Your head might be spinning from the torrent of Apple happenings at WWDC this week, but fear not, I’ve got the cure: fresh picks from the App Store.
It’s been an exciting week for TheAppleBlog, with our correspondents posting live from WWDC in San Jose; we’ve been covering the event from all angles. Before we look at this week’s apps, let’s take a moment to summarize the latest Apple news.
We kicked off the week in style with Apple’s official keynote at WWDC. Behind the scenes we had Henry Balanon and David Koff with live reportage from the event. Streamed live to our WWDC coverage page, we hosted over 74,000 readers. If you missed it first time round, replay it here.
In an entirely unexpected turn of events, the 13″ MacBook has now gone professional. Indeed, the new 13″ MacBook Pro includes an SD card slot, up to 8GB of RAM, and a backlit keyboard as standard. Early adaptors of the 15″ Unibody MacBook Pro can join me in irking 13″ MacBook Pro owners by collectively running our greasy fingers down their glossy 13″ screens.
And, as if that wasn’t enough for us early adopters, the 15″ MacBook Pro has also been updated. In a nutshell, the update means more storage and improved battery life. Plus, the pretty much redundant ExpressCard slot has been replaced with a more useful SD card slot. Readers looking for an overview of the updated MacBook Pro line should head on over to Tom Reestman’s article.
Apple has also announced that Snow Leopard, the latest upgrade to their desktop OS, will be released this September. It’s fully 64-bit, features Exchange support, and is basically pretty wonderful, but the best thing about it isn’t the feature set, it’s the price: Current Leopard users will be able to upgrade for just $29. In the meantime, those looking for a quick software update hit should download the official release of Safari 4.
Then there’s the big news, the product announcement that I’ve been waiting months for: the iPhone 3G S. It’s exactly the same form factor except there’s more RAM, greater storage and — this is a big deal for me — a better camera. The iPhone 3G isn’t going anywhere yet, though; it’ll still be available, at least for a limited time, at the new price point of $99.
Just like the MacBook Pro family, it’s not only the iPhone hardware that has been updated, it’s the software, too. Apple is officially releasing iPhone OS 3.0 on June 17. There are tons of new features, more than I can mention here. Rest assured, though, that crowd-pleasers such as cut/copy/paste, MMS and shake to undo have been included in the update.
To celebrate the launch of the iPhone 3G S and OS 3.0, the folks at Polar Bear Farm have given us two promo codes for their latest app. The app is called Face Match; for a chance to win, simply leave a comment telling me why you’d like to use this face recognition tool for the iPhone.
Moving on to the picks, this week I’ve been looking at Photo Zen, Tumblr Gear, Swiss Maker and Spinal Tap.
Until I bag myself a new iPhone 3G S, containing upgraded camera and integrated video-editing, my iPhone photography lineup consists of Quadcamera and Flickit. The idea is that since the camera on the iPhone 3G isn’t so hot, I want to take quick, fun shots and upload them efficiently, without having to sync and manage via iPhoto. PhotoZen captures this quick and fun photo-sharing ethos, allowing you to post your own images to a social bonsai tree, receiving images from strangers in return. Sweet, simple and free.
Tumblr Gear (Free)
I’m particularly interested in Tumblr Gear because it’s an alternative to Tumblr’s official iPhone app. That’s not to say I have a problem with the official app, quite the contrary; it’s great for posting new content whilst on the move. Rather than for creating new posts, Tumblr Gear was devised for browsing your dashboard and seeing what your friends have been posting. It’s optimized for the iPhone and efficient to use. For the avid user, this could be an essential app.
Swiss Maker (Free)
In reaction to the Swiss design style — stark typographic imagery featuring Helvetica — the Boston-based marketing agency Dirk+Weiss started a site: anyonecanswiss.com. Their clever site, now available as an iPhone app, lets you design a Swiss-style poster in seconds — just enter a few words and it does the tough job of changing the font to Helvetica and printing the text on a black background. Creative folk will appreciate the app for sure, those who don’t get the joke should download the app regardless — show it to your friends, they’ll think you’re erudite, topical and witty.
Spinal Tap (Free)
Around the release of their 1982 album, “Smell the Glove,” their music was described by one journalist as such, “This pretentious ponderous collection of religious rock psalms is enough to prompt the question, ‘What day did the Lord create Spinal Tap, and couldn’t he have rested on that day too?’” It doesn’t matter what the critics said though because Spinal Tap is back and they’re ready to rock. Alongside finally releasing “Saucy Jack,” the band has put out its very own iPhone app. The app is a hub of Tap-related information, there are new tracks to listen to, a Fan Wall for chatting with other listeners, brand-new videos, and even tweets. It’s good to have Spinal Tap back, both fans and those unfamiliar with the band should download the app immediately.
That’s all the picks for this week. I’ll be back in seven days with more news from the week and picks from the App Store.
In the meantime, what apps have you been using this week?