Gmail and Google Calender notifications, pushed to your iPhone home screen? Yes please. This might be enough to lure me away from the iPhone's native mail app.
The interface, shown above, looks intuitive, and I can see it being especially helpful on the calendar side. Plus, always remember: the more notifications you check on your phone, the more
rudepopular people think you are.
The Official Hollywood Walk of Fame app: You can finally stop tolerating all those unofficial Walk of Fame apps you've been using (?) because the Official Walk of Fame app is here. You can map the exact location of any star of your choosing—there are over 2,400, don't you know—and get the news on upcoming ceremonies. $2
It's not that I'm jealous that the team at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce get to drink all day on the job. It's the quality of the booze. Mad Men Cocktail Guide app to the rescue?
Well... sort of. If you're a Mad Men completist, hey, it's a free app with some fun features! If you couldn't care less whether Peggy finds love in the arms of a lady photog or wonder whatever happened to Kinsey, well, you might want to pass.
What's good? Recipes for 21 drinks that your parents got tipsy off of in college. Interactive touches-shake the phone to shake the mixer, tilt the phone to pour your potables-that give the app some game-like qualities. And of course, that Mad Men sensibility that's already taken over my DVR.
What could be better? In addition to the cocktail guide, the app includes a game where you can mix drinks on your phone. It's a fun little minigame-I particularly enjoyed pinching the lime to squeeze juice my tumbler-but you only get to make a Gimlet for free. To play the other 10 levels, you need to pony up an additional two bucks. It's just not worth it, especially for an app that's basically an extended advertisement in the first place.
Still, though, it's fun (and free) for the recipes and the feel. And I've got somewhere to turn the next time I need to impress some young turtlenecked secretary with my Moscow Mule skills.
Free, with hangover.
Phantasy Star II: When you're porting one of the best RPGs of all time to the iPhone, there's a lotta pressure to get it right. Phantasy Star II has finally arrived in the App Store, and from the looks of things, it's just what everyone had hoped for. Early reviews for the classic RPG, which is complete with all the bio-monsters and turn-based battles you remember, are overwhelmingly positive, and the app is currently on sale for $3.
Netflix: Good job, iPhone owners, you dutifully spent the last few years of subway rides and long lines actually, yes, reading! But all that's over, now that the Netflix app for iPhone has been updated to stream movies and TV shows straight to your phone. It looks super hot over Wi-Fi, less hot but still serviceable over 3G, and will help you get caught up on all that Dexter. Free, though you'll need a Netflix subscription.
Reiner Knizia's Samurai: Like Carcassonne before it, Reiner Knizia's Samurai's an excellent iPhone port of an excellent board game—one of those ones that's easy to pick up but devilish to master. Beautiful graphics, online capability, and tried and true game play make this a no-brainer for board game fans. $5
While I've never done the dropped-acid-and-burnt-wicker-men-alive thing (at least, not at Burning Man festival), from my understanding the event is meant to be somewhat of an escape from the humdrum of daily life. Meaning, you leave the iPhone at home.
That hasn't stopped a Burning Man iPhone (and iPad!) app from hitting the store in time for next week's festival. The free app acts as a guide to "all the art, camps, and events in Burning Rock City," though reports of it listing the best grass in the area are entirely unfounded. It uses the official API for the event, and is open source reportedly.
While I did moan just a few sentences previously about how iPhones really shouldn't be taken out there, the developers have at least designed it to be used mostly offline, caching all the maps and information when the app is first used. Handy for the lack of reception!
Free, with acid flashbacks.
The PetRescuers iPhone app sounds pretty basic-It's got a way to enter information about lost pets and a search to identify a pet you may have found-but it has the wonderful potential to reunite many pets and owners.
Basically, if you happen upon a lonely looking pet you could check the app to see if it happens to be missing or alternatively, you could use the app to alert others of your lost pet. Simple, but potentially very effective if you live in a community full of iPhone users.
Super Mega Worm: Humans are killing planet Earth, as we've heard so many times, but finally you can do something about it. Control a glorious 8-bit super worm (think Tremors? as you chomp your way through all those insolent humans. The gameplay is a bit simple for $3, but it's always plenty fun. The game has a great sense of humor, too, like that other recent 8-bit hit The Incident. Chomp! $3
Also works on the iPad