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.
WTHR [ v 1.0 ]
Picked by: Alex Jordan
My pick this week is WTHR, a super simple weather app for iPhone. This app uses your current location to collect the weather forecast and display it to you simply and elegantly. The app’s design aesthetic is very much to my taste, but understandably might leave others wanting more. There are only two controls in the application- a refresh button, and a slider for ºF or ºC.
The app seems to keep GPS services on at all times when it’s installed, which might be an issue for some. Plus, it only offers weather for your current location, and unlike other weather apps, you cannot change the location for your forecast. Still, if you want something that’s easy to look at, does one job and does it well, look no future than WTHR for your weather needs.
$0.99 [ iTunes ]
Cheddar [ v 1.0 ]
Picked by: Thomas
Cheddar is a new universal task manager with an elegant Gotham font, Markdown capabilities, and a seriously fast task entry box. There aren’t any due dates, but thanks to Markdown, you can throw tags and full hyperlinks right into your tasks without fiddling with any other data fields. Tasks sync automatically across the iPhone and iPad and a Cheddar web app through Cheddar’s own servers (this isn’t iCloud, but it still works quickly).
The app is a free download and allows a maximum of two lists, which should be enough for most people’s needs. However, should you require more, you can purchase a Plus account ($6 for three months, $10 for 6 months, or $20 for year of service). I don’t like
subscribing to task services because apps like 2Do offer syncing and unlimited lists for free, but Cheddar does seem a little different, so I see the subscription costs of a Plus account as more of a donation than the purchasing of benefits. If you’re looking for a clean
design, seamless syncing, something extra in the form of Markdown compatibility, check
Cheddar out today.
Free [ iTunes ]
Chrome [ v 19.0.1084.60 ]
Picked by: PatrickJ
Google released two new free apps for iOS last week. Google Drive is a waste of home screen space because it has no editing capabilities at all for Google Docs. Chrome, on the other hand, is very nice to see in the App Store. Now I know it’s hamstrung by having to use Apple’s webkit base and not being able to use the best speed-related features. I also know that it suffers from the one drawback of any 3rd party browser on iOS right now – that you cannot make it your default browser.
Despite all that, Chrome has a lot going for it. Unlimited tabs for starters. And a very nice UI for working with tabs in general. It also lets you sync your tabs and bookmarks from Chrome on the desktop to Chrome on iOS – I’m finding this a very handy feature. And of course it uses the omnibox so you can enter search terms or web addresses all in the one bar.
I think it’s another very nice alternative browser for iPsd and iOS, along with Dolphin Browser and others. If you’re a Chrome desktop user, as I am, the sync feature is a big one.
Hopefully one day in the not too distant future Apple will let us choose a default browser on iOS.
Free [ Link ]
HootSuite for Twitter [ v 2.4.7 ]
Picked by: Jay
This week I’m highlighting a Twitter app new to me: HootSuite.
I may be late coming to the party, but I find HootSuite an excellent replacement for the Twitter’s own lame iOS app. HootSuite excels where Twitter’s app fails for me – using multiple accounts.
When I originally joined Twitter years ago, I used TweetDeck. That app allowed me to use multiple Twitter accounts and even add Facebook to the streams before Facebook had their own app (which seems to grow worse by the day). Then like all things that impress me, TweetDeck underwent a facelift, was purchased by Twitter itself, and lost its luster.
HootSuite replaces TweetDeck with an easy-to-use interface! Replying and retweeting can come from the account of your choice – no stupid “Me > Switch Accounts” step. Reading tweets comes from a “Streams” tab: select the account feed – Home (all), Mentions, DMs, Sent, Pending. Additionally, your feeds are available online by logging in at HootSuite.com.
HootSuite features includes your personal streams from Facebook and Foursquare, though for the free version you are limited to 5 social profiles, and 2 RSS feeds. Price points for more than that are listed here.
I appreciate HootSuite for making Twitter an enjoyable experience again!
Free [ iTunes ]
Photologica [ v 1.0 ]
Picked by: jhrogersii
The last two generations of game consoles have pushed the envelope of what users expect from their games. Almost every title released in stores these days is set in a 3D environment, often from a first-person perspective. This obviously wasn’t possible on older hardware, so I guess the rise of 3D gaming is just the normal way of things. However, just because technology progresses to make new things possible, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily time to completely do away with the old. Such is the case with the venerable 2D side-scrolling action/adventure game format from years gone by. Just think of all the great titles, from Pitfall on the first generation consoles, to all the great 2D Mario, Sonic, Metroid, and Castlevania games, that were so good and so much fun to play.
Thanks to downloadable content services and mobile gaming platforms such as Xbox Live and the Nintendo DS, the 2D side-scroller never completely went away. Now, with the explosion of iOS as the dominant mobile gaming platform, this format is back in a big way. Look no further than terrific games such as Mirror’s Edge, Kami Retro, and Line Runner, just to name a few, to see that what’s old is new again.
Photologica, which hit the App Store a little shy of a month ago, is another example of a modern twist on a classic experience. The game is set on a planet with no atmosphere, where you control a holographic projection of a girl, who has been sent to battle a series of various mechanical/holographic hybrids. From the female lead, to the atmospheric music, to the stark settings, you can’t help be reminded of the great Nintendo titles Metroid, and Super Metroid. Like these two classics, even though Photologica plays from a 2D perspective, it is very much about open-world exploration and discovery.
There isn’t a map, or any handy hints or guides here. While a causal player can definitely handle taking on the various enemies you come across, and have plenty of fun in the process, Photologica is definitely a more old-school, hardcore gaming experience. To win this game, you have to explore the environments, do a little “grinding” to level up your character, and then go back to previously cleared levels when alternate passages can be unlocked. Fans of adventure games like Metroid, Zelda, and Castlevania will feel right at home playing Photologica.
While this game may not have all of the polish and visual styling of a major iOS release from EA, Gameloft, or Sega, I still found it to be quite well put together. This is impressive, considering that it entirely a one-man indie effort. I corresponded with Nick Hornbrook (aka PhotoMolly) several times while looking at Photologica, and was impressed with the vision behind it. This isn’t just your typical casual, fremium App Store cash-in attempt, with annoying reminders to review the game and buy in-app purchases. It has a very specific style and setting that pays homage to a great game without just ripping it off. It was clear that he really took the time to style the visuals, and make music that really fit the mood of the game.
So, if you love the old-school feel of a 2D side-scrolling adventure game, but also want a bit more of a challenge than some of the more casual fare that you will typically find in the App Store, look no further. Photologica is an excellent choice, and is definitely worth $1.50 and a few hours of your time.
$1.99 [ 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.