You know the drill: a new update for Fleksy is released and I inevitably give it a shot, despite the unbelievable instability of all third-party keyboards on iOS 8 thus far. I tried it out because the feature list here really is quite amazing:
- new themes (OK)
- new keyboard extension for GIFs (cool)
- new extension for a numerical pad (great!)
- new extension to help with cursor movement (cool!!)
- an even faster way to add punctuations (at last!)
The newly-added extensions are modular, and you can have three of them active at any one time. There are a few more of them, but I only tried the ones I was actually interested in today.
I actively tested Fleksy 5.0 at work and experienced at least 10 crashes across my iPhone and iPad, which is too bad, because this keyboard really is awesome. I really, really want to use it, but the stability in iOS 8 just isn’t there yet, and there are too many times where I’m left with a simply blank keyboard. It’s astounding that Apple hasn’t fixed this yet.
The Yahoo Weather iPad app was recently updated, to Version 1.6.5. It’s a nice little update to a very nice iPad weather app.
The star features of this update are new animated effects for lightning and frost, and updated designs for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
I’ve seen other iPad weather apps with some great weather animations, but I love how Yahoo Weather combines those with actual stunning photos of my lovely hometown.
If you haven’t already checked this app out on your iPad, then you might want to take a look at my review of Yahoo Weather for iPad.
This week Apple has unveiled their iTunes Store awards for 2014, including their choices for Best iPad App and Best iPad Game of the year and a number of runners-up.
The Best iPad App of the year is Pixelmator, the popular photo-editing app that just came to the iPad a couple of months back. The selection for Best iPad game went to Monument Valley, a gorgeous looking game that’s had stellar reviews all round.
Among the notable runner-up apps are long-time favorite here 1Password, and two of our picks as Best iPad App of the Week this year, Storehouse and 80 Days. Others include Microsoft Word, part of the Office suite that Microsoft finally released for the iPad; Yahoo Weather; Adobe Voice; Star Walk Kids; Launch Center Pro; and quite a few more.
I know I’ll be checking out a number of the apps in the iTunes list and I’ve already gifted Monument Valley to my daughter.
You can check out the Best of 2014 Apps selections in the App Store on the iPad, in the featured section, or in iTunes on the desktop.
Comic Zeal, which is still my favourite way to read CBR or PDF comics on my iPad, was recently updated to iOS 8. This version flattened out the interface, introduced a few new themes, and vastly improved the ability to get comics into the app.
My previous go-to method for transferring files into Comic Zeal was to connect to iTunes and then drag comic files into Comic Zeal (located in the File Sharing section of the Apps tab). It was relatively fast, but it meant digging up my Lightning cable in order to sync with iTunes, and that little bit of extra effort would keep me from uploading comics very often.
Thankfully, Comic Zeal 8 has some great new wireless ways to throw comics into your library. There’s now a standard document picker for taking files from iCloud Drive, but the option I find even more convenient is AirDrop support. It’s ridiculously easy to just highlight comics in Finder on my Mac and AirDrop them en masse onto the iPad. I tried this with a few comics I had downloaded from the Humble Bundle, and it worked quite well for issues that were 20 or even 50 MB in size. A prompt comes up on the iPad after the transfer completes, and I can save the files to Comic Zeal with a single tap.
As before, comics that are similarly titled will be automatically grouped into little comic boxes. This makes establishing a digital comic collection a real breeze, and swiping right to throw issues into the powerful Slider (a way to cut and paste issues into different collections) is still handled very smoothly in version 8.
The only thing I’m not really a fan of is the new icon. It definitely has a classic comic look to it, but it also feels a little too generic. I think Comic Zeal has a much more refined feel to it than its plain icon would have you expect. However, this new change won’t stop me from using this app over the winter for my comic reading.
Before this update Comic Zeal was already the best way to enjoy DRM-free comics on the iPad, but the whole experience has gotten even better with these UI and file transfer changes. If you haven’t picked Comic Zeal up already, it’s a great purchase that works on both the iPhone and iPad.
I’m still awaiting the arrival of my Pencil stylus, but I’m glad to see the devs at FiftyThree have been keeping busy with their latest update to Paper:
- Mix, which is Paper’s built-in social drawing feature, can now find and add friends across various social networks
- The background changer can now swap out background colours without wiping out your entire canvas; just pick a colour along the bottom of the screen, tap and hold, then drop it onto the canvas
- Paper now has a colour picker ingeniously added to the colour wheel; just tap on the wheel, tap the colour picker icon, drag the resulting circle over the canvas to choose a colour, and then tap on the colour picker once more
I really love how Paper is getting more and more powerful with each update, but still has very simple and tidy controls. My one major feature request at this point would be the ability to insert images from the Camera Roll (a.k.a. All Photos, if you have iCloud Photo Library turned on). It would be great to write or paint over pictures I’ve taken or have downloaded, but that’s simply not possible right now with Paper.