I can hardly wait for the release of iOS 7, but it’s true that I’ve been seeking out apps that embrace flatter design for a while. While I’m certainly excited for all of the iOS default apps and the rest of the environment to catch up, my iPad is already chock full of apps that are moving on from skeuomorphism. I’m going to run through some of my favorites that are already good to go for iOS 7.
Morning is just a great way to get a fresh look at what’s going on at the start of every day. It syncs with Reminders and Calendar to give you a more attractive look at what you have to do today and what you can expect. That’s not all you get, though. By default, you’ve got the current time, weather highs and lows for the day, new highlights, and a quick stock roundup. All of that slots into Morning’s grid and can be customized, but you can also add other stuff that’s important to you, like information on your commute. The slick lattice of information in Morning makes it easy to get at what you need quickly, whatever time of day it is.
Silo’s a brand new app for managing lists, whether you’re handling tasks, todos, or top ten baby names. If you’ve got an iPhone and Mac to match you iPad, Silo has the apps to take care of you, but other users can look to the slick web app to keep up when that iPad is out of reach. Best of all, Silo is collaborative, so you can share your lists with friends, family members, or coworkers. I’ll admit that I’ve been looking for a solution to share family grocery lists and other household tasks since I’ve been having problems with Wunderlist, and Silo looks like it fits the bill.
The icing on the cake is that Silo looks so great and is so easy to use. It’s no secret that Reminders and the aformentioned Wunderlist haven’t eschewed skeuomorphism, though things are looking good for Reminders in iOS 7, but you can get the slick, flat look for your tasks right now in Silo. There are a bunch of extra themes if you’re not down with red on white, and you can even set a default browser to work with the app.
Developer: Kyle Zaragoza
At first glance, 30/30 may seem like just another task manager, but it’s a lot more than that. There’s a nifty timer built-in, so you can set limits on each task. 30/30 will sound an alert when it’s time to move onto your next todo, keeping you on track. Your tasks will loop if you like, and if you find you need a few more minutes before moving onto the next in the list, 30/30 isn’t so rigid that you can’t add a bit of time without editing the task itself.
There’s a ton of gestures you’ll need to learn to operate 30/30 at peak efficiency, but they’re so intuitive, you’ll have the hang of them in no time. The big buttons and oversized text make it a cinch to navigate 30/30. Vibrant colors on a black backdrop are the order of the day, but you can set a custom color and fun icon for each task. When each task rolls up onto the 30/30 timer, the entire screen takes on the color of the task, keeping you focused on what you’re doing right now.
Developer: Binary Hammer
For so many, email can be our own white whale. We endeavor to work through that backlog in our inboxes, but it just keeps piling up. It can seem impossible to get through all of it and finally clear everything out, and it feels like all of that email may eventually consume us. It’s a horror story Mailbox is trying to prevent by helping each of us get to inbox zero. Check your email off like a todo list, postpone it, or add a message to a list to take care of later.
The clear interface of Mailbox keeps you focused on what you’re doing right now. Mailbox makes sure you’re seeing just what you need, so you don’t become overwhelmed. Everything is available at anytime via a slide out tray, so you don’t have to worry about Mailbox hiding anything. You’ll control your email with just a few swipes either way, and when you finally do clear out your inbox, Mailbox let’s you know you did a great job.
Developer: Orchestra, Inc.
It’s all about the look with Weathertron. Each time you open the app, you’re essentially getting a brand new interactive infographic. Your current temperature, rainfall, and cloud cover are represented by graphs that look more like art than a stodgy weather report. Sliding your finger left to right will let you know what you can expect for the next few hours, or check out the forecast for the next few days. Share your polished infographic as an image to Twitter or Facebook, so your friends can be jealous of your awesome weather or commiserate with you as your skin melts off.
Developer: Keming Labs
Letterpress is absolutely one of the most popular word games for iOS, and it’s not hard to understand why. Not only is it challenging while remaining a ton of cerebral fun, but it’s so very addicting. You’ll be pitted against friends or random strangers and forced to create words out of a jumble of letters laid out on a grid. As your score grows, you’ll eat into your opponents score, but watch out, because your foe can always make a play to wrestle those points back.
The game appears as a flat board, and it will fill up with blue and red squares as you and your opponent create words. Locked letters, letters surrounded by other letters of the same color, will appear darker and can’t be stolen for points. It’s a deceptively simple and attractive interface that keeps you focused on finding those long words, distraction-free. If red/blue isn’t your jam, there are more themes available, but I always come back to the default look. It’s the classic.
Spelltower is another word game, but unlike Letterpress, you don’t have to play against anyone but yourself. Sure, there’s an awesome multiplayer mode, but if you want to sit alone under your blankets, with eyes red-rimmed and hyper-focused, tracing letters with chapped fingertips until dawn while your cat worries about your mental health, Spelltower supports that life decision.
Each letter block appears completely flat on the Spelltower board, but as you succeed in creating increasingly impressive words, the blocks suddenly spring free and fall forward with a satisfying pop. Spelltower appears sort of like a long crossword, but the pinks, yellows, and cyans aren’t entirely dissimilar from the preview we got of iOS 7 at WWDC a few months back, and the dark theme gives you an entirely different take, while sticking close to the default look.
Developer: Zach Gage
It seems so simple, it really does, but then you start playing. Hundreds closes the case on deceptively simple. Tap the dot until it reaches 100, then later make sure it doesn’t touch other dots while it’s expanding. That seems easy enough. Hundreds keeps throwing more and more complicated levels at you, though, until it seems nearly impossible to get all of your little dots to add up to 100.
The game would be tough if that’s all it took to make your way through, and it would certainly be enough, too, but Hundreds is hiding more. Deceptive, see? There are ciphers sprinkled throughout the stark world of Hundreds, and it’s no easy task to solve them. While you can focus on the whirling razors and popping balloons, always represented as flat silhouettes, you’ll be missing out if you don’t spend some time working on this second puzzle.
Developer: Semi Secret Software, LLC
Okay, so I don’t know a whole lot about music, in that I don’t know anything about music. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to play music, but I feel excluded from a super cool club by both my lack of knowledge and talent. My lack of specialized training isn’t helping either. I don’t seem to need any of that to use Figure, though. After just playing around for a few minutes, I was dropping some sweet beats, which I’ve heard the kids say and assume is a good thing. There’s plenty of room for error, but that’s okay, because Figure provides a great erase/undo function, so you’re not working without a net.
Figure has a pretty swanky look, and it’s easy to fine tune your song without knowing what you’re doing, which is perfect, since I don’t know what I’m doing. Each instrument has a set of sliders, and it’s just a matter of moving the color coded dials around until you get the sound you want. There’s lots to see and do, but the interface is so uncomplicated, that there’s no need to feel overwhelmed.
Developer: Propellerhead Software AB
Is your hipster photo app not hipster enough for your hipster lifestyle? Do you need to rub some more hipster on it? Well Over has got your back. Before sharing that sweet snap of your cat wearing the specially commissioned cat wig you just bought on Etsy, even before applying all of those fly filters and blur effects, slide it through Over to add fancy text to your image. There’s plenty of colors and enough fonts to keep you happy for ages.
Use Over’s selection wheel to choose what you’ll edit, and slide up and down among your choices. There are a lot more font options here than you might expect, and you can even adjust the spacing between letters. With all of that, Over should look cluttered, but the wheel keeps everything you’re not using at the moment out of sight while still close at hand for quick adjustments.
iOS 7 will prove to be a big change from what we’ve seen before, and some older apps may start to show their age against the sleek, updated design. These are just a few apps that should fit in just fine when iOS 7 finally comes to stay, but if I’ve left out your favorite, let us know in the comments!