This week in apps: Best new options for iPhone

app storeNeed to refresh your homescreen? Check out some of our favorite picks from the iOS App Store this week.

Pollroll, Free’s Pollroll is basically a mobile take on the timeless task of question and answer. But don’t be confused: Quora, this is not. You create, browse, and answer polls, would run the gamut of “would you rather…” questions to “what is the best diner in this area?” It’s a simple and quick mechanism for logging your opinion and getting randomized feedback in return.


Waking Mars, $4.99

This new game has already made addicts out of early users (including us). You play as Chinese astrophysicist Liang, and the object is to explore the isolated planet and discover the alien ecosystem. For the most part, the graphics and visual journey are enough to pull you in (this is occasionally interrupted by some terrible stock art). The game is compelling, though, and a nice break from the “Draw Something’s” of the app world.

waking mars

Roller Journal, $1.99

Roller Journal is like a personal brainstorming session between you and your phone. The app offers new prompts to get your creative juices flowing and doesn’t try to oversell itself by packing in unnecessary integrations (Facebook and Twitter only). Journaling has taken something of a back seat in our digital times, and this gentle reminder (plus its Dropbox backup feature) can motivate you to jot down the important things. And if you’re balking at paying $1.99 for a journaling app, please note that an average-sized Moleskine Notebook is approximately $10 and you will never have it on you as often as you have your iPhone.

roller journal

Silent Film Director, $1.99

If you’re still reeling (get it?) from The Artist’s Oscar Win, then give Silent Film Director a go. Video apps that are feeling the Instagram effect have infiltrated the app ecosystem, but this takes your media back in time with vintage effects and era-specific soundtracks.

silent film

Leap, Free

New app Leap is equal parts photo-sharing, activity, and motivational app. The idea is to create and accept challenges, and to document them with photos to prove they’ve been conquered. Examples include Be Social (meeting new people over the weekend), Drink Up (strange beverages), and Hipster Hunt (self-explanatory). These all come with the caveat of photo evidence.


SeatGuru, Free

Business travels unite: SeatGuru from TripAdvisor has gone mobile. There isn’t much deviation from the site, but having it better optimized for your smartphone will make the airport slightly less of a nuisance. For those who haven’t used SeatGuru before, it offer plane seating maps, flight search, flight status, as well as airport information for over 700 planes from 100 different airlines.


Sparrow, $2.99

You’ve no doubt heard of Sparrow – the app that’s showing the Mac email client how it’s done. Now it’s landed on iPhone and is your gateway to streamlined email heaven. You can integrate your Gmail, Google Apps, iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, Mobile Me, and custom IMAP accounts all into Sparrow’s simplistic and simple app (no POP support, sorry).


NOTE’d, $1.99

Productivity apps are supposed to help you get organized, but occasionally they go heavy on the bells and whistles and all your stuff gets lost in the mix. NOTE’d keeps things simple with its notepad UI the clearly and cleanly categories what is where. Its design is easy on the eyes and keeps things as dead-simple as possible – of course that means you’re sacrificing cloud-storage, and it’s really just an organizer for your iPhone. But if that sounds like all you need, then NOTE’d is a worthwile download.


The Google Photos iOS app gets a bit better, now has depth control

Google updated the iOS version of the Google Photos app to now take advantage of the depth data that can be captured by the iPhone's camera in Portrait Mode. The new feature is already available in the Android app.
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