Last-Minute Gift Guide 2011: iOS Apps

Looking for a quick last-minute gift? Not feeling up to fighting the holiday traffic, crowds and checkout lines? Just too lazy busy to shop? Then you may want to consider giving the gift of an iOS app. You can gift any paid app from iTunes on your computer or from the app’s description page on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Just scroll down past the screenshot and look for the “gift this app” button. All you’ll need is the recipient’s email address to complete the transaction. This app list includes both new releases and old favorites. It’s entirely subjective! Note that some of this year’s best apps are free, so they aren’t on here. (Waving to Instagram, Path, Spotify, Flipboard, Pinterest, HBO GO, etc.) Also, everyone already has Angry Birds (the original). It’s not on here, either.

Apps Your Parents May Not Have Heard Of, But Would Really Enjoy

1. iMovie ($4.99) Everyone should have this app from Apple, the fun moviemaking app for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Designed for multi-touch, iMovie puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips. Make a movie in minutes by adding video, photos, music and sound effects. Then give it the Hollywood treatment by adding a theme, titles and transitions.

2. Camera+ ($0.99 sale) Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos. Offers exposure, lighting controls, stabilizer, high quality zoom, scene modes, digital flash, cropping tools, effects, borders, sharing features and more.

3. Snapseed ($4.99) iPad App of the Year Snapseed makes any photograph extraordinary with a fun, high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips. Anyone can enhance, transform, and share their photos with ease.

4. SkyView – Explore the Universe ($1.99) Simply point the camera to the sky, tap on what you see and discover neat things about these sky objects. SkyView is unique as it blends the camera view with incredible 3D graphics of the sky objects to provide an Augmented Reality (AR) view of your sky.

5. Fahrenheit ($1.99) This super clever app is a weather application that shows you the current temperature of any location right on your iPhone/iPad homescreen using iOS’s push notifications (the red badges). Beyond the real-time temperature display, it also gives you detailed weather information from unlimited cities worldwide.

6. Numbers, Pages, Keynote ($9.99 each) From Apple’s iWork Suite, its own versions of Excel, Word and Powerpoint designed for iOS. All three work with iCloud, so your files stay up to date across all your iOS devices automatically. Alternate choices: QuickOffice Pro HD; for text only, Elements

7. Garmin StreetPilot onDemand ($0.99) Garmin StreetPilot onDemand offers rich navigation features for walking or driving, a simple and intuitive user interface. Using your data connection, StreetPilot onDemand always has access to the most up-to-date maps for the U.S. and Canada so you can navigate with confidence whether you’re on foot or in the car. (Premium features require monthly subscription of $2.99). Alternate choice: TeleNav

8. TripIt (ad free version) ($3.99) TripIt “automagically” takes all your trip details and creates one truly helpful itinerary that’s there when and where you need it – on your iPhone or iPad, synced with your calendar, and online at When you receive a confirmation email from anywhere you book, simply forward it to TripIt instantly recognizes reservations from 3,000+ booking sites including cruises, restaurants, concerts and more.

9. WolframAlpha ($2.99) Building on 25 years of development led by Stephen Wolfram, Wolfram|Alpha has rapidly become the world’s definitive source for instant expert knowledge and computation. Across thousands of domains, Wolfram|Alpha uses its vast collection of algorithms and data to compute answers and generate reports for you.

10. Instacast($1.99) A better podcast manager for iOS, Instacast lets you manage all your podcasts (audio and video) in one place and get new episodes instantly. Supports AirPlay, download over Wi-Fi, Edge and 3G, show notes, 2x playback, pull-to-refresh, favoriting, and more.

Apps For Athletes And The Annoyingly Fit

1. Tiger Woods: My Swing ($4.99) Tiger Woods: My Swing helps golfers of all levels improve their golf swing through video analysis and instruction from golf great Tiger Woods. Compare swings against every club in Tiger’s bag and against friends.

2. P90X ($4.99) The breakthrough workout program that revolutionized home fitness now has an app that lets you Bring It! on your iPhone, so you can get even more amazing results—and work out with P90X anywhere. Keep track of your sets, reps, and weights, view your progress, log your nutrition, and share your results.

3. iMuscle ($1.99) iMuscle is a sophisticated workout aid that can be taken anywhere. Use it to identify a body part or individual muscle by zooming into a 3-Dimensional human body with the musculature exposed. Then access all the exercises associated with the development / rehabilitation of that muscle.

4. Tempo Magic Pro($4.99) Featured by Apple as a Fitness Essential, Tempo Magic Pro lets you change the BPM of your music. Perfect for DJs, Music Instructors and Dance Instructors or anyone who needs to set the pace for their workout.

Apps For Creative Types

1. GarageBand ($4.99) GarageBand turns your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch into a collection of Touch Instruments and a full-featured recording studio. Use Multi-Touch gestures to play pianos, organs, guitars, drums, and basses. They sound and play like their counterparts, but let you do things you could never do on a real instrument.

2. djay ($9.99 iPhone – on sale for $0.99 / $20.99 iPad) Djay transforms your iOS device into a full-fledged portable DJ system and seamlessly integrates with your iPod library, giving you direct access to all your favorite tracks and playlists. A hyper-realistic touchscreen interface and ultra-low latency converge to offer you a true professional mixing experience, right in the palm of your hand. You can perform live, record mixes on-the-go, or enable Automix mode.

3. Procreate ($1.99) Procreate is a professional painting & sketching app, made exclusively for iPad. Engineered using the Silica painting engine, painting & sketching on an iPad has never been so responsive and precise.

4. Animation Desk for iPhone ($1.99) Animation Desk for iPhone is a mobile application that allows users to create hand-drawn animations on iPhone or iPod Touch. The drawing interface provided by the app resembles the real working environment of a professional animator who completes each frame of an animation on a specially-designed desk, the animation desk.

5. SoundHound ($6.99) SoundHound is an instant music search and discovery app for music recognition, including via singing and humming, lyrics, and on iPad, YouTube videos. 6. Brushes($4.99) The ever-popular painting application featuring an advanced color picker, several realistic brushes, layers, extreme zooming, and a simple yet deep interface.

Apps For “Serious” Gamers

1. Infinity Blade II ($6.99) The continuing journey of young Siris unfolds as you delve deeper into the world of the Deathless tyrants and their legion of Titans. Includes Unreal Engine 3 graphics, new styles of combat, an immersive 3D works and more.

2. Grand Theft Auto 3 ($2.99) Grand Theft Auto III brings to life the dark and seedy underworld of Liberty City. With a massive and diverse open world, a wild cast of characters from every walk of life and the freedom to explore at will, Grand Theft Auto III puts the dark, intriguing and ruthless world of crime at your fingertips.

3. Dead Space ($0.99) Featuring hardcore gameplay and a rich audio experience, immerse yourself in events that unleash the Necromorph horde again – and set the stage for the horrifying action of Dead Space 2. Hailed by fans and critics, this stunning vision of the Dead Space franchise is truly a landmark “must-play.”

4. StarFront: Collision ($0.99) Similar to Starcraft II, this real-time strategy title from Gameloft brings you to a Sci-Fi world on the planet Sinistral, where rare Xenodium crystals are coveted by a human mining conglomerate called the Consortium. The Myriad, an indigenous race of aliens, is addicted to Xenodium and will do everything they can to prevent the Consortium from plundering their resources. To add to the chaos, a sentient robot race called the Wardens is trying to turn the war in their favor.

5. Asphalt 6 ($0.99) Another Gameloft title, Asphalt 6 lets you build a dream collection from 42 cars and bikes, race your friends across the city streets of L.A., Tokyo, the Bahamas and more. 11 leagues and 55 events are included.

6. Shadowgun($2.99) Shadowgun puts you into the role of John Slade, the galaxy’s most infamous bounty hunter. Your mission: hunt down Dr. Edgar Simon, maniacal genius and leader of his own mutant army. Infiltrate Dr. Simon’s mountain fortress and fight his personal guard of cyborgs, battle droids, and genetically-enhanced humanoids.

Apps For Casual Gamers (Aka “Everyone”)

1. World of Goo ($4.99) A popular PC and Mac puzzle game has been transitioned to iOS devices, letting you drag and drop living, squirming, talking, globs of goo to build structures, bridges, cannonballs, zeppelins, and giant tongues.

2. Cut The Rope: Experiments ($0.99) Intrigued by the candy-eating monster Om Nom’s insatiable appetite for sweets, the Professor puts him through a series of experiments in this all-new game, a follow-up to one of the most original in the App Store.

3. Angry Birds Seasons ($0.99) Angry Birds’ holiday app includes 25 new levels in the Christmas edition featuring gingerbread cookies, bells, twinkling lights, and candy canes. The newest Angry Bird will also make an appearance. And on the last day you’ll meet the big pig himself.

4. Tiny Wings ($0.99) Players assume the role of a bird with tiny wings. You use hills as jumps to fly up, then gravity pulls you back down again. The goal is to see how far the bird can fly until the sun sets.

5. Scribblenauts Remix ($0.99) A popular Warner Bros. Nintendo DS puzzle game involves a character called Maxwell who solves puzzles by drawing or typing in tools like blocks or bridges. Includes 40 levels, 10 that are exclusive to iOS.

6. Fruit Ninja ($0.99) Fruit Ninja is a juicy action game enjoyed by millions of players around the world, with squishy, splatty and satisfying fruit carnage! Become the ultimate bringer of sweet, tasty destruction with every slash.

7. Words With Friends($0.99) Zynga’s version of Scrabble now has over 20 million people addicted to the word building, triple score seeking, chat bubble sending goodness of Words With Friends.

Apps To Keep Your Kid Quiet For At Least 2 Minutes

1. Bugs And Buttons ($2.99) Bugs and Buttons is a uniquely styled collection of games and activities that are entertaining and educational. The app goes beyond simply great graphics and beautiful music by engaging children through intriguing game play that progressively adapts to their skill level.

2. The Three Little Pigs ($1.99 -sale), Cinderella ($7.99) (Books from Nosy Crow) Fun, animated versions of children’s classics with great graphics, sounds and interactivity.

3. Peekaboo Barn ($1.99) Inside a little bouncing barn, friendly farm animals are waiting to pop out and surprise your little one. Work with your child to learn the names of animals and hear the sounds they make. Younger children will love opening the barn doors to find a new animal animation, as they learn about cause and effect and become familiar with animal names and sounds.

4. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox ($0.99) Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is a collection of six exciting educational games for your preschooler including games for memory, counting, letters, shapes and more. (ages 2 to 5).

5. Nighty Night!($0.99) The bedtime book “Nighty Night!” for iPad helps children get to know animals interactively while preparing to go to bed. Dog, Pig, Sheep, Duck, Cow, Fish and Chickens moo and bubble, hop and lay eggs, until a kid turns the light out and the animals go to sleep.

Apps For Bloggers, Social Networkers And Other People Who Don’t Need App Lists

1. Tweetbot ($2.99) Tweetbot is a full-featured iPhone (and iPod Touch) Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it’s the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds & animation, or features like multiple timelines & smart gestures, there’s a lot to love about Tweetbot.

2. Momento ($2.99) Momento is a unique diary/journal writing application which provides a quick and easy way to privately record moments throughout your day. Connect with popular web services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Foursquare, Gowalla, YouTube, Vimeo, Digg and, to collect and display your online activity as part of your diary.

3. AP Stylebook 2011 ($24.99) The Associated Press Stylebook is an essential tool for writers, editors, students and public relations professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines on spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage and journalistic style, with special sections on reporting business and sports.

4. Reeder for iPad ($4.99) A beautiful Google Reader client which lets you sync feeds, star, notate and save items to Instapaper, ReadItLater, Readability, Delicious, Pinboard, Zootool, or share with Facebook and Twitter.