The Week in iOS Apps: Holiday! Celebrate!

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This week’s roundup of iOS apps includes new and improved ways to make the holidays more enjoyable, and maybe a bit less lonely.

Already this week, we brought you a roundup of iOS apps for music fans, gave you a hands-on look at Nokia’s new Here Maps app, and offered a guide to the best travel apps. Here are other new and updated apps that caught our eye this week.

Amazon Mobile now allows push notifications for a range of alerts.

Amazon Mobile: If you’re smart enough to avoid the Black Friday crowds, sticking instead to shopping from your computer, the latest update to the Amazon Mobile app for iPhone and iPad should prove useful.  Users can now receive push notifications alerting them when packages are being delivered; notifications can also alert shoppers to Amazon’s “lightining deals.”  iPad users can now also pinch or double-tap on product images to zoom in and see details better.

eHarmony: The holidays can be a long,lonely, lonely, lonely time.  eHarmony’s updated iPhone app might be able to help you find your true love, or at least find a companion for the winter months. The updated app features larger pictures of a user’s prospective matches,  an “activity feed” that lets you scan what those matches have been up to, and a new, improved photo upload so you can offer your best face to the world. The app itself is free, though you’ll need a paid eHarmony account to use it.

Puffin Browser uses less battery power than in previous versions.

Puffin Browser: You’re not limited to either the Safari or Chrome browsers on your iPhone or iPad; there’s also the $3 Puffin Browser for Phone and iPad. This week’s update includes a new Flash engine that extends the battery life of your iOS device while browsing; there’s also a new “Game Pad” in the browser that simulates arrows and other keys for online gameplay. The browser also features a number of bug fixes and stability improvements.

RetailMeNot Coupons: This free app for iPhone already allowed users to collect and use coupons directly from their iOS device. The latest update includes new location-based coupons—when you’re shopping at a mall, for example, you can have a list of relevant coupons sent directly to your phone. You can also receive alerts when coupons are about to expire, and you can also use your phone’s GPS feature to locate the closest stores available to use your coupons.

TechCruch overhauled its iOS app.

Sparrow for iPhone: Yes, Sparrow was bought a few months back by Google, but the $3 iPhone version of its popular mail app hasn’t been abandoned quite yet. The app has been updated in two notable ways: First, to accommodate the extended screen of the iPhone 5, and second, to integrate with Passbook in iOS 6—if somebody emails you tickets for use in Passbook, for example, you can open the attachment directly from Sparrow.

TechCrunch: There’s been so much drama over comings and goings at this tech website in the last year we almost forgot that TechCrunch produces products of its own—not just grist for the Arianna Huffington rumor mill. TechCrunch’s free app has been updated to include compatibility with the iPhone and the ability to access videos from the app’s home screen. And on the iPad, there’s now a revamped video “environment” that allows access to all of TechCrunch’s videos in one spot.

Other apps of note: Blockbuster Video has launched an iPad magazine … Roadtrippers is a new iPhone app to help you plan your vacations … Todoist launched as the latest entry in the crowded get-things-done category.

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