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Circa - Curated news you can use - Free
Unlike other news apps which rely on you to input your favorite topics or social networks (so that they grok them for topics) Circa (free, App Store) takes a completely different approach to news. It delivers human curated news in four categories: Top Stories, United States, Politics and World. There's nothing to set up, it just displays the top news of the moment in a given category as collected by human editors. What makes Circa unique is that it distills the relevant parts of the story from several sources and aggregates the information into one metastory. But it's the Follow Story feature is what sets Circa apart. When you follow a story the app sends you a push notification when a new data point is available. Good stuff.
23snaps - Instagram for parents - Free
Google Maps - The best get better - Free
It's so easy that it's almost unfair. It's also such an obvious pick that I almost didn't include it, but here it is anyway. Google Maps for iOS (free, App Store) further solidifies the big G's position as the king of big data. Apple made a huge tactical mistake when it replaced Google Maps with its own inferior Maps app and it's still feeling the pain from the gaffe. Google Maps has over 7 years of map, street view, local and public transit data and is the undisputed champion in the space. Google Maps for iOS also includes voice guided turn-by-turn directions on the iPhone 4 -- a device that Apple has abandoned in a shameless act of planned obsolescence. Google Maps even turned up the notch in the UI department making most of Apple's first-party apps seem antiquated and lame in comparison. Google's Maps, Search, Chrome and Sparrow apps have now replaced the Apple equivalents on my home screen and Apple's going to need a major turnaround to reverse a very bad trend.
- Waze (free, App Store) Still my favorite social driving app. Fun but not enough to replace an app like Google Maps.
- Grokr (free, App Store) Bills itself as a discovery app that learns from your searches and delivers personalized results based on your interests and location. Cool predictive traffic, but 1.0 version kills your battery.