New iPhone apps worth downloading: Vineloop update, Squarespace Note, Letterpress

by Phil Hornshaw

Start the week off with three great apps. Vineloop brings custom recommendations to users by letting you get the opinions of people you trust, for a start. Squarespace Note is a simple and easy note-taking app that’ll help you save all your ideas, and Letterpress gives a fresh spin on multiplayer word games.

Vineloop update (Free)

VineloopWhat’s it about? Vineloop, essentially, is a recommendation engine. It provides you with recommendations on things you might like, including everything from albums and movies to restaurants, based on the opinions of people you trust. Rather than analyzing what you like and finding similar things, Vineloop relies on humans with similar interests who have proven to also have similar tastes to yours.

What’s cool? The app has been completely redesigned, which is why it’s now referred to as Vineloop 2. It has you pick a handful of people whose opinions you trust in a given category, and then the app adds the people they trust in that category, to give you a small arsenal of trusted folks who can give great recommendations. Then you can share the things you’ve found yourself, or the things they’ve recommended to you.

Who’s it for? If you’re an avid user of apps such as Yelp, Vineloop is probably something you should check out, especially if you’re a social media junky as well. The app lets you pull from your Contacts list and friends, so it’s great if your circle is into using services like Vineloop.

What’s it like? Yelp is a good example of a similar app, although it focuses more on reviews of businesses and the like. You might also try Google+ Local and Alfred.

Squarespace Note (Free)

Squarespace NoteWhat’s it about? Taking notes, and that’s about it. Squarespace Note is for jotting down ideas when you have them, quickly and easily, into your phone. It keeps things clean and simple, which is part of what makes it useful.

What’s cool? Squarespace Note keeps things simple, with a clean interface that’s dedicated just to making it easy to capture ideas as they happen and record them. It also features integration with a number of other services and apps, like Squarespace (duh), Dropbox and Evernote, so you can save and send your notes without any trouble.

Who’s it for? Anyone who has ideas and needs to jot them down quickly, such as writers and bloggers. The app’s even better if you’re already a user of the services to which it connects.

What’s it like? Evernote is very similar and offers a wide range of additional functions, but it’s also a lot more complex than Squarespace Note. You can also do some of the same stuff, with the same cloud capabilities, in Google Drive.

Letterpress - Word Game (Free)

LetterpressWhat’s it about? Letterpress is a multiplayer word game created by one of the creators of Twitter app Tweetie, and it’s a great mix of Boggle-like wordplay and Chess-like strategy. Players use letter tiles from a randomly created grid in each game to form words, and using those letters turns their tiles to your color. The goal is for every letter to be turned to either your color or your opponent’s color, and to have more of your color when the last letter is used.

What’s cool? The strategy element of Letterpress is awesome. Not only do you want to create intelligent words to net lots of tiles, you’ll want to steal tiles from your opponent by using letters they’ve used, but in different ways. Because the game ends when all tiles get used (or both players pass their turn), you need to be careful to make sure you have a high letter count before someone uses that last “Z” or “X” to close out the match. You can also protect letters by surrounding them with your tiles, which makes them harder to turn to the opponent’s color. The whole thing supports asynchronous multiplayer, so you can play multiple games at once and take turns with opponents from all over the world.

Who’s it for? Letter game fanatics and people who enjoy titles such as Word With Friends. Letterpress is a great mix of both wordplay and strategy, and will appeal to fans of both.

What’s it like? As mentioned, Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends are fairly similar in vibe and subject matter, as is Boggle.

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