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The most exciting apps from 2016

The most exciting apps from 2016
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Visit the App Store for a few minutes and you can go crosseyed from all the different options. You can sift through thousands of apps for hours on end, but there will always be another that catches your eye.

Even as Apple upgraded to iOS 10, some of the most captivating apps of 2016 weren't about gaming or social networking, but creativity. Musicians, writers and photographers had a chance to experiment with their preferred media in dramatic new ways.

Here are some of our favorite apps from iOS. Now that Christmas has passed, treat yourself to some of these provocative new programs.

1. Complete Anatomy

Until now, students of human anatomy had to lug around hefty textbooks and pore over complicated diagrams. But Complete Anatomy has changed all that: The app uses breathtaking graphics and animation to illustrate the human body. Effortlessly navigate the tissues and organs that make us what we are in incredible 3D.

Complete Anatomy is a free download for Apple devices but currently isn't available for Android.

2. Filmborn

A few years ago, photographers were clamoring to trade in their film cameras for digital SLRs. Film is pretty much extinct, except for serious hobbyists, but folks have already become nostalgic for its distinct appearance. It's a lot like Instagram, but Filmborn is specifically designed to mimic the grain and texture of film as closely as possible, and if you remember the darkroom well, you'll probably be impressed.

Filmborn is a free download for Apple users. There is currently no Android version of the app.

3. Auxy Music Creation

GarageBand has finally met its match: Auxy Music Creation uses loops, beats and synth sounds to compose original music. You can use a microphone or plug an instrument into your device to record a melody and create professional-sounding songs.

Auxy is free for Apple users but is not available for Android. There is a comparable app called Groove Mixer that works well on Android devices.

4. Streaks

We all have bad habits, but Streaks is designed to crush them. Whether your addiction is coffee, cigarettes or "World of Warcraft," rest assured that Streaks will help you break it. Does Streaks actually take away your plate of red meat? No. But all you have to do is program the app with some goals in mind and Streaks will keep track of completed tasks. The best part: It's compatible with Apple Watch, so it's kind of like having an addiction counselor strapped to your wrist.

Streaks is a free download for both Apple and Android devices.


5. Frame.io

When Google Docs debuted in 2006, users were amazed that they could collaborate on the same document from thousands of miles away, and in real time. Digital filmmakers have long been looking for a similar tool, which enables several different video editors to put together the same movie at the same time. Now that workflow is possible, thanks to Frame.io. You can even leave timestamped comments for your collaborators to help cut a video to perfection.

Unfortunately, Frame.io is not available for Android devices. But it is a free download for Apple.

6. Moog Model 15

If you compose a lot of music on your computer, you're probably familiar with Moog. If you're not, here's the story: Back in the 1960s, analog synthesizers were basically keyboards attached to giant machines with various wires and dials, and musicians created the earliest kind of electronic music. Now, this cumbersome machine has become an app for iOS, giving users a chance to compose the same way that Wendy Carlos created "Switched on Bach." It's a wild idea and clearly aimed at music aficionados, but at $29.99 it should be a lot of fun to play with.

Moog Model 15 is available for both Apple and Android devices.

7. Prisma

Okay, you may not be Picasso, but thanks to Prisma, your iPad could be. Here's the idea: You take some snapshots, you pick a favorite artist, and then Prisma makes your photo look like it was painted by a famous artist. This should be a particular hit among Art History majors, who can take any old selfie and turn it into a work of art, from impressionist paintings to Lichtenstein comics.

Prisma is available for both Apple and Android users. Click here for more details and download instructions.

Bonus: Ulysses

With a name like Ulysses, you can expect something literary and adventurous. This stripped-down word processor enables you to write in almost any genre or format, export writing projects to Word, or PDF, and even publish them directly to the internet. The app removes a lot of the noise of traditional word processors and has been a hit with creative writers.

Ulysses costs $25 to download and is only available for iOS at the moment.

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