AllCast (free) — If you’ve got an Apple TV, the AirPlay features in iOS generally have you covered for streaming your audio and video to the big screen. For everybody else, there’s AllCast, a new app designed to let you stream content from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a whole list of other devices, including Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV, and even a collection of Smart TVs. The app works with virtually no setup necessary, and not only allows you to stream locally stored content, but provides the ability to connect to a number of cloud services, including Dropbox, Google+, Google Drive, and Instagram. You can also stream from other DLNA-compatible media servers you may have on your network. While AllCast is a free download, it’s ad-supported; a $5 in-app purchase removes the ads.
Google Classroom (free) — Designed for Google Apps for Education users, Google’s new Classroom app for iOS helps teachers and students improve communication and keep their classwork organized. Teachers can paperlessly create and collect assignments, and integration with Google Drive enables time-saving features like automatically copying Google Docs for each student, and creating Drive folders for each assignment and student. For students, Classroom provides abilities to keep track of what assignments are assigned and due, and get quick access to them with a single tap. Teachers can monitor work in progress, and provide direct and real-time feedback and grades back to students right from within the app. Teachers and students can also engage in online class discussions, and share resources with each other in a stream-like conversation view. While the app is free, you’ll need to be a Google Apps for Education user to actually sign in, but if you’re one of many students with Gmail provided by your campus, you probably already are.
Google Maps (free) — The latest update to Google’s popular Maps app for iOS adds weather information for cities around the world, the ability to filter restaurant searches by type of cuisine, and improves navigation features with the ability to set arbitrary starting and destination locations by dropping pins right onto the map. You can also apparently add public transit directions to your calendar, although we couldn’t seem to find this latter feature when we looked for it, suggesting that it may not have made it into the update, or perhaps it doesn’t apply to all public transit directions. Regardless, however, if you’re a Google Maps user, this is a worthwhile update.
Google Translate (free) — When Google acquired WordLens last spring, we figured it was only a matter of time before the technology found its way into Google’s core translation apps, and it’s finally here with the latest update of Google Translate. The latest version allows you to point your iPhone camera at a sign or text and the app will now translate the text virtually instantaneously, without even requiring a data connection. While the language support is currently limited to translating between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, it’s definitely a cool feature and should be pretty useful for many frequent travelers. For other languages, the Camera Mode feature provides the ability to translate between up to 36 languages by snapping a photo and highlighting text, although you’ll actually need a data connection for that one. The new version also adds automatic language detection in speech/conversation mode—you can simply select your two languages, start talking and the app will detect which language is being spoken, which should help to make Translate-assisted conversations between two parties much smoother.
Peg + Cat: The Tree Problem ($3) — PBS Kids has released Peg + Cat: The Tree Problem, a new kids app based on the math-centric animated series Peg + Cat. The iPad-only app finds Cat getting stuck in a number of different trees in six different worlds, including the farm, the backyard, and Broadway. It’s up to kids to help Cat get down by creating a series of steps or platforms, and in doing so, the app helps foster awareness of spatial reasoning and measurement. The Tree Problem includes great animation and voice work, as well — at times, you might feel like you’re watching the show.
Skype for iPhone and Skype for iPad (free) — With version 5.9, Skype adds a number of UI improvements to help you get right to chatting with your friends and family with a minimum of fuss. The dial pad now suggests matching contacts as you enter a phone number, and the new chat picker provides a phone or video icon so you can start a call right from a text chat with only a single tap. Skype is also introducing a new pre-release program specifically for the iOS version that will allow those who want to stay on the bleeding edge of Skype’s technology to get early access to new features and provide feedback to Microsoft to help improve the product.