TiPb Picks of the Week
Every week a few of us from team TiPb will bring you our current favorite, most fun and useful App Store apps, WebApps, jailbreak apps, even the occasional accessory, web site, or desktop app if the mood strikes us. As long as they’re iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch related, they’re fair game.
To see what we picked, and to tell us your pick, follow on after the break!
PDF Reader Pro - @Alli_Flowers
If you're anything like me, you receive a lot of important information in .pdf format. It's become a pretty universal standard - everyone can read .pdf documents, regardless of platform, and the readers are almost always free. Newsletters, calendars, and even textbooks come in .pdf format, and with my iPhone, I always have them at my fingertips.
But what happens when I need to send a .pdf to someone else? That's when PDF Reader Pro comes in especially handy. I can snap a photo of whatever document I need to share from inside PDF Reader Pro, and it turns it into a .pdf that I can then email right from inside the app. This has been especially handy for my auto registration, license, and insurance information!
PDF Reader Pro also makes it a snap to load documents to your iPhone (or iPad). You can transfer files from your computer using WiFi, download directly from a website, or download from a variety of webdav servers including Dropbox and GoogleDocs.
Unlike some other .pdf apps I've tried, PDF Reader Pro doesn't choke on large documents. For example, I have my entire French 1 textbook loaded, and it's quite manageable even on the small screen of the iPhone.
It would be a bargain at twice the price!
[$0.99 on sale - iTunes link]
Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-ray - @reneritchie
One pick to rule them all. One pick to find them. One pick to bring them all. And on TiPb, bind them.
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was as real and well executed as George Lucas' Star Wars prequels were fake and ill-conceived. In the lush environs of New Zealand, with the brilliant practical and digital effects work of Weta, Toklein's Middle Earth was brought magnificent, mesmerizing life.
And while Steve Jobs may call Blu-ray a "bag of hurt", the truth is their high-capacity physical media is still the best looking bag of hurt available to movie aficionados today. As a bonus, the package also contains a "digital copy".
If you've seen Lord of the Rings, I don't need to say much else. If you haven't, I refused to say much else. It's Lord of the Rings, dammit. It's where everything from Dungeons & Dragons to Harry Potter to Game of Thrones comes from. Go watch it.
Instacast – @chrisoldroyd
My quest this week has been to find a better way of managing podcasts on my iPhone. iTunes sync is a very convoluted experience on the desktop and on the iPhone itself. I wanted an app that would update my podcasts as a whole not one at a time manually. I tried out a few apps (Paid for them too, oh I wish Apple would give us a 24hr trial period) and have settled on Instacast.
Instacast does everything I need, one click update of all podcasts, a beautiful interface, download resume if you have a connection drop and full AirPlay support. One of the pains transferring to an app for podcasts, is having to re-enter all your current podcast subscription feeds. Not with Instacast, it looks at your podcasts in the iPod app and picks them all up and subscribes you to them. Fantastic! This app does it all for me and I want to thank @jjb70 for pointing out this awesome app!
[$1.99 - iTunes link]
Play Dead - @andrewwray
Play Dead is an extremely simple app with one goal in mind: to prevent your friends from always using your iPhone! The only thing Play Dead does is display an endless loading screen that you usually see when shutting down your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. This can be a godsend for parents with children who constantly ask to play Angry Birds on their iPhone, and it's saved me more than once at work recently when co-workers have asked to use my iPhone to see the latest awesome app they heard about though the grapevine.
So the next time you're asked to hand over your iPhone so someone else can play with it, just fire up Play Dead with a sad face and inform them your iPhone is currently on the fritz -- then get back to playing Angry Birds!
[free - iTunes link]
Verbs - @iMuggle
Several months ago I downloaded Verbs and found the interface to be absolutely beautiful. The problem was that the functionality just wasn't there yet. No push notifications was a no go for me. The latest version of Verbs solves this problem and adds support for push (which works flawlessly).
I am also a huge fan of Droplr and Verbs offers built-in support for it. You also now have the option to stay online for 7 days. If you bought Verbs previously, you can just buy Verbs Pro as an in-app purchase for $4.99 in order to activate push notifications. I was surprised the price that high to add push but I think it's well worth it. The app is quick, beautiful, and much more "iOS like" than other messenger apps like Beejive, which has been replaced by Verbs on the first page of my iPhone.
[$2.99, with in-app purchases - iTunes Link]
iSub - @sethclifford
I've talked about this before on the TiPb shows, but it's so cool that it's worth repeating. iSub is a universal iOS application that allows you to stream and listen to your entire music collection using Subsonic to serve up tracks. Subsonic itself is an open source server application that runs on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Unix. Mobile clients are available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. It requires you to have a machine on at home in order to access the tracks, but many of us might already have just such a machine that we remote into to do things. In my case, I have a Mac mini that functions as both a media server and redundant Dropbox machine, and I use this Mac to access Subsonic.
iSub is basically a mobile interface to Subsonic. I'm not overly thrilled with the design of the app and the UI could use a little work, but functionally it's very solid. Since it accesses your personal server, the information on play counts, recent albums, newly added music et. al. is always pushed to your device, so you can navigate around fairly quickly. Another cool feature is an adjustable cache within the app to store offline music. As you play tracks, iSub fetches the next one (or few) and stores them to avoid gaps in playback if you lose signal. In addition to being nice, if you find yourself without any connectivity at all, you always have at least a few things locally stored within the app to listen to in a pinch.
It's worth noting that while Subsonic is an open source project, in order to use the mobile API a donation to the project is required. However, you can determine the amount you'd like to donate, and in addition to mobile access, you gain an ad-free web interface and a personal server address so you can always access your server quickly and easily. Plus, you're supporting a cool project. Oh, I almost forgot - iSub also offers lyric support, AirPlay support, Twitter integration, and Last.fm scrobbling, among many other things. I've barely scratched the surface of the functionality. It's definitely worth a look.
Why wait for iCloud when you can have all your music on your iOS device right now?!
[$4.99 - iTunes link]
Order and Chaos - @JorjLim
I picked up Order and Chaos, when it was on sale for just $0.99. I do not regret it for one second.
The game is a massively multiplayer online game (MMO) that is played across four servers worldwide. You can choose a race between Human, Elf, Orc or Undead, and play as a Warrior, Mage, Monk or Ranger. The controls are simple and intuitive and are designed perfectly for a touchscreen device. So its incredibly easy to move around the world, chat with friends, and sort your inventory.
Unfortunately, there is a small monthly fee of another $0.99 (or $1.99/3 months or $2.99/6 months) to play; however, I am happy to pay it because it's a huge game that is constantly being updated. Don’t buy this game if you have important things to do because it eats up your time when you're busy levelling up. There are nights where I’ve found myself up until 4am playing this game.
Order and Chaos is also a universal app so it will work on both the iPhone and the iPad.
[$6.99, with in-app purchases - iTunes link]
Starbucks - @llofte
The Starbucks iPhone app has been updated with all kinds of goodies and I love it! Now you can make Starbucks card purchases with the app (like the Starbucks Card Mobile app), transfer balances, reload your card, and my new favorite feature - eGifts!
I am horrible when it comes to getting gifts, especially "congratulations" gifts. Most of the time I end up getting a Starbucks Card and mailing it a month later than what's appropriate. Now, I will still gift Starbucks Cards, but as eGift cards and directly from this app! You can send the eGift through email or Facebook. Very cool.
The only strange thing is that now Starbucks has two apps: Starbucks and Starbucks Card Mobile. My guess is that they get rid of Starbucks Card Mobile now that Starbucks has the same functionality.
[Free - iTunes link]
Sleep Cycle alarm clock - @alfyboza (Reader's Choice)
Sleep Cycle alarm clock monitors you as you sleep and wakes you when it determines you're at your lightest phase of sleep. The app accomplishes this by detecting the intensity of your movements using the iOS device's accelerometer to determine what sleep phase you're in.
I was skeptical at first - and may not be a 100% believer just yet - but it's worked every night I've tried it! (Or my mind's playing games with me - I can't tell). I am one to usually set three alarm settings to ensure I wake up in the morning, but I haven't had to since I started using Sleep Cycle about a week ago. I am recommending it as an TiPb Pick of the Week so that perhaps someone else may benefit from it!
[$0.99 - iTunes link]
You’re part of the team as well, so we will be choosing one reader to make a submission each week! Just look for the announcement on twitter or our Facebook page each weekend for a chance to be picked! In the meantime, jump into the comments and let us know your pick of the week!
Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!