Apple iPhone app round-up: Brushes, Today Todo Pro, Yoga STRETCH, acrossair, Doodle Jump, Outfront review

This month's round-up of iPhone apps
Photo of Apple iPhone app round-up:  Brushes, Today Todo Pro, Yoga STRETCH, acrossair, Doodle Jump, Outfront
from Free to £2.99

This month’s round-up is looking over its shoulder at winter and shaking its little fist, safe in the knowledge that somewhere deep in its pockets are the iPhone’s finest painting app, a fabulously designed task manager, complete yoga lesson, an augmented reality browser, the most stupid, addictive game imaginable and the world’s cleverest pedometer.

Justifiably famous as the iPhone app used to create the cover of the New Yorker magazine in June last year, Brushes (£2.99) receives a significant update which re-designs the all-important brush panel as well as adding new brushes and a spacing slider which allows you to stretch out any of the brush effects to create new and interesting textures. The extras confirm its standing as the iPhone artist’s tool of choice, along with support for layers (including top class transparency effects) an OSX-style colour picker, loads of undos/redos, zooming up to 1600 percent, slideshows and a beautifully simple built in web server that lets you view your creations full screen on any home PC that’s connected to the same wi-fi network. So wonderful that even those who hold their brushes in hamfists will be enchanted.

In terms of nuts and bolts functionality, Today Todo Pro (£1.79) doesn’t have a lot to offer. It uses the ‘today-tomorrow-sometime’ model used by Put Things Off that we liked so much but doesn’t have any fancy sync features or alarms or anything like that. What it does have is an interface so deliciously good you’ll want to use it every day. Drag the sun icon left or right to see yesterday or tomorrow and watch the sky fade from day to night, add tasks by turning the iPhone on its side, typing them in and then watching the software ‘tear’ the task from the pad, leaving a new empty one; assign dates to tasks using the most intuitive, innovative date picker yet, assign priorities in a similar fashion, group tasks into lists and then sort them by tapping the sun twice, then pull the blinds down to arrange and edit your lists. We’re so organised we even completed this month’s round-up on time.

For those interested in what goes on inside their bodies, there’s Yoga STRETCH (0.59p) which includes 35 different poses designed to improve (it says here) “strength, balance, posture and flexibility.” You can play all of the poses as an hour-long lesson together with a commentary and background music, or choose which ones you want to concentrate on by creating a custom session from the included poses. You can create up to five custom sessions, old hands can turn off the commentary and you can choose your own background music from the iPhone’s library. It’s easy to skip between poses, pause the lesson, repeat a pose and so on, and each one has the physical and mental benefits explained in detail (though the use of apostrophes could do with a once over). An excellent companion for beginners, and more advanced yoga enthusiasts will find it useful when they can’t get to a lesson.

If you’re looking for information overload, meet acrossair (Free) an ‘augmented reality browser’. That’s fancy talk for a program that overlays information (usually information that’s trying to sell you something or coax you into the nearest bar/restaurant/cinema) on top of the iPhone’s live camera. This release takes all the existing overlays – things like bars, restaurants, gigs, Panoramio and Flickr pictures, the car finder, nearest tweets and so on – and adds location sharing, bookmarks and support for 10 languages. For those who like being plugged into what’s going on around them and don’t mind letting others know what they’re up to, this is a thing of all-seeing beauty.

In the ‘challenged’ corner of this month’s round-up sits Doodle Jump (0.59p) an insane platform game with kindergarten graphics and cartoon sound effects that involves nothing more than bouncing a small, bulbous-nosed character from platform to platform up and across the screen by tilting the iPhone this way and that. Some platforms crack in half, others are sprung, contain trampolines, jetpacks, a hat with a propeller on it, and the higher up you go the worse it gets as monsters, UFOs and black holes appear and the platforms start exploding as soon as you pass them. Submit scores to Facebook and Twitter if you must, or spend the rest of the day as we did, hunched in a corner, waving the iPhone about and grinning like a lunatic.

Meanwhile, Outfront (£1.79) has a strong health and fitness angle, but we’re trying not to hold that against it. This neat app uses the iPhone’s GPS to track your movements and is especially useful for runners, cyclists, trail riders, skiers, orienteerers, or anyone who exercises at the higher performance end of the scale. You can keep tabs on your speed, how far you travel, your pace and even the number of calories you’re burning, all from a simple map-based screen that’ll also give you a great 3D view of any route you’ve saved. The author, Map My Tracks, also offers thousands of routes from all over the world you can download, which turns the iPhone into a personalised, international trail finder; or for this price, you can just use it as the world’s cleverest pedometer.

Company: iPhone


Verdict

As above. All the apps are available from the App Store on iTunes.