This Week's Best Apps

In this week's rootin' tootin' round up: your jogging, tracked without a sensor; pizzas, adorably delivered; autotuned voicemails, regrettably recorded; crimes, committed with multitouch; scales, mastered; apps, shopped for greater efficiency; and so much more!


Nike+ GPS: Jason, who runs a lot (who knew!) says:

The fantastic Nike+ App let you track how far and how fast you're running, with only a sensor in your Nike-branded shoe and a compatible iPod or iPhone. Now you don't need the sensor or the shoe.

The $2.49 app, which just got posted to iTunes, uses GPS to track where you run - something the old version was lacking - but still includes the community features that made running not quite such a lonely affair. Now you can use the iPod Touch 2nd through 4th gen, and the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 with the Nike+ app. Only the iPhone works with GPS functionality unless you have something like Magellan's iPod Touch case, which adds GPS ability (along with a lot of weight).

As a fan of the original Nike+ concept, I'm happy that this lets more people running in order to make it more likely that I have someone to challenge to a race.


PhotoShake!: There are plenty of apps that let you add all sorts of artsy filters to your iPhone photos (not to say that they aren't good! I use many of them!), but relatively few offer you other ways to present your pictures. PhotoShake! does just that, allowing you to combine photos, add frames, stamp on speech bubbles and more. OK, so it may not necessarily put the hip in Hipstamatic but maybe that's a good thing! $2.49.

Pizza Boy: Bearing not a small resemblance to a certain video game plumber, Pizza Boy is an immensely likable old-school platformer with the rare button scheme that keeps you in control of your little pizza dude, without your thumbs blocking too much of the action. Some people have complained about the short length of the game, though it's well-realised enough as it is (great soundtrack too!) that Pizza Boy's worth it as a snack. $2.49.

I Am T-Pain: A nice update got me back into the somewhat embarrassing habit of just mumbling into my iPhone with headphones on:

It's a fact: Everyone sounds better autotuned. Smule's I Am T-Pain app now lets you send autotuned voicemails to friends and family for a small fee. Because there's no better time than the present to start calling your Aunt "shawty".

The update is free for people who already own the popular app (which itself is on sale for $1.19 this weekend), though you'll have to buy T-Pain credits to leave the 45-second clips (they can be a capella "freestyles" or ditties on top of some non-T-Pain beats). $1.19 gets you three credits normally, though this weekend they're kicking things off by giving away five credits for just over a dollar.

If you're embarrassed by the prospect of sending someone you know (or as the video above suggests, someone you want to get to know) a clip of yourself singing like T-Pain, the dialler lets you schedule delivery of the recordings up to 48 hours in advance. So practise and record your ballad while you're sober and able, set it to send to your prospective paramour at like 2am and then blame it on the alcohol.

$1.19 this weekend!

iMovie: Apple's iMovie app got a little bump with the recent iOS 4.1 upgrade, including the very crucial ability to split video clips. How are you going to shoot the next Citizen Kane on your iPhone if you can't split clips!? The update is free for folks who have the app, otherwise $6.

Guitar Jam Tracks: I have owned a guitar for many years but have never really moved past the scales roadblock. Guitar Jam Tracks is a stupid, simple way for you to practise your riffs and solos, letting you pick a key and play to a rhythm track while the app shows you which notes sound sweet on top of it. $1.19.

App Shopper: Apple's App Store is a sprawling unwieldy thing, and every day, hundreds of apps go on sale without you even knowing it. Now there's a way to keep track of all those sales and freebies, right from your iOS device.

That app is AppShopper, the free native app version of a useful app-tracking site of the same name.

AppShopper lets you set up filters and notifications that make Apple's largely unmanageable App Store just a little more manageable - you can just view, say, all the free games recently listed - but best of all it lets you see at a glance which apps have just had price changes. That means everything that's been put on sale or marked as free will show up right in the palm of your hand, ready for downloading. Good news for your app-loving self, bad news for those App Store receipts in your inbox. Free.

Markdown Mail: Markdown, a popular markup syntax developed by John Gruber for sending snazzy HTML emails, is a nice, simple way to get your emails looking nice for your friends and family. Markdown Mail is an app for using that syntax right on your iPhone. It lets you preview your messages and look up the syntax in-app and has text-expander support. $2.49.


Remote Notifier for Android: This is pretty genius; it sends the notifications you get on your Android phone (calls, SMS messages, voicemails, etc) and directs them to your computer (Windows/Mac/Linux). So even if you're on your computer with headphones on, you won't miss any important messages on your phone. Head over to Lifehacker to see how to properly set Android Notifier up. It's easy.

my6sense: It's an app that combines your Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader (and Google Buzz) feeds into one stream. On top of that, my6sense will learn your reading habits through what they're calling "digital intuition". Basically, the more you use my6sense, the more personalised the experience will be for you. Facebook status changes from your best friend and Google Reader updates from Gizmodo should eventually pop up first.

Wallpaper Rotator: With Wallpaper Rotator, you'll never get sick of your Android's wallpaper again. The app uses images from your SD card or Flickr to automatically change the wallpaper on your Android phone at intervals (every 30 minutes, hour, six hours, day or week). So your phone will always feel fresh, you know. In the future, Wallpaper Rotator will also pull images from Picasa and Facebook too.

Android Book Club: If you still read (good for you!), Android Book Club is a basic app that helps you discover more books to read. It displays various information about books, gives you the New York Times bestseller list, supports barcode scanning, direct links to Amazon and Barnes & Noble and starring books for future reading. In a future update, it'll sync with Goodreads, which should make the app even better. As it stands now, it seems like a decent way to keep track of the books you plan on reading.

HuddleHub: It's a one-stop Fantasy Football app because you can control both your Yahoo teams and ESPN teams through HuddleHub. You can drop players, bench/start players and see live scores. The app itself is a little too blue and sorta basic, but given that the ESPN Fantasy Football app costs $US5, HuddleHub is damn good value, because it's free!

Finger Racer: It turns your Android phone into a treadmill... for your fingers. Kat, who keeps her fingers in tip-top shape, says:

Are your fingers feeling fat today? Free app Finger Race will have them running 1m and 2m races or even endurance runs at 5m in length. They'll be size zeros in no time.

Crazy? Fun? Or crazy fun?


Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD: I'm still on probation for crimes committed in previous GTAs, but TouchArcade says it's everything you could possibly hope for from a Grand Theft Auto title on the iPad:

If you own an iPad and you've ever been remotely interested in Grand Theft Auto games, Chinatown Wars HD is a game you need on your device. There just isn't anything else like it on the App Store, the higher-resolution graphics look great, the controls work well and overall it's really hard to find anything to complain about other than this it its own app instead of a universal update to the existing Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the iPhone.


Nlug: I'm still in that phase with my iPad that I'm impressed merely by stuff that looks cool, and the Nlug clock, which changes every second with little particles that whiz around into the next number (your fingers can set them whizzing too), definitely looks cool. $2.49.

Interactive Alphabet for iPad: I may be childish, but I'm no child, so I can't say for sure that I would be totally amused by this gorgeous interactive alphabet. But if I was the type of person that ended up letting young children play with my iPad on a regular or semi-regular basis, I'd definitely try my luck with this one. The slides look great and the interactivity was just engaging enough to keep me flipping through. $4.

We are so crazy about apps right now you wouldn't believe it. If you have recommendations, tips or just want to let us know about your own app, drop a note in the comments or shoot me an email.

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