This Week's Best iPhone Apps

Lite apps are dead! The App Store is diseased! But seriously, enough with the eulogies: here are the best new apps this week, in no particular order.

The Best

Layar: Mark my words: in the next year or so, augmented reality apps will graduate from half-arsed party tricks to something with actual utility. This is a daddy-step in the right direction:

Layar has grown up since we last saw it: now you can overlay all kinds of data, from geotagged Wikipedia entries to Flickr photos to local Tweets.

3GS only, but at least it's free.

SuperGlued: Lots of apps help you find good shows, but SuperGlued doesn't stop there. You can Tweet with other members of the crowd (Are tickets sold out at the door? Does the venue still smell like urine? Where are you? etc.), post pictures of the show live, and keep track of which events your friends are planning on going to. Free.

Proactive Sleep: Is there a such thing as a sleep coach? Let's assume there is! In a nutshell, that's what this app, designed with SCIENCE, aims to be. It's an alarm clock at its core, which wakes you up with music of your choice then challenges you to a game, or offers you a dream diary. It'll also track your sleep patterns and warn you when you've dipped below average. A little steep at $6, but it's fairly polished and written by a bona fide sleep researcher.

Blastination: The game looks like an instant headache, and it takes a few minutes to get used to the chaos. The idea, though, is a winner: Your goal is to collect shapes with your bouncing avatar, which you pilot by bouncing off barriers you've drawn in real time. $1.19.

Heart Rate Monitor: More of a conceptual win than a practical one (it's not even out yet), Heart Rate Monitor broadcasts your heart rate over your social network of choice. Its intended purpose is medical, but the tech could easily be used for fun too. I mean hell, Nintendo thinks we want a heart rate monitor for gaming, so there must be something to the idea.

Bailout War$: Tower defence + populist rage + genuinely OK gameplay = a good timesuck. The graphics could be better, and the satire more subtle, but this is a $1.19 casual game we're talking about here.

CBS News: CBS's new app is an example of a dedicated news app done right. Video content is plentiful and streams over Wi-Fi and 3G, news content is organised well and Twitter integration is more than just token. And it's free.

Viper: It needs to be mated to an expensive remote ignition system, and it doesn't save you a ton of time, but this one ranks purely for coolness. I mean, you can start your car with your iPhone. This is totally the dream, for people with modest, iPhone-centric dreams.

Honourable Mentions

Itsy Bitsy Spider: Duck Duck Moose makes spectacularly helpful apps for keeping children entertained, turning your iPhone into something between a spinning mobile, a picture book and a toy. Itsy Bitsy spider is a musical picture book, basically, and parent reviewers swear by it. $1.19

Pang: You know that legendary Japanese arcade classic, Pang? Me neither! But if you do, this thing looks pretty good. Four dollars.

Assassin FPS: At the very surface of the augmented reality app strata, you find apps that let you put crosshairs over your friends, and pretend to murder them. There are plenty of these, but Assassin is one of the better ones.

NPR News: Another update to an already priceless app, this brings live NPR streams—they do that sometimes, who knew?—to the app, as well as a few minor functional changes. Still free.

PhotoNotes: Assigns titles and notes to your photos. It's four dollars and doesn't do anything particularly amazing, but I can see this being invaluable to people with very specific picture-notating needs.

This Week's App News on Giz

The App Store Effect: Are iPhone Apps Headed for Oblivion?

Twitter Lists Are Live, Meaning Soon You'll Be Able to Create Groups in Twitter Apps

Lite iPhone Apps Are Dead: In-App Purchases Come to Free Apps

Trillian iPhone App's Been Stuck in App Store Limbo for 60 Days

Pepsi Issues "Apology" For Offensive iPhone Dating App

Studio Raises Price of iPhone App to $US40 to Shut Whiners Up

Now This is How the iPhone Should Handle Multitasking

This list is in no way definitive. If you've spotted a great app that hit the store this week, give us your firsthand impressions in the comments. And for even more apps, see our previous weekly roundups here. Have a great weekend, everybody!

Trending Stories Right Now