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New iPhone apps worth downloading: Camera Awesome (iPad), Treater, Zaxxon Escape

by Marty Gabel

Here are three great iPhone apps to end the week on a high note. Camera Awesome is an app we’ve featured before, but its latest update to make it compatible with the iPad is certainly noteworthy. Meanwhile, Treater is the perfect way to send a small gift or treat to someone quickly and efficiently, enhancing the growing concept of ‘social gifting.’ Our game today is Zaxxon Escape, and tunnel-based shooter/endless runner hybrid which is the recreation of Sega’s 1982 classic, ZAXXON.

Camera Awesome update (Free)

What’s it about? Camera Awesome just got updated to become a universal app with support for both iPad and iPhone now.

What’s cool? The latest iPad, with its high-resolution Retina display and its reasonably competent 5-megapixel camera, deserves some better camera apps. Just like we saw with Camera+ earlier this week, Smugmug have upped the ante with their Camera Awesome offering, too. Admittedly, the Camera+ update was more about editing, but Camera Awesome is focused (sorry) on shooting, though it does offers some nice photo editing tools as well.

Who is it for? While many will still argue about the awkwardness of shooting with an iPad, Camera Awesome does make the process easier with its instant shot capabilities, the opportunity to set focus separately from exposure, and ability to take advantage of that big ol’ screen’s real estate.

What’s it like? Did we mention Camera+? Yep, of course we did. Put Camera Awesome alongside Camera+ and you’ll actually have a pretty decent suite of apps to both capture and edit your photos with a high level of refinement.

Treater (Free)

What’s it about? Treater is a social app that can help you send your friends real gifts almost instantly.

What’s cool? Whether you’re celebrating someone’s birthday, a colleague’s promotion, or you just want to brighten a friend’s day with an impromptu treat, this app can help. Simply select your Facebook friend, choose the treat, personalize your message and away you go. The treats include simple things like coffee, cupcakes, a beer, smoothies or a mani-pedi.

Who is it for? Treater is a great way to send a message or offer a gesture without looking too extravagant (or breaking the bank), and the “social gifting” element means its easy to use. It’s definitely one for people who prefer to be spontaneous.

What’s it like? Just last week, Facebook itself revealed its Facebook Gifts service to boost revenue (Facebook purchased gifting start-up Karma not too long ago). Another service, Wrapp, offers a similar functionality to Treater, but that only offers gift cards via Facebook.

Zaxxon Escape ($0.99)

What’s it about? Here’s an interesting remake of the 1982 arcade classic by SEGA, simply called Zaxxon back then.

What’s cool? The original game was the first to display the action from a 3-D isometric perspective. Zaxxon Escape is actually very different from the original, it’s more of a ‘tunnel shooter.’ Your mission is to fly your ship to safety and escape ZAXXON’s asteroid city which has become a maze of tight corridors. You’ll need to guide your sleek craft and shoot, steer and tilt your way through ever-changing narrow tunnels and force fields.

Who is it for? Perhaps not all fans of the original’s game mechanic will approve of the “endless runner” style of Zaxxon Escape. Admittedly, it would be nice to see the original isometric ZAXXON. Still, it’s a fairly creative take on the endless runner/tunnel shooter, and many may, in fact, approve of SEGA’s choice to mix things up a bit.

What’s it like? You’ll find a similar tunnel-based gaming mechanic in Boost 2 or Celerity.

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