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Top 2019 nongame apps from Apple

The Flow by Moleskine drawing and sketching app

The Flow by Moleskine drawing and sketching app was celebrated for its "elegant design." Credit: Newsday/Moleskine

More than 2,000 new mobile apps are released every day for iOS and Android devices. Here’s a look at the best nongame apps of 2019, according to editors at Apple’s App Store. Next week: The best 2019 mobile games as selected by Google Play.

Spectre Camera

(iOS; $2.99)

The iPhone is deservedly praised for its excellent camera, and the Spectre Camera app takes it to the next level by using artificial intelligence to let you take breathtaking long-exposure photographs, which is why it was named iPhone App of the Year. (A version is available for iPads, but not for Android.) Apple said Spectre Camera “leverages a dizzying amount of technology” that produces “stunning” photos.

Flow by Moleskine

(iOS; free)

This popular drawing and sketching app was named iPad App of the Year. (There’s a version for iPhone but not for Android). Flow by Moleskine lets you create everything from simple doddles to fully formed art masterpieces. Apple praised the app’s “elegant” design, noting that its “graphite pencils, chisel-tipped markers and more have been meticulously tuned to mimic the real thing.”

The Explorers

(iOS, Android; free)

While this education and entertainment app was named Apple TV App of the Year, there are excellent versions for iPhone, iPad and Android. The Explorers is a community of nature lovers whose goal is to celebrate the Earth by posting photos and videos of the planet’s natural wonders. Apple praised the app’s “comprehensive ‘visual inventory’ of the natural world.”


(iOS, Android; free)

Apple included a category for App Trend of 2019, which it defined as “storytelling simplified.” Wattpad, one of seven to be honored in this category, brings together readers and unpublished authors who post their works. Wattpad not only gives readers access to new writers, it has also launched the careers of several authors. Other App Trend winners (unless noted, they are also available for Android): podcast creator Anchor; graphic design app Canva; story creator Unfold; text and video story designer Steller; Spark Camera (iOS only); and photo editor Over.

Twitter for Android security flaw

If you use Twitter for Android, make sure you update to the latest version. Twitter warned a vulnerability in the app could allow a cybercriminal to control your account and send tweets or direct messages under your name. Twitter said the issue was fixed in the latest update, available on Google Play store. The vulnerability does not effect iOS or desktop versions of Twitter.


Sticker shock

Top-of-the-line smartphones can sell for about $1,000, and new 5G phones arriving this year are expected to cost even more. But the price may be a big hurdle. Port Washington-based NPD Group found that fewer than 10 percent of consumers are willing to spend more than $1,000 on a phone. NPD said that despite the hype, “only a small segment of the market can afford these $1,000+ devices.”


Instagram beefs up fact checking

Facebook is increasing its efforts to thwart misinformation on Instagram, which it owns. The company said Instagram's fact-checking program is going global, allowing 45 third-party organizations to review and label false information on the platform. Instagram began fact-checking in the United States earlier this year, after a pair of 2018 reports commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee highlighted Russian efforts to target voters on the photo-sharing service.


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