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December 11, 2023

This Week in Apps: Apple’s iPhone app of the year finalists, plus 7 hidden gems

Is the App Retailer nonetheless a supply for brand spanking new expertise improvements or has AI improvement change into the warmer new tech to construct for lately? We contemplated this query this week when Apple unveiled its iPhone App of the Year finalists, which surprisingly included a trio of longtime favorites — mountain climbing app AllTrails, language studying app Duolingo, and journey app Flighty. As an alternative of highlighting new releases that caught fireplace within the 12 months, because it did final 12 months with winner BeReal or in 2021 with Toca Life World, for instance, Apple has chosen a number of high-quality apps which were round for a while and have constructed a following.

However Apple’s choice, which ignores the AI app growth for some purpose, might lead you to consider there aren’t many new and fascinating gems to be discovered on at present’s App Retailer — a spot the place apps like TikTok, Temu, and people from Meta and Google typically dominate the highest charts.

Because it seems, that’s removed from true. Nevertheless, nice new apps will be more durable to seek out lately except they go viral on TikTok by paying influencers to market their approach into the highest charts. In the meantime, the App Retailer’s editorial collections have gotten a little bit stale. On the Apps tab, as an illustration, there are collections like “finest relationship apps,” “finest audio apps,” and “finest streaming apps” — none of which have a tendency to incorporate any surprises.

Searching for out App Retailer gems, in addition to these on Google Play, now requires extra digging, it appears.

Having accomplished a little bit of that digging ourselves, we needed to focus on a number of the extra fascinating and (comparatively) new releases we’ve come throughout in current days. We’ll guess you’ll discover at the least one app on this checklist that you just haven’t heard of but or that sparks your curiosity.

What new apps are you making an attempt? Ship me your TestFlights! [email protected] or @sarahprz on Threads; @Sarahp on Mastodon. 

Clean Areas

Picture Credit: Blank Spaces/Jeffrey Waters

Clean Areas is a minimalist residence display “launcher” of kinds for iOS customers. Although the iPhone doesn’t assist true launchers, as Android does, this app gives a Dwelling Display screen widget that gives tappable entry to your most-used apps with out the distraction or litter. In case you’re making an attempt to un-addict your self out of your apps and your cellphone, the app may very well be a great tool in display time administration. I’m contemplating making a “downtime” Focus mode the place this widget is the one choice.

Subscription: $3.99 per thirty days, $13.99 per 12 months, or $22.99 for Lifetime entry.

Break the Net

In case you’re seeking to keep tuned into the most recent information and happenings, Break the Web is certainly an fascinating approach to take action. The app gives real-time, AI-powered summaries of on-line tendencies and information, ranked by virality. It additionally reveals totally different viewpoints (suppose: left and proper swing sentiments) for tales to provide you extra views on the information. Different options embody trending alerts to maintain you recent on breaking information and a every day AI-generated publication that recaps the day’s occasions. Be cautioned, nonetheless: The app warns that its content material is generated by AI, which isn’t good. It could give you inaccurate, awkward, and even offensive materials at occasions, the app states. Nonetheless, it’s an fascinating experiment in AI-powered information summaries — and with its vivid, daring colours and vertical scroll, it feels as acquainted as TikTok from the beginning.

Worth: Free


We heard about this one from a Gen Z teen: Swipewipe is a Digital camera Roll cleansing app that makes clearing out your undesirable photographs extra enjoyable. The app makes use of a easy Tinder-like swipe mechanism to both preserve (swipe proper) or delete (swipe left) your photographs. And for those who by accident swipe, you’ll be able to nonetheless return with a faucet. You may as well faucet and maintain to see a photograph’s metadata if that helps you make your resolution. The app has you full one month at a time and, once you end, it’s crossed out. A progress wheel additionally retains observe of your progress on the primary display, so you’ll be able to see how far you’ve gotten left to go.

Subscription: $4.99 per week, $9.99 per thirty days, or $29.99 per 12 months, and 3-day free trial.


The personalised map and social app Corner is a brand new solution to curate locations you’re keen on or wish to attempt in addition to share them with associates. As you journey, you’ll be able to add locations from world wide that you just’ve loved, or you’ll be able to share hyperlinks to locations from web sites and apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Maps. Nook makes use of AI to then discover the place within the shared hyperlink and reserve it to your Nook as you construct out your bucket checklist. Primarily based in your utilization of Nook, the app can even present personalised suggestions because it learns extra about your tastes and pursuits.


Feeeed — that’s “feed” with 4 e’s — is a brand new sort of RSS reader that allows you to observe any web site that helps RSS, in addition to YouTube channels, TikTok profiles, Reddit communities (subreddits), and even electronic mail newsletters. However in contrast to conventional information readers, feeeed allows you to do extra, like including flashcards that will help you be taught one thing as you scroll or reminders about one thing it is advisable do. You may as well observe the climate, create a studying checklist that reminds you to learn your saved objects, or flip web sites — like these with inventory costs — into reside “playing cards.” Constructed by a designer at The Browser Firm (makers of Arc), feeeed is a contemporary tackle a customized information reader expertise.

Worth: Free


An app that feels a bit forward of its time, Bandto makes use of AI to drive introductions between professionals for networking functions. To make use of the app, you hyperlink to your résumé comparable to your LinkedIn profile, and fill out particulars about your business, career, and digital footprint. You’ll be able to then add targets to your standing like “Networking,” “Work with me,” “On the lookout for,” “Considering,” and others to tune the algorithm that matches you with others. As you journey, you’ll be able to uncover others in your business in any metropolis, and join with folks by way of the app’s OpenAI-powered ideas. You may as well be part of skilled networks round your business, subject or pursuits.

Worth: Free


Goodreads various Hardcover is a brand new social community for ebook lovers that allows you to observe what you’re studying and what you wish to learn, whereas additionally connecting with different readers and associates. Along with ranking and reviewing books, the app additionally helps you discover new books to learn by way of lists, trending titles, associates’ bookshelves, or books by style and temper. As you utilize the app, Hardcover will supply a customized Match Rating that helps you resolve for those who’ll like a ebook. We additionally appreciated that onboarding allowed us to import our information from Goodreads, although it’s a technical strategy of downloading and importing a .csv file. A few quibbles: The app doesn’t supply sign-in with Apple ID and was loading slowly once we tried it. We hope that’s simply because it’s getting in style!

Worth: Free with supporter choices of $4.99 per thirty days or $49.99 per 12 months.

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