The 5 Best Apps of 2018

by Peter Griffin / 17 December, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - Best Apps 2018

Some new entrants and revamped favourites like Bumble and Google News make our Best Apps of the year list.

1. Procreate

The multiple-award-winning sketching and illustration program was the app revelation of the year for me. I can’t draw or paint to save myself, but after an afternoon doodling on an iPad Pro with Apple’s Pencil stylus in Procreate, I was making the most of the digital artist’s toolbox provided. Powerful, engineered to get the best out of the iPad Pro and with a gentle learning curve, it’s a must-have app for creative types who happen to be iPad owners.

iOS (exclusive to iPad)
US$16.99

2. Lightbox

The video-streaming service got a big upgrade during the year, which suggests owner Spark has no intention of capitulating to Netflix any time soon. The improvements add features already offered by Netflix, such as the ability to download TV series episodes for watching offline. There’s also a movie rental service, with prices ranging from $4.99-$6.99.  Interface tweaks make it easier to navigate and stumble upon new shows. It doesn’t have the breadth of Netflix, but it is great to see a committed local streaming service.

Android, iOS, supported smart TVs, via web browser
$12.99-$15.99 a month

3. Google News 

In the face of fake news, the search giant has overhauled its Google News app to provide more credible and engaging news content. A daily briefing based on artificial intelligence collects five stories Google thinks you are most interested in. The Full Coverage section brings together news articles, opinion pieces and Twitter updates and new AI tools organise stories and weed out bogus items. The Newsstand feature allows you to subscribe online to your favoured news sites.

Android, iOS
Free

4. Bumble 

Although it mimics Tinder’s signature left or right swipe matchmaking engine, Bumble has other things going for it and takes a different approach. For one, it is a safer environment for women, who always initiate contact on Bumble. Setting up a profile is easy and will suit those looking for friends, networking opportunities or love. There are good tools for reporting bad behaviour and easily deleting your profile. It deserves kudos for making the dating scene more respectful.

Android, iOS
Free (with in-app purchases)

5. Fortnite

The world’s most popular video game is now also a mobile app. The iOS version, in particular, is one of the most compelling smartphone games in years. Fortnite pits 100 players against each other to be the last person left on a gradually shrinking island. The game is a winner on many levels, not least for the multiplayer support. Android users can download it via the website of Epic, Fortnite’s makers.

iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox
Free (with in-game purchases)

This article was first published in the December 15, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

101413 2019-01-20 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Searching Great Barrier Island for the meaning of…

by Joanna Wane

Joanna Wane goes to Great Barrier Island in search of the answer to life, the universe and everything.

Read more
Australian classic Storm Boy gets a modern remake
101340 2019-01-19 00:00:00Z Movies

Australian classic Storm Boy gets a modern remake

by James Robins

The biggest beak in Oz screen history returns in a remake of a 1970s favourite.

Read more
Go South: The NZ travel show with no narration or score
101364 2019-01-19 00:00:00Z Television

Go South: The NZ travel show with no narration or…

by Russell Brown

New Zealand jumps on the captivating, if time-consuming, bandwagon of televising cross-country journeys.

Read more
The downsides of tiny houses
101357 2019-01-19 00:00:00Z Property

The downsides of tiny houses

by Megan Carras

Tiny houses look marvellous but have a dark side. Here are three things they don’t tell you on marketing blurb.

Read more
Scientists reveal the secrets to a restorative sleep
100946 2019-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

Scientists reveal the secrets to a restorative sle…

by Mark Broatch

A third of New Zealanders don’t get enough sleep and it’s killing us. Mark Broatch asks sleep scientists what we can do to get a good night’s slumber.

Read more
10 tips for getting a better night's sleep
100957 2019-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

10 tips for getting a better night's sleep

by The Listener

Don’t use the snooze button on your alarm clock. Alarms spike blood pressure and heart rate, and snooze buttons just repeat the shock.

Read more
Gone in 60 seconds: The hard lessons from the Cryptopia heist
101395 2019-01-18 14:38:51Z Tech

Gone in 60 seconds: The hard lessons from the Cryp…

by Peter Griffin

Time is of the essence in a bank heist, and in the digital world, cryptocurrency tokens can be transferred in a flash and converted to US dollars.

Read more
Escape the hustle and bustle of Queen St at new Auckland central eatery NEO
101383 2019-01-18 09:28:19Z Auckland Eats

Escape the hustle and bustle of Queen St at new Au…

by Alex Blackwood

NEO is a new all-day eatery overlooking Queen St.

Read more