New iPhone apps worth downloading: Prismatic, Super PAC App, Facebook update

Aug 24, 2012
Tech

Here are three great iPhone apps to enjoy. Prismatic: Always Interesting is a clever app that learns what you and your friends enjoy to provide you with a personalized news stream. Meanwhile, Super PAC App has found itself growing in popularity in the run up to Convention season. Use it to discover who’s contributing to […]

Here are three great iPhone apps to enjoy. Prismatic: Always Interesting is a clever app that learns what you and your friends enjoy to provide you with a personalized news stream. Meanwhile, Super PAC App has found itself growing in popularity in the run up to Convention season. Use it to discover who’s contributing to campaign ads. Finally, we’ve got the lowdown on the big Facebook update that hit the App Store at the end of last week.

Prismatic: Always Interesting (Free)

What’s it about? Prismatic is a new personalized news service that helps you discover stories based on your interests and things your friends are sharing.

What’s cool? The app is smart enough to learn what you’re into once you sign-in via Twitter or Facebook. It understands your interests and creates a personalized news page. At the same time, it allows you to ‘branch out’ and discover other noteworthy stuff very easily by tapping on the “interest links.” Prismatic also has a slick look and feel that make it a pleasure to use, though it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as Flipboard perhaps.

Who is it for? Prismatic is great for news junkies. You may already have your favorite sources, or use Twitter a lot to keep up with various news outlets, but Prismatic also recommends interests and publications to follow based on your location.

What’s it like? Apps similar to Prismatic include News360, Trove and ChannelCaster, amongst others. While Flipboard showcases news in a great magazine format, alongside your social feeds, it doesn’t offer the same clever personalization, despite being a more attractive way to consume news.

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Super PAC App (Free)

What’s it about? Super PAC App listens to a political TV or radio ad then searches its audio databases to provide info on the ad’s backer and more info about the ad.

What’s cool? Super PAC App uses similar technology to other audio recognition apps like Shazam or SoundHound. The app was created by Dan Siegel and Jennifer Hollett, the founders of Glassy Media, a digital production company that started at the MIT Media Lab. As millions and millions of dollars are spent in the run-up to the election, shouldn’t voters be more informed about who’s funding the numerous ads on TV and radio?

Who is it for? The app is perfect for voters who want more information on the ads being thrust onto them in the run up to the November presidential election. With so much information being bandied about, Super PAC App cuts through a lot of the noise and straight to the facts.

What’s it like? A similar app called Ad Hawk launched on the App Store just a few days ago, too. Meanwhile, the underlying recognition technology behind Super PAC App is not dissimilar to that used by IntoNow, SoundHound or Shazam.

Facebook update (Free)

What’s it about? The popular social network ditched its sluggish HTML5-based app in favor of a brand new ‘native’ offering built from scratch.

What’s cool? While on the surface, the app doesn’t look too different from its predecessor, the real difference is under the hood. The app is certainly quicker than the old one, but admittedly still feels a bit sluggish. As well as being able to scroll faster in your news feed, you can access new stories and notifications without having to refresh, photo uploading is easier, and full Timeline profile pages are viewable within the iPad version.

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Who is it for? Doesn’t everyone use Facebook? OK, just kidding. It’s nice that Facebook junkies are now able to use a stable, native app instead of reverting to the mobile browser version. As well as the speed tweaks, the better photo uploading and cleaner Messenger integration are welcome, despite taking a long time to arrive.

What’s it like? There’s nothing out there quite like Facebook, right? If you want to keep up with the social network outside of the official app, try Seesmic or TweetDeck, though these pare things down drastically.

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Marty Gabel

Marty is the former Associate Editor for Appolicious and AndroidApps.com. He lives with his wife and infant daughter in Chicago, via London, England, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can follow him on Twitter, but he rarely tweets about work. Instead, he'll likely be flaunting his ham-fisted photography or spreading viral videos of silly cats.

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