The Week in iOS Apps: A better Facebook

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This week’s roundup of iOS apps offers new ways to shop, track your life, and make new websites. Already this week we brought you news of the Angry Birds Star Wars game, word of updates to the Clear and FreshBooks apps, as well as the announcement that Microsoft Office may finally be available on iOS in 2013.

Here are other new and updated apps that caught our eye this week.

You can now explore the Apple Store using Siri.

Apple Store: Siri: Buy me a new iPad mini! OK, so we’re not sure that gadget shopping will be quite that easy, but the latest update to the Apple Store app for iPhone does let you use Siri to shop around and compare prices on Apple products. (Of course, you’ll have to have a Siri-enabled device—an iPhone 4S or 5, or a third- or fourth-generation iPad—to take advantage of the new features.) The updated app also lets you buy gift cards and have them emailed to friends from within the app—and those cards can even be loaded into the recipients Passbook. Apple’s technology has finally found its best purpose: To make it really easy for you to buy more of Apple’s technology.

Evernote on iPad now displays notes in card form.

Evernote: This free app for iPhone and iPad—which lets you save pictures, notes, and clippings from just about everything that you read or experience—has long been one of the best-selling offerings in the App Store. Now it’s received a massive overhaul to its user interface, with a new homepage that allows easier access to notes, notebooks, tags, and premium features. (On the iPad, there’s also homepage access to your most recent notes.) And the note list has been reconfigured to a “card style” to showcase the content therein. What’s more, geotagged notes can be displayed on a map to show when and where you collected them.

Facebook/Tumblr: Facebook’s free app for iPhone and iPad hasn’t always been popular—and the company’s inability to “get” the mobile arena has arguably hindered its success on the stock market—but this week’s update has some notable improvements, making it easier to find friends online and chat them up immediately (see the photo at top), along with the improved ability to share multiple photos quickly. Elsewhere in social media, the Tumblr iPhone app has also been updated, bringing a new dashboard and gesture-based navigation. Telling people way too much about yourself is easier than ever.

Petfinder Mobile: How much is that doggie on my iPhone? (Arf, arf!) I browsed to its waggly tail! How much is that doggie on my iPhone? (Arf, arf!) I can share its details via Facebook, Twitter, or email!

Summly boils stories down to 400 characters

Summly: This free news aggregator app for iPhone really boils down the news, offering 400-character summaries of the top stories in the subject areas you choose. (You can click on the story and go more in-depth with the longer articles from the source.) Version 2.0, launched this week, addressed user complaints with a thorough overhaul of the navigation, cleaning up story lists.

Webr/Zapd: You probably don’t need convincing that the iPhone is a content-creation machine, but here are two more reminders. Version 2.0 of Webr, a website-making app, lets users add video and audio links to their sites; it also offers new themes and the ability to create and manage up to three websites. Verson 2.0 of Zapd, a similar offering, now lets you collaborate with other users in website creation, and offers new website themes, with additional themes being added every month.

War Horse is now a multimedia app

Other apps of note: Reeder for iPhone now lets users post to App.Net and Quote.FM … the best-selling novel War Horse is now available as a standalone multimedia iPad app, as is Goodnight Moon, the beloved children’s classic …  and Scanner Pro now lets users batch-upload multiple images to their account.

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