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Giveaway: iMore Picks of the Week for January 21, 2012

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!

TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants – @chrisoldroyd

I have just booked our family holiday for the summer and decided to have a nose around the App Store to see if I could find any apps that could recommend places to visit and where to eat. Luckily I stumbled upon an app called TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants. The app covers all sorts or areas and does cover Pollenca Mallorca where we are heading.

You can look at hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions, read reviews and ratings left by other visitors to the area too. It is very comprehensive, has links to Google Maps for guidance and he ability to leave your own reviews too. The app has been recently updated and is now optimized for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and is completely free. If you are planning vacation, check it out, it gives you some local knowledge right in your pocket.

Idea Sketch - @Alli_Flowers

If you like graphic organizers, you'll love Idea Sketch. We love stuff like this in education, from K-12, but mind mapping is a concept that can be used in any profession.

If you're unfamiliar with the basic premise, you are literally mapping ideas. Drop your idea into a shape - round, square, oblong, diamond, and link it to other ideas. Expand your thoughts until you have filled in all those loose threads.

Idea Sketch allows you unlimited canvas space, so your ideas can't be constrained. You can pinch and zoom to see whatever you want, and you can change the colors to suit your whim. You can view in a list format as well as the "idea" format, and you can share it all via email or via Box.

This is a must for students and educators, and a great idea for anyone just trying to organize his thoughts.

Sonic 4 Episode 1 - @jorjLim

Ever since I was younger, I have been a huge fan of the Sonic franchise. I owned the 3 main games, Sonic 1, 2 and 3, on original megadrive cartridge (remember them?). When I learnt that Sonic 4 Episode 1 would be coming to iOS, I got really excited. I got so excited that I bought the game for its full £6.99 price at midnight the day it came out.

The one thing I could never achieve on the older games, was collecting all the Chaos Emeralds. Collecting all 7, would unlock Super Sonic, a invincible, faster, yellow version of Sonic.

So when I downloaded Sonic 4 Episode 1, my one goal was to unlock Super Sonic, for the first time, ever. After months of struggling, having to re-do each level to play the special stages over and over again. I finally collected the last Chaos Emeralds.

My 8 year old self would have been so proud of this moment, finally being able to play as Super Sonic that I unlocked myself, and to achieve this on a updated version of the game, made it ever better. I got to have the thrill of nostalgia, side by side with awesome modern 2.5D graphics, on my phone!

If you are a fan of the Sonic franchise, you should check out Sonic 4 Episode 1. Its packed full of homages, references and levels from the original games and really does bring back the franchise with a modern look.

Jelly Defense - @skeetobite

My pick of the week is a new tower defense game called Jelly Defense. This is a fun, light hearted casual game to play. This game takes the traditional tower defense game and doesn't change the formula too much. It does add a bit of an ongoing story, includes towers that are only effective against enemies of the same color (so blue towers can't shoot against red enemies), and includes various aspects like needing to "learn" how to make new types of towers. Where it shines, however, is with the mix of background sounds/soundtrack, and the really nice, clean graphics. The stark color contrast (red and blue jelly towers and enemies, a grey background) really give the game some character, which is needed to stand out from all the other tower defense games out there. Best of all, this is a universal binary, so you can play it on any device you have!

Birdhouse - @sethclifford

I sometimes like to revisit apps that I haven't used in a while by browsing my purchased apps on my iPhone. One that I recently rediscovered is Birdhouse. Now the thing about Birdhouse is that it hasn't been updated in a long time. Like since the summer of 2010. But it runs fine on iOS 5 and does exactly what it's supposed to. Which is to act as a notepad for your tweets. You can log in with multiple accounts, save drafts of your potential tweets, publish directly from the app, and back everything up via email. It's not a Twitter client per se, as there's no timeline to view, but it's more of a partner to your favorite Twitter app. And yeah, lots of apps save drafts now, but the nice thing about Birdhouse is that sometimes you have an idea you want to capture quickly and don't feel like opening up your main app and loading it, and then getting sidetracked and eating up time. It's a single purpose app for a simpler time.

Delivery Status - @Bla1ze

Keeping track of packages for me is a big issue, not because I get a lot of them but because I live an apartment. For some reason, if I'm not watching my package delivery dates -- I tend to miss a lot of packages that are scheduled to be delivered. To help keep my eye on things and ensure I get my deliveries I make use of Delivery Status Touch by JuneCloud. It supports a wide array of services such as Amazon, USPS, UPS and more importantly for me -- Canada Post plus it includes Google Map integration. JuneCloud also offers a desktop solution for tracking so your iOS device is always in sync with your desktop and the cloud.

Kinotopic - @phishgirl3

I'm always looking for new ways to make pictures and videos into something more than they are, and this week stumbled on an app called Kinotopic. This simple to use app turns 3-4 second videos into a kino, or cinemagraph. If you haven't heard of cinemagraph, it's a photo with a small repeated movement usually confined to one detail in the image.

All you need to do to make your own kino is shoot a quick video or pick one from your library, choose your anchor frame, then highlight the portion of the image you want to show movement. The app processes it and sends your created kino to you via email. You can share on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr as well as publish your finished creation to the public stream or mark it as private. All in all it's a fun app to use, and in my opinion worth the $1.99 price tag.

Big Lens - @reneritchie

Sometimes you just need to fake it to get it done. For all the multiple layers of glass, remarkable aperture, and overall image quality of the otherwise I-can't-believe-it's-a-phone camera on the iPhone 4S, it just can't give you the depth of field -- or bokeh if you're fancy -- of a fast 50 on a DSLR. Enter Big Lens, which attempts to do in post what Apple can't -- yet -- do in camera. Like most post-process depth of field utilities, it's a trick and there's no getting around it. Just look for the tell-tale halo around the non-blurred portions -- for example, around a webOS editor and his brief flirtation with a BlackBerry Playbook on a big-ass gold chain at CES 2012. But with automatic and manual modes, aperture, filter, lens, focus, and blur controls, Big Lens fakes it well. If you're ever in one of those awkward moments where you just have to fake it to get it done, give Big Lens a go. It might just get you to good enough.

iBooks Author - @llofte

iBooks Author is the iBooks creation tool that was announced at Apple's education event. I've done a little playing around with it and am really excited to start seriously using it. I'd be impressed if a simple book was easy to create, but so are books filled with animations and interactive material. I'm a college math instructor and hope to use iBooks Author to write short, supplementary books to offer to my students for free.

The Recipe Box - Jackie Wyan (Reader's Choice Winner)

The Recipe Box is one of my favorite “hidden gem” finds. I had been looking for an app that I could easily transfer all of my old, greasy, hand-written index card recipes to, that didn’t cost me an arm and a leg, require me to ‘create an account’ online, or force me to show my admiration for an unknown cook and their favorite recipes. The Recipe Box is it. And they have a great app developer, as the thing just keeps on getting better and better. You can easil search through all your entries by all sorts of means – a search field, a ‘type’ field, an ingredient field, etc. Plus, with the use of Dropbox, I quickly copy and pasted all of my Text file recipes over to the app.

It does come with a couple of recipes to begin with, but not so many that cleaning them out is a task, and a few worth keeping to try out. Plus, as you cook your own recipes, you can easily add photos of the results to the app, resulting in a fully customized experience!

I could continue to gush on about this app, but it is definitely worth your time and the small expense. And if you have other kitchen-savvy friends, the app gives you an easy way to share with them as well!

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.

  • Temple Run. Free game on the app store. It's very addicting beware.. !!
  • My favourite right now is Super Crate Box for the frantic shooting and jumping.
  • Very detailed info. I am very glad to read this arltcie. Thanks for giving us nice arltcies.Just wanted to give you a shout from the valley of the sun, great information. Much appreciated.
  • My pick of the week would have to be iStudiez Pro, I know it's been in the store for a while but I use it so much throughout the day. As a student this is a must have as its been able to keep me up to date and well organized on my classes and assignments. Just th right price too for such a convenient app!
  • My pick for this week is Paprika Recipe Manager. I use it on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. Cloud sync between devices and the enhanced shopping list features in the most recent release moved this one to the top of my list.
  • ZITEEEEE I wanna win. I never win lol. been a member for years
  • scramble with friends
  • My favorite one right now is Zombie Gunship, shooting zombies with a gatling gum or a howitzer its pretty sweet lol helping people get to the base before the zombies over run it. lots of fun
  • Without a doubt, iBooks Author!
  • My pick has to be Logmein . Ever since it went free last month, it has been indispensable at home and for supporting my parent's computer back home.
  • My pick is the iOS mail app. No matter what account I need quick and reliable access to, this app has it covered. Even school/business accounts are covered. Best mobile mail client I've used, should not be forgotten.
  • My favorite is still SMS GV extension. Saves me $15/month on texting and works with stock messaging app or bitesms.
  • Puzzlejuice. Immediately familiar and challenging, but fun!
  • iTunes U is amazing (insert face with hearts for eyes here)
  • Temple Run has taken over my life.
  • Instagram because it made me able to connect to my friends in a new and awesome way with pictures and filters
  • Omnifocus - for both iOS and MAC OS - It has completely reorganized my life, my work, my reminders and even integrates my calendar. I am always in synch, and when browsing the web from my phone or my computer, and I want to save something for later, it gives me an easy way to email the article and link right into the program!
  • cool, but hey do you think you can make a video on how to fully operate Facebook bcuz i am trtpey sure there isnt one out there, and it is important that we know how to FULLY operate it on our iPhones, thanks
  • My pick of the week has to be quickoffice HD yeah it's been out for a while but it just does so much. It intergration with the majority of popular cloud storage sites while still allowing for you to store locally
  • My pick and current addiction is Crime City, but I'm about to download Temple Run so that may change quickly!
  • Idea sketch kinda reminds me of Visio.
  • Postale is a postcard app for iOS.
    It lets users quickly send a postcard using whatever image they took, and send it immediately to anyone, anywhere.
    It is more fun than the traditional post card that you search for while away, and more personal. Each postcard layout has an area for a title and message. Once you enter your custom title or message, choose the font you like and send away. It even has different themed stamps for holidays, and nostalgic postage stamps.
  • Kinotopic... to show how well my head spins
  • 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.
  • Temple Run. Nothing but running fun.
  • Consume by Bjango.
    Keep track of my usage for my mobile phone and rewards cards...
  • Mines is for the Mac and it is called Hunting. Set it to find specific tweets or keep you abreast of the lastest ones. I was happy to snag it for free.
  • Sonic 4. Love it
  • My one is Digits Calculator for iPad + iPhone. I use this calculator exclusively.
  • I am LOVING the Retina Wallpapers app right now... SOOOOO many great choices...
  • My pick of the week is Mystery of the Japanese Werewolf. You might like it.
  • My pick of the week is MerlionWords v2.0. It is a great learning tool for 4 languages: English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
  • My pick of the week is Jetpack Joyride. Get it while it is free.
  • Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots! I'm totally addicted, and I like how halfbrick made it more than just fruit ninja with antonio banderes' voice in the background.
  • I'd like Delivery Status as it would save me using 4 other apps
  • L5 Remote allowed me to get rid of 6 other remotes.
    Of course you do have to BUY the IRDA appliance
    (some reviewers on iTunes seem to be a little clueless about this point(
  • I vote for Delivery Status. Just need one app.
  • I love mumbai on the go.It keeps me more informed about trains and buses.
  • My pick of the week is Super Crate Box. So much fun so addictive.
  • My favourite right now is Super Crate Box for the frantic shooting and jumping.
  • My app of the week is Zombie Runaway. It's a light enough game that anyone of any age can enjoy.
  • My pick of the week is LunarCal for the Mac. Being Chinese and all.
  • Big Lens would be great for anyone who uses his iPhone as much as I do for my everyday shots
  • Temple Run is so addictive. I am starting to see moss on the walls! I can not out it down and I find my self tilting to pick up another coin!!! BEWARE!
  • My pick is xType for the Mac. It is like asutype which is software I use in the medical field to create shortcuts that expand the words. It was called Presto but just recently changed the name.
  • I pick MerlionWords v2.0. Using it to learn Japanese now :-)
  • My pick is
    I've got 3 kids and getting a perfect picture is impossible. now i can take parts of several and get one perfect shot.
  • this contest has the air of not being on the up and up.
    Why is it that the winner does not even show in any of the posts?????
  • She was in the previous week's comments. Comment #35.
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  • Wah! Wah! Quit cryin' and make good use of the bike paths in summer, the skating in winter, and stop making up stuff about salt on the roads and lack of English- speaking jobs.