Weekly App Store Roundup: Dec. 13th, 2008

The world slows down for another couple of days as we hit the weekend and take a few moments to catch our breath. It’s been another hectic week here at TAB, we considered the potential arrival of a Nintendo Wii-style iPhone, rejoiced at the release of a multi-touch Firefox Beta, extolled the virtues of Mac-augmented exercise regimes and explained how you can make your Mac even cooler (it’s a poor pun and yet I’m not apologizing for it).

Now it’s that special moment that happens ever Saturday at TAB where, after a week of trawling through the latest App Store releases, I hand-pick a few interesting specimens especially for your perusal.

This week I’m looking at Songbird Remote, Slydial, TED and DTESS Aphid Attack.

Songbird Remote (free)
TAB’s Bob Rudis gave the most recent release of Songbird a thumbs-up not so long ago. The desktop app is an alternative to iTunes, managing your music, video and all that entertaining jazz. This app adds to Songbird’s already impressive functionality, incorporating remote control via iPhone. I’m well aware we already have a very robust remote app for iTunes, but choice is a good thing and this certainly makes swapping to Songbird more-so appealing.

Slydial (free)
Ever have one of those moments where you’re calling someone and would really rather go straight to voicemail, cunningly avoiding some kind of an awkward and poorly-worded explanation? For folk are lacking in, or too lazy to use, social skills and tact, comes Slydial — a tool that sends you straight to voicemail when calling someone (U.S. only). There’s something unscrupulous and horridly calculating about this app, nevertheless it’s an interesting (and free) addition to the App Store which some people may find to be an invaluable tool.

TED (free)
The TEDtalks are a wonderful series of live recordings — available on iTunes — from TED, a conference for the world’s brightest and most brilliant minds. The talks themselves are a meeting place for über-smart folk to discuss, deliberate and schmooze everything from arts and entertainment to world politics and artifical intelligence. The TED app takes it all a step further than the podcast subscription, with searching and bookmarking through their vast back-catalogue.

DTESS Aphid Attack (free)
The new Keanu Reeves vehicle, The Day The Earth Stood Still, is currently hitting cinema-houses here in the UK. It’s a remake, where this time the entire world faces off against Reeves as a calm but irate humanoid alien. This is a game promoting the movie where you send nasty aphids (in this case, big alien bugs) to destroy global iconic landmarks. Yes, it’s in ever-so-slightly bad taste. But no, it’s not so great — it could be good fun, but it’s got as much depth as Reeves’s acting. Woah.

Like an iPhone-toting Columbo, I’ve brought you some exciting leads to follow up on, but before I hurry on my way, there’s just one more thing. There have been some exciting developments for iPhone owners this week, one is officially sanctioned by Apple and the other, while not official, is a step in the right direction.

Starting with the former, in yesterday’s Daily Apple post, our very own Darrell Etherington mentioned Apple’s changes to the App Store layout. Setting aside the developers for a moment, the big question for consumers is, “What does that actually mean for us?” 

Perhaps the most noticeable and useful change is that the listing of most popular apps has been split in two, resulting in a separate paid and free top ten charts. This is a welcome step in the right direction for highlighting which apps we should shell out for a few bucks for.

On the unofficial front, another solution for the lack of Copy-Paste on iPhone has arrived. Pastebud is our savior’s name and it works, not as a downloadable app, but a series of Safari-based javascript bookmarklets. It’s a clever solution indeed and we’ll follow this up with a proper posting explaining the intricacies of using Pastebud.

That’s all for this week, I’ll return next Saturday with a cavalcade of new apps to tell you about, in the meantime drop by the comments and let me know which apps you’ve been downloading this week.