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.
artCircles [ v 2.0.6 ]
Picked by: Alex Jordan
My pick this week is Art Circles from art.com. I love art. I am a design, student (which is not art, but handles problems in an artful way), and I’ve always had an interest in great art, and the questions art tries to answer through the lens of its aestehtic appeal. Well, Art Circles whimsically presents some of the great works of art, to those who enjoy art, and those that would like to know more about it. Some of the works are organized by color, others by Curator selection, and others by an assortment of adjectives. From there, if you see a work that you like, you can order a print, right from the app. It’s w cute way to explore art, and it doesn’t cost a time for you to enjoy it.
Free [ iTunes ]
A Fact Every Day! 365 fun facts for kids [ v 1.0.3 ]
Picked by: PatrickJ
This is a very simple but charming app with appeal for kids and families. It presents a new fun fact each day. Each fact is read aloud and accompanied by a clever and funny cartoon. The interface is great and completely intuitive – so even younger kids can get around the app with ease. A single tap repeats the reading out loud. Swipes left and right move you forward and backward to the next or previous day’s fact. A tap on the Date icon brings up a calendar view where you can pick any day from January 1 to the current day and check out the fact for that date.
I thought this might have just one session sort of appeal when I first saw it, but my 9 year old daughter stuck it on her iPad after we took our first look and she revisits it regularly. In fact she often swipes through a few days at bedtime and quizzes me on whether I knew each day’s fact. Albert Pujols’ current batting average looks way better than my %age of facts known.
$0.99 [ iTunes ] Universal app for both iPad and iPhone
Drop7 [ v 2.3 ]
Picked by: BrandonK
Drop7 is my current game obsession of the moment. With the sheer number of games in the App Store, it’s difficult for any to hold my attention for too long. But for now, Drop7 is it. The premise and design are both plain, but I think that’s why I enjoy it so much. Simply put – you have eight discs, seven that are numbered 1-7 and one plain gray disc. When you stack five discs, for example, all discs in that stack that are numbered five will disappear. And any of those number 5 discs that are touching a gray disc will do damage to that disc until it, too, disappears.
Simple, right? Exactly.
I’m searching for something else to say, but I really don’t have anything. So let me just close by saying that you should go download this game. It’s a lot of fun. What more could you want?
Both versions are universal for iPhone and iPad.
Free [ iTunes ]
$2.99 [ iTunes ] Add Free
DragonVale [ v 1.8 ]
Picked by: Jay
I am not much on the simulation games that require a lot of attention. They seem to be massive time-wasters (and money pits too). My two boys, however, seem to be drawn to watching worlds grow as they fidget with different crops of zombies (Zombie Farm), treasures (Treasure Hunter), caged animals (Monster Pet Shop), and clusters of mushroom villages (Smurfs anyone?). Recently, they have both been struck by playing Dragonvale. Maybe it’s the cool factor of breeding dragons in just the right habitat, but for weeks now, both the 5 and 9 year-old have each developed their own world inhabited by multiple dragons and eggs. Although I don’t get the appeal, it seems to be the right about amount of clean fun and play for both of them.
Free [ iTunes ]
EZBuzz [ v 2.0.2 ]
Picked by: jhrogersii
While there are plenty of iOS apps that are bursting at the seams with powerful features, it often seems that the one built around simple ideas are the most satisfying to use. They seem to fit with the whole overall focus and design of the iPhone- clean, elegant simplicity. EZBuzz is one such app. It takes the normally time-consuming task of creating timed reminders and makes it fast and easy, with its focus on one-handed operation. Also, even though Siri can set reminders hands-free, and does a solid job in my opinion, it still takes time. EZBuzz, on the other hand, is super fast when you need it to be.
Again, it’s all about simple elegance. The opening screen contains a time grid of the current day where the hours of the day are displayed on the left, and minutes across the top. This makes it easy to select the time for a reminder without going through any menus or dialog boxes.
By double-tapping on a time’s location on the grid, a simple setup screen opens up, where you can record a voice reminder for your chosen time with another single tap. You can also choose a priority level, add a note, or add a picture. By selecting the Setting icon, you also have the option to select an additional earlier reminder time, or make your task to repeat. You can even move reminders once they’ve been created by dragging them across the time grid.
Aside from the fast and easy input options, EZBuzz also has a clear and easy to understand UI. Your reminders for a particular day show up as color coded dots, based on their priority level. Practical Logix also hit a home run by making all of the apps views accessible in one tap, from buttons in each of the four corners. You have a shortcut to Today’s Time Grid, a help screen, a list showing all current and past reminders that haven’t been purged, and a calendar view, with the number of reminders of each day noted. Again, everything is geared toward a fast experience, even with one-hand.
EZBuzz unfortunately doesn’t sync to any outside programs, and doesn’t give you the ability to title your reminders, so it may not be for everyone. (Note: The developer mentioned to me that there are some sharing and sync options on their future roadmap, so stay tuned) However, what this app does, it does exceptionally well. If you like the simplicity of the iOS Reminders app, but need speed and more flexible input options, then EZBuzz is exactly what you are looking for.
Free [ iTunes ]
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 in the comments section below.