The Courier-Mail

APP TO DATE

- WITH JENNIFER DUDLEY-NICHOLSON

OCTOPUS ESTATE Free, Apple iOS/Android

Octopuses are complicate­d creatures, and not just because they have three hearts, blue blood, and neurons in their arms. This unique app from the University of South Australia asks players to put themselves in the (many) shoes of these sea creatures, working out when they should flee, when they should feast, and responding to different underwater encounters and challenges, like heatwaves. A fun way to learn about our cephalopod pals.

GOOGLE MAPS Free, Apple iOS/Google Android

The world’s biggest map app is about to get a long list of handy upgrades thanks to artificial intelligen­ce.

Among the enhancemen­ts coming to Australia are options to show air quality and weather details, suggestion­s for ecofriendl­y routes with the lowest carbon emissions (and similar arrival times), and the ability to compare modes of transport, like cycling and public transport, on the main app screen.

TICKTICK Free, Apple iOS/Google Android

Plenty of apps will save your to-do list but this one takes it further. TickTick will save your tasks by the day they’re due, show them on a calendar, record subtasks, deliver reminders, and keep tasks saved by categories. This app will also work across the web, plus Apple, Google and Microsoft devices, will let you prioritise items in your list, and can even send you a report at the end of the week on how many things you achieved.

DROPLETS Free, iOS/Android

This app is designed to help kids learn a new language using visual cues delivered in five-minute daily sessions. It is compelling enough for adults to try it too. Droplets delivers language lessons by naming objects and making a game out of matching them again, spelling the words, and picking them from a group. It’s surprising­ly effective and should have most users picking their ‘breakfast’ from their ‘bread’ within a few sessions.

SWIPP! $1.49, Apple iOS

This is one of those apps that seems simple but rapidly becomes baffling.

The goal in Swipp! is to take the yellow cubes provided and shift them into boxes on the screen, but this straightfo­rward task becomes complicate­d when holes appear in the grid and roadblocks stand in your path. The app features 50 levels to overcome and more entertainm­ent than its meagre price tag suggests.

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