Notable apps and app updates for October 23, 2015

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks for iOS and Mac OS X:

iOS Apps/Updates

Apple Music may be making a run for the money, but Spotify (free with in-app purchases) is still at the top of the heap when it comes to streaming music apps. Spotify shows up near the top of the "top grossing" list every week, simple because of the $12.99 monthly in-app purchase that millions of iOS users make. Whether you just want to shuffle streaming music, create a playlist, or build your music collection over time, Spotify is a big favorite of a lot of iOS users. The latest release came out on October 20.

The other big Apple Music competitor is Pandora (free with in-app purchases). The company today reported a loss in the third quarter of 2015, probably due to the impact of Apple Music, but it's still a favorite of a lot of listeners. 

While we're discussing streaming, why not take a look at streaming video? HBO NOW (free with in-app purchases) gives you access to all of HBO's content and exclusive movies. To watch, you simply download the HBO NOW app, subscribe via in-app purchase (or just log in with credentials from your cable or satellite provider if you already get HBO), create an HBO NOW profile, and then get ready to stream on your favorite iOS device. 

Mac OS X Apps/Updates

Q: What longtime Mac app has made a big comeback on the best-selling charts recently? A: OmniGraffle ($99.99). OmniGroup is constantly adding new features to this amazing app for diagramming, charting, page layout and graphic design. The latest update to version 6.4 provides El Capitan compatibility, including haptic feedback for Force Touch trackpads while snapping to guides or connecting to magnets. 

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins on Sunday, November 1. If you're flexing your fingers in anticipation of writing your first novel during the 30 days of November, you'd better get yourself a decent writing tool. My personal favorite is Ulysses ($44.99), which I use to write and edit all of my posts on Apple World Today. If you're not sure about spending $45 on an app just to write your novel, consider taking advantage of the special Ulysses NaNoWriMo deal, where you can download the app for free, then buy it later if you realize that your ambition to be a famous novelist is actually not in vain. 

Another NaNoWriMo favorite tool is Scrivener ($44.99), an app that adds more organization and outlining tools than you'll find in Ulysses. Whether you need to keep track of all the characters and locations in your story, need to figure out the structure of the story, or want to keep track of your daily word count, Scrivener is a powerful writer's assistant. 

Finally, if you decide to turn your NaNoWriMo opus into a sellable e-book, there's no better app to use than Vellum (free to use, in-app purchase to generate e-books). The pricing is great, and you can publish your first novel to iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and Google Play for just $29.99. When you decide to write a series of books, a 10-book package is just $99.99 and an unlimited package is $199.99. Believe me, having self-published e-books before, Vellum is absolutely the best way to create and sell e-books.