Macworld's 2009 App Gems Awards

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RedLaser ( ) exploits every part of your iPhone to turn your phone into an indispensable shopping companion. The $2 app from Occipital uses the iPhone’s camera to scan the barcode of products that you might buy; it then hits the Internet to pull down a list of prices so you can see if you’re getting a good deal. Better price online? Then, with a few taps, RedLaser lets you jump to a merchant’s online site to close the deal or e-mail yourself the details if you prefer to do your online shopping from a desktop. RedLaser works best with the improved camera on the iPhone 3GS, but you can still get your money’s worth with older iPhones. In a tight economy, the $2 price of this app is money well spent.—PHILIP MICHAELS

Best Platform Game: Rolando 2

Rolando 2

Ngmoco’s excellent Rolando and its sequel, Rolando 2, are games that take advantage of the iPhone’s features like none other. You guide the rolling Rolandos on adventures by tilting your device back and forth, and you use the iPhone screen’s natural tap and pinch conventions to alter your view. Combining action with puzzles, and featuring a fun, modern soundtrack and brightly-colored characters, both games are great. The sequel advances the game by adding more depth, a wider variety of characters, and a reduction in the ways you can accidentally kill your Rolandos. These are games that could only exist on the iPhone.—JASON SNELL

Best Strategy Game: Strategery

Strategery

There is no game I play on my iPhone more than Strategery ( ). Though the $2 Risk-like game from Affogato sports an interface based mostly on multi-colored dots, Strategery looks attractive. But the real brilliance of the game can be found on its Options screen, where you’ll see four difficulty settings, three map sizes, a pass-and-play multiplayer mode that supports up to five people, and several other settings that can dramatically affect how the game is played. As your Strategery skill develops, you can make the computerized opponents tougher and try other modes, quickly learning how your strategies need to evolve. Simple on the surface, Strategery offers depth that can—and will—claim hours of your time.—LEX FRIEDMAN

Best Twitter Client: Tweetie 2

Tweetie 2

Twitter and the iPhone have become the chocolate and peanut butter of the technology world. And nobody swirls those two great tastes that taste great together into a more attractive package than Atebits with Tweetie 2 ( ). Its predecessor was one of the most popular Twitter clients in the App Store, but the $3 Tweetie 2 is new from the ground-up, incorporating a slick, elegant interface, support for multiple Twitter accounts, the ability to quickly search your timeline, and integration with a number of popular third-party services. But despite its manifold features, the software doesn’t get in your way when all you want to do is tell the world what you’re having for lunch.—DAN MOREN

At a Glance
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