Take better photos and hop across busy streets: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a new and unique way to enhance your iPhone photos and a 3D remake of a classic arcade standby from the past.


As the World Wide Developers Conference winds to a close here in San Francisco, we hope developers who attended the many sessions and labs have been given plenty of inspiration to keep making great apps. Just like at every WWDC, Apple has announced the winners of the Apple Design Award. According to Apple, this year's Design Awards focused on "iPhone OS applications that demonstrate technical excellence, innovation, superior technology adoption, high performance, and outstanding design." They have some great picks in there, so be sure to check it out.

Notably absent from this year's offerings are programs made for the Mac OS, with Apple choosing instead to include only iPhone and iPad apps. Of course, the big news of the conference was the announcement of the iPhone 4, which came not too long after the release of the iPad, so it would make sense that Apple stuck with apps for their handheld devices. But I have to wonder: is there another message here? Is Mac OS X now on the backburner for Apple now that the popularity of their handheld devices has skyrocketed? What is the future of Mac OS X? I'm interested to hear what people think, so please let me know in the comments.

This week's apps include a new and unique way to enhance your iPhone photos and a remake of a classic arcade standby from the past.

All the effects of a given type are laid out on the screen, making it easy to select the look you want. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Camera+ helps you take better images with tons of features and a unique tool layout that helps you get the look you want quickly. The app offers several options for making unique-looking images out of photos on your camera roll, or you can snap pictures from within the program using Camera+'s extra tools. When taking a picture, you can use a 5x zoom slider for close-up shots, a stabilizer that automatically takes the shot when your hand is most stable, and a grid overlay so you can line up your shots as straight as possible.

Once you've got the perfect shot, Camera+ gives you several ways to enhance the image. Manage your images using the Lightbox--a backlit display area that makes it easy to find the images you want to work with. Use digital cameralike scenes to apply common camera effects in specific situations like simulated flash, sunset, backlit images, and portraits. You also can crop your images to your specs or select from several standard sizes. To make your images truly unique, you can pick from several color and retro effects that are helpfully laid out on the screen so you can preview the results before committing to an effect. Finish up by selecting a border for your image. When you're finished you can share your work on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail from within the app. Overall, Camera+ is a unique and useful image tool that makes creating cool-looking shots easy. Anyone who wants to do more with their images should try this app.

Banzai Rabbit
Maneuver Banzai Rabbit across traffic and jump from submarine to submarine in this level. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Banzai Rabbit challenges you to save the world playing as a superhero rabbit mutant. The story borrows from sci-fi classic "The Fly," as early on a rabbit, a flea, and two scientists get caught in a cloning accident that spawns the main character as well as his nemesis, an evil flea genius. Gameplay revolves around action like the old classic arcade game Frogger. Your job is to navigate Banzai Rabbit across traffic to save humans before they are infected by a deadly virus that transforms them into bugs.

Your enjoyment of this game depends largely on how much you like the Frogger gameplay mechanic, but Banzai Rabbit does a great job evolving the old classic into a colorful 3D world. Swipe the screen in the direction you want Banzai Rabbit to jump, being careful to avoid traffic and other obstacles all while racing against the clock. In between levels you'll be able to play through bonus rounds to score extra lives so you can advance farther into the game. Overall, if you were a fan of Frogger or want a game that has cute graphics and is easy to pick up, and has challenging gameplay and a silly storyline, Banzai Rabbit is a great choice.

What's your favorite iPhone app? Is Mac OS X going the way of the Dodo? Do you like image manipulation apps like Camera+? What do you think of Banzai Rabbit? 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.