We've said it before — there are literally thousands of iOS camera apps available. But just because the market is saturated, it doesn't mean there isn't room to improve on the concept. VSCO Cam (Free) adds separate focus and exposure rings, and a white balance lock to give you expanded control over each of your shots. Powerful editing features, an array of filters, and purchasable presets add to that control. With an Instragram-like discovery feature, and an individual web presence available to display your photos, you can share every shot you take while getting recognized for your picture-taking skills.
Whether your boss forces you, or you genuinely enjoy using Microsoft software on Apple products, you'll be happy to learn that Microsoft Office Mobile (Free) is available on iOS for Office 365 subscribers ($100). Now you can edit your Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and Powerpoint presentations from your device, and see your changes reflected anywhere you access your work. Built-in sharing tools let you collaborate with your coworkers through SkyDrive, so you'll never miss a comment or revision. The recent documents feature lets you access your work without trouble.
We hate getting out of bed in the morning as much as the next guy, so we're always on the lookout for something that makes it more tolerable. The Wake Alarm ($1) iOS app takes the standard alarm clock and turns it into a simple game with an attractive UI. Spin the dial to set your alarm, or swipe to see your saved alarms. When the alarm goes off, you can slap your iPhone to snooze, or flip it over to turn it off. Alternatively, you can shake your iPhone until the alarm stops ringing — just be careful not to throw it across the room.
Taking black and white photos with your iPhone sounds simple enough, but getting that perfect look can actually be incredibly challenging. Challenging, that is, unless you have Camera Noir ($2). This deceptively simple app is designed specifically for taking black and white shots, with three brightness adjustments, square crop marks for the Instagram lovers, a horizon line that turns green when you're level, the ability to import prior photos, and the ability to share your new B&W masterpieces to Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.
Like to play chess? Like to play chess on your iPhone? Then you'll love Tall Chess (Free). Crafted specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch, Tall Chess — as the name suggests — takes advantage of the entire screen to give you a bird's-eye view of the game board at all times. Despite the uncluttered interface, all the features you'd expect — captured pieces, move history, exporting, and more — are just a swipe away. Thanks to Game Center integration, it's easy to start up a match with both friends and total strangers, and should you want to keep more than one game going at a time, the functionality is just a quick, easy, and affordable upgrade away.
Let's see: the ability to send handwritten cards without needing to walk into the candle fragrance minefield of the nearby card shop? Sign us up. Felt (Free; $4/card) is a new app for the iPad that lets you handwrite your own personal message — using the pen type and color of your choice — inside the card, then add that extra touch by handwriting the address that will go on the outside of the envelope. Felt will then print your message on Mohawk card stock, seal it in the custom-printed envelope, and send it out — no need to wait in line, staring at creepy porcelain figurines and gaudy photo frames. You're welcome. [Scouted by Lake]
Finally, our iPhones are ready to take on the most important task possible: finding the closest pizza place. Pizza Compass ($1) is a new Avenir Next-friendly app that features a spinning slice of pie that will point you towards the nearest pizza purveyor, releasing steam the closer you get. As you might expect, there's also a map view to provide more precise directions, as well as the ability to see ratings, operating hours, and reviews, and an option to share your favorite spots with your friends. Welcome to the (very tasty) future.
Frequent travelers know that having access to up-to-date exchange rates can mean the difference between getting a fair deal and getting hosed out of some cash. Currency ($1) promises to give you accurate conversions for over 160 countries, each with its own custom-designed flag. A clean, gesture-based interface makes entering new amounts a snap, while a handy favorites feature means conversions for the currencies you use most often are never more than a swipe away.
Up 'til now, Twitter has been a great place to discover what's happening, what your friends are doing, and what everyone's talking about. But finding new music? Not so hot. Until today, that is. Twitter #Music ($Free) is a new official app that makes it easy to find what songs are trending, what artists are emerging, what the artists you follow are listening to, and what tracks your friends are digging. Just sign in with your Twitter account, link the app with Spotify or Rdio, and enjoy. Also, please note that denoting a song as "such a great track" is a pretty sure-fire way to ensure no one ever listens to it.
It's a question we've often asked ourselves: "Why not give our iPads something to do while they spend their sad days in docks next to our Macs?" Well, the guys a Panic must have been thinking the same thing, because they've created exactly what we've been looking for. Status Board ($10) gives you an at-a-glance overview of the time, weather, your calendar, email, Twitter timeline, and RSS feeds, plus three Pro options to turn your JSON or CSV data into graphs or tables. You can even design your own panels using HTML. Have a TV hanging on the wall, doing nothing all day? Hook your iPad up via HDMI or via AirPlay to an Apple TV and Status Board will use it to display your info instead — which is way more useful than just watching reruns of SportsCenter all day.
We've just released a great update to the Uncrate app. Thanks to our friends at Converse, we've finally got an iPad version, which you can find as part of this new, handsome update. And as always, this free smorgasbord of awesomeness for your iOS device gives you quick and clean access to our latest product finds and popular stuff, the ability to drill down to certain categories, random item surfing, and Stash saving (just use the same username and password you use on the site). The iPhone version also has a Scout feature for when you're out and about and come across something awesome you think we should be posting.
Whether you're looking for instructions on how to change a worn-out rotor or looking for a way to share your latest libation, Snapguide (Free) can help. Created to let people simply and easily create and share guides right from their mobile device, the service offers a free app — designed beautifully for iPhone and iPad — that lets you do exactly that, plus a website that allows you to quickly share your new guide with friends, family, and the Snapguide community.