Weekly App Store Picks: Feb. 28, 2009


Nine out of ten iPhone owners would probably agree that this article, containing the freshest picks from the App Store, is a nutritious and delicious source of information.

Before we kick things off with this week’s picks, let’s take a quick look at happenings in the world of Apple this week.

Business news first, Apple’s shareholders have re-elected the board. This means that Jobs, Google’s Eric Schmidt and Internet-inventing eco-savior Al Gore are here to stay for the time being. Rumors abound that He-Man and The Ultimate Warrior will be joining the Apple board’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen this time next year.

Subscribers to MobileMe will be overjoyed to hear that the service has been tweaked, incorporating a few minor improvements. The most immediate difference is the updated log-in page, however, most impactful in terms of productivity will be the changes made to Mail’s address handling and Calendar’s speed-boost.

My favorite post from TheAppleBlog this week came from Tom Reetsman. Tom decided to take journalist and Microsoft-zealot Paul Thurrott to task in an amusing dissection of Thurrott’s Safari 4 Beta review.

I’m loving the Safari 4 Beta, in particular the Top Sites feature has become an essential browsing tool. It’s just a prettyfied list of dynamic bookmarks, but I really dig the combination of actual usefulness and swish aesthetic: there’s no good reason why our digital desktops shouldn’t work wonderfully and look great too.

Moving on to the apps, this week I’m looking at Re<ords 003, Cooking Mama, WordFu and PhotoKeys.

Re<ords 003Re<ords 003 ($1.99)
There’s a slowly emerging trend of music releases via the App Store, whereby labels are releasing sets of tracks wrapped in apps. It’s an interesting concept to be sure, and one which Japan’s self-styled supersonic group Delaware are experimenting with. The app’s crude tongue-in-cheek interactivity, flipping your iPhone flips the record over to the next side, mixed with utterly avant and endearing music certainly make this a unique experience. Visit Delaware’s lo-fi site for a vid.

cookingmamaCooking Mama ($6.99)
Popularized through its releases on Nintendo’s DS and Wii, Taito’s Cooking Mama has made the leap to iPhone. The game sees you learning to prepare and cook a variety of dishes and with a tweaked control-scheme harnessing the iPhone’s hardware, you’ll find yourself chopping veggies, slicing meat and simmering your concoctions in the frying pan. Cooking is a real passion for me, so fusing that with such a clever game makes for a seriously delicious app. One for the gamers and the wannabe chefs, then.

wordfuWordFu (99 cents)
The folks at ngmoco have done it again, bringing another awesome game to iPhone and, in the process, becoming my favorite game publisher. Their latest title, WordFu, plays out like caffeine-boosted single-player speed-Scrabble. Given a random selection of letters, this is hardcore, fast-paced wordplay as you attempt to rack up the highest score in a limited amount of time. There’s even a Wi-Fi multiplayer mode (which I haven’t gotten around to trying yet). For the price, an introductory offer apparently, this is worth grabbing immediately.

photokeysPhotoKeys: Photoshop Remote ($3.99)
After seeing the Optimus Mini Three, my gadget-desire has gone in to overdrive at the prospect of turning the iPhone into a dynamic keyboard extension. In particular, an app interfacing with Photoshop — activating the various tools at the tap of a finger — would be a productivity dream come true, freeing me from the constraints of keyboard shortcuts. The Optimus Mini Three has three buttons and is around $130, PhotoKeys is designed specifically for Photoshop, works wonders and is only four bucks. Do the math, then buy the app, then make a pretty Photoshop mashup about how awesome your math is.

That’s all the apps I’ve got for you this week, meet me back here — same time, same place — next Saturday, for more fresh pickings from the App Store. And make sure to drop by the comments to tell me which apps you’ve been downloading too.