Fall is a busy time for technology. New smartphones seem to debut every other day (the Xperia Z3v and the Desire Eye for example), and the same can be said for the apps that power them. Here's some of the new software that will make that pocket-friendly hardware even better.
A big update for Square Order sees a design refresh and the inclusion of a nifty piece of software engineering that Square calls "prediction technology." As the team describes on its blog:
Scenario: You accidentally slept in and are running late for your 9 a.m. You really don't want to forgo your morning coffee ritual, but standing in line at your favorite shop isn't an option. Good thing you don't have to. Square Order lets you place an order in just a few taps from anywhere (like, as you're rushing to your car), and pick it up whenever you're ready. How does this magic work? With first-of-its-kind arrival prediction technology, Square Order can tell when you're close and alert the coffee shop to set your order in motion. When you arrive, it'll be fresh, hot, and ready on the counter. No need to pay or tap — that's already been taken care of in the app. Just pick it up and be on your way.
Unfortunately new designs and features is not this app's most glaring issue—it's still only available in San Francisco and New York. Hopefully, these are just serving as testing beds until a more widely available service is launched for the rest of the much larger world. [ Free]
This past August, we voiced our excitement for HTC's Zoe app as it entered public beta. Now the team has brought a variety of much needed design tweaks and additional functionality with its official 1.0 version. Zoe trims together video and photos from your camera roll to stitch together a collage to forever enshrine the experience—basically a more involved and professional-looking Vine. The team has also announced that an iOS version will be coming sometime this fall. [ Free]
Not much for playing the stock market? A popular iOS app for many months, Acorns finally comes to Android and wants to help you invest all your pocket change wisely. Acorns allows you to round up all your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically invests the small change for you (or you can do it yourself if you happen to moonlight as a stock broker). However, all of this market-investing magic is currently only available in the U.S. [ Free]
With so many messaging apps flooding our respective apps stores every week, we've cornered ourselves into a nesting doll situation. We have our WeChats, SMS, Facebook Messengers, Snapchats, Hangouts, WhatsApps, Lines, etc., etc., etc. Snowball is an app for apps, a central hub for this messaging madness so we can quickly respond and get on with out day. Snowball, launching in beta, takes the Facebook Messenger approach of using chat heads to show when you have a message. Also, the app has a cute yeti as a mascot. [ Free]
Weather apps are such a passive experience. Temperature, chance of percipitation, weekly forecast, and you go on with your day. How boring. WeatherSignal, brought to you by OpenSignal, lets you be a mini meteorologist by updating a massive weather database through the sensors on your smartphone. Android has been blessed with this unique weather app for a while, but this week iPhones users finally get to join in on the fun. [ Free]
Wave Master is a brand new music maker for Windows Phone. The app lets you record, apply tons of effects (amplify, reverse, invert, silence, tremolo, wah wah, tempo change, speed change, pitch change, fade, echo, repeat), and also integrates with SoundCloud and OneDrive so you can share and store your creations as well. [$2]
Blink is already a popular photo-taking app for Windows Phone, but Microsoft Research added an important update this week that makes this must-have photo app even better. Now, the app comes with automatic noise reduction, letting users take much better photos in low-light—not to mention GIFs that aren't grainy and noticeably low-res. [ Free]