Apps: Ikea Place, Visit a City
Furniture giant IKEA is taking advantage of Apple's new capabilities for augmented reality -- blending the digital and real worlds -- and has created an app that lets you place IKEA furniture on pretty much any surface at which you can point a camera. The app uses your phone's camera to scan the floor ahead of you and measure your space, then lets you drag, drop and rotate furniture to your heart's content. Think of it as the "chair anywhere" app. You should be able to access any furniture IKEA sells, and they are sorted by category -- though a search feature would be welcome. Clearing the floor you're trying to scan helps the app out, if you can. IKEA Place also runs best on the iPhone 6s or newer models; those with older phones might have some issues getting things to work perfectly.
This app has its limits, of course. While you may have fun moving digital furniture around your living room or seeing if you actually could fit a new table in that weird corner, this is not something you're likely to do every day. Practically speaking, this app is not that useful unless you're actively decorating or dreaming of new decor. But it's an interesting glimpse into the way that augmented reality can be useful, as Apple starts experimenting with this new technology, plus a good way to get a better sense of your own space.
Free, for iOS devices.
Visit a City
Ever wanted to just pick a place on the map and go? Visit a City's designed to make that dream as close to reality as possible. This travel has app has suggested itineraries for cities around the world, from Accra to Zagreb. Sure, some cities have more comprehensive guides than others, but all of those listed in the app have at least some suggestions -- often accompanied by reviews from travelers who've gone before you. You can add locations important to your journey, such as your hotel or restaurant, to get a clearer picture of how long you'll really be spending in transit.
Sign up with your email, Facebook or Google account to save itineraries as you plan. You can also download guide data for a particular city to access offline, in case your journeys take you off the beaten path. (Or, at least, away from your preferred cell network.) Having those on hand is convenient for mapping out all you've planned to do, or for ditching your best-laid plans for a moment of travel serendipity. This app's great whether you're exploring London, Omaha or Kuala Lampur.
Free, for iOs and Android devices.