iPhone Life magazine

Jim Karpen's picture

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.

Macworld's top 20 apps for 2009

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The best-of-year lists appearing in the waning days of 2009 are a great way to identify apps that you might like and find useful. Macworld recently posted an article presenting their 2009 App Gem Awards — the best apps in 20 different categories, including 5 different types of games. Some of these we've posted about, but others are new to me. Some of the picks include CNN Mobile for news, Boxcar for notifications, and iBird Explorer Plus as best reference app. 



Demo compares quality of video software for the original and 3G iPhones

In an earlier post I mentioned two $0.99 apps that let you record video if you have an original iPhone or iPhone 3G.  



Dragon Search — free voice recognition search app

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The appearance of Dragon Dictation, which lets you speak into your phone to enter text, caused quite a stir, especially given that it's being made available initially for free. You can read Ken Burkhalter's blog post that gives a helpful review. However, note that Dragon Search is also available, and also free. It lets you do voice searches rather than having to tap in your search terms.



Best App Awards — nominate your favorite app, track the leaders

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The website 148Apps has created a competition for the Best App Ever Awards. The goal of the competition is to identify the best apps and games in the iTunes Store — not just the best-selling. Nominations will be closed on December 31, so head on over and make sure your favorite apps have been nominated. The finalists will be announced on January 1, and then you will be able to vote on these finalists through January 31. Click here to nominate, and here to see what apps are currently the popular vote leaders in each of 56 categories. The winners will be announced at MacWorld.



ShowTime — $0.99 app lets first generation and 3G owners record video

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Our blogger Tari has posted a couple times about the recent influx of programs for recording and broadcasting video via your iPhone, including the first generation and 3G iPhones. iVideoCamera ($0.99) is currently the most popular video recording app. Now ShowTime - Video Recorder ($0.99) has entered the fray, and has much greater capability. iVideoCamera records at 3 frames per second, whereas ShowTime does 6.



Waze — free navigation app offers holiday treasure hunt

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Waze is a neat app that not only offers GPS navigation but also uses "crowdsourcing" to help make available real-time traffic updates. Users can send alerts as they drive so that others can avoid problems. The recently released holiday version of Waze offers a holiday theme with a treasure hunt that gives you the opportunity to win real prizes. According to their press release, they added what they call "road goodies" – small icons worth bonus points – to the map in areas where the waze system has identified map problems.



chicBoom Keychain Speaker

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chicBuds has some pretty cool accessories, recently adding chicBoom to their lineup. chicBoom is a speaker for your iPhone that doubles as a keychain. It's designed with the ladies in mind, and a version for men is coming soon. These tiny speakers come with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts four about four hours of listening before it needs to be recharged. The chicBoom speakers are available online and will soon be available in Office Max stores.



ShopSavvy — Not as good as RedLaser for finding lowest price, but it's free

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We've covered the $1.99 RedLaser app a couple times already in this blog. It's a barcode reader that lets you scan the barcode of a product you want to buy and then searches for stores that have a lower price. ShopSavvy is another such app, and it's free. It currently only works with iPhone 3.1 or higher. It was first available for the Android platform, and got a lot of attention. The iPhone version was released last month. Many of the reviews say it doesn't work as well as RedLaser, but some say that it works well if you follow the tips.



Park'n Find — $0.99 app remembers where you parked

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There's not much need for this in Fairfield, Iowa, but if I were a city guy I'd depend heavily on this app. Am I the sort of person who'd forget where he parked his car? Not really, but I'm the sort of guy who worries that he will forget where he parked his car. An app like this lets you relax and forget. Park'n Find uses GPS to mark where your car is parked. It then guides you back to your parking location using a satellite image that automatically pans and zooms to show where your car is parked relative to where you are. You can optionally attach photos, voice memos, and notes.



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