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.
Weightbot [ v.1.6.1 ]
Picked by: Alex Jordan
My pick this week is Weightbot. I’ve owned this application for awhile, but I haven’t used it in awhile either. Just this week I’ve taken up jogging once more, in an attempt to lose some extra weight- that’s where Weightbot comes in. This nifty little application is from Tapbots, the same people who have brought us Tweetbot, the popular Twitter client. It looks great, and helps you monitor your weight. You can set your current weight, your goal weight, and other criteria, then Weightbot does the math for you and presents you with graphs and charts to visualize your weight change. The only thing you need to do is enter your current weight periodically (ideally, every day), and this little app does the rest.
At it’s core, Weightbot is nothing more than a stats app that happens to deal with one’s weight. However, Tapbots has managed to make the experience attractive and dare I say, fun.
$1.99 [ iTunes ]
Mailplane [ v 2.5 ]
Picked by: PatrickJ
Mailplane is touted as ‘the best way to use Gmail on the Mac’ – and after a few weeks of using it, I’m not arguing with that. In fact, I absolutely agree with it. My search for a good mail app for the Mac began a few months ago when I got fed up with the built-in Mail app being hideously slow and unstable – made worse by the fact that Apple offers just about zero guidance on how to do maintenance on or optimize the Mail app in OS X Lion or Mountain Lion.
Sparrow was my first choice as a Mail replacement and after a couple of abortive trial runs I finally got to know it and like it quite a lot. Like many others, I was very disappointed to see that when Google bought Sparrow it also made clear that there would be no more future development of Sparrow, beyond supporting the current state of the app. As much as I had come to like Sparrow, knowing that it’s no longer being actively developed I wanted to find another solution fast. I ended up trying out three Mac Mail apps – Postbox, MailMate, and finally Mailplane – and the last one of those has been the clear winner for me. The other two are not far enough away from Mail for my liking.
Mailplane feels light and fast and easy. I’m a guy who has never enjoyed working with Gmail in a browser much, and though Mailplane is only a pretty minimal app layer over the browser experience it turns out to be just enough for me to throroughly enjoy using it.
It’s great to have a mail app that responds quickly again – opens and closes in a flash and very, very rarely shows me the dreaded Mac spinning beachball of wait.
Hello Mailplane, good riddance Mail app.
$24.95 [ Link ]
Plague Inc [ v 1.2 ]
Picked by: jhrogersii
In the eighties, Tears for Fears told us that “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” Have you ever felt like destroying it? Well, here’s your chance, without all the fuss of mass murder and guilt. Plague, Inc gives you the opportunity to step into the small shoes of number of organisms, such as a bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, nano-virus, or bio weapon, and guide it into becoming a pandemic-inducing destructive force.
Like many real-time strategy games, Plague, Inc is a perfect fit for the small screen of the iPhone, and for gamers on the go. An entire disease cycle can be completed in 5-15 minutes (although it sometimes takes longer), and the game can be played at double-speed or paused and picked up again later. The action takes place on a world map and a small number of other screens, so it’s very easy to keep track of everything that is going on.
After selecting where your chosen pathogen will begin its life, you are in charge of helping it grow into an extension level event. You do this by spending the DNA points that accumulate as your disease matures on new methods of transmission, symptoms, and abilities. As you go, you have to be careful not to move too fast, lest countries start closing their borders and developing a cure, or so slowly that it dies out before catching on. It takes subtlety and a lot of practice to wipe out mankind.
So, if you love creative real-time strategy games, or if you are just looking for something new and different to kill some time here and there throughout the day, but that has enough depth to keep you coming back, look no further than Plague, Inc. It’s infectious….no, that’s no good. It’ll grow on you…ugh. You get the point.
$0.99 [ iTunes ]
Pinterest [ v 2.0 ]
Picked by: AliciaB
This week I am recommending the new iPad app Pinterest which launched this week. For the uninitiated Pinterest is a social platform and community network that lets users create a virtual scrapbook for images you want to “pin” (bookmark) or “like”. There are the usual social network perks of sharing to various other places, following others and creating customized lists or feeds that suit your interests. Launched as recently as March 2012, its rapid growth will undoubtedly continue now that the service has launched iOS and Android apps.
What the service has going for it in my view is its easy sign up via facebook (I am always grateful for one less login+password I need to retain) as well as a simple streamlined flow of content which is always a welcome feature for the minimalist in me. The iPad version does not disappoint. Browsing by touch of course now feels as natural as brushing one’s teeth. And the iPad screen was made for leisurely perusal of great content. Expand images by two finger pinch to zoom in, or tap to like, re-pin or share. I have been using Pinterest to store my “pinned” interests under collections such as “geek stuff”, “inspiring spaces” or “Infographix”. Pinterest on iPad is a great way to use the service.
Free [ iTunes ]
Universal iOS app
BungeeAir™ Power Wireless Security Tether™ for iPhone
Picked by: Thomas
My POTW is the Bungee AirPower from Kensington, which I found online a few days ago while searching for iPhone battery cases. I haven’t had hands-on time with this accessory, so this isn’t a review by any means. However, the Bungee does look like a really intriguing alternative to cases like the mophie Juice Pack Air. The main draw of the AirPower is that it’s both a battery case and an iPhone proximity alert, which will help you make sure you never leave you iPhone at home (when you don’t mean to). The Bungee dongle attaches to your keyring as well, and you can use Kensington’s iPhone app to make the dongle beep, so the entire package serves as a way to find your keys, too.
$80.00 [ Kensington ]
$60.00 [ Amazon ]
Picked by: Jay
This week I’m going for an accessory as my highlighted pick. Scosche’s RAILkase is a phenomenal case that cradles the iPhone 4/4S in strength and security.
The curved, metal rail tightly holds a soft silicone case in place and makes the iPhone virtually impact resistant. Admittedly, the two piece design adds some weight to the phone, but the heft isn’t cumbersome and in my hand it improves the feel of holding a squared-off delicate device. The contoured design of the aluminum rail is a definite ergonomic plus. (On a related note I wonder why the iPad 1 go from squared edges to a bezel on the iPad 2, while the iPhone 3GS go from a bezel design and to squared edges on the iPhone 4?!)
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.