Photo booth and a fun puzzler: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include an iPhone 4-exclusive photo-taking app and a puzzle game remake that works great on any iPhone or iPod touch screen.


If you're reading this blog (or really if you read any tech news at all), you've certainly heard about all the reception issues with the iPhone 4's external antenna. When the news broke here in the CNET offices in San Francisco, people were running around demonstrating (mostly successfully) how the iPhone 4 drops its signal if you hold it in just the right "death grip." I haven't experienced the connectivity problems personally, because I'm still waiting for my iPhone 4 to come in the mail, but clearly this has become a legitimate issue.

A number of fixes have been floating around the Web for those who don't want to fork out 30 extra bucks for the Apple recommended "Bumper." Some people are using large rubber bands and even those 99-cent "Live Strong"-type wristbands that were popular a couple of years ago, but even these quick-fixes cause problems with access to those buttons on the sides of the iPhone 4.

The guys over at MacFixIt found an alternative fix that seems to be working for some users. If you're an iPhone 4 user who has been experiencing these issues, check out MacFixIt. It might be just the thing to fix your iPhone 4 issues and if you're a Mac user, there's nothing wrong with knowing about a great site for common Mac hardware and software problems (shameless plug for a CNET site, but the folks over there really do know a lot about Apple hardware). Go ahead and check out the fix to see if it works for you, then report back here!

This week's apps include an iPhone 4-exclusive photo-taking app and a puzzle game remake that works great on any iPhone or iPod touch screen.

You have to think fast between photos to switch poses (something I was not able to do, apparently). (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

IncrediBooth (99 cents) lets you relive those moments at the amusement park or carnival, when you and your friends would cram yourselves into a little photo booth to create a strip of funny shots to save your fun memories. This app will work on the iPhone 4 only, so users of older iPhones should NOT download this app. The app uses the iPhone 4's front-facing camera to take three pictures in a row, letting you get creative with how you pose between shots. The end result is a strip of retro-looking photos, much like what you would pull from those aforementioned photo booths once you were finished.

The interface of IncrediBooth doesn't offer much in the way of features, but it doesn't really need any. Simply press the button to snap three photos in succession using one of three different retro-looking effects. When you're finished you can share your strip (or just one photo from the strip) with your Facebook friends, save it to your camera roll, or send it in an e-mail. Overall, if you're looking for a fun app that demonstrates a creative use for your iPhone 4's front-facing camera, IncrediBooth is easy to pick up and use and delivers great results that most will appreciate.

This particular puzzle uses "fixed" yellow tiles requiring you to complete the pipeline with the blue tiles. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Aqueduct ($2.99) takes a page from those popular classic pipeline-type puzzle games, bringing the same challenging gameplay to your touch-screen iPhone or iPod Touch. Like many online versions of the game, the mission in Aqueduct is to use available tiles to create a pipeline between a spigot and drain before you turn on the water supply. Aqueduct adds to the old pipeline formula by including conveyor belt tiles, teleports, door switches, and more, to create a fun and challenging time-waster that's easy to pick up and play wherever you are.

When I started playing Aqueduct, I wasn't immediately impressed because the first several levels are pretty easy to get past. But once you get deep into the second tier of puzzle levels it can get plenty challenging, and with more than 140 unique puzzles you'll be forced to come up with creative ways to get the water from point A to point B. Eerie music and sounds and good-looking (if simple) graphics round out the Aqueduct experience. I often talk about action-oriented games like shooters and racing games in this space, but if you want something that's a bit slower paced and requires a tad more thought than just hitting the fire button, you should definitely try Aqueduct.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Have you had problems with connectivity using the iPhone 4? What do you think of IncrediBooth? Have you hit a level in Aqueduct that you just can't get past? Let me know in the comments!

About Jason Parker

Jason Parker has been at CNET for more than 13 years. He is the Senior Editor in charge iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.