Sticky AI, Battlezone 98, and other awesome apps of the week

Want to impress the kids by sending them animated stickers of yourself against a funky background, courtesy of the latest AI image recognition breakthroughs?

That’s just one of the picks we’ve highlighted for this week’s “Awesome Apps” roundup. We’ve also got a great note-taking app for Apple Pencil users, a revisited classic tank blaster newly arrived on iOS and Mac, and an update to the massively popular Instagram Stories.

Check out our choices below.

MyScript Nebo – Note Taking for Apple Pencil

Nebo is the best Notes app and not in beta. And maybe even then.
Photo: Cult of Mac

My colleague Charlie Sorrel wrote an effusive article praising Nebo earlier this week (check it out here.) Essentially, it’s a great alternative to Apple’s upcoming iOS 11 Notes app, which lets iPad users use their Apple Pencil to draw and write in notes. In addition, it recognizes the words you write and lets you search on those terms.

Unlike the native Notes app, however, Nebo also converts your longhand scrawls into actual, editable text, which can be copied and pasted anywhere. From its uncanny handwriting recognition to its intuitive interface, this is a great app.

In some ways it’s actually more powerful than Apple’s iOS 11 Notes app, which is currently available in beta only.

Available for: iPad w/ Apple Pencil
Cost: $2.99
Get it from: App Store

Battlezone 98 Redux

One of my favorite games of 1998 has just been remastered and ported to Mac and iPad. For those who have never played it before, Battlezone 98 is a brilliant blend of first-person action and real-time strategy that was only previously available on Windows PC.

It’s a strategy first-person shooter that’s set in an alternative Cold War 1960s, in which the “space race” has spilled over to become an all-out hot war between the U.S. and Soviet Russia. You control a range of heavy assault tanks, strike cruisers, APCs, and the like — as well as enough weaponry at your disposal to wipe your enemy off the face of whichever planet you find it on.

The game boasts 48 missions set across 8 planetary environments, competitive online multiplayer for 2-8 players, and — for Mac users only — the “Red Odyssey” expansion. Definitely worth picking up and playing, especially if you’re old enough to benefit from the added nostalgia boost.

Available for: iPad, Mac
Cost: $2.99
Get it from: App Store

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories replies
Instagram Stories are now even better.
Photo: Instagram

Stories are absolutely massive on Instagram. A new update tries to make the feature even better by adding the ability to let users send photo, video, and Boomerang replies — alongside regular text responses.

Simply hit the camera button in the bottom corner of the app when watching a Story and you’ll be able to snap a photo, record a video, or create a Boomerang reply. You can also add resizable stickers, filters, and the Rewind effect before sending.

You reply will end up in the recipient’s direct message inbox. As with disappearing photos, you’ll know if your reply is replayed or screenshotted.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Get it from: App Store

Sticky AI

Prisma
Sticky AI turns your selfies into stickers.
Photo: Prisma

Even if you’re not a regular follower of indie apps, you may remember last year’s Prisma app, a hugely popular AI app that transformed ordinary photo into paintings in the style of different famous artists.

Now Prisma Labs is back with its second app, Sticky AI. This time around, the idea is to use artificial intelligence to help you create your own selfie-stickers incredibly fast. You can create both still and animated stickers — in a variety of styles and against different backdrops — and then save them to your regular sticker pack, to share in your conversations.

This will probably appeal more to a younger user base than last year’s more universal Prisma app, but it’s still a neat tool you may want to check out for yourself.

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free
Get it from: App Store

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