Google and Microsoft both return to iOS with upgraded apps designed to help you get your work done and save your most important files to the cloud. Plus, games, poems, and skeletons in this week's roundup.
Our favorite games on iOS combine intuitive, joyful gameplay with an artist's sense of graphic design--think Tiny Wings, for example. Badland, a new $4 game for the iPhone and iPad, appears to be the latest offering in that vein. The scrolling adventure lets you guide a forest inhabitant who is trying to discover what's behind a secret gone horribly wrong. That sounds scary, but it's also beautiful to look at.
We're suckers for science and science fiction around here, and the former often stimulates our imaginations in unexpected ways. So of course we love the free Essential Skeleton for iPad app. The app provides 3D views of the human body's bone structure, offers audio pronunciations of bone names, and quizzes you on what you've learned. Mostly, it's just cool.
Sometimes what you need in life is a little positive reinforcement. That's what the free Happier iPhone app offers--a way to record the great moments in your day and remember them later on for a pick-me-up. This week's update includes a "Discover" tab to let you see what's making other app users happy, as well new sharing and privacy options. We're feeling happier already.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
There's probably not a lot we have to do to sell you on Injustice: Gods Among Us, a free iPad offering: It sets up a battle royale among your favorite DC Comics superheroes, including Batman, Superman, Green Arrow, and more. Don't be fooled by "free" though--there's any number of in-app purchases you'll probably want to make, ranging from energy packs to hero-specific equipment packages.
Kashoo Accounting For iPad
This subscription-based accounting app for iPad was updated this week with several new features, including the ability to take pictures of receipts and attach that picture directly to an expense listed within the app. That new feature also allows users to upload multiple photo attachments in one swoop, and to sync those attachments to Kashoo's cloud.
The developer of the free Mocha app for iPhone created this offering to help med school friends find time in their overloaded schedules to see each other: Everybody enters their free and busy times into their schedules, then Mocha sorts through it and lets you know when you can get together with your busy buddies for dinner, breakfast, or even a simple 15-minute coffee.
Poems By Heart
Nobody really memorizes poems anymore. It feels like the kind of activity meant for high school lit students or Downton Abbey cosplay clubs. But Penguin Classics is trying to revive the practice with its new Poems By Heart app for iPhone and iPad. It comes with two poems, and a narrator who helps you learn both. Additional packages of poems can be purchased in-app for a buck. You shall never see/an app as lovely as this one can be.
The Quickoffice app, which wrangles Google Apps for business purposes, has long been available for iPad; this week's update brought the offering to the iPhone as well. Other new features include support for multiple Google Drive accounts, improved chart rendering in Quicksheet and Quickpoint, and upgraded sorting capabilities.
This week's appearance of SkyDrive 3.0 in the App Store was notable, coming as it did at the end of a long standoff between Apple and Microsoft; Microsoft, like other developers, was not always happy with Apple's 30 percent take of fees for in-app purchases. The result? If you want to buy additional storage, you'll do so via the SkyDrive website instead of through the app.
Other apps of note
Basecamp now supports "classic" Basecamp accounts ... Feedly (pictured) has upgraded a number of features as it vies to replace Google Reader ... and Twitter now offers faster launch times, as well as a number of bug fixes and upgrades.