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)

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

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.


The key to long-term success after weight-loss surgery
107438 2019-06-26 00:00:00Z Health

The key to long-term success after weight-loss sur…

by Nicky Pellegrino

Weight-loss surgery is becoming more common, but lifestyle and attitude changes are needed for long-term success.

Read more
Matariki feast: Kasey and Karena Bird's family recipes
107605 2019-06-25 11:39:22Z Food

Matariki feast: Kasey and Karena Bird's family rec…

by Lauraine Jacobs

Māori food champions Kasey and Karena Bird share traditional family recipes that are ideal for Matariki.

Read more
Julie Anne Genter on bicycles, babies and what's going to make a better world
107579 2019-06-25 00:00:00Z Profiles

Julie Anne Genter on bicycles, babies and what's g…

by Emma Clifton

The MP made world headlines when she cycled to hospital to give birth. She talks about how this put her and what she stands for in the spotlight.

Read more
Toy Story 4: The beloved franchise reaches a Forky in the road
107472 2019-06-25 00:00:00Z Movies

Toy Story 4: The beloved franchise reaches a Forky…

by Russell Baillie

The fourth Toy Story instalment is clever, enjoyable and refreshingly weird.

Read more
Mitre 10 living wage ruling sets precedent for retail staff - union
Apple set to offer sign-in service to rival Facebook and Google
107596 2019-06-25 00:00:00Z Tech

Apple set to offer sign-in service to rival Facebo…

by Peter Griffin

In the wake of data-privacy scandals, Apple is beefing up protection for owners of its devices.

Read more
Understanding New Zealanders' attitudes to paying tax
107563 2019-06-24 16:28:59Z Business

Understanding New Zealanders' attitudes to paying…

by Nikki Mandow

We are pretty good about paying our taxes here, so why would we willingly go along with avoiding GST?

Read more
Border tax rort: Could you be caught by a Customs crackdown?
107530 2019-06-24 10:19:12Z Business

Border tax rort: Could you be caught by a Customs…

by Nikki Mandow

New Zealand retailers hit by a GST rort that has been going on for at least two years hope officials, Trade Me, ministers and even customers will...

Read more