Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
With November 2013 now consigned to the history books, we thought we’d take a retrospective look at some of the more notable apps to hit our radar over the past month. So without further ado, here’s a quick snapshot of some of the best iOS apps to launch.
In the same month that Nike launched its all-new Fuelband, the sports giant also rolled out its brand new Nike+ Move app, to take advantage of the iPhone 5s’s M7 chip, a motion coprocessor that tracks the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass.
The Nike+ Move app uses the M7 chip to convert your movement into NikeFuel — a metric created by Nike to tell you how active you are. More specifically, Nike+ Move measures when, where and how you move and lets you compare these stats with your friends or other Nike+ Move users around you.
Bubbli is a new iPhone app that lets you create and share impressive 360-degree photospheres.
To get things going, you will need a little guidance to learn how to hold your iPhone camera properly, but it’s fairly simple to figure out. By tilting the camera and pivoting in a circle around your phone, you’ll capture a bubble-shaped panorama of your surroundings, which should look a little something like this.
QuizUp is striving to be the biggest trivia game in the world, and judging by its inaugural app (for iPhone) it stands a good chance of doing so.
Featuring 100,000 questions across 300 categories, QuizUp follows the likes of Words With Friends by letting you pit your wits against both buddies and strangers from around the world. It also includes one-to-one messaging, discussion boards, and localized leaderboards by city, state and country.
When you choose to play a stranger, it will eke out the most suitable candidate based on your playing history – so if you’re a noob, you’ll likely be put up against a fellow noob. From here on in, you’ll be fighting against the clock to answer each question, for which you have ten seconds for every one of the seven rounds.
It also offers in-app purchases to let you ‘level up’ faster – these XP (experience points) boosters cost $1.99 (double boost), $3.99 (triple boost) and $5.99 (quadruple boost), and means you’ll gain more XP when the boosts are on for each game you play. QuizUp will be arriving for Android soon, too.
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star
Disney unveiled its first Star Wars-themed game for mobile last month, in collaboration with game studio NimbleBit.
Star Wars: Tiny Death Star is an 8-bit builder game for iOS, Android, and Windows devices, and players find themselves on the dark side of the force helping Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader build a fully functional Death Star.
Of course Star Wars wouldn’t be what it is without the Rebel Alliance, so players must prevent Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and others from escaping.
At the Pool
At The Pool is a startup that first launched two years ago as a way of introducing you to potential new friends. And in November, it relaunched with an iOS app that builds on its initial focus with new features and a mobile-first approach.
The app can still introduce you to new people nearby but now there’s an emphasis on connecting you to people you already know, perhaps those you may have lost touch with, or simply didn’t know were currently in your neighborhood.
Jukely, an app that recommends nearby concerts based on the music tastes of you and your friends, emerged from its New York City beta last month to launch in ten cities across the US.
Austin, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle were the inaugural launch cities, but the startup promises to add more conurbations soon. The launch comes alongside a redesigned app for iOS 7 that adds new features like full track streaming and ticket giveaways.
FightMe for iOS wants you to challenge friends and strangers with 30-second videos.
A cross between a social network and a challenge app, FightMe launched to the public following a beta period that opened in July this year. And in a twist on existing challenge apps, FightMe uses videos to allow users to show off their particular skills, whether that’s a backflip challenge or walking down some stairs on their hands.
We first covered Jinni way back in 2009, calling it the Last.fm for movies, just as the service was opened to public beta. While Jinni may not be a name that sits on the tip of your tongue, the Israeli startup has been notching up some pretty impressive content partnerships in recent times.
Jinni is a ‘semantic discovery engine’ designed to help you find ideas for movies to watch through a Web-based portal. But in June last year, it launched its first set-top box as part of its ongoing partnership with Belgian telecommunications operator Belgacom. And last month it rolled out its first native iPad app, as well as an all-new website, promising to deliver the “ultimate personalized TV guide”, including recommendations based on your mood, reminders, and watch-lists.
If you’re not based in the US, you won’t be able to use its full features yet – you can’t select your cable or satellite TV provider outside the States, information that’s obviously important for the TV guide element of the app. However, there’s still enough going on here to make this worth your while.
For the record, the TV provider element will be hitting Europe in 2014, starting with the UK.
Ovia Pregnancy Tracker
Ovia Pregnancy Tracker for iPhone promises personalized tracking for your, well, pregnancy.
The comes courtesy of Ovuline, a company that uses big data and machine learning to address women’s health issues, and it claims that Ovia is smarter than the average pregnancy tracker.
Ovia Pregnancy offers soon-to-be parents daily updates on their situation such as the baby’s size and development, and will also provide “critical health alerts” of pregnancy risks based on each user’s specific data – things like where they are in the pregnancy, Body Mass Index (BMI), age, personal goals, and other health data.
Back in October, we wrote about a Chinese photo app that went viral, holding lofty rankings in main app stores in Western markets, despite almost all the users being unable to understand the instructions. Now, however, MomentCam is set to get even more popular as the app recently arrived with an English version, on both iOS and Android.
The photo-capturing and editing app comes with a range of customization options to transform your photo into a comic character. It uses facial recognition to paste your face onto comic caricatures, and you get to make edits after that happens. You can alter the shape of your face, get a different hairstyle and eyebrows, and choose from 200 post-editing templates.
Rormix helps you find new music videos from unsigned artists based on bands you already like. So, a search for ‘Beyonce’, for example, will turn up artists that sound similar to the iconic singer.
The team at Rormix hand-pick the bands included to ensure a certain level of quality, and future plans include incentivizing users to become influential tastemakers within the app by offering tickets and merchandise.
LoveFilm [UK only]
Amazon finally launched a LOVEFiLM Instant app for the iPhone and iPod touch in the UK, adding to its existing iPad app.
It comes replete with AirPlay support for streaming with an Apple TV, and sports an all-new design with some of LOVEFiLM’s tentpole discoverability features, such as Watchlist.
Hitlist for iPhone aims to help travelers find the best deals to their favorite destinations, taking the hassle (and some of the expense) out of booking air travel.
It’s a well-designed, simple app that aims to help you complete your bucket travel list on your own (financial) terms. You tell Hitlist where you want to go and it keeps an eye on a myriad of travel sites, letting you know when there’s a good deal to fly to any of your chosen locations. The one downside is that Facebook log-in is required.
Lifecake for iOS is an app designed to make it easy to share photos and videos with family and friends, and launched last month under the guidance of ex-Skype and ex-Yahoo execs.
Lifecake is striving to set itself apart from the pack by aiming for families – more specifically, parents that wish to keep other family members and friends up-to-date on their kids’ progress, but away from the prying eyes of a fully open and public social network.
Remember Memrise, the company that uses pictures to help you learn new information quickly using pictures? Well, co-founder Ed Cooke has launched an off-shoot called CatAcademy, which is introducing a series of mobile games to teach you languages through, well, cat pictures.
CatAcademy kicked off last month with the launch of Cat Spanish for iPhone (Canada, US and UK only), and is basically the result of data analysis covering more than “a billion learning events” on the Memrise platform. Cute cats help you learn more effectively, apparently.
Apple Store [iPad]
Apple released an iPad version of its Apple Store app, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The new app is separate from the iPhone incarnation, to take advantage of the tablet form factor.
With the app, you’ll be able to shop for Apple products, schedule Genius Bar appointments and sign up for workshops and events.
From the creators of to-do list app Clear comes Hatch, a Tamagotchi-like game bringing virtual pet cuddliness to your iPhone.
Hatch may exist within the App Store’s ‘Games’ category, but it doesn’t see itself as a game. Or an app, for that matter. It’s a living, breathing animal that needs love.
We first previewed Hatch way back in December last year, posing the question: What does it take to make the iPhone feel alive? The answer, it seems, is to transform your iPhone into a cuddly creature.
Having initially been iPad-only, DrawQuest finally made the journey to iPhone and iPod touch last month.
DrawQuest is a social drawing app from 4Chan founder Chris “moot” Poole’s startup Canvas, and launched for iPhone with new features, including a zoomable canvas and the ability to create your own drawing challenges.
When Yello first launched its social place-sharing app for iPhone a few months back, we had a hard time making sense of how it fitted in alongside existing location-centric services like Foursquare, Yelp and even Instagram. But it went back to the drawing board and launched a new version that’s easier to grasp.
At its most basic level, Yello is an app for posting photos of locations that you would recommend to others. You can follow other users, like their posts, and repost photos to your own feed. If you’re familiar with the social media explained with donuts meme, Yello wants to be: “This is my favorite donut.”
Swizzle for iOS promises to clean up all your email offers into one simple digest.
Simply download the app, enter your email address and it’ll redirect you to authorize Swizzle to scan your mail. It will identify the junk and offer emails, a process that’ll take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how much email you have.
Once it has done its thing and picked up on all the senders that seem to contact you with newsletters, offers, vouchers and all sorts of other promotional content, you’re then presented with a list of offers.
Sift [US only]
Sift, the app that turns your mass of email deals into a catalog-like magazine, launched for iPhone last month having previously been restricted to iPads.
With the latest rollout, Sift also now includes a Shopping Circles feature that lets users create a virtual wishlist from millions of items across thousands of stores. The appeal for consumers here is that the seas of offer emails become easy to browse and genuinely useful. On the downside, however, it is still limited to users in the US.
Following the introduction to Android back in July, Kim Dotcom finally launched Mega for iPhone last month.
The cloud storage services lets users manage and move files stored in the service, as well as upgrade accounts with more storage space with a Mega Pro subscription, costing $10.99 per month or $119.99 per year. Mega Pro provides 50GB of storage and 1000GB of bandwidth transfers.
Don’t miss the top Android apps from November 2013.
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