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.
Apple was widely scorned when they first brought out their iPhone, and critics said they'd never have much of an effect on the market. Now, four years later, they are the world's largest smartphone maker, according to an article posted today on AppleInsider. Based on figures for the second quarter, they sold 20.3 million phones compared to second place Samsung's 19.2 million. Nokia, long the leader, dropped back to third place.
HowStuffWorks is a free app, with versions for both the iPhone and iPad, that gives you access to the bounty of 30,000 articles, podcasts, and videos contained on the website of the same name. This is a great resource, and their podcasts have been named some of the best in the iTunes Store. They include podcasts such as Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed in History Class.
I haven't checked out this claim, but according to the publicist, Meteoric Download Manager is the only iOS app that can capture streaming video. If there's an online video that you like, you can now capture and store it on your iOS device and keep it for offline viewing. And although that's an amazingly cool feature to have, it's just one of the things this app offers. Billed as a "Swiss Army Knife for the iPhone," Meteroric allows you to download and manage content, sync to Firefox, play files on a media player, and grab IOS playable videos.
Here's a neat free app if you're someone who occasionally creates screenshots. AutoScreenshot 3D lite, developed by fellow blogger Todd Berhnard, lets you give your screenshot a 3D and mirror effect (see image at right). A pro version (AutoScreenshot 3D, $0.99) lets you use your own background, choose different angles, adjust size, position, and tint, and more.
Gestures are the big thing these days, with Apple's new operating system for the Mac relying heavily on them. Glissando ($0.99) is a new app that lets you control music playback with gestures. The app emphasizes simplicity with a set of intuitive gestures that allows you to play and pause, skip tracks, fast forward, rewind, and more — without glancing at the screen. For example, you can toggle pause and playback by simply tapping anywhere on the screen. Or swipe to the left or right to listen to the next or previous track.
I guess there's an app for just about everything — including a new one called Bed Bug Alert ($1.99) that alerts you to infestations, and allows you to report sightings. You can view by your current location, view top 10 cities with infestations, and look up specific locations. The app also has facts about bed bugs, and you can use the app to report sightings.
Google+ (pronounced Google Plus), which is Google's new social networking site meant to compete with Facebook, has had explosive growth, hitting 18 million users after being introduced only three weeks ago. AND, it's not even yet publicly available. It's rolling out gradually via the invitation model, which is how Gmail began its life. I've used it a bit and it's impressive — more intuitive and friendly than Facebook.
Just out today, Thrutu (free) seems an amazingly useful app. You can actually share data and media with someone while you're talking to that person on your iPhone. It works with other iPhone users — and also with Android users. You can share your location such that you see each other's position updating live on a map. You can snap and share a photo, or send one from your gallery. And you can send contact information such that contact details appear instantly in the other caller's address book. One feature is perhaps more playful than functional: you can vibrate the other person’s phone.
On Sunday AT&T introduced new data plans for those in the U.S. traveling abroad. And if you plan to travel overseas, you absolutely must activate a new plan, or you will be charged at the rate of $19.95 per MB. The new plans offered start at $24.99/month for 50MB of data, up from the previous allowance of 20MB. The plans top out at $199.99/month for 800MB. Obviously, even with a plan you'll want to be very careful about your data usage. You can read more in a helpful article on TidBITS.