Today's batch of press releases brings yet another app for my in-progress article on creative uses of the iPhone camera. Money Scan x2 ($0.99) is an app that helps you detect counterfeit money. What will they think of next? The description says that it works with all currencies. It appears to simply magnify and illuminate the currency, rather than itself detecting counterfeit bills.
The free Google Mobile App was already pretty amazing, with the ability to search the web just by speaking into your phone. And early this month they released a new version that includes Google Goggles: a search function that lets you take a photo and then searches the web based on what's in the photo. You can take a photo of a barcode, landmark, product, text, artwork, book, etc., and the app will return information. The help screens say that the app doesn't work very well for items like animals, apparel, or furniture.
The website 148Apps yesterday opened nominations for their third annual Best App Ever Awards. There are 32 different categories of apps. Nominations will be accepted through December 31. This competition is a great way to highlight useful apps for the iPhone. Click here to see last year's winners.
If you're shopping and wonder whether the item you're considering could be more cheaply purchased via Amazon, a new app helps you do just that. Price Check by Amazon (free) lets you search for the product you have in mind in four different ways: you can say the name of the product, use the iPhone's camera to read the bar code, take a photo of the item, or enter the name of the product. The app uses the same voice recognition technology that powers the popular Dragon NaturallySpeaking. (iPhone 4 and 3GS only)
Apple has finally released iOS 4.2. The iPad now has the latest features, including multitasking and folders. Hurray. Also available are the new AirPlay and AirPrint features. AirPlay lets you stream media from your iOS device to other devices in your home. AirPrint lets you print but you're limited to AirPrint-compatible printers. You can read a helpful article about this update on Mashable.
Heart Rate - Free is a newly released app that actually measures your heart rate using the iPhone 4 camera. (The app only works with iPhone 4.) You simply put your finger over the camera lens, and the app measures the minute changes in skin color caused by the ebb and flow of blood in your finger. They say that the app isn't intended for medical use (standard disclaimer) but that it provides an accurate measure of your pulse. This is one more app for my forthcoming article on the innovative uses of the camera.
For years iLounge has been coming out with an annual buyers' guide, and the 2011 iLounge iPod/iPhone/iPad Buyers' Guide is now available for downloading as a free pdf. This guide has tons of information, including the world's best accessories, 100 essential iOS apps, 100 top iPod, iPhone, and iPad games, tips for buying Apple devices, and much more. The guide comes in several different formats, including one adapted to the small screen of the iPhone and iPod touch.
Hulu Plus has now officially launched after having been available as a limited trial. And the good news is that they've lowered their price to $7.99 per month for their streaming movies and TV. Also, there's a one-week free trial for new subscribers starting today. This service has one of the larger collections of current TV shows, with much of their content streaming in HD. There are free Hulu Plus apps for both the iPhone and iPad.
I'm researching an article about the amazing range of ways apps use your iOS camera, from barcode readers and business card scanners to augmented reality and color detection for those who are color blind. This new app released today is yet another great freebie. Shoeboxed Business Card Reader lets you use your camera to take a photo of the card.
Apple sure stirred things up yesterday, promising an exciting announcement and a day you'll never forget. Speculation was rampant, and many truly exciting things were envisioned. But by the end of the day, the word was that it was the arrival of the Beatles music — after years of rumors. Read more on the NY Times and CNET. And see the Apple home page. Albums are $13 and double albums $20.