Take measurements and jump the gaps: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps include a unique way to take measurements of any object, and a 2D snowboard racing game that's very challenging, but great fun.


The iPad 2 came out today and though I've only laid eyes on it for a few seconds (Donald Bell has been running around the office taking pictures and adding to his ongoing review), I'm definitely impressed with what I've seen so far. Apparently if you're looking to get one too, you'll need to be ready for long lines at the Apple store and an even longer wait if you order online, according to Josh Lowensohn.

Several developers have already updated their applications to take advantage of the iPad 2's upgraded processing power, which can be seen in Infinity Blade, Dead Space, and a few other top-name apps. Real Racing 2 HD also landed today, and looks great on the original iPad, but I have yet to see it in all its glory on the iPad 2.

As you have probably already heard, Apple has released a few apps of its own optimized for the iPad 2, including iMovie and GarageBand. I'll be writing reviews and shooting First Look videos for these early next week, so definitely check back for more info.

This week's apps offer a unique way to measure any object and a 2D snowboard racing game that's challenging, but great fun.

Photo Measures
Draw lines, choose colors, and enter measurements--right on the image. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Photo Measures ($2.99) could be an incredibly useful app at certain times in your life, showing you the measurements of items in a photograph. Especially useful if you're moving into a new apartment or house, Photo Measures will place measurement lines right on the image, making it easy to see if a specific couch will fit in your living room.

You start by taking a picture of the object or objects you want measurements for. This app does not automatically enter measurements, obviously, but you can choose the type of lines (with or without arrows), the color, and the unit of measurement, and enter the number after using a tape measure, for example. It will also show angles, if you want to match up a piece of artwork to a tight spot. When you're finished, you'll have a photograph complete with measurements that you can take to the furniture store or maybe an art show to see whether a masterpiece will fit on your living room wall.

Photo Measures is probably not an app that you'll use every day, but you should definitely keep it in mind for when you move or if you work in construction, say. With just the right tools for the job, you should definitely check out this app for those times in life when you'll certainly need it.

iStunt 2
Do flips and grabs to add to your multiplier to get the highest scores. (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

iStunt 2 (99 cents) is a 2D snowboarding sequel that adds enough extras and unique gameplay to make it a great time-waster. Just like in the original, you'll be challenged to snowboard on several complex courses that involve loops, jumps, tricks, and even snowboarding upside down. The control system uses the iPhone accelerometer to control your snowboarder, a couple of onscreen buttons for grab tricks, and screen swipes for jumping over gaps.

iStunt 2 is better in almost every way than the original, with better designed tracks, better graphics, and more control options, but it does have some issues. Many of the tracks are so complex and require such precise moves that you'll probably end up racing tracks over and over to master the route without crashing. There are a number of side challenges as well--finding and collecting all 10 stars in a level gets you the gold medal, and there are routes you can take that change your path to the finish line. In the main game mode there is no time limit, so being a bit more adventurous pays off in getting more stars and more points. If racing for time is your preference, you can play the time trial mode to see just how fast you can complete each track.

Overall, iStunt 2 is a big improvement with plenty of new content to challenge even the most experienced gamers. If you like 2D racing games, pulling off huge flip tricks over big gaps, and inevitably playing the same level several times to get it just right, you should definitely download this game.

What's your favorite iPhone (or iPad) app? Do you have another good use for Photo Measures? Is iStunt 2 too complex for its own good? What do you think of the iPad 2? 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.