iPhone Life magazine

Apps: Travel

Use MobileAppLoader.com to Build Your iPhone App

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I recently had the chance to chat with Zvika Ashkenazi, the CEO of MobileAppLoader.com and I was able to learn some very interesting things about his company, the services it provides and I also learned how to track App Store sales.

Zvika sent me a graphic detailing January 2010 metrics for DIY iPhone apps. According to the graphic, MobileAppLoader was responsible for creating 436 apps for their customers which include realtors, auto dealers, restaurants, and hotels to name just a few categories.

As you know from my previous posts here, a number of companies have launched in the last year or so to help people and businesses create their own applications, not just for iPhones, but also for other platforms like Android and Windows Mobile. Previously, this sort of service was unheard of. If one wanted software developed, it could get pretty pricey. For large corporations, this was considered 'the cost of business', but for individuals and smaller companies, personalized or customized software was often out of reach.

Now, some people themselves are talented programmers themselves and can make their own apps. Some companies have developers on staff, while some companies can afford to hire an outside developer for a specific project  - at a cost of $5,000 to $25,000 - to develop an application from scratch, that kind of budget is out of the reach for many people. Of course, one can get it for less, but even so, a ball-park bargain-basement sort of figure is still around $2,500. And most aren't looking to create super-sophisticated software, and don't really need to consider spending that sort of money anyway.

At the present time, MobileAppLoader claims that they are the #1 Do-It-Yourself iPhone App company. These stats do not include companies which build apps from RSS feeds or companies with less than 30 apps. Zvika explained that he generated this information by typing the name of the developer into iTunes. Now that I know how to do this, I anticipate hours of fun

Since MobileAppLoader doesn't build their apps via RSS feeds, I was curious as to their process. It's done by what Zvika described as a unique "App in a Snap" Wizard. A user signs up for an account on their site, and selects their business category. Then they chose a design from Iron, Bronze, Silver and Gold offerings and upload four images and type in certain details (contact info, URLs, feeds, text, etc...) and finally hits 'submit'. Behind the scenes, the content is then converted to a native iPhone app using objective-C using the Apple X-code development tool, and that process is then followed by a a quick quality assurance to make sure everything is working properly before the app is sent to Apple for review.

Apps built from RSS feeds can be very handy, but MobileAppLoader is very proud of the real-time interactivity of the apps they build using this method. For example, they've built a number of apps for towing companies and the apps include the ability to tell the towing company where you've broken down, show them a picture of your car and ask them to come and get you. So the app makes use of notifications, GPS and the camera. And that's just one example. Auto dealer apps include the ability of the dealer to notify a customer of their next service appointment. Prices start at $59.99 for setup and $4.99 a month.

 



10 Must Have Travel Apps

iPhone Life Staff's Favorite Apps

Getting ready for a trip can be a daunting task. Not only do you have to remember to pack your passport, camera, socks, and other essentials, you also have to get to the airport on time and find a decent and affordable hotel. Most important of all, you have to plan some fun excursions at your destination! Owners of the iPhone rejoice because there are handy apps that make all of these tasks easy. Here are ten of my favorite travel apps, guaranteed to make your travel experience as stress-free as possible.

Traveling used to be so much of a hassle. These iPhone apps can help take much of that hassle away so that you can enjoy your trip from beginning to end.


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Mashable.com's 700+ Apps Reviewed by Category

For 2010, Mashable.com - which has just retooled its look for the new year - had compilied a list of all 700+ iPhone Apps they reviewed in 2009. 

As we begin 2010, there are over 100,000 iPhone apps available for download — an overwhelming array of choices, but plenty of gems if you know where to look.



Don't go to the Arches without this app!

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 I wish I'd had the Arches National Park Geology Tour app when my husband and I visited Arches National Park a few years ago. Everything you need is here: information about the formation of the park, audio narration and photos of the Park's geological formations, as well as a map showing you where to find each of these formations.

Most important - It all works without Internet access so you can use it in the Park.



Backpacking through Africa Part II

Bogged down in Cameroon, feeding the hippos, the lost valley of the gorillas, and more.

My wife, Gwynne, and I, along with our iPhone, have been traveling in Africa for five months. We started in Gibraltar and will end up in Istanbul. This article chronicles our trip to the halfway point in Cape Town, South Africa.

Experienced African travelers immediately show respect to anyone traveling overland in western Africa; traveling there is not for the feint-of-heart. Luckily, I brought along my iPhone.


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iTunes App Store undergoing subtle but significant changes... with some difficulty

 If you've been paying close attention, as most developers do, to the App Store, you may have noticed some changes.

  1. New Releases only show BRAND NEW apps, i.e. version 1.0
  2. Updates are not included in the New Releases

This is potentially a good thing for users but there are some downsides.

The good news is, you won't have to search through old apps to find new gems.  It might also discourage developers from submitting minor updates just to be featured on the New Releases page.  That will also cut down on approval time as fewer apps need to be reviewed.



Misc news: Web browsers, IM, radio apps, multiplayer games, emulators etc.

There have been quite a few major updates, announcements, releases lately, since my publishing my previous news catch-up article slightly more than a month ago. Let me show you some of the most important ones.
(NOTE: I’ve already published some of these pieces of news in my all-in-one roundups and “bibles”. That is, if you do follow them (you should if you really want to know what’s happening on the iPhone scene), you already know of them. If you don’t but, in the future, would like to get notified of new releases / versions of a given application / game genre, don’t forget to subscribe to the given articles. It’s very easy.)


PicTranslator — another app for taking a photo of foreign language text and translating

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Yesterday I posted about a new app, Babelshot, that lets you take a photo of text in a foreign language and then translates it. Today I learned of another: PicTranslator. It has 16 languages, compared to Babelshot's 33. It's cheaper at $0.99, but that only includes one language. You can buy additional languages via in-app purchasing at $0.99 each, or you can buy all languages for $1.99. Five of the languages include audio translation, which is helpful. Again, I think this is a pretty cool use of the built-in camera.



A Developer's View on In-App Purchases for Free Apps

 Apple recently announced a major shift in how they treat free apps and I have been mulling over what it means to developers, in addition to end users.

In the past, "In-App Purchases", or the ability to add features to an app, were only available for paid apps.  Free apps could not be upgraded, short of purchasing the paid version separately.  Now, users of these free apps can purchase upgrades.

On one hand, more choices are a good thing.  But I have some concerns.



Tripwolf travel guides provide for all your tourist needs

TripWolfTripwolf lets you access free travel guides for over 50,000 cities around the world. The guides combine information from professional travel guide publishers and feedback from actual travelers. You can have up to three city guides on your device at one time, and the guides for major cities have a considerable amount of information. However, less visited destinations like Kansas City, Missouri or Des Moines, Iowa, only have a basic information page and a listing of accommodations. You can access the guides online or download them for offline access later.

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