App of the Week: App Shopper

App: App Shopper Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac Web site: AppShopper.com Cost: Free

The iPhone may be good for many things -- most of those may be the result of cool little apps that extend its features -- but finding cool apps via the App Store is not one of them. Calling the App Store utilitarian is like calling water wet. It's beyond obvious. Apple may love to make things hyper-simple; there is a point where more complex functions are needed.

That's where App Shopper comes in.

App Shopper pulls app information from the App Store and organizes it in a number of functional ways. Beyond just free versus paid, it shows updates versus new apps, price drops and combines all that with category selection to make a nicely refined search. There is also a top 200 list that provides the current rank and how that compares to where it was ranked recently.

The price drops is probably the most functional part of App Shopper's basic tools. Just a quick glance at music apps with price drops netted Strumtune, a very cool tuner/metronome for musicians that had gone from $2.99 to free. One tap of a button and the five-star-rated app is loaded up in the App Store ready to download. I honestly was unaware there was a place to monitor price drops and now that I know, I'm going to use it liberally.

More features are available if you sign up. You can store items for your wish list and get push or e-mail notifications when price drops occur. You can mark apps that you own so they won't clutter your searches, but are kept nice and tidy in a "My Apps" folder.

If you aren't on your phone, you can check the Web site, which provides all of the same functions including the additional features post registration.

After using this for only a few minutes, I'll never bother to search in the App Store again.

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