Weekly App Store Picks: April 18, 2009


Put your iPhone in the air and shake it like you just don’t care, because it’s time for my pick from the week’s freshest apps.

Before you start waving your iPhone with a blatant disregard for those around you due to the sheer excitement you feel from reading about the latest apps, I’ve got a brief rundown of the week’s news.

We began the week with news that Buy.com had begun offering unlocked iPhone 3Gs for purchase. As such, it’s looking increasingly like it’s time for stockists to clear their inventory and prepare for the impending arrival of the next iPhone. And at only $799 for your very own legit unlocked iPhone, you may as well take two.

Staying with the subject of unlocked iPhone’s, our own Clayton Lai posted a new guide as part of his Jailbreak article series. Clayton covers the myriad options available for owners of jailbroken iPhones looking to use copy-paste (before the official 3.0 iPhone OS update drops this Summer).

On Wednesday, Apple revealed the most downloaded apps so far. In the paid section, Smule’s social musical instrument Ocarina made the list, as did Tap Tap Revenge over in the free section. Oddly enough though, Rolando is notably absent — perhaps the impending sequel, details of which ngmoco released this week, will garner even more downloads than the original.

Next up, a tasty bombshell dropped in the shape of a possibly/maybe/potentially reliable leak: a list of ingredients for the forthcoming new iPhone. Unlike one of my tasty risottos, there was no mushroom or asparagus on this ingredient list, however there were a few chips. Hit up the full article for a delicious rundown of what could very well be in store for the next iPhone iteration.

There’s also been speculation that Nintendo and Sony are freaking out over the very real threat that the iPhone presents to their respective chunks of the handheld gaming markets. Insightful but amusingly tactless comment of the week goes to TheAppleBlog reader Youda Farmer:

“All you DS/PSP dunderheads need to get over yourselves. Nobody in there [sic] right mind carries a DS/PSP with them at all times. But ALL iPhone owners NEVER leave home without it.”

With the smoke of news blown away by the vacuum of fact, it’s time to move on to this week’s picks from the App Store. This week I’ve been looking at UniWar, QuadCamera, GO! Manga and Birdhouse.

appicon_uniwarsUniWar (99 cents)
It seems I’m spending too much time playing on my iPhone, due to several hyper-distracting recent releases — Briscas, ElementalMonster TD and Leaf Trombone: World Stage, to name but three. During the week I decided to check out UniWar, a strategy game that blends Starcraft-style sci-fi landscapes with the turn-based fun of Advance Wars on the DS. Although the pixellated graphics are gorgeous, I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed by the gameplay. The learning curve is just right, trying out all the different units is great fun, the only problem with this game is that the hours literally disappear every time I play.

appicon_quadcameraQuadCamera – Multi shot (99 cents)
This app was actually released back in March, but, after accepting that my iPhone camera gets almost no use these days, I decided that it was time to re-ignite my passion for iPhone-based photography. QuadCamera really takes Apple’s poor iPhone camera and turns it in to a fun photography toy and, what’s more, the photos are good enough to show off. Take a photo and the app actually takes 4-8 serial shots which are then displayed together (a la Lomography’s Action Sampler). What’s more, there’s a variety of effects to choose from, giving your images an extra injection of character and depth. Alongside Flickit, QuadCamera is must-have for iPhone photographers.

appicon_gomangaGO! Manga (99 cents)
Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone has been giving me a few issues of late. To be more specific, it’s less to do with the app and more to do with accessing Amazon.com’s U.S. service as a UK citizen living in Finland. Kindle or not, I need to get my read on and find my next fix of fiction, and so I’m immensely grateful for GO! Manga. The app provides access to a massive library of English-language Manga content for free. I don’t know the details of how GO! Manga did or didn’t wrangle deals with relevant publishers to get this content out there, but setting that aside, what we have is an overwhelming treasure trove of authentic manga. Download this app and then I highly recommend you start by reading Death Note.

appicon_birdhouse1Birdhouse ($3.99)
With Tweetie as the Twitter client of choice for many — including me — it’s surely tough for any other app to compete. However, the aim with Birdhouse is to compliment your favorite Twitter client rather than attempt to replace it. The killer feature is that the app allows you to compose and save multiple drafts for multiple accounts. The $3.99 price-point is a little too lofty though, especially if, given sufficient demand, I expect Tweetie will follow suit and integrate multiple draft-saving, making Birdhouse an expensive luxury rather than an essential tweeting tool.

And with that, we’re done with this week’s picks. As always, I’ll be back same time, same place, next week with more from the App Store.

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