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Sega Releases Samba de Amigo: Party-To-Go on Apple Arcade

Today, Sega released Samba de Amigo: Party-To-Go, the latest incarnation of the rhythm game franchise, on Apple Arcade. Samba de Amigo debuted in 1999 in arcades, with a Sega Dreamcast version coming the next year. In those first versions of the game, you played by shaking a pair of maraca controllers to the beat of the music.

Party-To-Go has turned in the maracas in favor of touch gestures, controllers, and keyboards with a release that’s available through Apple Arcade on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Over the past several days, I’ve tried all but the Apple TV version of the game and have details and first impressions to share.

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TimeWave: Stacked Timers Delivered with a Clean, Spare Interface

Timers are a staple of productivity systems, which is why there are so many of them on the App Store. My favorite timer apps are the ones that are the most flexible. A little structure goes a long way if you’re casting about for a system that works for you, but I prefer timer apps that can be adapted to multiple scenarios. That’s why I’ve enjoyed playing around with TimeWave so much.

The app, which works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, plus Apple Silicon Macs in compatibility mode, isn’t new, but in a sea of timer apps, its focused black-and-white design and regular updates caught my eye. TimeWave is pitched as a focus timer that can be used with the Pomodoro time management system, which is a good use of it. However, what’s best is that TimeWave can also be used as a habit tracker, cooking timer, exercise routine timer, and more.

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Mercury Weather: A Crystal Clear Design for Every Apple Device

There’s something for everyone in the weather app category. There are incredibly technical, complex apps, apps with a narrow focus, ones junked up with ads that don’t respect your privacy, and everything in between.

One of my favorite newer entrants in the category that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while is Mercury Weather, a weather app that’s available as a universal purchase on all of Apple’s platforms. The app, by Triple Glazed Studios, is a pleasure to use, combining a clear, simple design with coverage on of all of Apple’s platforms.

In some ways, Mercury Weather is a spiritual successor to Weather Line, a graph-centric weather app that was sold to an unnamed purchaser a couple of years ago, which some suspect was Fox Weather based on the app’s 2023 redesign. The comparison is apt but sells Mercury Weather short because its design is superior to what Weather Line’s ever was. The app uses beautiful gradient backgrounds to convey the temperature and conditions, along with a modern layout and clear typography to make it fast and easy to check current conditions and the forecast.

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Zenitizer: An Simple, Elegant Way to Practice and Track Meditation Sessions

Zenitizer 1.2, an iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS meditation app by Manuel Kehl, was released yesterday, adding iCloud sync support. The update means that progress toward your meditation goals and routines you create on any version of the app will sync across all devices for the first time. I recommended Zenitizer to Club MacStories readers not long ago when version 1.0 was released, but it’s such a well-designed and thought-out app, I wanted to go a little deeper today on everything it has to offer.

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Söka: An AI Assisted App to Track Your Bucket Lists

Just before I hopped on a plane to head to WWDC, I noticed a new app called Söka, an iOS and iPadOS bucket list tracker by Roddy Munro. I didn’t have time to dig into the details or test it, but there was something about it that caught my eye, so I made a note to revisit it later in the summer. I’m glad I did because it’s one of the best integrations of artificial intelligence that I’ve seen in an app.

Söka takes the friction out of building travel bucket lists with the help of AI. I’ve been using Söka as a way to create travel lists of places I want to visit in North Carolina and Italy, for example. Whether it’s for travel like Söka or media like Sofa, there are a lot of apps built on the idea of creating ‘someday’ lists and tracking your progress. What makes Söka unique is the way it uses AI to remove the friction from the list-building part.

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Callsheet Provides Movie and TV Details with an Uncluttered Native Interface

Today, Casey Liss released a brand new app called Callsheet for looking up cast and crew information about movies and TV shows. The app, which works on the iPhone and iPad, has a lot in common with movie and TV show tracking apps that I’ve covered, except for one very big difference. Callsheet isn’t a tracking app. Instead, it’s an app front end for The Movie DB, a website that offers a crowd-sourced movie and TV show database and an API for developers.

That’s an important distinction to understand. Callsheet is designed for those times that you want to know more about the people behind a movie or TV show but find the ads in apps and on websites, like IMDb, frustrating. If that resonates with you, and you’re not interested in tracking what you’ve watched, Callsheet offers a better experience for finding cast and crew information.

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Chronicling: A Flexible Event Tracker with Modern Features and A Top-Notch Design

Chronicling is a brand-new event tracking app for iOS and iPadOS by Rebecca Owen. The App Store is full of apps for tracking everything from the very specific, like caffeine consumption, to apps like Chronicling that can be used to track nearly anything. What makes Owen’s app unique, though, is it’s one of the best examples of modern SwiftUI design that I’ve seen that incorporates the still relatively new Swift Charts and other recent Apple technologies to deliver a great user experience.

Trackers like Chronicling are the perfect fit for the iPhone. Most people have the device with them all the time, which makes it perfect for collecting data frequently, but it’s what you do with that data that matters the most. Maybe you’re trying to learn a new language and want to track how often you practice to hold yourself accountable. Or maybe your knee has been bothering you, and you want to keep track of when it flares up to see if it corresponds to an activity in your life. The point is, whether you’re trying to form a new habit or find patterns in things that happen throughout your day, part of the process is gathering the data. The other half of the equation is breaking the data down in a meaningful way. Chronicling does both well.

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TV Forecast 2.0 Adds Movie Tracking

The App Store is full of apps for tracking the media you enjoy, and at least for TV shows and movies, many use as a data source and tracking service and Just Watch to list where you can watch something. That results in a degree of sameness in the category. What’s harder to find on the App Store is a well-designed TV show and movie tracker. There’s a lot of data available about what we watch, and as a result, too many apps wind up with cluttered, confusing interfaces. TV Forecast 2.0 by Matt Comi isn’t like that, which is why it’s been one of my favorite TV trackers for a long time, and with an update today, it’s one of my favorite movie trackers too.

I reviewed TV Forecast in 2020, and what I said about the app is just as true today as it was then:

When I stopped to consider what it is about TV Forecast that has made it stick for me in a way that no other TV tracking app has, I keep coming back to its balanced design. It has a simple elegance that makes tracking shows feel effortless and natural. For supporting an activity that I use as a relaxing escape, that’s exactly the type of app I value. When all I want to do is quickly check off a few episodes or add a show that a friend recommends, I can. Just as easily, though, I can wander from one linked show to another discovering new ones along the way. It’s that balance between utility and exploration that makes TV Forecast my favorite TV tracker.

For more on TV Forecast’s overall design and functionality for TV shows, be sure to check out my 2020 review.

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