As this year winds down we’ve recapped its highlights to bring you the best of 2016 in fashion, sneakers, music, movies and more.
Believe it or not, more than 1,000 new apps are released into the iTunes Apps Store every single day. Everything from fitness trackers to thousand-dollar virtual piano tuners (are you fucking kidding me?) get to call the App Store home and become available for public purchase.
A lot of the really shitty ones flop right off the bat and never see the light of day. But the others—those miraculous apps that change the way we exercise, help us categorize our daily to do lists, revolutionize the way we exchange currency, etc.—make their way to the top of the most popular lists and leave a lasting impact on our world.
Or they allow grown adults to pretend to capture super alien animals off the street that can fight each other or some goofy shit. Either way, those little made up computer applications are leaving a very real, very lasting impact on the world around us. As 2016 begins its final tune, I thought it necessary to cover the top 10 most popular iOS apps released this year.
Everything you’ve ever wanted from a video chat messenger, but somehow took years for anyone to come up with. Airtime is a revolutionary video chat app that allows groups of up to six people to chat with one another via live stream.
What’s more interesting is that members can browse and watch clips from Vimeo and YouTube, post pictures, share GPS locations, use GIFs and even share specific songs from both Spotify and Soundcloud for a group listening experience. It’s literally everything everyone always wanted with Facetime, but could never actually get.
Alternative keyboards have been around for years, but Gboard—by Google (duh)—is doing things way differently. Gboard seamlessly integrates GIFs, emojis, and even Glide Typing (sup, Android?), along with a built-in Google search tool to pull up whenever you like—all into a downloadable keyboard right on your iPhone.
It can help you find (and share) nearby stores and restaurants, weather forecasts, news, images and videos, sports scores, and literally any of the tens of thousands of other things you’d ordinarily search for using Google, all without having to leave the messaging app.
I’ll be straight with you—I fucking hate when people ruin a perfectly good photo with obnoxious filters. At the same time, it’s no surprise to me that Prisma came in as one of the App Store’s most popularly downloaded apps this year because, quite frankly, the filters are cool.
Even if you download it for novelty’s sake, or just to see what all those young whippersnappers are going on about in your Freshman English class, it’s a lot of fun and creates some surprisingly cool digital art.
Another one of those apps that you kind of look at and just think, “Ugh, why didn’t I do this first?” Quartz is a news app that essentially turns media consumption into a text conversation.
The app sends notifications to your phone that are relevant to each user’s personal interests. Users decide which stories they want to read and which they don’t, and when there’s no new relevant news to share, they throw out quizzes and other fun stuff. It made it’s way onto Apple’s “Best Apps of 2016” list, and I think that’s a solid call.
Just a quick note: Quartz is a standalone publication and is owned by Atlantic Media—the same folks who run The Atlantic—so you can expect a pretty liberal slant on things.
You know what Pokemon Go is, and it’s already embarrassing enough that this thing was actually one of the most highly downloaded apps of the year, so I’m not going to give it anymore credit by writing about it. Last I heard, Starbucks was sponsoring “Pokestops.” Ugh.
I honestly don’t understand why apps or edgy tech startups can’t just give vowels the respect they deserve. What’s up with that shit? Anyway, MSQRD (Masquerade) is an intuitive photo filtering app that allows users to transform their faces with different masks and effects while taking live video clips. More popularly, it’s used for creepy face swapping with friends, inanimate objects and household pets.
Also making its way to Apple’s Best Apps of 2016 list, MSQRD wound up making such a big splash this year that it was acquired by Facebook just a short couple of months after its initial launch.
Houseparty – Group Video Chat
The latest venture from the dev team who brought us the once-massively-popular Meerkat livestreaming app, Houseparty is a group video chat app that allows friends to come together in a “house” and “party” with one another. Get it? Where Meerkat’s growth was stunted by Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook’s Facebook Live, Houseparty can exist without any dominating competition—yet.
Strangers are also allowed to join in the fun if they want (but blocking them is super easy), and aside from a small crashing issue every now an again, users report that it’s reliable and well put together. Think: A more intimate ChatRoulette, but without the incessant dicks.
Day One 2.0
At one point in human history, keeping a journal was common as having a Facebook account. Over the last decade or so, journal keeping has become a novelty, instead replaced by word vomit apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Day One Founder Paul Mayne and the rest of his team saw the disconnect and absence of solid journaling, and decided to do something about it.
The app was launched a few years ago, but got a complete facelift and re-release in February. For all intents and purposes, Day One 2.0 is an entirely new experience, emerging as a massive hit and screaming its way to the top of damn-near every content creation app list out there.
In a nutshell, Day One 2.0 makes journaling fun again, with its gorgeous layout, exceptional ease-of-use, and an interesting format that not only allows for words and photos, but also geo-tracking. You can use its proprietary storage system, Day One Sync, to store all your entries in the Cloud, wherever the hell that is, or use most other storage options (iCloud, DropBox, etc).
A quick disclaimer: The new and re-vamped Nike+ app only made this list because I’m writing this article for the readers of Highsnobiety.
For years, Nike+ was a staple for fitness-minded people trying to set goals and keep track of their progress. Back in August, the app got a complete re-design that grouped in the classic metrics—distance, pace, and GPS routes—but cut out things like challenges, trophies, and training scheduling that the app’s devout community relied on for years. It pissed off a lot of people.
At the same time, however, the new Nike+ makes my list because if you’re not a past member of that community, the redesign is absolutely gorgeous, and for a brand like Nike, mixes the best of both worlds—fitness and branding. The new Nike+ does a lot of the fitness stuff, but then uses that information to construct a custom-tailored shopping experience in a sleek, attractive package, complete with quality content and photos. Get the latest updates on Nike releases and all the info a sneaker head could want, all in one convenient app.
Bear is the best note-taking app ever made. There, I said it. Its layout is simple and functional, and it’s easy to see the folks at Shiny Frog, the Italian studio responsible for the app, put a lot of thought and care into its development. It not only features hashtag compatibility and easy formatting, but also an advanced markdown structure and editing options.
You can use it to sort out your daily to-do’s, or even as a means to draft essays, stories and other prose. There are different themes and typography to select from, the idea being to make taking notes a beautiful experience again. Oh, and it’s free.
It wasn’t quite enough to make the top 10 list, but Folioscope is an interesting new app that allows people of all skillsets to create and edit their own animated GIFs—from scratch.
The app is surprisingly intuitive for such an awkwardly technical concept, and despite its release just a few months ago (July), it’s really kicking ass and taking names. Maybe next year, eh?
After reading our best apps list, check out which features we want to see in the iPhone 8.
- Main Image: PB Tech