In this week's incidentally infringing app roundup: NASA enters the iPhone's orbit, Earthworm Jim is ALIVE, your handset learns two tricks it should've known already, rhythm gaming goes pro, and Loopt users crudely proposition one another.
NASA: NASA's really stepped up their online presence in the last few years, giving armchair astronauts more media, stats and news than they could ever want. Nasa's iPhone app, matter-of-factly named "NASA app for iPhone," aggregates it all, including Twitter feeds, orbit trackers, images, video and mission updates. Free, unless you count income tax.
GameCenter: A Gamefly queue manager first and a free encyclopedia of games second, GameCenter taps into GameFly's massive database of titles to immediately spit out everything from release dates to platform availability to screenshots to reviews. It's a field guide for games, essentially—a type of tool which lends itself well to the iPhone.
Pet Semetary: A gored-up mobile take on Stephen King's eponymous book and film, Pet Sematary is proudly straightforward: You shoot zombies; the zombies are often cats. It's a slow-build game, with short stages that get progressively harder, and accordingly, it's great timekiller. A dollar.
Wolfram Alpha: For this week's obnoxiously contrarian pick, how about a calculator app that costs $50, and doesn't do a whole lot more than the web-based version, available for free through the iPhone's browser? Yes, perfect. I don't totally buy that whole "graphing calculators are $100, this app is just $50" reasoning, but the mathematical shortcut keyboard as well as a streamlined interface are pretty great. In other words, if (and only if) you can somehow expense something like this—ie, you work at CERN—totally do it.
ReelDirector: This is as close as you're going to get to iMovie on your iPhone (which is still not very close, at all). Video stitching alone, though, will be worth the ($8) price of entry for many people, at least until Apple builds it into their camera app.
Rock Band: Despite the obvious success of games like Tap Tap Revolution, the big rhythm game players have generally steered clear of the App Store. Until this week! Rock Band, late as it is, is pretty good, with caveats: the control scheme isn't ideal; the singing mode isn't actually a singing mode; and it could stand to include a few more than the base 20 songs. Which are licensed, popular songs, by the way—not lame mashups or no-name material like you see in some other rhythm apps. $10.
SongSift: It's easy to let your iPhone library get cluttered with odd singles, poorly-tagged strays, and one-off playlist refugees. The real solution is to sort your freakin' colllection, you slob, but until you do, SongSift lets you filter albums by length, so if you're setting out on a run, or want to set-and-leave your iPhone for a while, you'll be able to find large, contiguous chunks of music with a simple slider. A dollar.
NFB: Canada's National Film Board funds all kinds of interesting films, documentaries and miscellaneous video projects, which their new iPhone app offers up for free. It's hard to argue with that, so I won't.
Earthworm Jim: The iPhone-ified Earthworm Jim could be a little cheaper, and the controls could be a bit more refined. But really, it's hard to imagine a more authentic port for this game, especially to a platform without buttons.
Loopt Mix: Loopt doesn't just keep track of friends now, it finds new ones. With the "Mix" feature, you can send any nearby Loopt users a friend request. And from the looks of the promotional shots, you're supposed to parlay that request into an entirely different kind of request, which we'll talk about after the kids go to bed.
The Colbert Report's The Word: To be fair, The Word is a highlight of every episode of the Colbert Report. It just seems like, you know, you've made this nice video app an all, so why not throw in rest of the otherwise free ColbertNation.com content as well? Oh well. A dollar.
SuicideGirls: A video choose-your-own-adventure story in which one of the possible ending is engaging in light petting with an angry, tattooed, seminude lady. Remember when Apple used to ban dictionary apps for swearing?
Gucci: A free promotional tool for a company I have a feeling our readers aren't all that in to, Gucci's iPhone app actually has some neat features, including a in-app DJ tool, local restaurant/bar/whatever recommendations, and, uh, some stuff about clothes, or bags, or something.
This list is in no way definitive. If you've spotted a great app that hit the store this week, give us a heads up or, better yet, your firsthand impressions in the comments. And for even more apps: see our previous weekly roundups here, and check out our Favorite iPhone Apps Directory. Have a great weekend, everybody!