As we head toward the end of 2018, the best new apps are starting to reveal themselves.
No one thing makes an iPhone app great. Sometimes, it’s because it offers something essential. Other times, it offers something fun. Then there are times when an app is so weird that you just have to see it. We suppose the one thing that binds all of these apps is that they demand your attention in some way. Will they change your life? Maybe…and maybe not. What they will do, though, is leave you with a few apps that you can’t wait to share with others.
Here are the 20 of some of the best new apps of 2018.
The latest version of Forest is shaping up to be the best app of 2018. Forest is a productivity app unlike any other. The app lets you plant a digital seed. So long as you keep the app open and on your screen, it will continue to grow. Leave the app, though, and the tree/plant withers and dies. The idea is that you will want to see the plant continue to grow and you’ll avoid using your phone to do so. Your mileage may vary, but the technique genuinely works for most. If nothing else, it’s a great concept.
Sweatcoin’s combination of cryptocurrency and exercise is more than a gimmick. Simply put, Sweatcoin pays you to exercise. No, really…it does. The thing is that you’re not going to make millions from this step counter. Actually, you won’t make any “real” money. What you will earn are sweat coins. Those coins can then be redeemed for items featured on the app’s marketplace. We’ve seen plenty of apps over the years that try to “gamify” exercise, but few that pay you for exercise. Even if the rate of exchange isn’t great, it’s still a tremendous motivator.
We’d be shocked if you haven’t heard of Fortnite yet. This battle royale title sees 100 players scrounge for items and weapons in order to be the last player standing. There are many like it, but none can boast the popularity of Fortnite. Not only is Fortnite free, but it’s very accessible. Just about anyone can learn to play it in a reasonable amount of time. Even better, Fortnite runs incredibly well on mobile devices. Put it all together, and you’ve got a free game you can play for hundreds of hours that just keeps getting better.
Ok, we’re not going to try to convince you this is a brand-new app. In fact, it has been around for years as Google Play Newsstand. However, Newsstand underwent a name change and design change earlier this year. The result is an app that certainly feels new. Google News basically creates a custom front page of all the hottest stories. It’s something we’ve seen elsewhere, but few do it this well. Google News even lets you see stories that might be out of your “algorithm bubble.” Throw in Siri Shortcuts compatibility, and you’ve got an essential app.
Generally, .io games see you compete for resources against other players to take over a map. Hole.io is similar to many of those games. However, the specifics of the mechanics make it interesting. You play a hole that has to swallow random objects to grow. As you grow bigger, you can swallow larger objects. All the while, you have to avoid being swallowed by larger players. The game’s bright visuals and smooth controls elevate it above its competition. The concept of object size also adds an element of strategy to this game that we don’t see in other titles.
We know it’s hard to move away from Audible, but hear us out. Bookmate is an audiobook subscription service that is opening eyes and perking ears. The service’s free plan gives you access to public domain titles, social features, and recommendations. All told, the free account lets you access over 50,000 titles. However, it’s the service’s premium accounts that make it interesting. The various subscription tiers give you access to more (and more modern) books. Opt for the top-tier subscription, and you’ll have access to a large library of incredible titles. Best of all, the service’s recommendation system adjusts to what you read.
Another podcast manager? Well, yes…and no. At its core, Cosmicast is a podcast manager. It keeps up with your podcasts, helps you find new ones, and all the other manager niceties you’ve come to expect. However, Cosmicast’s selling point is that it’s beautiful. You might not think that looks matter for such apps, but it turns out they do. Cosmicast utilizes a simple yet stunning layout. Everything is cleanly organized, easy to navigate, and essential information pops as it should. Unless you’re really attached to your podcast app – or don’t want to pay for one – you really need to make the switch.
This is a pretty obscure app, but an undeniably interesting one. As board games rise in popularity, new fans realize that the simple act of keeping score is actually quite complicated. More often than not, the best way to do it still involves pen and paper. The Scoremaster changes all of that. While Scoremaster often functions like a calculator, it’s a calculator designed for board game scores. It lets you easily change multiple players’ scores, keep logs of previous game scores, and even pick up where you left off. It’s a fantastic modern tool for a simple problem.
FoodVision: AI Food Tracker
FoodVision: AI Food Tracker offers a function that makes you realize we’re living in the future. This app uses your camera to scan food and tell you the relative nutritional value of what you’re eating. We should note the app isn’t perfect. It can’t recognize every food and has trouble with certain combinations of food. However, as a work in progress app, it’s undeniably impressive what Food Tracker can do. Download it, use it when you can, or just show it off to people.
The rise of AR technology has led to some interesting experiences. The ability for an app to manipulate the world around us in some way has led to us viewing our world in new ways. While Civilisations falls closer to the “fun” side of the AR app spectrum, it’s still pretty fascinating. This app allows you to insert ancient artifacts and similar pieces of history into your world. It then lets you explore those objects in greater detail. Once you start playing with this, it’s hard to put it down. Just try not to get too distracted.
Yes, it’s a note taking app. Yes, you probably already have several on your device. However, Noted may be the only one you need. Note allows you to record and take notes, but it really shines in the features department. Note’s ability to timestamp certain passages makes jumping to what matters a breeze. It also works with Siri Shortcuts and lets you lock your most sensitive notes. On top of that, it makes exporting notes in various formats a breeze. All things considered, Noted has almost no design weaknesses. You should really switch to it as soon as possible.
Scanbot actually came out last year but enjoyed a major 2018 upgrade that made the app infinitely more valuable. Scanbot’s basic function is its ability to scan, save, and share documents. However, the latest version of Scanbot sports a much-improved design (several optional designs, in fact) that greatly improves its workflow. It also runs significantly faster than before. What you end up with is a document scanner, editor, and sender that is better than the competition. If you haven’t given Scanbot a shot by now, it’s time to download it before you need it.
It’s hard to find a good food recommendation app. Note that we said food…not restaurant. Sometimes, you don’t care about service, decor, or wine selection. You just want something good to eat. So far as that goes, Bite has been described as the Tinder for food. It focuses on individual dishes that people near you like and have decided to share. What you get is a food porn app this actually quite helpful. This cuts through all the mess of restaurant reviews to show you good food and where to get it. It could turn into something big. For now, it’s just a nice app to have.
Yarn is a bizarre app. In fact, we’re really not even sure who we would recommend it to. However, it’s something you absolutely have to check out. Basically, Yarn is a fictional voyeurism app. See, Yarn presents stories in unusual formats. You might read a text message conversation between two people cheating on each other. You might look at a group chat that follows someone accidentally posting something embarrassing on Instagram. It’s basically fan fiction, but it’s all presented in fascinating formats. Fortunately, Yarn is free for a one week trial. In other words, you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a shot.
Fabulous – Motivate Me
Most people could use a “life assistant app.” These are apps that help you reach goals or even just keep things together. Fabulous – Motivate Me is similar to many of those apps. It separates itself through its design and functionality. Fabulous begins to calm you down with its minimalist and colorful design. Once you dive into the app, you’ll find it can help you lose weight, focus on a task, or even just meditate. It all probably sounds like a gimmick, but Fabulous really does work best for anyone who is motivated but needs a little support.
Enlight Photofox: Photo Editor
Here’s another app that has been out for a little while but really came into its own this year. Enlight Photofox is a photo editing app unlike any other. Most of the app is designed to let you turn simple photos into something extraordinary. By using a very simple layers process, Photofox lets you create stunning images with relative ease. What you end up creating is often closer to art. Weird, and obscure art, but art nonetheless. If you want to test your editing creativity – or even learn creative editing – this is a must-have.
IGTV is a fascinating concept that more people need to know about. Essentially, it’s Instagram’s attempt to turn Instagram into a kind of streaming service. That is to say that it lets you watch uninterrupted, unshortened feeds of content from Instagram users. However, it’s really more than that. IGTV is designed to let you easily watch videos in a vertical format. It also lets content creators focus on a new style of posts. The concept isn’t quite there yet, and the app is lacking in features. However, it’s a good time to get in on this great idea.
Indivius is a bold app. In fact, it might be too bold to really work. The idea is that Indivius will let you debate with people who hold different political beliefs. You get to do so via an anonymous messaging system. It also lets you discover new political issues and keep up with the political scene. Given that the app is almost entirely dependent on the quality of its user interactions, the actual conversations can be hit and miss. However, as a concept, it’s very interesting. If nothing else, it’s a great way to let out a little steam (so long as you follow the rules of conduct).
Animation is a fantastic format. It looks great, it is capable of expressing many different emotions, and it’s often exciting to create. The problem is that animation is a skill and time-intensive process. Animatix cuts down on the time and skill requirements. It lets you turn photos into short animated sequences. Granted, they’re not the most elaborate sequences. In fact, there are only 24 animation styles to choose from. However, the end product almost always looks great and is incredibly easy to construct. Honestly, every Apple user that takes photos should have this app available to them.
There are a surprising amount of meditation apps out there. Making a splash in that growing market usually means doing something quite different. Non isn’t entirely different, but it may be just different enough. Non utilizes a series of sounds to help you meditate. Unlike other apps, though, it randomizes these sounds in various ways. By doing so, Non makes it so that you’re not focusing in on an expected series of sounds. By not focusing on that, it’s easier to just let go. The app won’t work for everyone, but it is a beautiful design that offers something interesting.