Organize all the thoughts in your untidy mind into tidy little spaces with Grid ($Free). Whether you're planning a trip, collaborating on a project with coworkers, or you just enjoy making order out of chaos, it helps you easily display a bunch of information in a way that just makes sense. It lets you create grids of related items, including text, maps, photos, and contacts, with intuitive touch gestures accompanied by minimal chrome. When you're done, you can share them with friends to work together, or just save them for your own reference.
Your smartphone makes for a valuable tool when exploring an unfamiliar city, but data chugging maps apps can really hog your battery, potentially leaving you stranded with a dead device. Crowsflight ($Free) uses the GPS capability on your iPhone to help guide you around town. With it, you can cue up a few destinations before you set out, save them in the app, and use the GPS-only compass to make sure you're headed in the right direction. A distance meter gives you realtime feedback on how far you have to go, so you always know when you're getting close.
Zone out and relax to the sounds of rain and thunder after a long day with Thunderspace ($1). This iOS app features true-to-life audio recordings of real thunderstorms, all in stereoscopic 3D sound — so it sounds like you're actually listening to a storm outside. The app also features realistic lightning flashes synced with the audio. It comes with two thunderstorms (roof garden and waterscape), and six additional thunderstorms are available as in-app purchases. Each storm recording loops seamlessly and lasts a while, perfect for falling asleep to, tuning out noisy neighbors, or for long commutes.
Wii Sports, step aside, there's a new game in town, and it's Motion Tennis ($8). With an app available in the iOS app store, all you need to play realistic tennis in your living room is an Apple TV and an iPhone — no need for an additional (rather childish) console. The game uses the magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer on your phone, so that it can accurately interpret your movements without the need for an external sensor. Setup is a breeze too. Just pair your phone with the Apple TV, and play (just don't let go).
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.
There are plenty of iOS camera apps out there — an App Store search yields over 12,000 results. While most of these are just a refactoring of the same tired ideas, Mextures ($1) does things differently. Like a lot of camera apps, it includes a library of original textures, including gradients, grunge, light filters, and film scans (70 in total). Unlike other camera apps, it allows you to combine different textures on separate layers, using blending and opacity to create an original style. Once you're happy with your combination, you can save it as a formula to reuse as much as you like.
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.