8 New iPhone Apps for 2012

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's only February, but developers have already released a flood of new apps for Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone.

The App Store now has over 500,000 apps and counting. Here are some of our favorites for 2012.

Viggle

New iPhone app Viggle is a couch potato's dream -- it rewards users who "check in" to their favorite TV shows with prizes like movie tickets, gift cards and music.

Once you've signed up by selecting a login name as well as your zip code and cable provider, the fun begins. Let's say you're watching a show on CNBC --hold your phone up to the TV, press "check in" and the app can automatically detect the show you're watching (and reward you for doing so).

We tried this feature out and the app knew within a few seconds that we were watching Power Lunch, rewarding us with 30 points. We then had the option of sharing our viewing habits with friends through Facebook, reading about the show on IMDB and Wikipedia and hearing the latest chatter on the show through Twitter.

Viggle also lets users set reminders for their favorite shows, sending push alerts to phones right before the next episode is set to air.

Points accumulated through Viggle can be redeemed for items like a Starbucks ( SBUX) gift card (7,500 points), iPod (10,000 points) and Amazon Kindle ( AMZN) (175,000 points).

WeatherBug

There are tons of weather-related apps out there but we like the revamped WeatherBug app because it's so simple. The app uses GPS to determine your location and then updates your weather information.

The user interface is very sleek and easy to use -- tap on the bottom of the screen to view a 7-day forecast, receive visual forecasts from across the country and view live shots from nearby locations.

Waze

Last year we reviewed Waze, a popular app which lets drivers manually input traffic and accident data while they're on the road. But Waze released an updated version of its app this month that we thought was worth checking out.

The app now has a new feature which allows drivers to speak into the iPhone to report traffic and accidents on the road, providing a safe way to add data to the system. Drivers wave a hand in front of their iPhone which uses the device's native proximity sensor to initiate voice control. The app then asks the driver to report how heavy the traffic is in a specific location, and Waze then puts that alert on the map.

Waze, which has raised $67 million in venture funding, has 12 million users.

JetBlue ( JBLU)

JetBlue announced a fully redesigned app in February, making it easier and faster than ever for consumers to manage their travel with just a tap of their iPhone. Once you've signed in with your TrueBlue profile, you can view a list of your upcoming and past flights, check your flight status and even book a flight.

Besides the basics, there's also some cool extra features, including movie guides, a list of music channels available on each flight and a snack and drink menu. You can also make a travel postcard to send to family and friends using a custom photo of your choice and share your itinerary.

Rumgr

Rumgr is a mobile version of the classic garage sale. The app uses your location to find photos of goods that are available for sale nearby (we discovered a pool table, couch, guitar and Super Nintendo within 10 miles).

Once you've found an item you're interested in buying, just tap on the photo and you can chat with the owner. And when you're ready to make an offer, you can sign in to the app and enter into a private chat.

While we liked the app's simplicity (there are no descriptions of the items, only photos), we wish it had a few more features.

Rumgr has raised $500,000 from investors including Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

Real Recipes

Real Recipes, powered by About.com, provides a new twist on the dozens of recipe apps already out there. Rather than entering the specific type of dish you'd like to make, aspiring chefs pick the key ingredient they want to use (i.e fish, eggs, duck, fruit, etc.), the method of preparation (fry, grill) and the type of meal (lunch, salad, entree).

The app then spits out dozens of relatively simple recipes based on their choices, complete with user reviews.

Real Recipes also includes a "learn to cook" section with instructions about how to cut beef, keep food safe and choose kitchen equipment.

One downside? Most of the recipes we saw didn't contain photos.

YumPower

YumPower uses GPS to determine your location and then finds nearby restaurants with healthy eating options.

Using our location, the app suggested the nearby Capital Grille, as its menu contains items like spinach salad (170 calories and 9 grams of fat) and oysters on a half shell (100 calories and 1.5 grams of fat). The description also states if the dish is friendly for people with diabetes, good for kids or low in sodium.

If you'd rather not browse by GPS, the app lets you search for menu items and restaurants, as well. A search for "taco" pulled up dozens of options, though it remains unclear how healthy some of these items are.

We wish the app could have included more non-chain restaurants (the majority of the menus were from places like Blimpie, Sizzler and Panda Express).

Highlight

Highlight is another iPhone app that's trying to connect you with strangers based on mutual interests and friends in common via Facebook.

The app does all the heavy lifting by running in the background of your iPhone and alerting you when someone of interest is nearby. It then brings up the profile of the user with information that's pulled from Facebook and allows users to message each other.

Two main downsides to the app: Since Highlight only launched a few weeks ago, there aren't enough people on it for it to be useful. It's also a major battery drainer.

-- Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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