Apps of the week: Instacast, Wibbitz, Over and more!

Another week has passed us by, and that means it's time once again for the iMore team to share with with you the apps they've been using this week. We've got a couple of podcast solutions for Mac and iOS, a live concert app, a news app and more. Lets take a look.

Wibbitz - Ally Kazmucha

Wibbitz for iPhone is a slimmed down news app that highlights all of the news around you. You can choose between business, technology, world, and top news. Wibbitz then speaks the news to you with short video clips showing images and statistics. While Wibbitz may not be as advanced as other RSS apps, it isn't meant to be.

Whether you just want to listen to a quick rundown of news highlights while driving or doing another activity, Wibbitz is great for just this. It can also double up on an easy to use news app for users that may have vision problems. Since the images are large as are the statistics that display while video and audio are playing, it's a good way for anyone with a disability to get a quick rundown of news.

Instacast - Joseph Keller

I listen to a lot of podcasts. For a long time, iTunes was the only real game in town when it came to downloading and listening to podcasts. It was a hassle, and disorganized, but it's what I had. Then I downloaded Instacast, and I've never looked back, not even in the dark times of iCloud syncing. Once Instacast moved away from iCloud and started using its own syncing method, everything just works. And now with the recent release of the Mac version, managing all of my podcasts is better than I could have hoped, especially downloading. The Mac version of Instacast allows users to download a podcast episode, then transfer the downloaded file to other versions of Instacast on the same network. Simply open the version of the app that you plan on using and download the episode like you normally would, and the app will find the Mac app with the file already downloaded and grab it from there. It's much faster than downloading the episode directly multiple times.

But even without the Mac version, Instacast is still my favorite podcast app. It's straightforward while still giving users looking for more a plethora of options. Syncing between the iPhone and iPad works beautifully. The ability to control how and when data is deleted from the app is also a plus. Instacast is one of my favorite apps that I've purchased in five years of using iOS devices, and is available as a universal app for $4.99.

Over - Simon Sage

Typically, I'm not one to post images of inspirational quotes on my Facebook wall, but sometimes a great picture can use a caption for flavor. Over introduces a wide variety of fonts and colors which you can use to apply text to your pictures. Resizing text, placing, and rotating are all very fluid and simple, plus there's a unique UI to get around. Advanced options such as kerning, tint, opacity, and alignment are in there, too. Both iPhone and iPad versions are well-optimized given their screen sizes. The one caveat here is that though you get a healthy selection of fonts out of the box, the vast majority are locked behind a $0.99 in-app purchase. There are also art packs available if you want to add some high-quality, sketchy-style icons and text to your pictures as well. Combined with some tasteful effects using your photography app of choice (in this case, Photo Booth), you can get some pretty interesting creations going.

Qello - Chris Parsons

You might have heard the recent news about Qello arriving on AppleTV but there's also an app for iPhones and iPads and it's pretty awesome if your a music fan. It has a ton of selection for behind the scenes looks at new and classic albums, live concerts and plenty 'the making of' videos from every genre of music. Want to check out Eric Clapton? No problem. How about Doctor Dre? Got you covered. Want to know how Nirvana's Nevermind was put together? You good to go. The app is free to download and there is a trial of the service available but if you want full on access, you're looking at $5/mtnh subscription.

Podgrasp - Richard Devine

I've been hunting for a suitable stand alone podcast app for the Mac for a little while, and I've come across Podgrasp. The first thing to note is the price, which is initially why I gave it a shot. At $0.99 it's very affordable and while it does lack some features of something like Instacast, it does a good enough job to warrant a place on my Mac.

If you keep your podcast subscriptions in the form of an OPML file (as I do) then you can import this and you're off and running. Otherwise new subscriptions need to be added by URL. A lack of a searchable catalog is a little disappointing but not a deal breaker. It even looks pretty nice, and is definitely worth a look if like me you're not a fan of getting your podcasts through iTunes.

Acorn - Rene Ritchie

Acorn image editor gets UI overhaul, non-destructive filters

For years rumors persisted that Apple had a secret Photoshop killer in the laps, something like Final Cut Pro that would let them break free of the tyranny and travesty of Adobe. Turns out they were sorta right. Apple had Core Graphics, a framework that gave developers are lot of powerful imaging tools "for free", and allowed indies to compete, on small, specific scales, in a way only giant companies could have done in the past.

Acorn by Gus Mueller of Flying Meat is the perfect example. Pretty much a one man shop, Mueller's latest update is not only fast, it's coherent and focused in a way only an indie app could be. Unlike Photoshop, it can't be most things to most imaging artists -- that's how behemoths are bread -- but if you're looking for the classic imaging tools enabled by the most modern of technologies, and at a small fraction of the cost, Acorn might be just exactly what you're looking for.

Grab the Mac App Store version below, or if you want to try before you buy, grab the demo version from Flying Meat's website first.

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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There is 1 comment. Add yours.

JNGold says:

I have had nothing but bad experiences with Instacast 3.x's new Cloud sync service. It does indeed work wonderfully for some time, then BAM!, all heck breaks loose and the sync breaks badly. I have had duplicate downloads, sync not being in-step with both iPad and iPhone, etc. I have been a big Instacast fan since version 1 and while I understand the need for Vemedio to ditch iCloud and move to their own cloud sync solution, it has been nothing but problems over extended use. I subscribe to over 30 podcasts and I have a pretty set time to listen during my commutes to and from work and I really prefer to be able to listen to a given show on either the iPhone or iPad. I have contacted Vemedio's tech support several times and they realize that there are issues but apparently at the time, they were focusing on getting the Mac client out. SInce dropping Instacast, I have been using the Apple Podcasts app which even with it's shortcomings, at least the iCloud sync isn't giving me as many issues as Instacast. I am really looking forward to Shifty Jelly's PocketCasts v4, which looks amazing on Android and will most like bring some of that goodness over to iOS. Their sync service also apparently works across platforms as well.