Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.
It's amazing to think that there's an app devoted to a specific shopping day — November 27, the Friday after Thanksgiving. In fact, there are a number of them. TGI Black Friday is a free app that gives you access to over 8,000 Black Friday deals from all the major retailers — before they come out in newspapers. You can browse the deals, search for specific items, create a shopping list within the app of those that you want to focus on, compare prices to confirm you're getting the best deals, and more. You can view deals by store or category, and also view the most popular deals.
Not only is this a useful app, but there's also an interesting backstory. The person who got the idea, Shayne Faerber, is a waiter. An iPhone development company picked up the idea, and now Shayne is dreaming of riches. Mall Maps ($2.99) contains over 1,000 malls in the U.S. and uses your iPhone's GPS to find the malls nearest you. Or you can browse by city/state or Zip Code. Once you identify a mall that you want to go to, the app gives you store listings and actual floor plans. Plus, the app gives you Google Maps directions to the mall location. Seems like just the app for this shopping season.
What a great Christmas gift for a gadget enthusiast. The $200 Chinon AVi dock has it all. You can use it to access the content on your iPhone — music, video, photos. Plus, you can use it as a TV. From the press release: "The AVi features a 7-inch LCD monitor, AUX input, ATSC digital TV tuner with AV out, built-in telescopic radio antenna, external telescopic TV antenna, digital FM radio and alarm clock, and a full-function remote. This all-inclusive system plays both local TV channels and the contents of an iPod, including music videos, pre-recorded movies, TV shows and videos, images, as well as just music.
Spyglass ($0.99) is yet another creative use of your iPhone's camera. You can view your environment via the iPhone camera and digitally zoom in in up to 5x. In addition, the app uses augmented reality to superimpose compass and GPS information as well as horizon tilt right over the live camera feed. You can also enable the maps feature and have the same information superimposed on a map.You'll need an iPhone 3Gs plus an Internet connection to use the maps feature.
Here's a freebie that's completely practical. Stain Brain identifies over 85 common stains and tells you what to do about them. The step-by-step removal procedures come to you courtesy of the experts at Tide. And they ought to know. The app lets you rate the effectiveness of the solutions and even lets you share your own tips for removing difficult stains. You can browse the top-20 stains, find stains by category, ask questions, communicate with other community members, and, naturally, navigate to product pages to find additional information and store locations.
If your battery is getting low and you're afraid to use your iPhone because you might run out of juice, this handy app could help. Battery Gauge ($0.99) not only tells you your current battery level, but also predicts how much time is left on your battery for each type of usage: Talk Time, Internet, Audio Playback, Video Playback, and Standby Time. Very useful.
I guess this is the future of commerce: whip out your iPhone to accept a credit card payment wherever you are. And simply wave your iPhone to make a payment when you're buying something. TransSF Card Terminal is a free app that lets you accept credit card payments on your iPhone. The app claims to be the only one that works with any gateway and any credit card processor.
Apps are all the rage, and I almost never use Safari when going online. But with the arrival of Seego.com, I will likely be using Safari more. Seego is a directory of 2,200 websites that have been optimized for the iPhone. Unlike regular sites, which take a long time to load, which don't always work in the iPhone's Safari, and which typically entail a lot of pinching, zooming, and scrolling, websites that have been optimized are typically fast and perfectly tailored to the smaller screen of the iPhone. Simply point Safari at seego.com.
I don't typically go in for accessories but this one I'm getting. And it's about time we had something like this. I like to use my iPhone to listen to podcasts but that means I'm always carrying two objects: my phone and my earbuds. And the earbuds always get tangled. Enter Budtrap. It slides onto your earphone jack and secures your earbuds. You simply do a quick wrap of the cord around your phone and then clip the loose end in Budtrap.