As the weekend winds down, there's no better time to see what new apps can give your smartphone new superpowers. Here are the best candidates from the past week.
Offtime wants to save us from our own devices. Following a successful crowdfunding bout in 2013 with months spent in preview, the public version of Offtime launched this week, and the app helps us disconnect from our devices when we need it most. Pre-set profiles (that can be tweaked of course) help dictate what your phone can and can't do when activated. It also works as a pretty nifty analytics tool as it keeps track of how often you use certain services and unlock your smartphone throughout the day. [Free]
I will admit it. I'm not the greatest photographer—DSLR or otherwise—so Camera51 could be a must have. Smartphones already do a lot automatically in an effort for amateur photographers to get the best shot possible, but framing and other photo elements are reliant on a trained eye. Camera51 provides an interface to help guide your hand toward the best shot possible. Once the app analyzes a scene, it suggests the best frame, focus, and exposure. The app tries to make the best photo possible even if you have no idea what you're doing. [Free]
View Source is the most straightforward title on this list. The $1 app lets you look at the source info on any webpage in Safari. When on a webpage, you can launch view source through an action extension through iOS 8. This is a feature that's been surprisingly absent on iOS much to the pains of developers. A recent update also added line-wrapping and other debugs for better performance. [$1]
If Camera51 is for the camera illiterate, Manual is for a completely different crowd. Until iOS 8, Apple wouldn't let other developers tap into its iPhone camera's full potential. Now, that Apple's new software release finally embraces third-party developers (I downloaded SwiftKey immediately), Manual is the first camera app to show off the iPhones new photo future. This app allows DSLR controls—ISO, aperture, white balance, and grids for precise framing—and gives a glimpse of more apps that are certainly on their way. [$2]
We picked Poki for Windows Phone earlier this year for best app of the week, but now with version 2, this Pocket client only gets better. Including a new revamped interface, included tutorials, and a freemium pay model. For $2, the app will sync in the background even when closed and and the ability to update when offline. [Free/$2]
Flipboard has long been promised to be coming to Windows Phone. With a little bit of a slip up at launch (accidentally putting a placeholder app in the app store), Flipboard is now officially on Windows Phone. For the most part, the news reader is as you would expect only with its own Windows Phone design. The strangest missing element is that Flipboard doesn't actually "flip" like its animations do on other operating systems. Whether that's a dealbreaker, you can easily see as the app is completely free. [Free]