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iSource Picks of the Week

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Welcome to our weekly installment of Picks of the Week at iSource where we provide our expanded coverage of Apple accessories and applications. Here we will promote our favorite iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac and Apple TV related items, as well as bring you occasional tips and tricks. Hopefully many of our favorite items will also be of interest to you. Please feel free to comment on our selections, and suggest picks of your own. Check out this week’s picks after the break.

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System Monitor with Battery Max [ v 1.9 ]

Picked by: Jay

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This week I am going geek. I’ve not upgraded to iOS 5.1 because I want to keep a jailbreak app or two, which means I also keep a keen eye on battery life. To help me do that, one app I enjoy using is awkwardly named System Monitor with Battery Max. For $0.99, the geek in me can monitor what the load is on my device by looking at:

  • Memory use
  • Battery life (recharge time)
  • current Running Processes
  • “Disk” (a.k.a. storage) Information
  • CPU Load
  • iPhone info (UDID, OS, IP, MAC Address, CPU & BUS Frequencies)

The packaging of the information in this app is what is so attractive. Looking at this list sounds cold and ugly: the app, on the other hand, makes it a pleasant experience of interacting with the information on your device. Particularly, and often reported, is the misconception that the multitasking “double-click” of the home button displays all the “in use” apps that are sucking the life out of your iPhone (when in actuality it shows recently used apps). When using System Monitor, I can see exactly which apps are still draining resources and which I should “kill” by double-clicking, press & hold any app icon until they jitter, and completely close out by tapping the (-) sign. [Of course, one reason I keep a jailbreak is the use of “Backgrounder” to kill them all!].

Instructional hints from the developer include:

1. Double Tap Memory speedometer view to rotate to a 3D bar chart view.
2. Double tap battery or open it to see the battery capacity for your favorite apps.
3. Double tap the CPU speedometer view, to view a 3D CPU utilization.
4. Shows the used and free space.
5. Shows the IP address acquired, and hardware address of your device.

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Heaven knows I’ve spent a buck on apps that do a lot less than empower me to monitor and control my device, so this is money well spent.

$0.99 [ iTunes ]

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Weather 2x [ v 1.1 ]

Picked by: Thomas

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Weather 2x is determined to provide you with twice the weather in once the application. Alright, well, not really.

I purchased this app because I wanted a fast and cheap weather application on my iPad. I’m content with the weather widget on my iPhone, but wanted a quick and fun way to check outside conditions on my iPad (without having to use the window, ugh). I had tried Weather HD before, but it was just so bloody big (300 MB!) that I couldn’t justify keeping it around. Weather 2x , on the other hand, clocks in at just under 50 MB on the iPhone and iPad, which is a lot more reasonable.

The user interface here is quite simple, as it should be for a weather app. You’ll start off by naming a location or two, and then tap on a city name to move to the main screen. By default, I’ll you’ll be presented with is the current temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit, as well as the current weather conditions. A quick swipe left will show you more detailed forecasts, and a quick swipe up (this is actually a pinch gesture on the iPad) will show you the highs and lows for the coming week. A single tap on the main screen will show extra details, like the percentage chance of precipitation, or general visibility. Finally, like most other weather apps nowadays, you can expect the backgrounds in Weather 2x to change to represent the time and prevailing conditions.

If the features all sound fairly standard, that’s because they are. However, it’s the marriage of gorgeous graphics and a gesture scheme that makes sense, that really sets this app apart. This is one of those weather apps that’s pretty to look at, but still fast and informative enough to use on a regular basis.

$0.99 US [ iTunes ]

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1-Bit Camera [ v 1.1 ]

Picked by: Alex Jordan


My pick this week is 1-bit Camera. It’s a small kitschy app, that allows you to take pictures, that are reminiscent of a bygone era. You can take an un-dithered photo, which is similar to what you would have found on the original Macintosh. Dithered mode creates images similar to an original GameBoy. It’s a subtle difference, but a nice little detail. This whole app reminds me of the GameBoy Camera of the late 1990s. For a buck, it’s worth a look.

With the latest update you get

* Blast Processing = more responsive experience
* Adaptive low-light auto-exposure
* Load, enhance, save and share images from the iPhone photo roll
* iPad® support with retina pixels

To load any picture from your photo roll and process it with the 1-Bit Camera algorithm, just go to “Share photo” screen and select “Load from photo roll!”.


$0.99 [ iTunes ]

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HOPE Poster Photo Filter [ v 1.0.2 ]

Picked by: PratrickJ

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HOPE Poster Photo Filter is a fun and very easy app to ‘turn your photos into iconic posters‘. There are a number of similar apps in the App Store and I’ve tried out quite a few, but this one has just the right combination of ease of use and cool effects for me. It’s inspired by the HOPE posters for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign – but honestly I didn’t even realize that until I’d been using the app for quite a while.

Using the app couldn’t be easier – pick a photo, position it, choose from a small but very nice set of effects, add your text – and you’re done. There’s also an Expert mode that you can use if you want to have some control over the effect applied. It gives you slider controls to make adjustments.

It’s a universal app designed for both iPad and iPhone.

Pro Tip: It helps if you have photos of tremendously handsome Labradors to use as the base for your posters. Like, say that guy above. 🙂

$0.99 [ iTunes ]

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Snapguide [ v 1.0.2 ]

Picked by: Renkman

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My Pick this Week is a fairly new, at least new to me, app called Snapguide. The idea behind Snapguide is that you can search for and/or add your own step-by-step how to guides for a variety of subjects. The splash screen gives you five options to choose from. You can browse featured guides, explore popular and recently added guides, view recent activity on Snapguide including your friends, and also view your own profile. I think this app has tremendous potential. It’s beautiful, has a social component to share with your friends, very easy to use, and it’s FREE!

Updated to version 1.0.2 yesterday with the following great features…

• Added settings to turn on/off email notifications
• Ability to share guides you’ve read on Facebook Timeline
• Design changes to the guide viewing experience to make following others easier and profile discoverability more obvious
• Facebook deep linking support
• Find Friends feature allows you to see your friends profile on Snapguide
• Option to follow @Snapguide on Twitter when signing up
• Performance and Bug Fixes
• Fixed some crashes

Free [ iTunes ]

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There you have it! Hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Picks of the week. Please let us know what you think, and share with us some of your favorites.

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