Every week the editors at iMore carefully select some of our favorite, most useful, most extraordinary apps, accessories, gadgets, and websites. This weeks selections include apps for photo blogging, social gaming, podcasts, an interesting accessory, and a fun children's book.
To see what we picked, and to tell us your pick, follow on after the break!
Since I just can't leave well enough alone, I'm always tweaking my workflows and every other kind of flow I've got. This week it was all about photos for some reason. I started a Posterous account years ago when it was a new service whose main point of differentiation was that you could send an email to your blog to autopost to it and to your other sites really easily. At the time, it was super cool and worked extremely well. I eventually ended up using it more for just a photo blog, and then for some reason I can't recall, I just stopped using it all together. I was literally hovering over the "delete my account" button on the site this week because I haven't used it in so long when I decided to wait and explore a little. I'm really glad I did. The service has really grown a bit and become a really interesting place to host a blog as well as leverage as a platform through which you can post to a variety of different social channels and sites. I downloaded the new app in the App Store (there was a very basic one released a few years ago) and liked what I saw.
The design is pretty nice and clean. It's easy to get around and you know where you are and what you're doing quickly. And there's a lot packed in here. There's a reader function for people you follow - similar to Tumblr - and you can browse through posts and read your stream from your phone, but I think where the app really shines is both in the posting and management of your site(s). It's extremely easy to throw a post together and toggle which places you want it to go (it will always go to your Posterous by default anyway). You can add a title, tags, and text as well as slap a location on there in one tidy little interface.
Posterous has also done something that I really like (and think is really smart) and that's giving you some great admin controls over your sites right from the phone. From the "Profile" tab you can edit your profile and set up and modify autopost options, which means you really don't have to hit the full site very often if you don't want to. There are still more advanced things like theming that don't appear in the app, so not everything is covered, understandably. But it's still cool to have a few things you can tweak on the fly. If you're looking for a new clean place to start a sharp little blog and possibly save yourself some work cross posting between sites, you may want to give this one a look.
Our "friends" have done it again. First we fell in love with Words with friends, and now it's Scramble with friends. To say it's addictive is an understatement.
Similar to many word games we've known and loved in the past, Boggle, Bookworm, and others, the idea is to make as many words as you can out of sequential letters in a grid. Did I mention you only get two minutes to find your words? This is fast paced fun, and it brings out our competitive best when you play against your Facebook friends.
You can score extra points by using letters marked double point value - letter or word, depending on your level. And to keep things interesting, you can "buy" help, like the ability to turn your playing area sideways to help see the letters from a different angle; hints for additional words; and the ability to "freeze" your play for an extra five seconds to find even more words.
Free and paid versions are available, but so far only for iPhone, not iPad. Playing double screen on the iPad is acceptable for Scramble, but an iPad optimized version sure would be nice!
As a long time user or Instacast, I decided it was time for a change as certain features and more importantly, the interface was starting to get on my nerves. I decided to take the plunge and try out Pocket Casts by the developer with the awesome name of ShiftyJelly.
Pocket Casts is laid out very well, and is very simple yet very powerful as a podcast collector and playback tool. It even provides push notifications when a new podcast episode is available to download. You can also download episodes over the air without the 20MB restriction. All in all I find it to be a much smoother and more intuitive podcast application than any of the other ones I have tried so far.
With all the package tracking apps in the App Store, finding which one is best for you can be difficult. My personal favorite happens to be Parcel, which is designed as a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad. Parcel makes tracking packages simple and easy, with over 100 delivery services supported including UPS, DHL, USPS, FedEx, OnTrac and more.
One of the best features in Parcel is barcode scanning, allowing you to quickly input new packages to track without the need to type in a long string of numbers and/or letters. Additionally, Parcel automagically recognizes which carrier the tracking number is associated with, making the process even easier that most other package tracking apps out there. Another neat option is the ability to track your package on a map so you can pinpoint exactly where it is en route, giving you a much better idea of delivery time in case the package runs into any delays or issues.
Push Notifications are also included with Parcel so you won't need to constantly open up the app when the delivery is coming close to hitting your doorstep if you're not at home. One important thing to note is that Parcel does come with ads, and only lets you track up to three packages at a time under their free offering. It also doesn't come standard with Push Notifications. That -- along with adding more than three packages and removing the ads -- comes at a cost of $1.99 via in-app purchases. Bottom line: If you're looking for an easy way to track your packages, Parcel is definitely something you'll want to take a look at.
As I mentioned in my most used accessories post, I don’t own that many accessories for my iPhone or iPad. However I was lucky enough to get my hands on a stand called The Gripsta.
The Gripsta is a stand for your iPhone, iPod Touch (or even Android or Blackberry, if you’re so inclined) made of foam (the same foam you’d find in a stress ball.). The unique design of the Gripsta allows you to stand it up, either in portrait or landscape, with the perfect angles for FaceTime or just watching movies.
I’m finding myself docking my iPhone into the Gripsta and just using the iPhone like normal because of the soft comfort of the Gripsta.
Its soft, comfortable, colourful, useful and a great product to pick up to spice up your desk.
Hank Saves the Day is a book available in the iBookstore. It's about a big, friendly monster who has to save a bridge that was destroyed by a giant piece of Swiss cheese. I downloaded this as a recommendation from someone on Twitter and my daughter loves it! She's only 18 months old, so the big, simple pictures, big letters, and short sentences are perfect for her. She's already learning to identify objects in the book.
I recommend Hank Saves the Day to anyone with small children, especially since it's free!
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.
So what are you waiting for? Jump into the comments and let us know your pick of the week!