Every week the editors at iMore carefully select some of our favorite, most useful, most extraordinary apps, accessories, gadgets, and websites. This week's selections include a Twitter app, several games, an app for DirecTV subscribers, an app for taking handwritten notes with your iPad, and a great interactive children's app.
To see what we picked, and to tell us your pick, follow on after the break!
This week's pick is one that's been featured before, so I won't need to say too much about it, but it's worth bringing up again for a few new reasons. Tweetbot for iPad obviously has a lot of fans, and many of us were clamoring for this app for a long time before its release. When it finally arrived, I was sans iPad for a period of time, while waiting on the release of the new model. Those were dark times, and I'm happy to have made it through them mostly unscathed. Mostly.
Well, I've got that new iPad now, and I am really enjoying Tweetbot on it. It's my favorite client on the iPhone because of its great design and functionality, and the iPad version is no different - it's stellar. I'm weeks behind everyone gushing over it because I purposely waited to even look at it on a device until I had the new iPad, and man, it is something special. In addition to just loving it in general, I think it goes without saying that the update to the app to add retina graphics is nothing short of mind-blowing. It's so smooth and so crisp on that new screen, I sometimes tear up a little, remembering how our collective eyes as a culture suffered with smartphones from a bygone era.
Listen, without wandering too far into wistful hyperbole, I'll just say this: if you want the best Twitter experience on the iPad, with exceptional design and usability, this is your client. End of line.
While looking for a game to test out the overheating new iPad theory, I wandered across Contre Jour HD. I'd never played it before and after reading the description, I decided I'd give it a go. I am completely addicted. It's probably one of the best games I've played on my iPad in a while. And it looks absolutely gorgeous on the new retina display.
The premise of the game is pretty simple. You play Petit, a tiny blob of a creature who needs help roaming around his world. You'll have to move the landscape and make him grab on to other objects to propel him towards the goal in each level - a shining orb of light. Along the way, you'll want to pick up as many light particles as you can for a better score. You also get more points for completing the level quickly.
While the game is dead simple, it's completely addicting. I'd almost describe it as a fusion of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope in some ways. If you haven't checked it out yet, I'd highly recommend it. It's available for both iPhone and iPad in HD. If you have a new iPad, it's a gorgeous game to play. (As a side note, my iPad didn't overheat while playing it.) : )
I will confess up front, that being able to pause my husband's television before I even walk into the room gives me a feeling of power. But it's super nice to have his attention without having to compete with whatever program is on, whether he's paying attention or not.
The DirecTV app for iPad lets you control any tv in the house, whether it's connected to your wireless network, or hardwired. I've found that it works even more reliably than the DirecTV remote that came with my receiver, and has a much more convenient UI.
Not only can I control all the tv sets in the house, I can watch some live shows, which gets me around my 2 show limit, providing my third show is on one of the channels in their list. Fortunately, since my 3rd channel is usually SyFy, I'm in business.
Live tv is not only limited to the lineup offered by DTV, but limited to your being connected to your home network. In other words - no watching live tv from work. You can, however, watch On Demand shows and movies from outside of your home network.
If you have DirecTV, and haven't tried this free app, go get it now. If nothing else, imagine the look on your spouse's face when you change the channel from another room!
I used to think that using a stylus with a touch screen was the future. I remember my original Palm Pilot and all my Treos with great affection. Then, the stylus gave way to the finger and styluses seemed so “90’s” in their implementation.
For that reason, I shied away from handwriting apps for my iPad – like Noteshelf. After spending a week with colleagues who swear by it and after reading Leanna’s great review: http://www.imore.com/2012/03/19/noteshelf-remarks-notability-ipad-handwriting-app-shootout/ I decided to give it a try.
What was I waiting for? This is an awesome app and my favorite new app on my iPad. I love being able to be creative with my notes. Noteshelf allows me to use different colors, highlight, erase, add emoticons and pictures and more.
I can customize my paper, the cover of my notebook and share notes to Twitter or Facebook or via email.
If that doesn’t offer me enough creativity, I can go to the Noteshelf store and buy more papers, covers, stationery, planners and more.
All in all, this is a very powerful, fun and useful app.
Are you using Noteshelf? Do you have a favorite stylus to go with it? Join in the discussion in the forums!
There is a lot of photo filter apps in the iTunes App Store. Some are great, some -- not so much. Pix: Pixel Maker is a fairly new entrant having been submitted only a little while ago but it has quickly warmed my heart (and my iPad -- see what I did there?!?) with its filter options. Rather then sticking to allowing folks to only add one filter to their images, you can actually mix and match filters to get the exact image settings you want. It's available for free in the iTunes App Store and is a universal application.
Since Modern Combat 3 went on sale this week for $0.99, I decided to give it a shot. (Pun intended.) It's Gameloft's latest "homage" to modern console and PC first-person shooters, complete with achievements, multiplayer, weapon customization, unlockables, a single-player campaign mode, and a whole lotta action.
I put a fair bit of time into the campaign mode, and despite being chocked-full of chest-thumping American bravado, the action was good, and the graphics, even on the iPhone 4, are smooth and sharp. I'm still trying to get the hang of using the accelerometer for control, but I think over time, it will become a lot more intuitive to use than the clunky dual-stick layout. You earn separate kinds of coins for playing multiplayer matches and single-player, but the abilities, weapons, and attachments you unlock carry over, which is great. In that way, I was able to gear up a little bit before getting into the multiplayer arena.
Much like PC games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, the competition online is intense. I felt the familiar pang of frustration when being taken down consistently before I could even pull up my reticle, but so far this has only served to steel my determination. With the wealth of unlockables, high production value, and competitive multiplayer, I could see myself playing this a lot, especially if I'm packing the new iPad.
Angry Birds Space, completely reinvents the Angry Birds franchise. There’s not many things you can do with a simple gravity slingshot game, however Rovio have completely rewritten the franchise, by... removing gravity.
Angry Birds Space sees the birds travel through a portal to chase the pigs who are still going after those eggs.
The classic characters you knew and loved have all returned with the same abilities. (with the exception of the yellow bird who can now fly in any direction, since there is no gravity) They have even introduced a new character called ‘Ice Bird’ who can freeze structures to make them easier to break.
You now have to fling the birds around the centre of gravity of astroids and planets, or through the vacuum of deep space. There are even added ‘boss’ level, to change things up even more.
If you were a fan of the originals, you’ll definitely enjoy this sequel, and even if you weren’t a fan of the originals, give this a go anyway because its got some completely new gameplay, and is nothing like the original ‘earth-bound’ games.
Social networks are a dime a dozen these days, so it takes an interesting concept to make a new one stand out above the rest. Pinterest is still fairly new on the scene but it's gaining popularity and becoming more mainstream pretty quickly. The concept behind Pinterest is kind of hard to explain; I look at it as the place to go if you hoard things on the internet. You can use it to save pictures for design ideas, recipes, images of things you want to create… there is no limit. If you see it on the internet, you can pin it to your boards, which are basically how you keep your pins organized. They're like files for the images! Other people can browse your pins and re-pin comment and favorite them.
I was super happy when I saw there was a Pinterest app for iOS, and installed it on my iPhone right away. The app is well made, giving you access to your Profile, Activity on your pins/boards, your list of Followers/Following, and Explore, which offers you a list of categories to look through. While exploring you can re-pin, like and comment on your favorite things. A couple of neat options are also included, such as a bookmarklet you can install to be able to pin things to your boards while browsing the internet. You can even access your iPhone's camera from within the app so you can pin things in the world around you. If you are signed up on Pinterest and enjoy using it, I highly recommend downloading the free app to go with it.
My 18 month old daughter loves Little Fox Music Box. I am truly amazed with how long she can sit still and engage with this app. It's literally the only thing that will keep her still for longer than about 90 seconds.
Little Fox Music Box has 3 songs: London Bridge, Evening Song, and Old Mac Donald, and with each song there is a scene that's related to the theme of the song. Each of these scenes is filled with artwork and animations that your child can interact with. There are very little things on the screen that don't react to touch. My daughter loves playing by herself or with an adult who identifies everything that can be touched.
For kids learning to read, the words to the songs are displayed at the top of the screen as they are sung. In Karaoke mode, the words highlight when it's time to sing them.
Seriously, this is an awesome app for little kids and totally worth the $5 even though there's only 3 songs.
Those were our picks, iMore Nation, so now it's your turn! Tell us your pick of the week below. Give us the name of your favorite app, site, or accessory, and tell us why it made your life more productive, more informed, more entertaining, or just plain more fun. Jump into the comments and let us know your pick of the week!