Weekly App Store Picks: October 3, 2009


Fueled by a burning desire to bring you the latest iPhone app recommendations, I’ve kept a keen eye on the new App Store releases this week. As ever, I’ve hand-picked four apps for you to check out.

This week I’ve given my picks a social twist, whether it’s tweeting, traveling or just talking. My top pick for this week is Ping!, plus I’ve also been looking at TwitMusic, Papaya Farm and Nearest Places.

Ping! (Free)

app_icon_pingIn just over a year I’ve purchased two iPhones — a 3G and a 3GS — totaling just over €1,000. Alongside the two iPhones, I’ve also paid €15 per month for my 3G connection, €2 per month for my carrier contract and countless euros per day on apps.

I’m not actually going to tally all of that up. My brain refuses to let me. Let’s all agree that it’s a lot of money and I’d be forgiven for leaping on any opportunity to save a bit of my hard-earned cash.

With that in mind, Ping! is the perfect antidote to a dwindling bank account. Currently free to download, the app allows you to send SMS-style messages over your data connection, which are then delivered via push to other contacts who are also registered with Ping!.

Indeed, there’s a few other IM apps that handle push, but it’s worth noting that Ping! isn’t instant messaging as such, it’s much more akin to SMS. You don’t pay to send messages, or receive, and your account is free too. Registration literally takes ten seconds, from within the app, so you’ve got no excuses — grab that app!

TwitMusic (99 cents)

app_icon_twitmusicEarlier this week, Loren Brichter finally announced that he has submitted the long-awaited update to Tweetie, his Apple Design Award-winning Twitter client for iPhone. If this is news to you then check out my in depth preview from earlier this week.

The latest version of Tweetie, a complete overhaul of the original app, packs in an overwhelming array of new features. However, there’s a few features missing — such as groups, push and music tweeting — that would have certainly bolstered the app’s offering even more.

The latter of the three features I just mentioned is covered by TwitMusic. It’s an app designed for just one function: tweeting whatever song you’re listening to right now. The app will grab all the details about whatever tune you’re rocking at that moment and push it to Twitter. An excellent app for those who like sharing their personal soundtrack with the world.

Papaya Farm (Free)

app_icon_papaya_farmA few weeks back I tried out Button, an unsettling multiplayer game in which the only objective is to push the big green button. Randomly tapping the mysterious button throughout the day has given me a test for more multiplayer gaming on my iPhone.

Compared to Button, Papaya Farm, despite it’s slightly more complex gameplay, is much more relaxing. The game finds you tending to your own digital farm: a place where the virtual grass is lush and green, and, with your assistance, the harvest is fruitful.

The real game begins when you start playing with your friends. Your fellow farmers play dirty and attempt to steal your crops. In retaliation, you install security dogs. Your friends then send you abusive messages via Ping! You subsequently forget that all you really wanted to do was grow a carrot. The game descends into chaos. It’s great fun.

Nearest Places ($1.99)

app_icon_nearest_placesThe final app this week is just for 3GS owners. Nearest Places is an app that makes use of augmented reality (subscription required). This buzzword seems to have just become fashionable again but it does mean something pretty cool: you can look through your camera and see lots of extra data about the world around you, Terminator style!

Rather than point you in the direction of your local subway or tube station, Nearest Places brings just about everything else to you. Through your iPhone’s camera you’ll be able to locate the nearest bars, museums, ATMs and more.

Acrossair, the folks behind the app, have uploaded several videos on YouTube showing how its augmented reality technology works on iPhone. If you’re still unsure how it’ll actually work on your 3GS, you can also check out Yelp’s app, available for free, which contains an augmented reality Easter egg.

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?