Category: iPhone App Reviews

The 6 Best News Aggregation iPhone Apps

While single-source news apps like CNN and NYTimes are good, I personally like a lot of variety in my news. That’s why I use news apps that aggregate thousands of news sources and display what’s most interesting, entertaining, or important. Listed below are 6 of my favorite.

1. News360

News 360 iPhone news app

News360 (free) uses over 20,000 newspapers and magazines to deliver the best and most-interesting content in a beautifully designed, minimalistic interface. The app’s main screen shows Top News, but you can customize content by selecting specific topics or news sources to follow.

Probably my favorite feature is that it makes it easy to find dozens of different takes on a single major news story. You can also swipe through dozens of images from different sources for a particular story, another favorite feature of mine.

Other features of News360 inlcude:

  • Safari Reader integration (strips away extraneous formatting)
  • Sharing of articles via email and Facebook, Twitter, G+, email
  • Evernote and Instapaper support
  • Save stories for offline reading
  • Sign in to Twitter or Facebook and get personalized news based on your tastes

2. SNews Free

Snews Google News iPhone reader app

SNews Free (link) is Google News, only as a native iPhone app. This is not merely a generic browser that loads Google News, it tweaks the site to fit more headlines on the screen. And it has a scrollable row of buttons for various news topics (Business, Sports, etc), that can be rearranged to personal taste. You can also add your own topics (like “Apple” or “iPhone”), and do so without having to sign into your Google account. Even though this is the least slick of all the apps here, it’s also one of my most-used. One annoyance though, the app used to be called GNews but recently had to change their name, but the app still shows as GNews in the iPhone’s Spotlight search. I also wish I could prevent some sources from showing up—there are many online news sites that exist simply to spam Google News with copycat news written in poor English.

3. Prismatic

Prismatic iPhone News app

Prismatic (link) presents news in a clean, minimalist way. It also has a wide variety of news sources with lots of customization options where you can tweak what shows or doesn’t show.

Prismastic has a cool menu system for saving/sharing news stories—you simply hold your finger on the screen and menu options will pop-up around your finger, then you just slide your finger to the option you want. Each article is labeled with keywords, which you can tap to view more articles based on the keyword. My only annoyance with the app is that it places 3 Twitter quotes commenting on the article in the middle of articles—it disrupts my reading flow sometimes.

4. SkyGrid

SkyGrid News iPhone app

SkyGrid (free) has a tile-based interface similar to CNN’s app, but SkyGrid has thousands of news sources where CNN is only 1. SkyGrid uses a grid of tiles that use images from news articles. Each tile has a headline representing a news story. When you tap a news story, you are presented with another grid featuring several sources covering the same story. Tap again and read the story. It’s a great way to get perspective on a news event.

SkyGrid offers a personalized page where you can add your own topics (Apple, Knitting) or specific news sources like CNBC or blogs like Daring Fireball. You can “follow” specific news events. There are also the typical sharing tools for Twitter, Facebook, Text Message (iMessage), or email. There is also support for the all-important Instapaper.

5. Digg

Digg iPhone news app

If you’re bored with mainstream news, Digg (free) is a beautiful and minimalistic app that always has something interesting to read. And no ads! Easy to browse through, lots of content from varied sources, and good typography make this app a pleasure to use on the iPhone. The app even lets you save stories for offline reading. There are the typical sharing tools for Facebook and Twitter.

6. Alien Blue

Alien Blue Reddit iPhone app

Alien Blue (free) optimizes the popular website Reddit for the iPhone. Reddit is an alternative news source, much of it created or posted by Reddit’s own users. It’s kind of like a bulletin board where people can vote up what is most interesting—and where most of the voters are teenagers or twentysomethings. I don’t have a Reddit account, but I do enjoy browsing the front page for the top posts. Alien Blue is my favorite iPhone app for doing so. The free version has a ton of features, like access to your Reddit account, voting on stories, and changing font size and look of the app. The Pro version ($1.99 in-app upgrade) has even more features.

Other Cool News Apps:

The following apps didn’t quite make my cut, but all have cool interfaces and are worth checking out, you may like them better than me:

Circa News (free) is beautiful and minimalistic. It also takes a unique approach on news, showing you brief chunks, and you swipe to dig deeper into evolving stories to reveal more facts. There’s a bit too much swiping and not enough text for my tastes, but it’s a cool app nonetheless.

Summly (free) has an interface that is smooth and beautiful, and it presents news from various sources in a slick yet minimalistic way. Navigation is done by swiping in various directions. I get a bit lost at times in the app, but it’s still a cool app to check out.

Flipboard (free) is a great app for Twitter and Facebook, but I find it only so-so for browsing multiple news sources. It turns any content source into a beautiful magazine that is a pleasure to flip through.

Pulse (free) was a former Apple iPad App of the Year. It presents news headlines in a tile format. You can personalize the app by choosing various news sources to follow. I personally like the “list of headlines” format verus the “grid of tiles” format, but if you’re of the latter persuasion, check out this app.

Review: Brownees, an iPhone App to Convert YouTube Videos Into “MP3s” for Offline Playback

Brownees iPhone app icon

You’ll never watch a YouTube video using the Brownees app for iPhone ($1.99), even though YouTube is the only site accessible in the app. That’s because Browness is focused solely on audio. The app “rips” audio from YouTube videos and saves it on the iPhone for later offline playback. Why would you want to do this? For free music, of course.

It’s been a “free music” theme week here on Art of the iPhone (check out my reviews for the similar apps Free Music Download Pro and McTube Pro). Brownees is solely focused on collecting free music from YouTube, and it works as advertised, although it’s far from being perfect.

Video Review:

How It Works. To save a song for offline playback, you simply choose a song, and once it starts playing, you simply add it to your Favorites list. That’s it. Eazy peazy (although you have to make sure the “Offline playback” tab is set to On). Unfortunately, music stored on the iPhone must stay inside the app—it can’t be downloaded off the iPhone onto a computer or sent into another app.

Finding Music to Download. Brownees is great if you know the specific song or artist you’re looking for, but not so great if you want to discover new music. There is a Search tool for finding music on YouTube. There is also a somewhat mislabeled “News” tab that shows the top 50 music videos on YouTube, which can help discover new music. But other than that, there is no way to browse genres of music. There is no web browser, new artist section, etc.

A Basic Music Player. As a music player, the app is pretty basic. It has the requisite play, pause, etc, controls, and the ability to create playlists. The music controls do work outside of the app, meaning you can control the music from the iPhone’s lock screen and via headphone control dongles. I only mention this because in another similar app I recently reviewed (McTube Pro), the music controls did not work outside of the app.

Other Features. Brownees has Facebook integration that supposedly lets you share your Brownees playlists with friends, making it easier to find and download music, but I couldn’t it get to work. You don’t need a Facebook account to use the app, but you do need to either use Facebook or create a Brownees account. I was unable to find the reason or use for a Brownees account.

Cons *Updated*. I found the app to be buggy. There were times when various features stopped working, and I had to force close the app and restart it. Also, the app’s first language is apparently not English, and some translation from Spanish has occurred to put it in the US App Store. I know this because occasionally I’ll see a menu option in Spanish.

*Update* After more use, I’ve discovered many more serious bugs with this app (as of version 1.3 of the app). Deleted music does not, in fact, delete, and suddenly reappears in my music library. Saved music many times can’t be played until you use the force-quit the app (force quit is done by double clicking the home button, holding finger on app icon, tapping the red close button, then relaunching). Hopefully, the developers can squelch these bugs, because it’s hard to recommend this app for long-term use if these issues remain.


Like the other 2 “Free Music” apps I reviewed this week, I can recommend downloading Brownees because, hey, free music. But I also found the app sloppy, limited in functionality, and buggy. But in the end, it gets the job done. Again: free music…saved to the iPhone…for offline playback. What’s not to love?

Review Summary

Price: $1.99

Art of the iPhone’s Rating: ★★★★★ (3 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: A good app for collecting music from YouTube for offline playback on the iPhone, despite a few glitches.

Review: McTube Pro, an App for Downloading YouTube Videos for Offline Viewing on the iPhone & iPad

McTube Pro YouTube client for iPhone and iPad icon

*UPDATE 5-15-2013* The video-caching feature of this app seemed too good to be true, and it was. The latest version of McTube Pro removes the cache video feature in McTube Pro per a request from Google. If you haven’t updated yet to the newer (less useful) version, you may want to back up your current version of the app (instructions) in case you accidentally update it in the future and want to revert back to the old version. If you did accidentally update, you may consider restoring your iPhone from a recent backup (just remember you’ll lose all changes on your iPhone since you made that backup).

McTube Pro’s ($1.99) killer feature is that it lets you save your favorite YouTube videos to your iPhone and iPad for offline playback. That’s right, saved YouTube videos can be played back without an Internet connection. And in HD, too, if you’d like. While McTube Pro can be used with any type of YouTube video, it really shines for music. Read on for my full review to find out why.

McTube Birthday Song Offline Viewing

Downloading Videos. McTube distinguishes itself from other YouTube viewing apps by allowing you to store YouTube videos for later playback. McTube avoids saying it “downloads” videos because that would violate YouTube’s terms. Instead, it “caches” them. When you find a video you like, you simply tap the Cache button, and the video downloads, whoops, I mean caches, in the background. Cached videos are stored in the Local folder for later playback.

Review Summary

McTube Pro

Price: $1.99

‘s Rating:
★★★★★ (3 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: McTube works well for storing your favorite YouTube videos and as a way to collect free music from YouTube. But the app is rough around the edges, lacking a way to organize videos and a way to control audio outside of the app. Still, it’s the best YouTube downloader among the several I tried out.

Videos Can’t Be Moved Out of the App. Unfortunately, videos stored in the app stay in the app—they can’t be downloaded to your computer. Allowing you to do this would be against YouTube’s terms, and would likely lead to the app’s YouTube access being revoked. But apparently allowing you to “cache” them is fine. That’s the power of semantics.

Best for Music. YouTube has quickly become the place to find and listen to music on the web. Just about everything is on there, for free. McTube Pro not only lets you save these videos, it has a special MP3 mode where you can listen to the audio-only portion of your saved videos, as if they were mp3s in the iPhone’s Music app.

But that’s not to say McTube Pro is a particularly good music player. It’s not. McTube’s biggest flaw as a music player is that music control functionality (play, pause, forward, back) only works inside the app. You can’t use the iPhone’s lock screen controls to, say, pause a song, and you can’t you use the headphone dongle controls either. You must use the app. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future version. MP3 mode also lets you create playlists, although the interface is crude and clunky.

Mp3 mode in McTube iPhone App

MP3 Mode lets you listen to audio-only portion of videos.

No Folders or Organization Tools. Another big annoyance with the app is that there is no way to organize your saved videos—there are no folders or playlists (except for MP3 mode). Videos just sit there in a big long list in the order you downloaded them. This gets annoying once your library grows.

Offline Cached Videos in McTube

Cached videos in McTube for offline viewing.

Access to Your YouTube Account. You can log in to your YouTube account inside the app and get access to all your Subscriptions, Favorites, Playlists, etc. This is a nice feature if you’ve already done some work collecting your favorite videos. You could simply go through your lists and download them to the iDevice.

Video Review:

Pro vs Free Version. There is also a free version of McTube that only lets you store 5 videos and has advertisements. I recommend checking it out first. The Pro version ($1.99) removes the storage limit and the advertisements.

Settings in McTube

Settings in McTube Pro.

HD and Auto Caching. The app has two useful option in its settings. The first is the ability to turn on HD streaming. If you’ve got good download speeds and lots of storage on your iPhone, I recommend taking advantage of HD video, as the audio quality is so much better. The Auto Cache setting, when turned on, automatically saves every video you watch using the app. It’s a nice time-saving feature—if you’ve got a lot of free memory. The Region setting lets you set a country (Argentina, Italy, etc) as your base for content filtering purposes.

AirPlay. The app also supports AirPlay. Combine this with HD downloads and an AppleTV, and you can put together a pretty sweet music-video party.


McTube Pro’s key feature is its ability to store YouTube videos on your iPhone/iPad for offline viewing later. In this area, it works as advertised. You can even save HD videos. The app also has a special “MP3 Mode” that lets you listen to the audio-only portion of videos, making this a good way to collect free music. But this app is rough around the edges. There are no tools to organize offline videos, and the iPhone’s audio controls (play/pause/forward) don’t work outside of the app. Despite it limitations, I can highly recommend this app for its main purpose: caching YouTube videos for offline viewing. It’s also a great way to collect free music.

Want to Try Out Passbook? Target’s iPhone App Has Coupons (Review)

Start-up Screen on the Target iPhone App

If you want something…anything…to put in the new Passbook app, you can use the free Target app (link) to put something there. It has a weekly “mobile coupon” that will sit in Passbook. Because Passbook is not very intuitive to use, here’s a quick review of the process of sending the coupon from the Target app into Passbook (I even used the coupon in a store).

Setup. As people are quickly discovering, the new Passbook app comes with almost no instruction. It’s all up to you to figure it out. With the Target app, it’s not exactly a quick process. It took me about 5 minutes for the initial setup. Here’s what you’ll have to do:

  1. Download the Target app.
  2. Click on a link in the splash screen for mobile coupons.
  3. Sign up for a Target account, which you can do inside the app. You enter in info like phone number and favorite store.
  4. Receive a text message (charges may apply, of course).
  5. Tap a link in the text message to register.
  6. Access the mobile coupon in the Target app.
  7. Tap the Add to Passbook button toward the bottom of the coupon (see image below).
  8. Launch Passbook app to view the coupon.

Target Add to Passbook 3

What’s the Benefit of the Target Coupon in Passbook? There’s supposed to be 2 silver linings to all that hard work: 1. A shortcut to the coupon will show up on the iPhone’s lock screen when I enter a Target store, making accessing the coupon a breeze at checkout. Note: This didn’t work. 2. The coupon in Passbook will automatically update itself every week. I’ll have to wait a week to see it this works (*Update* This didn’t work either. I had to manually update the coupon by going into the Target app and tapping Add to Passbook).

The coupon is not for just one deal but rather several different deals. See the image below for my coupon. Note that the image below is not the coupon as seen in Passbook, but rather in the Target app itself. The coupon in Passbook is a simply a barcode upon initial view; however, for more info, you can tap the lowercase “i” in the bottom right corner and it will flip over to provide coupon info. The coupon in the Target app is better because it has images and formatting. For the image below, I blurred out the barcode and number.

Target mobile coupon on iPhone 5

What Worked. What Didn’t. The whole point of Passbook is supposed to be quick and easy access to all your coupons, tickets, and rewards cards, all in one place. A keystone feature of Passbook is supposed to be the location-based pop-up. When you walk into a Target store, a pop-up will appear on your iPhone’s lock screen so that when you check out, you just swipe the pop-up to launch the coupon. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. There was no pop-up.

The coupon, however, did scan at checkout ($1.50 off with purchase of 2 Market Pantry soups!). The cashier used a barcode scanner to scan my iPhone 5’s screen. One interesting tidbit about Passbook: when launched, the iPhone’s screen brightness will automatically go 100% brightness. This makes it so the coupon will scan better. Nice attention to detail by the developers.

I sneaked a peek at the register after the coupon was scanned, and it said “1 of 9 deals used.” There are 9 different deals on my coupon, so I can reuse this coupon again for the other 8 deals, just not the soup deal I took advantage of. No soup for you!

My Verdict. If Passbook’s automatic location-based pop-up would actually appear when I walk into a Target store, it would make it worth the effort. But it didn’t. If Passbook’s location-based pop-ups don’t work, there’s little point to the app. I’d rather just use the individual apps, like the Target app itself—it’s more flexible and capable of providing much more info. For example, I can view the entire coupon with all its images in the Target app, but not in Passbook. If Passbook can’t provide a quicker or more convenient experience that the Target app itself, then what’s the point?

Review: ITA OnTheFly iPhone App Is a Hidden Gem for Finding Cheap Plane Tickets

ITA OnTheFly iPhone App icon

It’s not as slick as apps like Kayak or Hipmunk, but for my money, ITA OnTheFly (free) is probably the best flight search engine app for the iPhone out there. Not only does it cover the basics for pricing out flights, it is also a killer app for finding the cheapest tickets in a flexible range of dates. The interface is simple and easy to use, and search results appear quickly.

The Killer Feature. Let’s say I wanted to go to Honolulu for 5 days sometime in January or February, but I didn’t have an exact date in mind. ITA’s Calendar-search interface lets me drag around that range of 5 days on a calendar and it will show me the cheapest departure/return prices for the 5-day span. I can, of course, change that range to 4 days, 2 days, etc. A line chart at the bottom makes it easy to view the fluctuating prices for a 30-day period—this is a really sweet timesaver.

Basically, OnTheFly’s Calendar search is an efficient way at pricing out plane tickets, especially if you’re on a tight budget, have flexible vacation dates, and are looking for the cheapest dates to fly. And the feature is not offered by the Kayak and Hipmunk apps.

OK, Maybe Not Really a “Hidden” Gem. ITA has actually been around for a while. Professional travel agents still use its QPX software. The company was purchased by Google in 2010 to power its own flight search tools. ITA’s software currently powers sites like Orbitz, Kayak, United Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, etc. Hardcore flyers uses its website along with fancy search codes to suss out “hidden” cheap flights. There’s a whole culture around this stuff. But the app is indeed a hidden gem in the sense it doesn’t get as much press as the Kayak or Hipmunk apps.

Covering the Basics. OnTheFly can be used for the more traditional search of entering specific dates as well. And it has all the filtering tools for what you’d want for that, including filtering by number of stops, cabin class (economy, business, first class), and departing/arriving time of day, etc.

ITA OnTheFly Basic Search Screen

Other Features. A map view traces out all the flights from a search, including flights with multiple stops. This can come in handy if you want to build in a stopover to your vacation, or just want to see what other airports have flights to your destination. The History tab makes it easy redo past searches, and the Itineraries tab is where you can save specific flights.

ITA OnTheFly App screen 3

ITA OnTheFly app screenshot 4

Negatives. OnTheFly is far from a perfect app. It’s definitely not as pretty as Kayak or Hipmunk. As of this writing, the app hasn’t been updated in about a year. And, you can’t book tickets through the app, so you’ll have to call or go to the airlines websites for purchases.


When it comes to finding the cheapest airline tickets over a flexible range of dates, ITA On the Fly is the best iPhone app I’ve seen. And while its far from being the prettiest or slickest airline-ticket search app, it’s nevertheless fast and efficient and covers all the basics in addition to the killer “Calendar search” feature. Because the app is owned by Google and used for its own flight search tools, the service has considerable computational backbone to keep things speedy.

The 5 Best Free Grocery List Apps for iPhone

When it comes to grocery lists, some people may ask, why use a specially designed app instead of, say, the iPhone’s Notes app, or a good To-Do app, or even a piece of paper? Here are a few reasons:

  • A grocery list app will save you time, lots of time, typing in grocery items via autocompletion tools that pull from a special database of food names.
  • A history of old grocery lists stored in the app can help you remember what to buy.
  • List sharing via iCloud (such as maintaining a single master list between multiple people/devices) or email (“Honey, remember the milk!”)
  • You’re more likely to always have the iPhone on you to record spur-of-the-moment ideas.

I’ve sorted through 13 free grocery-list apps I found in the App Store, and below are the 5 best. All 5 will get the job done, but I’ve included 3 Editor’s Picks, each for a specific purpose.

1. Grocery IQ (Editor’s Pick for Best Overall)

Grocery IQ (free) is the most-popular and most-used grocery-list app, and my top choice for best all-around app. GroceryIQ has been around for a while and has added a lot of new bells and whistles along the way. It also has the largest food-name database, which is continually updated. Some of its features are:

  • A huge database of food names and brands to aid list creation.
  • Support for multiple lists.
  • A barcode scanner to scan foods you have in the fridge to quickly add to your list (I use this a lot).
  • Voice dictation in case you don’t want to type (works on older iPhones too)
  • The ability to sort items in list by the order of the aisle they are in at your local grocery (you can create aisles from your grocery store).
  • Share lists by email.
  • Sync a single list across multiple devices and users.
  • Coupons that you can email for printing or print out directly from iPhone via AirPrint.

GroceryIQ has it all, and it’s fast. If I have any complaints, it’s that it’s kind of ugly and it suffers a little from feature bloat. But GroceryIQ is the app I use to create grocery lists and has been for years. If you have a family with multiple people shopping for it, the fact that you can maintain and sync a single master grocery list across multiple iPhones and iPads is a huge plus.

2. GrocerEaze (Editor’s Choice for Tracking Costs)

GrocerEaze (free) is for the serious grocery shopper who wants to track costs and stick to a budget. The app’s best feature is the ability to add prices to items in the database and add up total costs for each list. And here’s the cool thing: you can have prices for different stores. For example, if steak costs $7.99 at Store A, and $6.99 at Store B, you can add both into the database and select a price depending on what store you’re shopping at. Features include:

  • Database of food names and drop-down list as you type for fast grocery list creation.
  • The ability to add new foods, prices, and photos to food database.
  • Budget and spend tracking (with ability to add tax rates for individual items!).
  • Multiple shopping lists.
  • The ability to create meal plans.
  • Browsing of recipes and ability to add ingredients to list.
  • Sharing of lists via email.

GrocerEaze is for the serious grocery shopper keeping a tight rein on food costs. To get the full benefit of this app, users should not mind tapping away at home and in the store to enter in data. Another cool feature is the email sharing that adds a twist. Not only can you email someone a basic grocery list you made, but the app also automatically attaches a file that can be opened and viewed by another GrocerEaze app. Slick!

3. GrocerySmart (Editor’s Choice for Easiest to Use)

Grocery Smart (free) is the best looking of the apps listed here, and its interface is the easiest to use. Here are the app’s features:

  • A database of food names to make list creation easier.
  • Support for multiple grocery lists.
  • Barcode scanner to scan foods in the fridge/cupboard for quick entry.
  • Built-in loyalty card support for a limited number of grocery stores (enter in your card’s number and it creates a scannable barcode that matches your loyalty card).
  • Ability to sync with an online account, create lists online, and sync back to iPhone.
  • Share lists by email.

Overall, Grocery Smart is fast and slick, with the easiest to use interface of all the apps listed here.

4. AnyList

AnyList (free) is another simple app, and its interface probably the least cluttered. The main annoyance with this app is that it requires you to set up an account to use. But it’s only a one-step process, and after that creating a grocery list is a breeze. Its features include:

  • Database of food names for quick list creation.
  • Support for multiple grocery lists.
  • Sync a single list across multiple devices and users
  • Recipe database and easier adding of the recipe’s ingredients to shopping list.

AnyList is a simple app, and quick and easy to use. My only two complaints are the forced account sign up, and that there’s too much spacing around each list item—only 3 list items fit on the screen at a time. But if you’re looking for a simple interface, AnyList is it.

5. Grocery Mate

Grocery Mate (free) is one of the more customizable apps on this list. And it’s pretty good-looking as long as you ignore the iAd at the bottom of the screen. It also offers cost-tracking features. If the previously mentioned GrocerEaze is too much for you, Grocery Mate is the simpler cost-tracking choice. Features include:

  • Database of grocery items and drop-down list that makes list creation quick and easy.
  • Create multiple lists.
  • Share lists via email.
  • Ability to add prices to food items.
  • Maintain history of grocery costs.
  • Create account, create lists on web, sync back to iPhone.
  • Customizable look: wood, metallic, leather (default)

My favorite features of Grocery Mate are the ability to get rid of the food categories in list view, which I feel visually clutters up the app, and the easy way to share lists via email in app. The customizable skins are also neat, although one of them (the wood skin) requires you to share via Facebook in order to unlock it (cheesy!).

Weekly iPad/iPhone App Provides Sales Circulars for All the Major Stores

One of the reasons people still buy a Sunday newspaper is for the huge pile of weekly store circulars that come with it. Weekly for iPad (and iPhone) by Twicular gives you access to those circulars for over 100,000 stores with no need to toss them out when you’re finished. It’s a pretty sweet app that can save a lot of hassle.

I’ve been trying it out that past few weeks, and can report that Weekly had the updated weekly circulars for every store located near me, even my grocery store. Kohl’s, Target, K-Mart, Home Depot, Jewel (my grocery), etc, were all there. Another thing that impressed me is that app sometimes had multiple circulars that appeared in different local newspapers for the same week, but which had different info and formatting. The circulars also downloaded fairly quickly.

You can zoom in and out of the ads. The image resolution is fine for reading, but of course, the more you zoom in the blurrier they get (the text is still readable though). If you want to clarify the information for a product, you can tap on it and a pop-up will appear providing more data. It’s clear that the developers are working with a service that scans the circulars and adds info for the pop-ups.

The other great feature is that the app lets you use GPS to locate all the stores near you, so you don’t have to enter in an address, etc. You can save products as a shopping list and then email that shopping list to yourself to remember what to buy in the stores.

My only complaint about Weekly is that it doesn’t save the ads for offline viewing (although you can save specific items in the ads for offline viewing). But for the ads themselves, you have to download them each time you want to view them. Hopefully they’ll add offline viewing as a feature in the future.

As mentioned, they support over 100,000 stores, but here’s a list of a few stores from the app description: Macy’s, JCPenney, Best Buy, Sears, Kohl’s, Jo-Ann Stores, Dillard’s, Old Navy, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Pet Smart, Sports Authority, Staples, Aaron’s, Lowe’s, ACE Hardware, True Value Hardware, Home Depot, GNC, Wal-Mart, Target, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Family Dollar, RadioShack, Save-A-Lot, Kmart, RiteAid, Aldi, Office Depot, Michaels, SAFEWAY, OfficeMax, Albertson’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Big 5 Sporting Goods etc.

Image Gallery:

Review: Agenda Is a Nice Replacement for the iPhone’s Calendar App

It wasn’t until I tried the Agenda ($0.99) calendar app that I realized the iPhone’s default Calendar app is kind of annoying to use, especially when it comes to its interface. Where Calendar forces the user to tap tiny buttons to move through dates, Agenda relies on finger swipes, which prove less frustrating for navigation through small or large amounts of time within the calendar. With Agenda, all it takes is one swipe to move between various calendar views (6 months, 1 month, 7 days, 1 day), where with Calendar it takes several button taps.

Another advantage of using Agenda is that it lets you infinitely scroll through your weekly calendar with a swipe of your finger. In the weekly calendar view, you can swipe up or down to infinitely scroll through the days. While it may not seem like a big deal, when comparing Agenda’s easy scrolling to Calendar’s tapping a touchscreen button a few dozens times, Agenda just provides a more pleasant experience.

Agenda has all the functionality of the default Calendar app; in fact, the screen for adding an event looks exactly the same, with all the same options like alerts for events and invitees for meetings, etc. So there’s not much of a learning curve to switching over to the app. I don’t do anything fancy with my iPhone calendar like creating multi-invite meetings, but Agenda does have those advanced features, including the ability to SMS or email all invitees to a meeting and inserting links to Google Maps in events.

Overall, I found that Agenda, with its swipe-based interface, is just a much smoother experience than the iPhone’s default Calendar app, which relies more on touchscreen buttons. And that’s why I’ve switched away from Calendar and replaced its icon in the coveted spot of my iPhone’s first homescreen with Agenda.

Review: Instapaper for iPhone and iPad

Instapaper ($4.99) is one of my most-used apps for the iPhone and iPad, but it’s more than just an app—it’s a free web service that lets you quickly and easily save interesting articles for reading later by clicking a bookmarklet in your web browser. Instapaper strips away ads and presents the content back to you in a minimalistic format, available for offline reading. In a world where online ads are getting more annoying and intrusive, Instapaper is the TiVO for the web, giving control back to the user over web content.

Saving Articles for Later

The primary way to save articles to Instapaper is via something called a bookmarklet—a fancy bookmark that performs a function when clicked. Setting up the bookmarklet takes 2 seconds, just go to this page and drag the Instapaper bookmarklet into your browser’s bookmarks. When you come across an interesting article you want to read later, click the bookmarklet, and the article is added to your Instapaper account.

Instapaper also works with over 130 iOS apps as well as Google Reader and NetNewsWire, letting you add content to your account using those services Also available from Instapaper is a special email address that allows you to forward email to your Instapaper account for offline reading.

Besides the iPhone and iPad, Instapaper also works on the Amazon Kindle as well as having its own website where you can access and edit content.

iPhone and iPad Apps

The Instapaper app is a universal app, so buy it once and it’ll work on both your iPhone and iPad. You’ll also need to sign up for a free account. While Instapaper is a good iPhone app, it excels on the iPad, mostly due to the iPad’s bigger screen and more comfortable reading experience.
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Review: TripIt Travel Organizer App for iPhone

Keeping track of important travel info like flight times, addresses, check-in dates, etc, can be a huge hassle when traveling. TripIt – Travel Organizer (free) simplifies things by bringing all your travel info together in one place. It does this by stripping information from travel confirmation emails that you forward to the service. It’s like having a secretary who creates a travel itinerary for you. Quick and simple with additional information like flight status and Google Maps, TripIt is a killer time-saving app for travelers.

TripIt has been around as a website for a while now, but like many such services, its usefulness really blossoms when brought to a mobile platform like the iPhone. TripIt offers a free account, which you can sign up for in the app and which I’m reviewing here. They also offer a Pro account that costs money but offers more features.

The way TripIt works is simple: whenever you receive an email confirming reservations for airline tickets, hotel rooms,, etc, just forward the email to (you’ll need to forward from the email address you assigned to the TripIt account). TripIt takes over from there, stripping out the important data and compiling it into a travel itinerary accessible in the app.
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