iMore editors app picks of the week for February 4, 2012 [Giveaway]

Every week a few of us from team iMore 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!

The White House -- @andrewwray

Looking for a great way to keep tabs on the Obama administration? The White House for iPhone is your best pick, giving you access to news, photos and video of what's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Not only will you have direct access to their blog, which is more of a news source than anything else, but you'll also be able to browse through archived photos, video and more. I was able to watch the State of the Union address in its entirety earlier this week without strapping myself down to a desk or television. Instead, I just whipped out my iPhone and within a few minutes I was watching the livestream -- no questions asked.

Next to the plethora of content, media and information about The White House at your fingertips, you can also setup push notifications to be notified of any major news stories going on in the political realm. Overall, it's a great resource and the livestream feature is a lifesaver.

Zite Personalized Magazine - @sethclifford

Flipboard is the app that everyone likes talking about, but there's actually a few new apps that are doing stylish news aggregation pretty well. One that I've really been enjoying lately is Zite, which takes a similar approach to Flipboard, but allows you to customize your reading experience over time by voting stories up or down and then learning what it is you prefer to read and giving you more tailored content.

The setup for the app is pretty simple, and I really like the clean UI. There's really not much to get in the way and the content really takes center stage. I feel like it's easier to browse than Flipboard, and while the Flipboard UI conventions are cool, don't get me wrong - after a while, I feel like I'm really working to see new content, and I don't feel like I can scan as quickly on my phone (which is a prime criteria for consuming news on the go). Zite feels like it allows me to do that more easily.

The customization aspects are cool too - you basically give stories a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Zite will remember what it is you liked and in the future return more content like it. There's a lot of detail here as to how this is all accomplished, and since I've only been using it a short time, I can't speak to its accuracy yet. Also, the type of feeds I'm looking at (tech stuff) usually have a bit of overlap, so it's hard for me to tell right now. I'm less concerned with teaching the app though, and more concerned with the quickness of information and scanning, and it definitely succeeds there. But the app's main draw is the personalization of content, so don't let my particular use-case dissuade you from trying it out. It's free and a really nice way to get your news.

Zite Personalized Magazine - Free - iTunes link (opens in new tab)

Messages+ - @iMuggle

I can not explain how happy I am to have a jailbreak on my iPhone 4S. Along with a new jailbreak comes tons of updated utilities and applications for iOS 5. I've been using IntelliscreenX and with it comes Messages+. I've been a long time fan of BiteSMS but I'm really loving the tight integration Messages+ has with iOS. There's no separate application or icon, it just works. There's really nothing to configure. Just set up a quick reply action via Activator and you're good to go.

You can view images and files right from the quick reply window and then dismiss them. The UI blends perfectly with the default UI of iOS so it looks like something Apple themselves would have made. If you're jailbroken and haven't checked out Messages+ yet, I'd give it a try! If you already have IntelliscreenX, you already have a license for it and it comes built-in. If you don't, you can buy Messages+ separately.

$7.99 - Cydia Search Link

Going back to a #TeamPure iPhone – @chrisoldroyd

This week I decided to give the new Absinthe Jailbreak a go on my iPhone 4S. I have always tinkered around with jailbroken devovces and do love apps like BiteSMS and SBSettings. This time the experience has been awful for me.

Installing the jailbreak was simple enough, I had to wait a bit longer as I am a Windows user. Anyway, to cut a long story short, my phone is all jailbroken in minutes and I installed BiteSMS and SBSettings and nothing more. A few days later and I try and listen to my music in the car and things start to go terribly wrong. Album artwork shows the wrong song playing and most songs start to play then stop or don't play at all.

I turned iTunes Match on and off, and even synced again with iTunes, transferring all my music back on manually, still the same issue. Only option I had was to go back to a stock install and lose my jailbreak. That is where I am at now and guess what? Yep my music is now perfect again!

Squrl - @Bla1ze

I don't watch a lot of TV and the shows I do want to watch are usually found on iTunes or Netflix but there isn't a lot of good stuff out there these days any how in my opinion. For filling that void, I often scour the web looking for good online content to watch when I have some spare time but keeping track of that stuff has proven to be a difficult task over time. For Christmas I got an AppleTV and found Squrl. Squrl basically aggregates a lot of popular online video sites and various other content providers and provides a beautiful UI that allows for tracking videos, saving them for later viewing. Couple that with an AppleTV and you can amass plenty of content to watch in place of television shows. Social network integration as well as netflix, it has become a key resource of entertainment for me and it's available for free in the iTunes App Store.

Rdio - @jdipane

Music is a huge part of my life, and the ability to have almost any song at my fingertips without eating up all the space on my iPhone is a huge plus for me. Rdio is a subscription based service similar to Spotify, but I find that more songs that I enjoy to listen to are available through Rdio. Whether I want to select a certain song, album or just listen to a particular artists stations I can do so with a few simple clicks from within the application. I have various playlist's set up, one for work out, one to relax, and I can add and remove songs with ease. Rdio also ties in with my home Sonos system which is great as I can listen to the music through my headphones, the speaker of the device or through the Sonos to keep me motivated. The application is free, but the service is paid, hit the link below to start your free 7 day trial!

Puzzle Juice - @JorjLim

Tetris? Boggle? If you can't decide which game to play, then Puzzle Juice is a sure winner.

The game starts as a standard game of Tetris; coloured blocks fall from the top of the screen, and you have to form a line at the bottom to score points.

However, unlike traditional Tetris, once you've completed a line, it won't disappear. Instead, every block will turn into a letter and you’ll have to form words to score even more points. Here’s the fun part; while you’re looking for words, the next Tetris block has started falling. If you need more letters to form a word, tap on 3 same-colour blocks that are adjacent to one another to reveal more letters. There is also an optional Zen Mode, which challenges you to score as many points as you can in 90 seconds.

The game itself is well designed and even the menu screens have a pinch of character. You won’t see a “Ok”, or “Start” button throughout the game, instead you’ll see phrases like “Sounds Peachy” and “Totally Got It”, just to add that extra flare to the game.

The game is a mind-game, a fun-game and a challenging game all wrapped into one neat parcel, and will keep you busy for hours!

Doodlecast Pro

My day job is teaching two Intermediate Algebra courses at my local community college and this semester I'm experimenting with making videos for my students on new or difficult topics. Doodlecast Pro for iPad has turned out to be the best app to help me accomplish this. It records both my voice and handwriting and allows me to export and upload my videos directly to YouTube. If I made some mistakes along the way that I want to edit out, I can export to my Camera Roll instead and edit in another application like Avid Studio or iMovie. My only complaint is that the handwriting strokes are not really that great. I would love to see Doodlecast match the quality of handwriting to apps like Penultimate and Noteshelf.

LabTimer - Joe (Reader's Choice winner - Comment #22)

My favorite right now is Lab Timer. It’s a free universal app that gives you 16 timers. They’ll count up or down and will sound an alarm. It’s handy for work so I can have a break timer, a lunch timer and can time how long a process is taking all from the same app. It’s especially handy for the iPad since there is no built-in clock app.

Tell us your pick, enter to win a $10 iTunes gift certificate!

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. We'll pick one of you and send you a shiny $10 iTunes gift certificate so you can start stocking up for future picks! Contest starts now and ends next Friday, January 13 at 12pm PT.

So what are you waiting for? Jump into the comments and let us know your pick of the week!

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

  • I love using AppZap because it tells me all the apps that are free or on sale currently.
  • Temple Run. I avoided downloading it for weeks because I don't like that sort of game. Saw some kids playing it so I tried it. Great game!!!
  • Disneyland Explorer for iPad. I posted about this in the forums. This is an amazing app that lets you see every ride at Disneyland and Disney California adventure and even shows off Downtown Disney. There's even some you can interact with such as world of color and the new star tours ride. It's enjoyable for all ages but seeing my 2 year old nieces smile while using it is priceless. Speaking of which the app is FREE and there's tons of great content to anyone that enjoys Disney. Anyone with an iPad should at least try it out. It barely came out this week too.
  • My pick would ahve to be FreeMyApps
    FreeMyApps is a mobile website designed for any of the iOS products. The basic concept behind it: get paid apps for free. No catch. I thought it was a hoax of some kind at first but after personally trying it out and hearing countless other reports of it's legitimacy I can assure you it really works.
    The concept is simple enough, you go to their site and you'll see two lists of apps. One list is the "Sponsored" apps, and the other is the "Gift" apps. In order to get any of the top selling App store apps listed in the "Gift" section for free, just download one of the sponsored apps from their list (all of which are free and wont cost you anything) and have it open for at least 30 seconds on your device before going back to the FreeMyApps website. The page will refresh and you will now have a certain number of credits given to you. Use your credits (which again costs nothing except 30 seconds of your time to get) to get any of those paid apps for free.
    Glancing at their list right now, some of the apps offered that catch my eye are: Paper Monsters, Fruit Ninja, Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots, Bejeweled, Tiny Wings, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Seasons, Skyfire Web Browser, Camera+, Words with Friends, Tweetbot, Read It Later Pro, Battlefield, FIFA 12, Assasin's Creed, Garage Band, Real Racing 2, iMovie, Grand Theft Auto 3, GoodReader, NOVA 2, Minecraft Pocket Edition, Modern Combat 3, Infinity Blade II, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, etc.
    And keep in mind I skipped several, this isn't even the whole list. These are just some of the more prominent ones I thougth were worth mantioning. Also FreeMyApps is constantly updating their gift apps list and getting new sponsors to help fund their cause so I'm sure there will be even more cool apps populating their site soon so keep checking.
    Sorry for the mini review, I know you only asked for our pick and why we liked it, but I thought simply saying "GET FREE APPS HERE!!!!!! ---->" would seem incredibly fake and people might think it's not real just as I thought this was a scam the first time I heard it :P
    I hope you pick me for the giveaway!! ^-^ Thanks iMore for the chance to enter, and of course for all the awesome news/reviews you guys cover :)
  • read it later pro!
  • Launch Center. Being able to execute actions as opposed to apps is a huge convenience. The developer has been working hard to add new apps and actions daily.
  • TEAM PURE!!!!!!! But anyway, my favorite pick is the very late (but better than never), Infinity Blade 2!
  • My favorite app is Instagram its like Facebook and twitter combined I love it.
  • My pick is a twitter client called Tweetlogix, it is better than Tweetbot because it has twitlonger. End of story.
  • I'm a huge fan of Pulse News. I use it every day. It's a great RSS aggregator with a friendly UI.
  • My app of the week is Droplr for the Mac. Excellent for sharing files.
  • My app pick of the week is Avid Studio because I love the idea of making a movie on the road.
  • Zite is my pick also. I love that app
  • Still playing Jetpack Joyride. Level 200 something and I keep going back to it!
  • My pick of the week is reckless racing 2 very addictive.Its Fun!!!
  • “I’ve gone ahead and bookmarked at so my enfirds can see it too.c2 I simply used Runproject User interface Design / Smart Brochure as the entry title in my bookmark, as I figured if it is good enough for you to title your blog post that, then you probably would like to see it bookmarked the same way.“
  • My pick of the week is temple run.VERY ADDICTIVE!
  • My current favorite app is easy Gym Log. Very helpful for logging workouts, and what's nice is that it's free and completely flexible. You type in the workout, and then what you do as a part of the workout. Excellent app.
  • My vote is for doodle cast pro. I am a college student this is sweet.
  • Jambalaya is my favorite app to have fun. My kids, 13 and 9, had a blast playing it with me while we waited in the doctor's office this week. And for that, I could say it is an app that saved me from hours of "When can we go home." The jist is there are a set of letter tiles. You drag your finger over the letters to make as many words as you can. It's timed, and you get to see how many words you could have spelled after the time is up.
  • Vevo saved my life in a bind. Needed to prove something and I was able to.
  • I have to tell you that Pad & Quill is my killer app. As a tech coordinator for a Montessori high school, that beautiful app keeps all my support data organized and at hand.
  • My pick of the week is Augmented Driving. It's an interesting little augmented reality driving app that attempts to turn your car into something straight out of science-fiction, by giving you a heads up display, complete with warnings if you're sliding into other lanes, getting too close to other cars, and going to fast. It uses the rear-facing camera, pointed at the road, the GPS, and some rather nifty ideas. It's not a perfect app, and it requires a great deal of calibration, and don't rely on it to prevent a car crash (and other such disclaimers), but it's pretty nifty and really allows you to show off the power of the iPhone and the creativity of cutting edge app developers. Give it a shot!
  • app store wise it has to be Temple Run. Playing it for weeks & I have not gotten bored of it yet. Cydia wise it has to be the tweak OverFlow. The overflow style/theme to my dock look too sick!
  • My pick of the week is WAZE. It's a free turn by turn navigation app with social networking features. I especially love the advanced notice of traffic jams and police locations. You can 'see' other Wazers on your path and obtain points for miles driven and notifications applied to the map.
  • Scanner Pro - As a grad student, I am constantly poring over tons of research materials. Since many of these materials are rare or fragile, my access to many is pretty limited. Scanner Pro provides a quick way to use my iPhone camera to create PDF copy of portions of these materials. Even with more widely available books, I'll often get a book through the library loan system, scan through it for relevance, and then copy the bibliography for later use or to find other useful references.
    This app has saved me plenty in copy fees (which most archives require) and it has saved many books that don't then have to be flattened on a copier/scanner.
    Save the book!! ( but I still like iBooks! :D )
  • My app of the week is the game Quarrel.
    Quarrel is a word game with a really clever twist; world domination! Or is that word domination?
    I think the best way to describe Quarrel is it’s a strategy game like Risk, but rather than using dice rolls to decide battles you use words.
    Both sides are presented with 8 letters and you try to make the highest scoring word you can to win. Another fun part is that the length of the word is dependent on how many armies/people you have in your square at the time. Sometimes you may have more and sometimes less, which adds to the fun and challenge.
    You attack your neigbours squares, and defend when attacked. As in Risk, if you win an attack you have to decide how many armies you wish to move, and how many to hold back, so there is strategy to go along with the word building skills.
    There are many locations for you to fight your battles on, and the graphics have a nice lush cartoony quality to them.
    Quarrel is 2.99 in the app store; you can also try out the free version to see how you like it.
  • My favorite app is SOHO Notes by Chronos. I used it as my on-the-go database for everything from Web site links, to saving an online article or an online receipt as a SOHO Notes PDF file. I catagorize everything from Mac related subjects to personal finances and secure passwords. It is a powerful, but well designed and easy to use app that is always running as I use it at lease 6-7 times a day. I even save online manuals on it, such as the one for my Nikon camera.
  • PaperKarma is my Pick of the Week.
    I'm so frustrated by the amount of junk mail that arrives everyday. The waste of resources is so annoying, Why do I have to have a bunch of crap constantly arriving at my door that creates an environmental burden that I can't stop.
    PaperKarma has created an easy solution.
    With PaperKarma I just take a photo of the offending material and PaperKarma takes care of the rest. Brilliant.
    They contact and stop the mail that you no longer wish to be inundated with. It works with magazines, coupons, credit card offers and loads more. Their database will just get bigger with the more people who use it, this week it's free on the App store. I wish this had been around years ago.
  • Thanks for writing about DailyLit. I love your reference to "DailyLit-erary therapy". Note that we've recently made all of the books and stories on DailyLit free to the reader (no nominal fee for any book).
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  • Not sure why some are having problems. I jailbroke 22 iPhone 4S, and 11 iPad 2s yesterday. About half on an i5 mini, and the rest on an i5 Macbook Pro
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