The massive app news of the week came from Microsoft after announcing that the excellent Office for iPad software was coming to iPhone and Android tablets, but there were lots of great apps that popped up in app stores. Here's a look at the best of them.
APUS Launcher is a popular alternative launcher for Android that makes your smartphone look suspiciously like it comes from Cupertino (if that's something you want.) Now, APUS brings notifications visible from the homescreen, even if the app is in a folder. Right now, APUS Notifications works with phone, SMS, WhatsApp, and Gmail. It's a must have addition if you're a fan of APUS's approach to Android though it would be nice to see more services tied into this feature in the future. [Free]
Any time I want to cook something (which is rare), I'm often hunting around on recipe websites, which can often be disorganize or waaaaaay above my skill level. Yummly puts a giant book of recipes right in your pocket. The big feature here is you can collect recipes and help grow your culinary repertoire. This app has been much loved by iOS users, and now it comes to Android. [Free]
Keezy Drummer is a fun app that provides digital percussion for your jam sessions. Apply different effects, tempos, and patterns in an incredibly well-designed user interface. As the developers say, "music is universal" and this simple design enables a wide range of customization and puts the power of percussion in the hands of anyone who's interested. [Free]
Exposure adds some personality to your photos. Providing a variety of editing tools (and an interactive demo to show you had to navigate said tools), you can take your photos one step further by adding black-and-white effects, tweaking color intensity, or applying a paint-like effect, among other things. It's a handy little app for those who love mobile photo editing. [$2]
Everyone is talking about Apple Pay, but that massive push for NFC payments in brick-and-mortar stores also has benefits for other mobile platforms. Softbank (originally known as ISIS—bummer) now comes to Windows Phone and gives Microsoft loyalists a major platform to join in on the mobile payment movement. [Free]
Lumia Cinemagraph creates GIF-like files that keeps one element of a photo static while whatever area you select comes alive. The big difference from previous iterations of Cinemagraph is now its much easier to share to social networks instead of needing a Nokia account. Now you can actually show people those interesting images you're making with Cinemagraph, which seems pretty important. [Free]
Circle is a popular Bitcoin service provider, and it's now easier to access than ever with new apps for iOS and Android. Circle will let you deposit, make payments, request money and convert funds between dollar and Bitcoin amounts. Having an Android app is also a pretty big deal, as it puts bitcoin on the handsets of inexpensive Android smartphones and in the hands of many people who can't afford a traditional bank account. Oh, and Circle aims to make Bitcoin easier to use, which we can all be thankful for. [Free]