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I really dig Instagram — or I used to. But since the service was purchased by Facebook, I feel like it’s lost its focus. Instagram’s new video features are nice, but they don’t feel as smartly-designed as Vine. And speaking of design, I feel like Instagram’s has suffered recently — particularly on iOS 7, where the app looks like something an arts college dropout would whip up if given the opportunity. And finally, I can’t be alone in saying that I think the filter selection is getting worse with time.

That’s why I’m really excited about Favd. Favd is a photo-sharing app made for iOS 7 that’s designed on the App.net backbone. It offers total ownership of your photos, great filters, and the ability to share them on Twitter and Facebook. Better yet, its design harkens back to the days of early Instagram and uses App.net for its social structure. Read on to find out why I think Favd is a must-have app.

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Writing app reviews is a great gig, mainly because it gives me an excuse to “audition” apps on a constant basis. I have a need to research and find new apps, or test out the latest and greatest offerings, to determine if they fill a crucial need. Because of this, most apps don’t end up spending much time on my phone, as they’re often being replaced. I’ve used over a dozen notes apps, for example, which get replaced every other week or so (I’m currently using Simplenote, which may finally bring some stability).

With that being said, I’m always pleased when I encounter an app that stands up to scrutiny and outshines the competition. I shared a similar sentiment in my recent Pocket Casts review, which is by far and away my favorite podcast management app. Now, I refer you to my favorite calendar app–Sunrise. Redesigned and refreshed for iOS 7, let’s find out how this calendar app has progressed since my initial review in April. (more…)

I love Pinboard. Until not long ago, I was doubting whether or not I thought it would be a valuable purchase, but holy cow, do I love Pinboard. My problem is finding an iOS app that I really like using Pinboard with — one that meets high standards in design and functionality. It has to work and do most of what I need it to, but it also has to look stunning. Whether or not that makes me shallow is trivial — nobody wants to use ugly apps.

Until recently, none of the apps I’d seen or tried — and even some of the heavily-endorsed apps like Pushpin — are aesthetically pleasing to me. On iOS 7, all of them seem too textured or too heavy for my liking. That’s why I was insanely excited about Pincase — a Pinboard app exclusively for the new iOS. Read on to find out if Pincase can be your new Pinboard home.

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Camera+ has been one of the most popular camera apps for the iPhone ever since it debuted back in 2010, offering a dizzying array of features and advanced controls for composing shots. To say that Camera+ was groundbreaking would be an understatement and it set the benchmark for how a camera app should be. It even introduced new features, such as the rather controversial VolumeSnap: a feature that led to the app being pulled from the App Store, only to then see it become part of the built-in camera app.

With the iPhone now the go-to camera for almost every user, the market for camera apps on the App Store has become one of the largest and second only to games. Camera+ has had some fierce competition since our last review in 2011 but the developers, tap tap tap, have now launched their next major iteration: Camera+ 4.

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We live in a busy world that has us juggling work, school, kids, and so much more each and every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get ten minutes a day to completely relax? Well, that just might be possible with Headspace (on-the-go), a mediation app.

The creators of Headspace are on a mission to get as many people as possible to take ten minutes out of their day to practice mediation. They suggest that Headspace is mediation for the modern world delivered through simple and scientifically proven techniques that aim to give you a healthy mind. But does the app manage to keep you motivated with its design and techniques or does it end up boring you to tears? That’s what we’ll find out.

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Task and project management apps such as OmniFocus and Things aren’t just popular, they’re a necessity for anyone wanting to keep track of tasks and projects all the way from start to finish. While I probably spend more time trying out new GTD apps than actually getting anything done, I’d be completely lost without any sort of task management app that lets me track individual tasks and projects.

My latest GTD distraction is Firetask, a project-orientated task management app that promises complete and simple control of your tasks so you can spend less time procrastinating and more time, well, getting things done.

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I’ve been playing the Infinity Blade games since they were first released a couple years ago. Looking back, it’s stunning how far the iPhone has come since the first one was announced for the iPhone 4. At the time, I hadn’t purchased an iPhone yet and was playing the thing on my trusted third-generation iPod Touch. Then, Infinity Blade was a show-stopping demo. Friends and family were shocked at how incredibly good-looking the game I held in my hand was.

Of course, Infinity Blade has evolved a lot since then. Infinity Blade II tried to ratchet up the storytelling and added some non-linear “choose your own adventure” moments. Much of Infinity Blade III, the most recent instalment in the series, follows the same route, but it also brings some major enhancements to the table. And while we’ve always been talking about Infinity Blade like it was a console game, I’d argue this entry is the first real console game in the series. Except, like always, you can play it on your iOS device. Read on to find out whether or not Infinity Blade III is worth your hard-earned cash.

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A month ago I announced Cookbooth, the app for creating step-by-step photo recipes, was going to revolutionize recipe sharing. You may remember that I was excited — actually head over heels gaga for this little app. You see, I had become jaded, and nothing in the App Store was doing it for me. The iPhone app market seemed stagnant; lacking innovation. Now I realize it was just the calm before the storm.

As Yoda said to Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back, “There is another.” Nonapkin, released in September on the heels of Cookbooth, is another social app for creating step-by-step photo recipes. Now I believe we’re looking at a new trend. Developers have jumped on the next big leap for recipe apps, and I think we’ll be seeing more players in this arena going into 2014. As with any new platform, the cream rises to the top. In time, we will see which apps offer the best user experience, functionality and social interaction.

After my glowing review of Cookbooth, Nonapkin has a lot to live up to. How does this app measure up to the current standard? Keep reading to find out.

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Spotify have been allowing developers to build upon their platform for some time now, giving developers the ability to build their own music discovery apps and services that go beyond anything Spotify alone could do.

One such service that has been made available recently is Moodsnap, a music discovery app for iOS users with a Spotify Premium subscription. Moodsnap finds music based upon your mood by choosing from a number of pre-selected pictures to best represent how you feel. While it’s an interesting idea, the app is far too buggy and its lack of variety and often confusing images makes it hard to understand why it’s a better alternative to any other music discovery app, including Spotify Radio.

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In the wake of iOS 7, it feels like the App Store is the Wild West. Every app territory is up for grabs again — it’s no longer about who has the best app, but about who’s made the best iOS 7 app. Camera apps, despite iOS 7’s arguably disappointing camera filters, aren’t excluded from this. In fact, thanks to iOS 7’s renewed focus on clarity, I think that camera apps could benefit more than most.

Landcam requires iOS 6 or higher, but it looks like it’s been made for iOS 7 from the get-go. This is the rare camera app that surprises and delights as often as it snaps a shot. Let’s take a look and see whether or not it can supplant your current favourites.

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