Each week, a new batch of apps come to the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, all there to utilize our devices in ways we could have never imagined. The biggest change is that with the Apple Watch out in the wild, there are all sorts of watchOS apps that are ready for download—and some of them are already using the platform in interesting and helpful ways.
We’re only halfway through 2015 and we’ve already had a ton of great apps come out. Here are the 10 best so far:
Last year, Instagram released Hyperlapse, a great timelapse-capturing video app. This year, Instagram released Layout, a simple collage app that lets you stitch together a few photos into one. There are plenty of apps that do this out in the App Store, but Layout does it best.
It’s got some really cool features and lets you organize your collages in pretty much every way imaginable. It might have been to have the features built right into the Instagram app itself, but for now, it makes for a great companion app to Instagram.
There have a been a few notable scanning apps out there for years now, but Evernote Scannable still manages to do something special. Not only is the scanning itself nearly flawless, the app also comes with some really great sharing and tagging options.
The most powerful thing about Scannable, however, is the fact that it plugs into Evernote’s ever-increasing platform of apps and services in just the way you’d want it to—and that’s something no other scanning app can say.
This simple calendar app is made by Moleskine, the company behind the iconic Italian notebooks that show up in pretty much every bookstore or gift shop. Similar to the design of the famous notebooks, Timepage’s design execution is clean and elegant, focusing on a simple timeline view of your upcoming events.
While it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to calendar apps, there’s no question that Timepage has quickly gone down as the best and most beautiful new calendar app of 2015 so far.
In terms of design, the new Dark Sky app for the Apple Watch has to take the cake for one of the best wearable apps available. Dark Sky for iPhone has always been a beautiful app, but the design of the new watchOS app really gives us hope for the platform. Dark Sky is an easy replacement for the cluttered default Apple Weather app and gives you exactly the kind of weather information you’d want on your wrist.
If you would have told me two years ago that one of the best email apps for iPhone was made by Microsoft, I would have mocked you. However, with Outlook for iOS, the software team at Microsoft has proven that they are serious about making great products again and getting them out to other platforms.
Microsoft purchased the fantastic email app Acompli just last year, and you can see the influence in the design of Outlook—and trust me, that’s a really good thing. There are a lot of options for doing email on your iPhone, but Outlook is simply one of the very best.
Flynx is a mobile web browser, but not one like the ones you’re probably used to. It essentially replaces those built-in browsers in Twitter or Facebook that were made just to avoid having to switch apps. Flynx seems like a browser for a very specific kind of user. Fortunately, that kind of user is definitely me. If you use Twitter or Facebook to find articles to read and love filling your queue with lots of articles, Flynx really is the best solution out there. I never thought I’d need a second browser, but now I think it’d be hard to go back.
Because Apple somehow forgot to include a default podcast app for the Apple Watch, the behind the beautiful Overcast iOS app have now made a corresponding watchOS app. It’s exactly what you’d want from a podcast player on your wrist: simplicity, elegance, and intuitive user interface.
There are a million photo-editing apps out there, so it really does take something special to stand out. Polarr, the very popular online photo-editing website, now has a mobile app—and it’s every bit as intuitive and full-featured.
Polarr is as complex a photo-editing app as you’ll want to use on your iPhone, but if you’re looking for something beyond Instagram or even VSCO Cam, Polarr is definitely worth checking out. With the ability to make your own filters, as well as use advanced features like Tone Curves and HSL channels, you won’t find a better mobile Lightroom replacement.
Apple Music, in many ways, is just what we needed in the music streaming world. It’s a good, formidable competitor with Spotify, but is an alternative in terms of both concept and design. If you’ve always hated the way the various desktop and mobile Spotify apps are designed, you may want to give Apple Music a try.
The app puts a focus on two things in particular that set it apart from the competition: discovery and social media integration. These are two things Spotify has always struggled with, so I’m happy to say that even the initial version of Apple Music at least attempts to fill those gaps. [Also, it has Taylor Swift.]
No app has had the impact that Periscope has already had on the life of the Internet. Sure—the content of most Periscope streams isn’t always the most interesting. Often it’s just some random person answering questions or doing some menial task.
But in some ways, the thought that those encounters are completely live experiences is still exciting in its own modern way. Periscope itself still has a long way to go in terms of discovery, but its quick connection to Twitter and nice design put it in first place so far. I don’t know quite what direction mobile livestreaming apps like Periscope will go—all I know is that they will matter in the next few years.