Weekly App Store Picks: May 23, 2009

zunehd-vs-iphone

What’s that, you say? You’re looking for iPhone app recommendations alongside a smattering of the week’s Apple (s aapl) news? Read, on my friend, I have just the article for you…

Before I present you with my four recommendations, hand-picked from the freshest apps to launch for the iPhone, it’s time to take stock and review this week’s Apple news.

As if Monday couldn’t get any grimmer, the big news to start the week was all about Microsoft (s msft). Specs and other info about its new Zune, apparently code-named “xYz,” have been doing the rounds. Perhaps presenting a genuine challenge to the iPhone and iPod touch handheld gaming throne, the device may even play XBox Live Arcade content. Very exciting indeed, considering the breadth and quality of games on offer via Microsoft’s online service.

Speaking of which, the big surprise of the week was news that Braid, the top-rated, critically acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade title, has been released on Mac. The game is a side-scrolling platformer, incorporating a host of headache-inducing time-twisting puzzles. Good fun indeed, and a worthy workout for cerebral gamers on the hunt for a challenge.

Coming to the U.S. in the very near future is Spotify, the legal music service that’s essentially like having access to the entire iTunes Store for free. The service has already been on offer in Europe since late 2008. Spotify’s founder, Daniel Ek, believes it’ll be officially available stateside by the start of 2010 at the latest.

While the Spotify iPhone app is still under wraps, Digg.com founder Kevin Rose has been impressed by the desktop version, “… playing w/Spotify, hot damn it’s responsive – plays pretty much any song on earth in <1 second.” Being stationed in Helsinki, Finland, I’ve had the pleasure of using Spotify for several months now — it really is as fast as Rose describes.

My favorite news of the week concerns the latest update to the iPhone. More rumors abound, as a fresh list of specs has been released. Notable possible enhancements to the iPhone include 32GB of storage in the high-end model, built-in FM transmitter, OLED screen, rubber tread backing and discontinuation of the metal band surrounding the edge of the device.

Moving on to the picks, this week I’ve been looking at Mover, Burger King Now, Lexulous and Flashback.

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