It’s been a big week for Apple, with the recently-announced iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus going on sale in several countries, alongside the public release of iOS 8. The latest iOS update brings several exciting features for developers, such as extensibility, active notifications and widgets. We've also seen the first wave of third-party keyboards, along with a range of Metal-optimised games – Apple’s tool that helps game developers improve performance for iOS devices with A7 and A8 chipsets. Here's a roundup of the best new and updated apps and games of the week.
Just 24 hours after making its iOS debut, popular keyboard app SwiftKey has already amassed over a million downloads. The app, which has been a favourite among Android users for a while now, learns your writing style to autocorrect and predict your next word. The SwiftKey Flow feature lets you swipe type by tracing your finger over the keyboard, while SwiftKey Cloud stores your typing history in the cloud so it can be synced to all your devices.
Another popular third-party keyboard that’s now on iOS is Fleksy. Known for providing a super-fast typing experience, Fleksy features word prediction and autocorrection, as well as gestures that help you add punctuation, spaces and delete words. You can resize the keyboard according to your preference, and customise it with a range of colourful themes.
Apart from Fleksy and SwiftKey, another well-known keyboard app making its iOS debut is Swype, which is known for its gesture-based input and word prediction technology.
1Password, the app that generates complex passwords for all your accounts and lets you access them via a single master password, has received a major iOS update. The app has now gone freemium, giving you access to most of its features for free. Among the new features are unlock via TouchID, and direct Safari integration, so you don’t need to leave the browser to retrieve your password. Thanks to iOS 8's extensibility feature, developers can now integrate 1Password into their apps.
Visual storytelling app Storehouse, which was previously available only on the iPad, has now gone universal in this latest update. The winner of this year’s Apple Design award, the app lets you combine your photos, videos and text into a story. You can import images from your camera roll and compatible apps, share stories with your Storehouse followers, embed them in your blog and share them on social networks. The new update also brings support for hashtags and photo extensions.
Camera replacement app Camera Plus has received a major iOS update. The famous “Air Snap feature”, which lets you use one iOS device as a camera and the other as a remote, now displays a fullscreen view on the remote device, as well as access to photo and video focus modes, exposure controls and zoom. Thanks to extensibility, Camera Plus’ photo editing tools are now displayed in the Photos app itself. Additionally, captured images can instantly be transferred between iOS and Mac via AirDrop.
Angry Birds creators Rovio have launched a new Metal-optimised game called Plunder Pirates. In the game, you’ll get to build your own 3D pirate island, recruit and train a crew of 10 unruly pirates, and explore unchartered waters in your ship. You’ll also get to send your crew to battle against other captains and players, plunder their booty, and defend your island from enemies. If you enjoy playing with your friends, you can join a Pirates Guild and get access to special perks.
A unique blend of a match-three puzzle and RPG, in Mujo you’ll be battling with characters from Greek mythology. The tile-based game features a 7 x 8 grid with various colourful icons. To fight monsters, you’ll need to stack a minimum of three sword tiles to inflict damage, with larger stacks enabling more powerful attacks. For assistance, you can even get Greek gods on your side, each bringing their own unique abilities.
Beach Buggy Racing is the sequel to the popular arcade racing game, Beach Buggy Blitz. The new game offers over six game modes and 12 tracks, including jungles, volcanoes, beaches and swamps. Using your skills, you’ll be able to amass over 25 powerups, and use your winnings to unlock and upgrade to new cars like monster trucks and dune buggies. You’ll also need to recruit a team of drivers, each with their unique skills like teleportation, confusion spells and flaming fire tracks.
The official game of the new movie, The Maze Runner is an endless runner with a dark side. Part of the group of Gladers trapped in an ever-changing maze, you’ll get to play as your favourite runner, using touch and tilt controls to run, jump and slide. There are obstacles along the way, like falling boulders, fiery pits and gushing waterways, as well as clues that will help you unlock new levels.
Joinz is an endless puzzle game that requires you to create Tetris shapes by using the coloured blocks on the board. For each shape, you can only join like-coloured blocks, and you do this using simple swipe gestures. If you don’t join blocks, a new one appears on the board. The more shapes you create, the more points you get, and subsequently, you can unlock powerups which can get rid of unwanted blocks or boost your score with combos.
This week on the App Store, Apple is offering Real Steel as a free download. Based on the movie of the same name, the game puts fighting robots in the ring, letting you choose from a range of cyborgs or creating your own from scratch. Gaming modes include challenges, tournaments, tag-team stints and more.