Friday, July 11, 2008

iPhone 2.0 App Review

Hmm... this seems to be turning into a review blog.

Anyway, early Thursday morning, as soon as I heard that there was a link where I could sneak a pre-release version of the 2.0 update for my iPhone, I installed it, updated iTunes, and went running to the App Store as fast as I could. Here's a quick rundown of the good, the bad, and the head-shakingly useless:

  • AIM. A Must have, of course. Slightly buggy, but it seems to do the trick so far.

  • Box Office. Very cool. Box Office looks up movie times for you by title, theatre, distance from your current location... supposedly it even supports ticket purchase right from your iPhone, but I haven't tried this one yet. One of my favorite apps already.

  • Clowdy Photo Blogger. Cute. Geotags photos you take and uploads them to share with people "near" you. Not sure I'd use it much, because there seem to be other apps that do the same thing on a bigger scale. (See Exposure.)

  • Ebay Mobile. Looks pretty cool for Ebayers. I have some feedback to leave someone, and couldn't find a way to do that; a minor irritation. Otherwise, nicely done.

  • Epocrates RX. Cool little app for identifying pills. You know, for all those unknown pills you have laying around the house. The last thing you want to do is confuse your happy pills with your husband's sad pills. (Actually, this is a really cool app.)

  • Facebook. Nicely done. Easy to use. Beats the old mobile phone version.

  • Google Mobile App. Kinda disappointing. I can't see that it does anything different than the old iPhone web version did. Don't get me wrong, I love the old version, it works great... I just expected that the new version would be, well... new.

  • Bank of America Mobile Banking. False advertising. Mobile account balance checking? Maybe. Don't expect any actual functionality, though.

  • MixMeister Scratch. Quite possibly one of the most stupid things ever done with technology. Puts a little turntable on your phone that you can "scratch" with. It would be bad enough if it worked well, but it doesn't; making this app both stupid and a failure.

  • MySpace Mobile. Very nicely done. You can even upload photos directly from your iPhone camera to your MySpace photos. Lonely old men, fat chicks pretending to be cheerleaders, and perverts everywhere will love this app.

  • Remote. Looks very cool, but haven't really had a use for it yet. It controls your iTunes library over WiFi.

  • Save Benjis. This might lead to my divorce; I can see this being something that irritates the living hell out of my wife. Save Benjis allows you to punch in a bar code or SKU number while you are shopping somewhere, and it goes out on the intergoo and searches for a better price, even allowing you to purchase right from your phone in some cases. The future kicks ass, doesn't it?

  • Urbanspoon. One of my favorites, and it cracks me up. If you are like me, many times when you get ready to go out to eat with your family or friends, no one can decide where to go. Fire up Urbanspoon, shake your accelerometer a little, and a Vegas slot-style display randomly picks a restaurant somewhere near your location... which, of course, your iPhone already figured out for you. Downside? Dayton hasn't made the list yet... but if you find yourself stuck in Columbus or Cincy... give it a spin.

  • Yelp. The idea is to be able to look up gas stations, bars, restaurants, or whatever that are close to your current location (again, as figured out by your phone.) Kinda neat, but I can't figure out how reviews get added.

  • Alarm Free. This is so stupid that you must download it. The accelerometer will set off an alarm to let you know if you drop your iPhone. (Oh, and the app has to be running in the foreground for it to work.) I don't know about you, but personally ... the clattering sound of broken plastic and battery compartments scooting across the floor lets me know I've dropped something expensive, I don't need an additional alarm sound to piss me off.

  • Evernote. Keep written, photographic, or audio notes for yourself and retrieve them on your iPhone, PC, or laptop. I don't think I'll use it much, but it is kinda neat.

  • Rotary Dialer. Puts and old-school style rotary phone dial on your iphone for dialing. I have fun just confusing all the people at work who are under thirty by handing them the phone and asking them to dial... you'd think they'd wonder why we call it "dialing a phone" instead of "punching a phone" wouldn't you?

  • Exposure. Very cool app for interfacing with your flickr account. I see flickr also has an app available, which they charge $2.99 for. Exposure is free, and while I imagine there might be a little more functionality in the flickr version, Exposure is pretty darned cool. Location-based photo viewing/searching is a lot of fun and works great with this app. The flicker app on the other hand, says "location based search coming real soon." I'll keep my $2.99 for now and stick with the freebie.

  • German. Die toilette funktioniert nicht. There are three or four free language apps in the store. Having had a wee bit experience with German, I thought I'd give this one a peek. Kinda neat, I guess. If nothing else, I know how to say that the toilet is broken.

  • iFob. This, too, looks kind of cool and promising. It's another "social networking" gadget that allows your iPhone to find other iPhones running iFob on the same WiFi connection you are on and then apparently you make friends or something. While the app appears to be very well thought out and seems to run nicely, the creator seems to have vastly overestimated the number of people who a) have iPhones b) have iFob on their iPhones and c) give a damn about making friends. FWIW, I'm going to leave this app installed and running at all times and see if it actually connects to anyone before the end of the year.

That's all my apps for now... right now I'm so thrilled with this update I could pee. (Speaking of which... I think there's an app in the App Store somewhere that will list public restrooms that are close by.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a new shiny little app called iCode Reader for barcoding on the iPhone. It will be available in the AppStore soon...

11:30 AM  
Blogger keithk said...

Remote is pretty cool. I have my itunes bridged to my stereo sending the audio through my house. The ability to see the alblum cover and control your playlist and volume is both totally cool and nerdy.

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