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Weekly App Store Picks: July 11, 2009

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Wave good-bye to the week and say hello to the weekend, complete with a hand-picked selection of the latest apps to hit the iPhone.

Prior to diving into the picks, it’s customary ’round these parts to provide an enlightening summary of the week’s iPhone news and Apple-related happenings.

First up, accident-prone owners of the iPhone will be particularly pleased to note that Apple is now replacing iPhone displays while you wait. Apparently the magic happens behind the scenes, armed with a giant suction cup your designated Apple Genius will pull the damaged screen off your iPhone before replacing it with a shiny new one. Great news, but potentially expensive if you’re out of warranty.

We may be in the midst of Summer, but the rumor-mill just keeps on churning out potentially golden nuggets of (dis)information. This time, Apple has apparently ordered a large quantity of super-cheap camera modules, supposedly to be integrated into the next iteration of iPod.

Prowl, a new iPhone app specifically for devices on the latest OS 3.0 software, allows you to receive desktop Growl notifications via push. This means that Growl notifications generated by desktop applications, such as torrent clients, instant messaging or email, can now be piped directly to your iPhone when you’re on the go.

Augmented reality has finally made it to the iPhone in the shape of Nearest Tube, an app that takes your iPhone’s camera feed and overlays directions. Designed for use in London, hold the iPhone up and it’ll point you to the nearest underground train station — perfect for locals and tourists alike. While it may not be useful for most of our readers outside the UK, it’s a compelling look at where the future of iPhone apps may be heading.

This year, July 11 doesn’t just signify a lazy Summer weekend, it also happens to be the first anniversary of the App Store’s official launch. In celebration of this, Apple has compiled a list of its favorite apps from the store, notable picks include Rolando and’s excellent (and free) iPhone app.

TheAppleBlog’s Darrell Etherington may be a subscriber to Apple’s MobileMe service, but I certainly am not. I just don’t see the value in paying so much for a service that can be pieced together for free: Gmail, Picasa, Dropbox, Google Calendar and Google Sync. Now yet another reason has been added to the anti-MobileMe list, in the form of GPush — an app that generates an iPhone push notification whenever your receive new mail.

Moving on to the picks, this week I’ve been looking at iTwitter, VideoUp for Facebook, Mecho Wars and Evacuation.

appicon-itwitteriTwitter ($3.99)
Several months back, I posted a rundown of the most notable Twitter clients on the iPhone. Since then, the landscape has barely changed: Tweetie is still a firm favorite with the masses, TwitterFon is the well-rounded underdog and Twinkle is the pretty but shallow airhead. Until now, the only notable addition to this perpetual 140-character battle has been TweetDeck, introducing groups and a Palm Pre-style browsing interface. iTwitter isn’t a massive leap forward, but it does introduce push notifications — a feature which its competitors have yet to integrate. The app also looks great, is easy to navigate and can be used in landscape or portrait orientation. This is definitely one for the frequent tweeters to check out.

appicon-videoupVideoUp for Facebook (99 cents)
Those who aren’t early adopters, take note, this app is for iPhone 3GS owners only. The latest iPhone integrates video recording straight out the box so, unlike the iPhone 3G, no nasty jailbreak-related hacks are needed. By default, you’re able to upload your videos direct to YouTube, which is great but not ideal for users of other social networks. VideoUp for Facebook is a simple uploader app that, once you’ve trimmed your vid down, allows you to upload direct to the social networking service. In particular, Facebook users who are a tad trigger-happy with iPhone 3GS video recording will find this to be an essential download.

appicon-mechowarsMecho Wars (99 cents)
I was excited to discover UniWar a few weeks back, a polished turn-based strategy with a sci-fi vibe. Now Mecho Wars joins the fray, bringing turn-based action inspired by Nintendo DS Advance Wars to the iPhone. The graphics have a retro-2D Japanese style to them, with weird robo-bugs and lunar landscapes, and the gameplay even features excellent cut-scenes for the battles. There’s also single device multiplayer, which means that you can compete with a friend using one iPhone. The app is also on sale for a limited time, so grab it while you can for just a buck.

appicon-evacuationEvacuation (99 cents)
Recently, I’ve developed a growing obsession for flash games — they’re the perfect distraction, quick to loud, easy to learn and occasionally great fun. With gameplay reminiscent of the Kill Bill flash game, one of my favorites of late has been Too Many Ninjas, a hack ‘n’ slasher with Commodore 64-esque retro graphics. Ported to the iPhone, Evacuation is another fun mini-game from the creator of Too Many Ninjas. It’s a puzzler where the goal is to shoot all the purple aliens out of the ship’s airlock, without blasting your crew in to space, too.

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?

3 Responses to “Weekly App Store Picks: July 11, 2009”

  1. 1) I’m English and well aware of the slang (although my non-UK-based brothers and sisters here at TheAppleBlog may not be).

    2) If you look closely, it already says ‘nom nom’.

    3) Wash your dirty eyes out with soap!