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Weekly App Store Picks: April 11, 2009

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It’s time for the very apex of everyone’s Easter weekend, the all important revealing of this week’s picks from the App Store.

But it’s not all about the latest fresh pickings from the App Store, before we get in to all that, I’ve collated the week’s news in handy bite-size form — think of it as factual Easter egg, especially for your brain.

The week was kicked off with rumors and speculation surrounding the next iterations of the iPod touch and iPhone. An official job posting by Apple (s appl) suggested that the next generation iPod touch will feature a camera. Plus, it’s looking almost certain that video recording and FM transmit/receive will be coming to the next iPhone hardware update.

With the added potential for apps that the forthcoming 3.0 iPhone software update will bring, budding coders can now learn about development via iTunes. Stanford University is now running app development courses for download, available for download now and, what’s more, totally free.

During the week, I reviewed two new iPhone apps: novelty sound tool Amplitude and The Void, an Asteroids-esque space shooter. Note that next week, I’ll be stamping my big boot of opinion down on yet more apps, including Hysteria, a creepy choose-your-own-adventure horror game, and The New York Times Crosswords Daily.

We also kicked off our latest series iPhone Dev Sessions, with a fantastic tutorial on designing an Orientation-Aware Clock, courtesy of Bickbot’s Henry Balanon. If you’re looking to dip in to iPhone-coding, I’d highly recommend this article.

Moving on to the apps, this week I’ve been looking at Fat Tag, RjDj Shake, Japanese Massage and Tap Tap Coldplay.

picture-21Fat Tag (free)
The Free Art and Technology Lab — aka F.A.T. — is behind all sorts of clever, disruptive, challenging projects, such as SelfControl — an OS X application that can temporarily block access to specific sites (or mail servers). Their latest release is Fat Tag, a simple graffiti tagging app (with accelerometer-controlled dripping paint). The really special thing about their app though is that, in-keeping with F.A.T.’s copyright free spirit, the source code is available to download from their site. It’s a potentially valuable learning opportunity for fresh iPhone app coders.

picture-3RjDj (free)
Back in October last year, my second article for TheAppleBlog was about RjDj Album — a sound toy that the creators described as, “the next generation of walkman or mp3 player… a digital drug which causes mind twisting hearing sensation.”I talked about how RjDj could become an effective sub-platform for distributing some of the most exciting experiences available on the iPhone. That time has come. The latest RjDj app integrates scene-downloading, which means an ever-expanding library of new sonic devices to play with. Plus, you can now share your recordings via Facebook and Twitter. This is seriously innovative and exciting stuff, capturing the iPhone’s true potential. Download it now.

picture-4Japanese Massage ($1.99)
If all the action of the week has got you aching all over, this is the app for you. It’s a DIY self-help app that teaches you to squeeze, smooth and pummel that pain away, letting a river of relaxation flow through your body as if it were a blade of grass in the cool Spring breeze. Featuring 20 different massage styles, each technique contains a description and — vital to effective learning — a clear illustration. The key here is that these are all self-massage techniques, so anytime you’re feeling the burn, you can use this app to help ease the stress away.

picture-5Tap Tap Coldplay ($4.99)
Let it be stated now. I am not a Coldplay fan. If their not-so-unique brand of proto-U2 stadium rock was a bus to town, I’d rather walk in the rain…even if it took all day and I was just wearing sandals and shorts. However, and this is a big however, Brian Eno lent a hand on their latest album, and — although it’s got that Where The Streets Have No Name epic vibe (courtesy of Eno) — it’s not so bad. As for the app, blending Tap Tap Revenge with Coldplay is a serious success — it makes their music fun and, for fans of the band, this is a must-have. Plus, it’s got Life in Technicolor II, a great tune with a great video.

That’s the picks for this week. I’ll return in seven days time with more from the App Store. Drop by TheAppleBlog during the week to find the latest Apple news alongside app reviews too.

In the meantime, what apps have you been using this week?

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