting for years for Google to release an iPhone version of its Google Calendar app. It’s finally here, with a beautiful color palette and easy-to-read viewing options. It also syncs up nicely with your Gmail account, helping to import events directly from emailed messages.

Google Calendar is free in the App Store

TIME apps

How to Keep the YouTube App If You Have an Old iPhone or iPad

Google is ending support for the video app on many old devices

If you’re still clinging to your first iPhone from 2009, Google is giving you one more reason to upgrade. The company is ending support for its YouTube app on many devices manufactured before 2013, including a number of Apple gadgets, because of upgrades to YouTube’s platform. Here’s a quick guide to which devices are affected and what you can do to hang onto YouTube.

iOS

Apple phones will have to run iOS 7 or iOS 8 in order to be compatible with YouTube. If you have the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, or the iPhone 3GS, you’re simply out of luck, since they don’t support either operating system. iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users who have never upgraded their operating system can update to iOS 8 to get access to YouTube. iPhone 4 users who already have iOS 7 will still have access to YouTube, but those who never upgraded will be out of luck because Apple now only offers iOS 8, which is not supported on the iPhone 4.

On the iPad front, only the original iPad will no longer be compatible with YouTube. Other users with old iPads can just upgrade to Apple’s latest OS to use the YouTube app.

Apple TV

The third-generation Apple TV can be upgraded to support YouTube by selecting “Settings,” then “General,” then “Upgrade Software” in the device’s menu. First and second-generation Apple TVs, which were on sale before 2012, will no longer support the YouTube app at all.

Other Devices

Sony and Panasonic TV and Blu-ray players that use Google TV may not run the YouTube app. Devices that only support version 1 and version 2 of Google TV won’t be compatible with YouTube, while newer devices that support version 3 and version 4 will run the video app.

Even on devices that don’t support YouTube’s app, users can still navigate to YouTube’s mobile site in their web browsers to watch videos.

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Apps of the Week

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone Facebook
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Try HBO Now, which brings you HBO content without a cable subscription

It seems like hundreds of new iPhone apps pop up every week, but which ones should you bother trying? We explored the App Store and found some apps actually worth downloading.

HBO NOW

HBO NOW is HBO’s new standalone streaming service, offering all of the network’s programming for $15 a month sans a cable subscription. You can watch shows like Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley as they air, or dive deep into HBO’s back catalog to catch up on Sex and the City or The Sopranos.

HBO NOW is free in the App Store

Highball

Highball is less of a cocktail recipe app and more of a cocktail diary app, helping you remember exactly how you prefer certain drinks. For example, I like twice as much gin in my Negroni than the normal recipe calls for. Highball allows you to doctor and alter drink recipes, adding measurements as small as a “Pinch” (which will come in extremely handy for the eccentrics who like to add a drop of bitters into everything).

Highball is free in the App Store

Dingo

Ticket-buying app Dingo is perfect for anyone looking for more reliable options than Craigslist or scalping outside the stadium. U.K.-only at the moment, Dingo combines the efficiency of StubHub with the chat function of Tinder to bring you a pretty solid way to buy tickets directly from other fans.

Dingo is free in the App Store

Dialr

Dialr makes life easier by putting your most-dialed contacts right in the Notification Center so you can reach them with minimal effort. Basically, it makes your iPhone way more useful without overcomplicating the device. While there are other similar apps out there, Dialr is simple and doesn’t require launching the app every time you want to use it.

Dialr is $0.99 in the App Store

CARROT Weather

If ever you’ve wanted to feel like Tony Stark jabbing with his sarcastic artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S., then CARROT Weather is the app for you. It’s an adorably designed weather app that talks to you, or, more accurately, talks back to you. It puts up new images on your screen for different weather scenarios, and makes checking the weather actually sort of fun as opposed to tedious.

CARROT Weather is $2.99 in the App Store

TIME Television

Ellen DeGeneres’ Popular Game App Heads Up! Is Coming to Television

Executive Producer Ellen DeGeneres speaks about the NBC television show "One Big Happy" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 16, 2015
Lucy Nicholson—Reuters Executive Producer Ellen DeGeneres speaks about the NBC television show "One Big Happy" during the TCA presentations in Pasadena, California, January 16, 2015

Quick! Guess what channel you'll have to flip to

The popular game app Heads Up!, created by The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is now set to become a game show on the HLN cable channel.

Hosted by comedian Loni Love, the show will feature contestants attempting to identify what has been written on cards based on clues from a teammate, according to a press release.

“I’m so excited that Heads Up! is going to be a game show,” DeGeneres said. “I play it on my show all the time. I play it at home. I played it last night at Jennifer Aniston’s house. She wasn’t home, so please don’t print that part.”

Apple’s top paid app of 2014, Heads Up! involves one player putting a smartphone or tablet up to their forehead so they cannot see the word they are meant to guess. Another player then gives clues, and if the correct guess is made, a point is awarded.

HLN said the show will air sometime in early 2016.

TIME apps

How Your iPhone’s Music App Is About to Change

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Cultura/Matt Dutile—Getty Images Portrait of young woman listening to headphones at beach, Coney Island, New York, USA

Changes could be paving the way for new streaming service

Apple is planning a big redesign for the Music app on your iPhone and iPad.

The new version featured in a preview version of an upcoming update is based heavily on the current design of iTunes for the Mac, according to a hands-on preview by 9to5Mac. Like iTunes, the new Music app is putting a big emphasis on visuals, with album art taking up half the screen on the player user interface. A mini-player also sticks to the bottom of the UI throughout the app, meaning users can always easily pause a song currently playing.

The overhaul also brings other useful updates, such as the ability to add songs to a play queue and a robust search feature that can trawl a user’s library as well as iTunes Radio.

The new features may signal that Apple is indeed preparing to roll out a new on-demand streaming service under the iTunes brand, as has been rumored for several months. The service could be unveiled at Apple’s developers conference, which starts June 8.

YouTube user DetroitBERG has a video walkthrough of the new app:

Read next: How to Save Stories To Read Later On Your Phone

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Apple

5 Reasons You Should Update Your iPhone Immediately

Apple iPhone 6 Debuts in Prague
Matej Divizna—Getty Images A seller poses with iPhone 6 during a midnight sale of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at Apple Premium Reseller store on October 24, 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Other than avoiding that constant reminder to upgrade

Averaging more than an update per month, Apple’s iOS 8 is getting to be nearly as annoying as Adobe Flash when it comes to keeping software up-to-date. But at least users are getting something for their power-cycling and downtime. In fact, the newest iOS 8.3 update is loaded with some rather delightful goodies for iPhone and iPad users who keep their systems up to speed.

Here are five reasons why you should update your Apple iPhone or iPad’s operating system right now:

1. CarPlay Gets Unplugged

After updating their handsets, Apple users with newer-model cars (or whom have installed cutting edge, aftermarket car stereos) will get a pleasant surprise when they turn their key: CarPlay no longer requires that iPhones be plugged into a USB port to control your car radio.

Working like AirPlay does with Apple TV and wireless speakers, the CarPlay in-car user interface is now beamed directly from the phone to the car’s head unit, untethering phones and making this feature much more convenient. Now, if only Apple could do something about the price of CarPlay-compatible systems…

2. Siri Takes A Better Tone

If you’ve noticed that Siri seems to have relaxed recently, it’s not you, it’s her. iOS 8.3 made some tweaks to the way Siri speaks, giving her a much more conversational tone, even if her words are the same. It’s a nice, subtle touch that you may not notice unless someone pointed it out to you. And it makes her corny jokes sound almost funny, too. (I said almost.)

But Siri’s isn’t the only voice to get some elocution lessons. The Maps app’s turn-by-turn navigation has improved its street name pronunciation as well.

3. Wi-Fi Gets Some Wins

Whenever there’s a big software update, it seems like there are always some users who get left out in the cold with strange, unexplainable bugs. With iOS 8, many users experienced intermittent Internet connectivity issues, including signal degradation and repeated requests for passwords. One tech-savvy user got so frustrated looking into the glitches that he outlined the problems online, coining the term WiFried.

Apple heard these complaints and, with this update, (hopefully) addressed an issue where devices intermittently disconnect from Wi-Fi networks, as well as nipped the continuous login issue. Speaking from personal experience, the password problem can be crazy-making, as you wonder if you’re always getting your Wi-Fi password wrong.

But the Wi-Fi update is not only about patches and band-aids. It also brings Wi-Fi Calling to Sprint customers, letting them join T-Mobile subscribers (and EE users in the U.K.), as the few who can talk on the phone without eating up their plan’s minutes. Hopefully other carriers will allow this feature in future updates.

4. Family-friendly Fixes

Family Sharing is a feature that was released with iOS 8, and 8.3 helps to iron out some of its bumps. For instance, the update fixed a snafu where some apps wouldn’t launch on certain family members’ devices, but it would launch on others. Likewise, it also patched an issue that blocked some family iOS devices from downloading free apps already downloaded on another family-owned Apple gadget.

But in particular, parents will be happy to hear that the update made “Ask to Buy” notifications more reliable, letting account holders grant permission on App Store and iTunes purchases. iOS 8.3 also now lets parents set their kids’ phones to filter out iMessages from people who aren’t in their Contacts app — a great security feature to make sure strangers aren’t chatting with their kids.

5. Emojis Aplenty

And a big thumbs up to Apple for adding more than 300 new emojis to its iOS keyboard. The emoticons that have everyone all a-smiley-face in particular are the ethnically diverse icons that allowing people the world over to express themselves in ways that match how they look. And Apple’s designers didn’t stop with Earthlings — they even slipped in a secret Vulcan salute emoji. So, live long and prosper, iOS 8.3. At least until next month.

MONEY cellphones

3 Promotions That Show Sprint Is Desperate for Your Business

Sprint store sign
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sprint is offering crazy-sounding deals right now, including hand delivery of new phones. But that doesn't mean the wireless provider offers good value.

Sprint just announced that it will hand deliver new phones to customers’ homes and then help them set up the devices. The new promotion is set to start in Kansas City (near Sprint’s Overland Park headquarters) before rolling out to Miami, Chicago, and the rest of the United States.

Yet for anyone paying attention to the industry, the promo reads more as an act of desperation than a great deal. Though Sprint has been holding on to about 16% market share for the last few years—about the same as T-Mobile, and half as much as top-two carriers Verizon and AT&T—it has poor customer satisfaction rates and an especially high “churn” rate, or percentage of customers who dump their provider each quarter.

To be fair, the “D” word gets thrown around a lot when cellphones are being discussed. Last year, T-Mobile CEO John Legere accused AT&T of being “desperate” by offering a $450 buyout plan for customers who jumped ship from rival carriers. Then, days later, T-Mobile upped the desperation ante by offering its own $650 buyout plan—and AT&T quickly (and quietly) ended its offer. And it’s not just wireless carriers: Reviewers of HTC’s new “Uh-oh protection” program have called the deal desperate, since it offers a free replacement if you break your phone within the first year. Even iPhone users with AppleCare+ don’t get totally free phone replacements.

But Sprint in particular has garnered much attention over the years for especially desperate-sounding promotions. Here are 3 signs the company really, really wants your love.

1. Sprint will meet you at Starbucks, the gym, or wherever

The company’s new hand-delivery promotion offers a time-window precision that might make even Amazon Prime customers jealous.

“We will deliver pretty much anywhere… and it’s an exact-on-time delivery,” Sprint vice president Rod Millar told The Verge. “You can tell us ‘6:45, and meet me at McDonald’s.'”

Sounds convenient, but also potentially awkward—particularly for the Sprint “expert” who gets to roll up in this extremely cool-looking car and wait for you to finish ordering your fries.

2. Sprint will cut your AT&T or Verizon bill in half

This past December, Sprint announced it will now give you a 50% discount off whatever monthly fee you were paying AT&T or Verizon if you cancel your plan and switch.

Of course, the company also uses the promotion to get you locked into one of its various device programs. Those include the “iPhone for Life Plan,” which is not so much a chance for you to get a free new iPhone every few years (like it sounds) as it is a lease program in which you pay a monthly fee on top of your service charges—and do not technically own the phone.

3. Sprint will give you $550 to ditch T-Mobile

If you trade in your T-Mobile phone, you get $200 upfront from Sprint, plus up to $350 per line for dropping your T-Mobile contract.

Given that Sprint is in serious danger these days of slipping behind T-Mobile in the cellphone wars, this promotion makes sense. In 2014 alone, the company bought back more than 3 million phones from rival carriers.

Then again, if it wants to earn back market share, the service provider might want to focus less on promotions and more on, well, service. Sprint’s poor coverage kept it off of MONEY’s Best Cellphone Plans list last year, and despite some improvements, the company still ranks below its peers according the most recent report by RootMetrics, a company that rates mobile plans.

MONEY stocks

The Hidden Danger in Apple Stock

150409_INV_AppleDanger
China Stringer Network—Reuters

Apple's mountain of cash—which is generally considered a safety net—actually comes with risks.

Investing in Apple APPLE INC. AAPL 0.52% today seems like a smart bet by many measures.

The company broke records for the most profits for any business in a single quarter—ever—earlier this year. With nearly $180 billion in cash, management has plenty of cushion against setbacks—like, say, if the new Apple Watch doesn’t sell as well as projected. And while Apple has been criticized for not sharing that cash with shareholders as much as peers like Microsoft do, recent signals from company leaders suggest they may announce a hefty dividend hike as early as this month.

Certainly, there’s plenty of cause for investors to favor cash-rich companies like Apple, says Thomas McConville, co-portfolio manager of the Becker Value Equity fund, which holds Apple stock.

“A company having lots of cash is like a person having lots of savings,” McConville says. “If a person loses a job, savings help to weather the storm. Cash helps a company protect itself from shocks and keep investing in value-creating activities.”

But, he says, the devil is in the details of how exactly a company invests in activities—and whether those enterprises actually add value.

New projects and products can make or break a company, and it can be especially risky for a business to step out of its wheelhouse. Apple’s wheelhouse is making the best-looking and best-functioning advanced consumer tech products, says McConville.

That’s at least partly why some critics are skeptical about whether the rumored Apple car is the right new venture for the company.

“As an investor, I want to see that any product extension they announce fits under their umbrella,” McConville says. “If they get into vehicles, creating onboard technology and displays is a good fit, since visual appeal and functionality are top concerns. But if they were going to try to design seat brackets? Well, that’s probably not the perfect fit.”

That makes sense. Then again, traditional automakers already seem enthusiastic to team up with Apple—and with all that cash, the tech giant could easily just buy a company with more experience creating car parts like seat brackets. So what could go wrong?

Well, cash-rich companies have lots of buying power, says Don Wordell, portfolio manager of the RidgeWorth Mid Cap Value fund. And, as the saying goes, with power comes responsibility.

“Companies that are simply too big to grow organically can grow inorganically by buying others,” he says. “But that creates risk. Cash can be as much of a liability as an asset.”

So, for example, it worked out well when Disney bought Pixar for $7.4 billion nine years ago. That acquisition led to a spate of successful movies, a stronger brand, and happy investors who have seen total returns of more than 300% since 2006.

But when Quaker bought Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1994, it bungled the brand’s marketing campaigns and relationships with distributors; after just 27 months, Quaker sold Snapple to a holding company for about $300 million—less than a fifth of its purchase price. The whole affair left Quaker with a damaged credit rating and dragged its stock price flat during a period when the rest of the market was on fire.

Hindsight is, of course, 20/20. But a key quality investors should watch for is how patient and thoughtful a company’s leaders seem to be before deploying resources.

“Too much cash can burn a hole in management’s pocket and cause them to make a bad acquisition,” says McConville.

Apple’s record of acquisitions and product launches is not without flops. Among other failed products, there was Apple’s 2007 Bluetooth headset, which was discontinued after two years because it couldn’t compete with third-party devices. And although the company has invested millions over the years in acquiring mapping companies, like Placebase and Poly 9, Apple has still not succeeded in creating a mapping application that competes with the likes of Google Maps.

Of course, Apple’s top executives have made plenty of successful moves on behalf of the company in recent years, and sales of core products like the iPhone are still breaking records. But strong is not invincible, and if its new wristwatch doesn’t take off, Apple will soon be looking to throw cash at developing its next big product.

Investors would be wise to keep an eye on how, exactly, that cash is spent.

 

TIME apps

How to Make Typing On Your iPhone Way Easier

Swype and Swiftkey are helpful keyboard apps

Even though the iPhone was designed with convenience in mind, there can still be something counterintuitive about its default keyboard. Occasionally, autocorrect errors or errant typing will result in sending “I love moo” in a text when we didn’t really mean to confess our appreciation for anything bovine.

While iOS 8 packs a pretty good predictive text function that allows you to select from oft-used words via a bar over the keyboard, there are some great third party apps that can help facilitate texting and typing away on your iPhone.

One of the most popular third-party keyboards is Swype, which costs $0.99 in the App Store and can dramatically increase your texting speed and accuracy by letting you drag your finger from one letter to the next.

device-iphone-angle-white-1

To use Swype after you’ve downloaded it, you must enable it as an alternate keyboard by entering Settings, going to General, then heading to Keyboard. Select “Add New Keyboard,” and you’ll be presented from a list, one of which is Swype. With that done, next time you’re typing something on your iPhone, hold down the globe icon on the bottom-left of your keyboard and select Swype.

Another extremely popular third party keyboard app is Swiftkey, which can be downloaded in the App Store for free and enabled the same way as Swype. Swiftkey has two great functions: First, as you type, it offers an incredibly accurate predictive text algorithm, allowing you to choose from several words to complete your missives. Swiftkey also offers typing-by-swiping much like Swype does.

TIME apps

The 5 Best iPhone Games of the Week

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Try 'Ducktails' and 'Hellrider'

Had enough Candy Crush and looking for some fun new games to play on your iPhone? Here are five favorites TIME rounded up this week.

DuckTales: Remastered

DuckTales, originally released in the late 1980s and 1990s, was one of the best adventure games ever. Now, it’s been remastered for iOS — which means no more crummy, hard to see graphics. Take Scrooge McDuck on a string of journeys through dangerous terrains, traps and maps until you find your treasure. It’s an expensive game, but it’s a small price to pay for reliving one of the best games ever developed – or discovering it for the first time.

DuckTales: Remastered is available for $9.99 in the App Store

Hellrider

Imagine Mad Max, but instead of fighting other humans, you’re battling an army of skeletons. Clobber your way through various maps and destroy your enemies. Despite the fact that Hellrider follows the basic arcade game principle of running through levels and smashing enemies to bits, the game is remarkably designed and never gets boring.

Hellrider is free in the App Store

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

Until the day Nintendo decides to get launch a full suite of titles for iOS, games like Tiny Dangerous Dungeons will have to do. Take your character (who is wearing a suspiciously Mario-like outfit) through spooky arenas and over obstacles until you reach the end of each level. There’s not much enemy-fighting in this one, which is why it’s so endearingly like games of yesteryear, down to the blocky graphics and monochrome display. It’ll look really cool on your iPhone screen.

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is free in the App Store

Last Voyage

Unlike almost every puzzle game, Last Voyage is a strange quest through time and space. One moment you’re solving something that looks more like a Rubik’s Cube, and the next, you’re racing from chapter to chapter and beaming around stars at warp speed. The puzzles are almost impossible to solve, but it’s incredibly rewarding once you unlock the next stage. Though the graphics are basic, games like Last Voyage are bringing a new level of complexity to the realm of iOS puzzle games.

Last Voyage is available for $0.99 in the App Store

Phil The Pill

A game that looks like it could be turned into a Cartoon Network show, Phil The Pill is the story of a character who must restore order to his once peaceful universe of strange animated characters. Enemies have invaded Phil’s village, and it’s up to him to fight his way through alleyways and mazes in order to liberate his town’s princess and free his fellow citizens from invaders.

Phil The Pill is free in the App Store

 

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