Forma.8 GO, iMazing Mini, and other awesome apps of the week

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Morse Code Messege Generator might misspell its own name, but it’s an intriguing remix of the increasingly-similar messaging app formula: letting you translate messages into Morse Code and then send them using your iPhone’s camera flash.

That’s just one of the brilliant titles we’ve picked out for this week’s “Awesome Apps” roundup. We’ve also got a fantastic Metroidvania-style game, an excellent AI-infused photo editing app update, and a nifty way to keep your iOS backups under control. Check out our picks below.

Morse Code Messege Generator

morsecode
You won’t have to worry about emoji-filled messages!
Photo: Lim Peng Hoe

Okay, let’s get it out of the way: This is a messaging app made by someone who misspells “message.” With that aside, however, this is a pretty fun, innovative alternative to the increasingly homogenized messaging apps that keep popping up in the App Store.

As its name suggests, this is an app which translates your messages into Morse code automatically. Just type in your message and have it translated; then let the app use your flash to transmit your coded missive as a series of brief flashes, which can be picked by another user and read.

First and foremost this is a fun app that I can imagine being used in various games. But it could also be a potentially useful tool in a disaster situation — since the app lets you transmit messages without needing internet or a cellular connection.

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

iMazing Mini

dna
Backups have never been simpler.
Photo: DigiDNA

Backing up your iOS devices can be a pain — but not if you have this smart-yet-simple tool from DigiDNA, which makes backups a breeze. With iMazing Mini, you get more control over wireless backups.

They happen at a time to suit you, and you can choose exactly where they’re saved. Unlike iTunes, the backups are incremental, which means you can return to a specific one to restore your data. They’re also encrypted for security, and optimized to take up less storage on your computer. You specify how many backups your want iMazing Mini to hold onto before they are removed, and you’ll get a notification if your backups are behind schedule.

Another big advantage over iTunes is that iMazing Mini does not require your iOS device to be plugged into a power source before a wireless backup can be performed. You can keep it in your bag or pocket and everything happens in the background automatically. Oh, and it already supports devices running iOS 11.

Available for: macOS in beta
Cost: Free
Get it from: iMazing

Luminar

neptune
Macphun adds artificial intelligence to Luminar with its Neptune update.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

Macphun’s all-in-one photo editor for Mac got a big upgrade this week, courtesy of its “Neptune” update. While there are a number of improvements to what was already a great tool, number one would be Accent: a new AI filter that lets you use artificial intelligence to tweak your photos.

Accent is a single slider bar that lets you analyze and quickly improve various different parts of your image, including colors, contrast, exposure and other parameters. As our resident photography expert David Pierini noted, it does this while still putting the photographer firmly in control:

“It doesn’t automatically assume that the dark areas of a picture need to be lighter, that I can decide whether any detail gets to appear in the shadows. Exposure is a matter of taste and what a photographer does with it can establish a palpable mood. An AI-based app sometimes makes assumptions that kill a mood.”

Other improvements include a plug-in integration to Macphun’s Creative Kit and Aurora KDR 2017, faster and smoother performing brush, gradient and radial gradient tools, additional vignette styles and improvements to user interface.

Available for: macOS in beta
Cost: Free to current Luminar users, $49 to anyone who owns other Macphun software, $59 for new users
Get it from: Macphun

Forma.8 GO

A nifty sideways take on the Metroidvania genre, Forma.8 gives you a massive open world map to explore, some intriguing puzzles, and gorgeous graphics. I’m still in the early stages, but it’s definitely an intriguing game unlike any I’ve played this year on iOS. Hopefully I’ll have a full review coming soon. Here’s how its creators describe the plot:

“As the small exploration probe forma.8 you’re stranded alone on the surface of an alien planet. Separated from your companions by accident you have a life or death mission to accomplish: find and recover a lost, powerful energy source before it’s too late. Ancient civilisations, great perils and dystopian visions await you. And not everything is what it seems.”

Sound intriguing? That’s what I thought. And now I’m hooked…

Available for: iPhone, iPad
Cost: $3.99
Get it from: App Store

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