Whether you’re a student, writer or just someone who likes using big words, the Thesaurus is undoubtedly one of the best tools to have around. The largest resource on the web is Thesaurus.com (owned by Dictionary.com), and they’ve recently released Thesaurus Rex, a universal iOS app that has 550,000 synonyms & antonyms and features several handy functions, like sorting by relevance or A-Z, filtering results in real time by complexity, and more.
Google Now has been available to Android phones for several months now, and it has finally arrived for the iPhone and iPad. Described as “the right information at just the right time”, Google Now is the latest feature found within the Google Search app. Once you sign into your Gmail account, “Cards” will appear at the bottom that provide helpful info like local weather, currency conversion when travel abroad, traffic conditions to your next likely destination, sports scores, flight status and much more.
Languages, brought to you by Sonico (iTranslate+) and Tapity (Grades 2), may very well be the last translator you’ll ever need on your iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s not only beautifully designed and works offline, but it’s also just $0.99. Twelve complete language dictionaries are included (Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch etc.), so there’s no need for internet access to look up words and phrases – most ideal for when traveling with your iDevice.
The Google Search app has been updated and it’s now better than ever on the iPad. The new features make searching for what you want much more interactive and easier as well. Google Instant starts displaying results as you’re typing the search term; a slide-in pane lets you slide back and forth between browse pages and results; visual search history can be accessed by swiping right to reveal snapshots of pages you’ve visited (organized by search terms), and more. Here’s the full list of “What’s New” for the iPad:
✓ See search results and websites side-by-side to quickly browse pages and results
✓ Swipe through the image carousel to see image results in full-size
✓ Compare search results as webpage snapshots in Instant Previews mode
✓ Use Google Instant and search suggestions to get to search results faster
✓ Revisit past searches with Visual Search History
✓ Highlight what you want to see on a webpage with the new Find button
✓ Easily share pages and +1 sites
✓ Quick access to other Google apps like Gmail, Calendar, Docs and more
After even the first few minutes of using Google Search on the iPad, the slide-in pane feature alone made it difficult for me to go back to Safari. The downside is that since it wasn’t designed to be a full fledged browser, the app doesn’t support tabbed browsing. Still, for day-to-day googlin’ on the iPad, the host of new features definitely makes this a keeper. Check out the video demo after this space.
Google, Google Search, – Free
After breaking my arm a couple of months ago, I learned a bit of biology. Bones are serious buggers, you know; they don’t just Lego into place after snapping. But even at 31 and five fingers down, I applied myself very fastidiously to apps that I could use one-handed. At first, they may seem eclectic, but I assure you that they were the best medicine. If you’re intent on joining my club, send in your resumes, apply something heavy/swift to your long bones, and then follow the gap!
We all love books, right? If you’re like me, your reading list is long and getting longer every day. We’ll never finish them all, but heck, when someone recommends a book, we probably still want to jot it down for future reference.
A good list can be a real blessing when trying to remember an author or a book we’ve just read, finding the name of the next book in a series, or easily sharing our favorite books with friends.
The three apps reviewed here are excellent candidates for keeping track of all the books we love and all the books we want to read.
Google’s surprisingly accurate translation service, first seen on the iPhone back in 2008 as a web app, is now here as a standalone app for the iDevice. Google Translate accepts voice input for 15 languages, and like the web app, it can translate a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. Even more impressive, you can listen to the translations spoken out loud in 1 of the 23 supported languages. There’s also a handy zoom feature that enlarges the translated text to fit the entire screen. Definitely a useful feature if you’re making your way around a foreign country and in need of directions and what not. As with all Google apps, this one’s free and well worth your while.
Google, Google Translate, 1.9 MB – Free
Those sommeliers have one of the best jobs in the world, don’t they? Drinking good wine and getting paid for doing it and even more for writing about it… Well, one of the best-selling wine writers, Hugh Johnson, has decided to jump on the iOS bandwagon and release his own wine guide on the App Store. Hugh Johnson’s Wine Guide 2011 is now available to help us, common folk, decide what bottle we’ll be drinking this evening.
Apple seems to be on a roll of late with App Store app lists. First came The Best Games You’ve Never Played, a roundup of hidden gems that haven’t quite burned up the app charts. Now they’ve released the Awesome iOS 4 Apps list, a collection of apps and games that have been updated to take advantage of iOS 4’s new features, like support for the Retina Display and Multitasking/Fast App Switching. Here are some notable that have made the list:
- Apple Inc. , iMovie – $4.99
- Element Collection , The Elements for iPhone 4 – $9.99
- Software Cellular Network Ltd, Truphone – Free
- PopCap Games, Plants vs. Zombies (TMA Review) – $2.99
- PopCap Games, Bejeweled 2 + Blitz – $2.99
- Steve Sprang, Brushes – iPhone Edition – $4.99
- Marco Arment, Instapaper (TMA Review) – $4.99
- TomTom , TomTom U.S.A. – $49.99
- Sophia Teutschler, Articles – $2.99
- Gogo Apps, Inc., Tap Tap Revenge 3 – Free
Now I haven’t tried all 42 apps on the list, but I don’t think I’d consider all of them to be awesome. I suppose it’s all a matter of personal preference and interests (and of course, apps that actually have been updated for iOS 4 already). The entire Apple roundup can be found right here on iTunes.
White Park Bay recently released a handful of new Oxford Reference Dictionaries to add to its already strong suite. The new dictionaries feature a few upgrades to the Oxford Reference series I reviewed before. These include: better mail integration and indexing as well as a structured note-taking system. For 14.99$, they remain a little pricey, but are great titles for the would-be know-it-all.