Start your streak and swing to win: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a tool that helps you stay motivated for ongoing tasks like exercise and the sequel to one of my favorite iPhone games of 2009.

iPhone (Credit: CNET)

Probably like many people reading this blog post, I experienced firsthand the trouble Apple and AT&T had with the overwhelming number of preorders for the iPhone 4 on Tuesday. I thought I was being smart by deciding to skip the long lines and get the iPhone 4 delivered to my house, but I ended up getting nothing but errors after only the first few steps into the process.

After several attempts, I decided to wait a couple of days before trying again and ended up buying the black 32GB model through Apple on Thursday. Unfortunately, with the enormous amount of orders, the arrival date has slid all the way to July 14, so it will be much later than I hoped.

I'm interested to hear what other people who bought the new iPhone experienced and whether you decided to have it delivered or are going to pick it up at the Apple Store. Please share your stories in the comments.

This week's apps include a tool that helps you stay motivated for ongoing tasks and the sequel to one of my favorite iPhone games of 2009.

Streaks Motivational Calendar

Once you begin marking off days, you won't want to break the streak.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Streaks Motivational Calendar ($1.99) uses a simple--and surprisingly effective--concept to motivate you to stay productive. The idea is that you choose a thing you want to do more of, such as exercising, for example. Streaks Motivational Calendar lets you set up an exercising calendar on which you can mark off each day that you exercise with a big red X. Once you have a few days marked off, you'll have a streak.

I quickly found that something about visualizing that streak compelled me to continue with specific tasks simply because I didn't want to break the streak. I first heard of this motivational strategy over at Lifehacker in an article entitled Jerry Seinfeld's Productivity Secret. I wouldn't be surprised if the developers of this app read the same piece.

Streaks Motivational Calendar lets you set up multiple calendars so you can track your progress toward various goals. You can name your calendars for any ongoing task, then simply touch the screen on the calendar to put an X on that day.

The app comes with settings for changing the theme of your calendars, showing an icon badge on your home screen for the currently selected streak, and lets you share your streaks with a friend. It also lets you browse your longest current and past streaks for a given task. Overall, I think this simple app offers a great way to motivate people to continue ongoing tasks using a nice looking, easy-to-use interface.

Super QuickHook is the sequel to one of my favorite iPhone games of 2009, adding brand new locations, new obstacles, and more fun and addictive gameplay.

As with Hook Champ, the object of the game is to swing from obstacle to obstacle using a grappling hook you shoot ahead of you by touching the screen to swing through levels. Super QuickHook adds a scrollable level-selection screen with new maps and environments, OpenFeint connectivity for high scores and leaderboards, and a new Endless Mode that challenges you to see how long you can last ahead of an avalanche.

Super QuickHook

Make sure to search each level thoroughly for secrets like this giant rabbit.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

As a big fan of Hook Champ, this was an easy purchase for me and I think Super QuickHook definitely lives up to the first game. Each level shows scores and times for the developer, giving you a goal to work toward in each environment. You also can race against another online player's ghost or your own ghost from your previous best time. The game comes with 18 new levels, including the endless Avalanche level, and there are more new levels on the way.

Overall, I highly recommend this game to anyone who likes 2D side-scrolling arcade games or enjoyed playing Hook Champ. As an extra bonus, the nature of the old-school graphics in this game make it look quite good on the iPad even with pixel doubling (there is no iPad version yet).

What's your favorite iPhone app at the moment? What are you going to use Streaks Motivational Calendar for? Are you happy with new layout and levels in Super QuickHook? Let me know in the comments!

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