Weekly App Store Picks: September 26, 2009

As another week draws to a close, the App Store expands even further with a torrent of new toys and tools. As ever, I’ve hand-picked four recent iPhone releases for you to take a look at.

This week I’ve given our picks a creative vibe, selecting four different apps that let you engage with your artistic and cultural side. My top pick for the week is Xewton Music Studio, plus I’ve been looking at Snapture, GraffitiGeo and McSweeney’s.

Xewton Music Studio ($19.99)

app_icon_xewtonArmed with an iPhone, there’s never been so much choice for making music on the move. Despite all the choice, the recording app I keep coming back to is FourTrack. It’s a fully-featured 4 track recorder, complete with bouncing, panning, metronome and Wi-Fi sharing.

When it comes to full on audio sequencing and sketching out bigger ideas, I head for Intua’s BeatMaker. The app costs twenty bucks, but for producers it’s definitely worth it: this is about as close to Ableton Live as you’ll get on your iPhone.

Now it looks like I might be adding Xewton Music Studio to my iPhone audio app lineup. Rather than put the focus on electronica, like Beatmaker, Music Studio is essentially a sequencer designed with traditional composers and songwriters in mind.

Xewton Music Studio includes 21 instruments, a 128-track sequencer, piano-roll note editor, real-time effects and lots more. Although the app may well take some time to learn, it’s powerful enough to potentially become a useful composition tool for many musicians.

Snapture ($1.99)

app_icon_snaptureWith Flickr, QuadCamera and PhotoForge handling all of the photo processing on my iPhone, I wasn’t sure if there was room for another camera app. Arriving at the App Store by way of Cydia, Snapture is a very tempting and feature-packed photo processing tool. Tempting as it is for my 3GS, this recommendation is for 3G users only.

The app rolls in a raft of useful functions, such as High Speed Multishot and Level Aid. Plus, once you’ve taken your photos, you can stay within the app to browse and manage your library.

It’s worth noting that the app currently doesn’t make use of the 3GS iPhone’s tap-to-focus functionality. While Snapture works well enough on Apple’s latest device, I would urge 3GS owners to hold out until the app integrates this much requested feature.

GraffitiGeo (Free)

app_icon_graffiti_geoLast Summer I signed a two-year contract with Sonera and received a white iPhone 3G. After arriving home and spending far too long trying to decide if I should film the unboxing (I didn’t), I tore away the packing, activated my iPhone and headed for the App Store.

One of the first apps that I downloaded was Graffitio, an old-school bulletin board that included geo-location support. After tagging various locations and adding a few messages, I got a little bored. The app’s long lists of tiny text felt too plain for my iPhone.

Released this Summer, GraffitiGeo takes the location tagging concept even further. The app feels like a fun version of Dopplr — as a tool, GraffitiGeo is useful for finding food, events and places of interest. And it’s surprisingly compelling as a toy too, as you’re able to form gangs and earn achievements. Definitely one to check out for iPhone owners in big cities.

McSweeney’s (99 cents)

app_icon_mcsweeneysMcSweeney’s has always been a reliable destination for deliciously absurd, charming, silly, classy and fun literary offerings. While there are longer pieces to delve into, my favorite is a very short piece by Mike Ward called, E-mail Addresses It Would Be Really Annoying To Give Out Over The Phone.

Regular readers of McSweeney’s monochromatic online offering will be used to getting their fix for free. Although the iPhone app isn’t free, it includes access to a weekly fix of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

The most promising aspect of McSweeney’s iPhone app is that it includes a six month subscription to the Small Chair. Every single week for the next six months you’ll receive scrummy multimedia blips — songs, videos, stories and such — from clever creative folk like Spike Jonze, Chris Ware and Jonathan Ames.

That’s all the picks for this week. I’ll be back in seven days with a fresh selection of App Store recommendations.

In the meantime, what apps have you been using this week?