This week in the App Store, we've got some great freebie apps. That's a good thing. Especially when you're a beleaguered Gulfstream GIV pilot getting hit hard by the soaring price of jet fuel. This week was also great for pilots in several other ways, but there's some stuff for the rest of us, too. Come along as we see what's been hitting millions of Springboards over the past seven days.
Rooms: Until this week, IRC fans had to jailbreak to get chatting, but Rooms developed this week brings the same Colloquy-based engine to the App Store. The interface could use a bit of pretty-ing in future releases, but all of your basic IRC client functions are there, now without jailbreak. $1
WiFinder: This app pings all of the Wi-Fi networks in range and tries to load a sample web page once connected-saving you the task of checking each network individually to see if you can get a working IP. It could use an interface to then connect to the network in question (currently you have to go back to Settings) but this is handy if you often find yourself squatting, especially in major cities where there are tons of networks in any given location. $3
DianHua Chinese Dictionary: Just about all of the dictionaries in the App Store, be they English or other languages, cost money. Hopefully this excellent Chinese character dictionary, which lets you search for words in English, Pinyin, and traditional or simplified characters, starts the trend of these things being free.
Newton's Cradle: It could use a touch of MotionX's realistic physics, but Newton's Cradle is a fun diversion-bringing the ol' swinging balls rig to your phone. Responds to touch and tilt alike for hypnotizing effects. Wouldn't be cool if it wasn't free, so thankfully, it is.
Photohunt: My favorite bar game (aside from, you know, the normal ones like pool and darts) come to the iPhone, in a version that doesn't look nearly erotic enough, sadly. $5 This Week's App Coverage on Giz:
- Copy and paste framework OpenClip surfaced using an ingenious backdoor trick to bring system-wide copy and paste to all apps without jailbreaking, but it looks like the 2.1 firmware will close the door on the exploit. Frown.
- iBlessing and ParveOMeter keep you Kosher, make your Grandma in Boca proud of you.
- Palringo, the best App Store IM client, gets push-to-talk functionality.
- Microsoft says any Xbox Live App has to be free, and soon you'll hopefully be able to add friends via your phone with the best Live app, 1337pwn.
- We saw a preview of the next version of the Facebook app, which goes a long way toward looking like real non-iPhone Facebook.
- Snapture adds multi-touch zoom, instant-delete, color filters and more much needed improvements to the iPhone's camera. It's Jailbreak-only at the moment
- iPhone Myst is coming. I can almost smell my old Packard Bell's CD-ROM drive chewing on those Quicktime movies!
From the novelty/ridiculous bin:
- Two bucks gives you Roshambo, taking the great game us normal people know as Rock Paper Scissors and turning it into two douches shaking their iPhones at each other.
- Tie-a-Tie, your guide to being a man, comes in both Lite ($1) and Deluxe ($2) versions. Sigh.
- Lolcats lets you haz that cheezborger on the go. Free
And this week's trend: Apps for Pilots
FAA Wait: Unlike a few of the other aviation apps this week, FAA Wait is actually very useful for non-pilots as well. It pings FAA's live database for air traffic control delays at airports around the country. Great for getting news of your 3-hour wait on the jetway straight from the source. $1
FltPlan Airport Guide: Comes loaded with the full official listing of our country's airports large and small, and all the relevant info you need like radio frequencies, approach information, and nearby alternates to plan your Cessna jaunt out to them. Free.
Gulfstream Tanker: And on the opposite end of the niche spectrum is this app for owners of Gulfstream GIV or GV jets-rappers and Fortune 500 execs only, basically-which calculates how much money you might save by loading up with fuel for your return trip before you depart, factoring in cruising speed, trip distance, and the price of fuel at your two stops. Hov, your app is finally here. $20 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 what you missed last week and check our original iPhone App Review Marathon. Have a good weekend everybody.