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New iPhone apps worth downloading: Fab.com, Google+ update, Ivy the Kiwi?

by Marty Gabel

Here are three great iPhone apps with which to end the week. Fab.com is a popular design shopping destination and just released a big update to its iPhone and iPad apps which includes a new look and improved social features. Meanwhile, Google+ also unleashed some significant updates to its social networking app. Finally, we’ve got a quirky platform game called Ivy the Kiwi? which once saw popularity on a couple of older Nintendo game systems.

Fab.com (Free)

What’s it about? Fab has been around for a while, but it just relaunched its iPhone and iPad apps with a fresh design and significant new functionality.

What’s cool? Fab is still a great place to shop for design, and the company boasts 7.5 million users. It’s a good place to shop for fashion, style, home furnishings and gadgets. The app has been redesigned from scratch so it’s optimized for the iPhone 5 and Retina displays. It also offers a unique, tactile experience for iPad users. It’s easier than ever to search for Fab’s 10,000 products by color or price.

Who is it for? Naturally, users of the previous app will appreciate this version 4.0 update. However, Fab is clearly popular and hopes its newly redesigned app will appeal to shoppers everywhere as it’s optimized for mobile devices and has deeper social features.

What’s it like? Fab.com has a few rivals in the iTunes Store clamoring for you style-shopping dollars like Rue La La, eBay Fashion and NET-A-PORTER.

Google+ (Free)

What’s it about? Google continue to roll out further updates and support for its social networking service, even on iOS.

What’s cool? This time round, the new updates include support for the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, the ability for Google+ page owners to view, post and comment from their mobile devices, the opportunity to edit posts and save photos to the camera roll. Also, on iPad, it’s now possible to search for people and posts.

Who is it for? Though often derided, Google+ boasts 400 million registered users and can boast 100 million of them active each month. Those numbers might not be in Facebook territory, but it’s encouraging that Google continues to support the service and offer updates to its apps on both Android and iOS.

What’s it like? Facebook remains the big daddy of social networking, as does Twitter.

Ivy The Kiwi? (Free)

What’s it about? Ivy The Kiwi? is a fun platformer with a unique control method that transfers well to iOS touchscreens. It was conceived by Yuji Naka who designed the original Sonic games.

What’s cool? You play as Ivy, a newly-born bird who’s lost her mother. You need to guide her to safety by drawing vines across the screen which can be used as ramps or bridges. The vines can also be twanged so Ivy can swing on them, slingshot style, through the air. There are 50 levels to work though, while the full version of the game (for $2.99) offers 50 more.

Who is it for? Fans of the game’s original incarnation on Wii, Nintendo DS and Windows Mobile will probably appreciate its revival on iOS. It’s a faithful recreation with an interesting graphical style and plenty to explore and discover like bonus collectibles. It’s modern, but with a nostalgic vibe, if that makes any sense.

What’s it like? Ivy The Kiwi? certainly has a control scheme that’s a bit different to other games so will take some getting used to. It’s not dissimilar to Kirby: Canvas Curse on Nintendo DS which used the stylus exclusively to control the main character.

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