Each month, the best new iPhone apps-and some older ones-are considered for Gizmodo's Essential iPhone Apps Directory. Who will join? Who will live? Who will die? Here's the best of the best from February.
For the full directory of Gizmodo's Essential iPhone Apps for 2009, click here. Here are the best of the month, and what we've added to the directory:
February's Best Apps
Camera Pro Plus: There's a lot of overlap in camera apps, so interface and novel features are generally what determine the best. (I'm partial to Snapture.) But Camera Pro Plus, already a great alternative camera app, now records video, which it competitors generally don't. Trump card, folks! (Until everyone else does it too.) $2.49.
Angry Birds: Terribly violent little casual game, to birds. A terrible addictive little casual game, to humans. It's a bit like a cross between a scorched earth game and a physics tool - your goal is to launch an avian cartoon into precariously stacked structures. The more stuff you knock down, the higher you score. If you're not ready to throw down a dollar based on the concept alone, there's a pretty solid lite version, too.
Plants vs Zombies: A terribly addictive tower defence-type game, with zombies and plants instead of soldiers and death towers. The new players give the game a fun kineticism, so don't judge the game by its cartoonish graphics: this is a very, very good game in a fairly crowded category. $4.
Meebo: Hardcore power messagers (who are you people, exactly?) might want to stick with their Beejives and Trillians, but for the rest of us, Meebo will do just fine. It's nearly as good as the best iPhone messaging apps out there, and it costs absolutely nothing. Love.
Final Fantasy I & II: An extremely faithful pair of ports. The original FF1 and FF2 are old enough that Square Enix decided to revamp the artwork for the iPhone, making these versions noticeably prettier than the originals. Gameplay doesn't suffer too much on account of the touch controls because of the games' slowish pace, and honestly, even if it did, FF these games are basically a lock for Final Fantasy fans anyway. My only reservation is that the games costs $12 each. $12 for both would've been more like it.
Logitech Touch Mouse: Air Mouse Pro is one of the coolest apps in the App Store. With it, you can control your computer's mouse, enter text via the iPhone keyboard, run apps, control media - it basically turns your iPhone into a wireless control centre for your laptop or desktop, without the awkward experience of using a full VNC client. Logitech Touch Mouse is that, except with just the mouse and the keyboard. So, 75 per cent of the functionality, for 0 per cent of the price.
ToonPaint: When you first use ToonPaint, it feels like you're using an adjustable photo filter, and not much more. Then, you start painting. I'll let the video explain this one.
As someone who can't draw an even circle, let alone a convincing portrait, I can vouch for this one. Brutally inartistic people: Remember how you felt when you used to trace cartoons as a kid? This is like that, again, on your iPhone. $2.49.
Essential App Directory Inductees Camera Pro Plus: It isn't enough for a camera app to add options to still shooting. No, nowadays you need video.
Meebo: An ultra-slick messaging app that makes every other free entrant look either quaint or crappy.
Angry Birds: I could have gone outside last Saturday, but I didn't. I played Angry Birds instead. I have no regrets.
Logitech Touch Mouse: Does 75 per cent percent of what more expensive iPhone-as-a-touchpad apps do, for 0 per cent of the price.
The Fallen Fring: Because Meebo is that good.
Snapture: Replaced by Camera Pro Plus.
And that's it! What counts as an essential iPhone app changes all the time, and so should our guide: If we've missed anything huge, or you've got a much better suggestion for a particular type of app, say so in the comments. We'll be updating this thing pretty frequently, and a million Gizmodo readers can do a better job at sorting through the app mess than a single Gizmodo editor. Enjoy!