In this week's pixel-doubled app roundup: AT&T's entire business model, potentially vaporized! Gears and pipes, diligently organized! Google Voice, web-ized! Restaurant menus, analyzed! Ski slopes, virtualized! "Ist" sites, app(et)ized! Ebook apps, plagiarized! And more...
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Fring: It's the oldest VoIP app in the App Store, and Fring has always been pretty good, even though you were limited to Wi-Fi VoIP calls. As of Wednesday, the latest version of the SDK allows for VoIP calls over 3G. Read that again, and soak it in, because it's completely true. This means free, unlimited calls over 3G, assuming you've got an unlimited data plan.
I've tested the app and Skype calls work fine over 3G, but right now, I can't seem to connect any SkypeOut calls—that's the paid service, which would allow me to call landlines—which is worrying, since there's no technical difference, client side, between a SkypeOut call and a Skype call. Is there some kind of caveat to the new dev policy, or is this just an early version hiccup? Either way, yes. Free.
MenuPages: If you live in one of the cities it covers, MenuPages is as good as food recommendation apps gets. Nearly every restaurant listing (and there are TONS) comes with a full menu. The expected map and contact info features are all here, as well as table booking through OpenTable. Free, somehow.
Zagat 3.0: Still $10, but you get a lot more for your money now. Specifically, you can sync listings and reviews offline, and, because this is The Done Thing now, you can also view listing in a through-camera augmented reality mode. Anyhow, the real value of Zagat is the content, and, uh, that's still there. So.—Thanks, Jackie!
Gizmodo helm-man and keen snowman Brian nearly creamed his pants when he heard about RealSki's augmented reality iPhone app, and rightly so-the app uses the camera, accelerometer, compass and GPS to map ski-trails of over 80 US mountains.
You'll need to be running at least OS 3.1.2 on your iPhone 3GS to use RealSki, and to make it work you move the phone around you on the ski-trail, so it can map the location. Then, digital overlays will appear within the app, showing you where the lifts, lodges, restrooms and restaurants are, as well as trails (and their level of skill) and any other parks or features of that resort
The real issue here is that the app isn't really going to be free for many people. That said, the map purchases aren't toooooo expensive, and the concept is co—wait, what do I say here? Rad? Rad.
Google Voice: Hey, so there's still no Google Voice in the App Store. The next best thing has always been Google Voice's web interface, but the problem is, it's never been very good. Today, it is. In fact, if you create a little shortcut launcher and can ignore the Safari's navigation elements, it's practically a replacement phone interface. A true app would be better, obviously, but this is definitely tolerable, especially if you're one of those not-as-rare-as-you'd-expect Google Voice fanatics.
Istaverse: Gothamist, LAist, Londonist, Shanghaist: This are very good sites! If you don't know whether or not you have one of these local blogs in your city and don't feel like hazarding a guess at what the "ist" suffix would look like on some variant of your city's name, just download their new multi-city app. It's free.
Guerilla Bob: A two-stick top-down shooter in the style of the wonderful Minigore, TouchArcade puts it well: Featuring multiple weapons, a level progression (instead of simply an open arena like most dual stick shooters), and even a ridiculous plot line that focuses on a battle between Guerrilla Bob and Minigore's John Gore, it almost seems like the developers of Guerrilla Bob went down a wish lists of our forum members and turned them in to a game. If you've never played Minigore, you're in for a surprise, and a treat. A surprise that is also a treat! I don't know. If you have, well, John Gore is actually in this game, so you know what you're getting in to. $3.
Cogs: Slot together a variety of cogs, pipes, bells, and various other components in a sort of 3D, steampunk-style sliding squares game. Like most iPhone puzzle apps, you can pick it up and play immediately; like few iPhone puzzle apps, you'll keep going for hours. Cogs has impressive graphics, but more importantly a coherent artistic vision. The (quality + fun)/cost quotient is very high here, though I'm not sure what the units are in that equation. Maybe I should have used a ratio, I don't know! Back to Cogs. $1.
AliceX: From the AliceX website:
On January 24th 1984, Apple unveiled the Macintosh. The one and only game Apple ever sold for the Macintosh was also shown that day: Through The Looking Glass.
Steve Capps had sketched out the game a few years earlier, but personal computers in 1980 weren't capable of the type of animation he wanted. Finally, the Macintosh was powerful enough and Capps wrote the game over Christmas 1982. The game quickly was a hit inside the cloistered Mac group and became Capps's "ticket" to joining the exclusive Mac team.
If this means nothing to you, you probably won't get much gratification out of this app. For anyone familiar with the original title, though, this partial adaptation will make you vomit uncontrollably out of pure nostalgic happiness, which is a thing that happens to old Apple fanboys on rare occasions. (I've seen it). $2.
Classics: Classics is not new. And though it's good, it's not my personal first choice for iPhone ebook apps. (I've kinda got a thing for Stanza). But here's the thing: This week, Apple introduced a service called iBooks for the iPad. The interface looks very, very similar to Classics', which is odd, since Classics has been out for months. Credit where credit's due, I say!
The Classics guys have reduced the app's price to $0 for the time being, to make it abundantly clear who came first, and to make their plight known, or something. So, enjoy? And then enjoy iBooks less, ideologically speaking? Something like that. Free.
Warheads: Missile defense, in subtle 3D. The gameplay is a lot like any other good missile defense game, and the visuals make up for the lack of variation. Well, the visuals, and the price. $1.
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!