iOS Apps Crank it to 11 Right Before iOS 12

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read

(That thing where you write a terribly punny post title without even realizing it.)

App developers seem to be treating WWDC as a deadline to get their big updates/launches out of the way. Presumably, this will let them devote much of their summers to updating for whatever goodies will be included in iOS 12. Since I’ve been mostly offline for a few days and missed most of these, I figured I would share some bite size impressions on these updates.

Castro 3

This is my new podcast app of choice. With the best queuing system out there (IMO), the addition of chapter support and a real player view make this the app with everything I want. The in-app purchase to unlock all features was totally worth it. Amazing update.

Free on the App Store (IAP)

Spark 2

My Newton email subscription expired a few weeks ago and I’ve been looking for an app that can replace it1. Nothing was scratching that itch and I was about to pony up for another year, but Spark 2 is amazing. The killer feature for me is being able to share links to emails to other apps like OmniFocus, which lets me easily set emails as tasks for later.

Free on the App Store (IAP)

Obscura 2

I’m not that big on third party camera apps. The stock app tends to get the best results and launches fastest, and Adobe Lightroom takes the best RAW photos in my experience. Obscura has a really great UI and some cool editing tools, so it gets closer than most to getting into my workflow. I am still playing with the RAW image quality, but it seems to do a really good job. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it, but I’m sure it will work for a lot of people.

$4.99 on the App Store

Pocket-Run Pool

This is my new addition, and like all of Zach Gage’s games, this is a new take on pool like you have never plated before. It’s simple, quick fun, and I’m on the hunt for a perfect game.

The coolest thing is an international tournament that happens every hour of the day. You get one shot each hour to set a high score and try to come in the top 10 worldwide. I haven’t made it yet, but I feel like I’ve gotten close at least once or twice.

Free on the App Store (IAP)

Things 3.6

My heart has a soft spot for Things, which is a great task manager and my second favorite app for this sort of thing. This recent update added a ton of keyboard shortcuts which makes the app feel ridiculously powerful.

$9.99 on the App Store ($19.99 for the iPad app)

OmniFocus 3

This is my go-to productivity app and the new update is…relatively conservative, actually. I didn’t feel like the app reinvented itself or anything, but I love their conversion of “contexts” to “tags” and their new scripting options look powerful, but I need to dig in more to see what’s new.

Free on the App Store (IAP)

Ulysses 13

Famously my “favorite app on any platform,” Ulysses continues to be one of the best software investments in my life right now. The new daily writing goals are amazing (watchOS 5 review, I’m looking at you) and keyword highlighting is helping me omit some words that I don’t want to appear in my writing more easily. This is a great update!

Free on the App Store (IAP)


And finally, one more productivity app, but this one has a twist. Agenda pitches itself as a single app to replace your note taking and task management apps. The design looks very nice and some people just love the Mac app, so I’m just starting to give this a try.

The tragedy of this app is that it looks like exactly what I want for me day job, but with no Windows version, I can’t use it for that. I’m pretty happy with OmniFocus now, but this is a really interesting app that everyone should at least check out.

Free on the App Store (IAP)

  1. I love Newton, but it’s $50 per year and that’s a bit much.