The first week of September has seen a deluge of new arrivals at the App Store. It’s time for me to search through the latest releases for iPhone and hand-pick my recommendations for the past seven days.
This week I’ve been looking at Button, Facebook, BlogPress and Quicksilver.
One of my favorite sci-fi novels, “Better Than Life,” oscillates between a deep space distopia and an almost perfect Earth as it follows the surviving crew members of the Red Dwarf mining ship. It’s soon revealed that the crew’s collective vision of Earth is actually a highly addictive massively multiplayer online game beamed directly into their brains, leaving their real bodies in a seemingly catatonic state. Rather than take a giant leap towards this sinister style of multiplayer gaming, Button instead takes baby steps. There’s a big button, everyone around the world sees the button, when the button lights up you must push the button, sometimes you win a prize, usually you don’t. Button is effectively a nonsensical distraction that seems to tickle just the right bit of your brain. Plus, you can ramp up the futility by playing as a team. I’ve created a special team called tab just for readers of TheAppleBlog, come join my group and let’s push buttons together.
The official Facebook app has finally received its first major update for some time, bringing the service’s iPhone implementation almost (but not quite) up to speed with the 3GS and 3.0 firmware. For starters, the app’s user interface has been streamlined and tidied up — gone are the tiny buttons, pointless scrollable horizontal groups bar and crash-happy inbox. The main feed benefits from having a clutter free interface and now incorporates likes and comments. The menu screen features several big chunky buttons, designed for ease of navigation. Notably, the app now allows video recording and uploads, a real boon for iPhone 3GS users. However, it’s seems that when Facebook update their app, there’s always something missing. In this case, there are no Push Notifications, an OS 3.0 feature which could have been designed solely for apps just like Facebook.
The official WordPress app just isn’t working out for me. While I appreciate the WordPress app being free, I’m still not impressed by the app’s sluggish navigation and overly technical user interface. In essence, the WordPress app doesn’t feel pretty and it doesn’t work as it should. With this in mind, I’ve been on the hunt for a replacement and BlogPress seems to be just the app to knock WordPress off my iPhone. The app features a WYSIWYG editor, incredibly important as you certainly don’t want to be tweaking your latest post’s code on your iPhone’s keyboard. There’s also video uploading, something which the WordPress app doesn’t currently support, handled by uploading your video to YouTube and then embedding within your latest post. BlogPress also supports posting simultaneously to multiple blog services, including Blogger, MSN Live Spaces, WordPress, Movable Type, TypePad, LiveJournal, Drupal and Joomla.
And finally, while on the subject of replacing apps, I’ve been on the hunt for an alternative to Nimbuzz — while it’s an excellent feature-rich iPhone IM app, and free too, I’ve been feeling like I need a more streamlined solution. With it’s minimal iChat-esque interface, Quicksilver is the perfect app for a quick bit of iPhone IMing, with one caveat: it’s made for XMPP-compliant servers only, which, in non-geek-speak, means it’ll work with Google Talk but not MSN. The really great thing about Quicksilver is that it incorporates Push Notifications, making it more than worth the two buck asking price. When you close Quicksilver, you’re not logged out of chat, instead you’re status is changed to away. If one of your contacts should get in touch, the message will arrive on your iPhone as a push notification.
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?