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.

SportyPal — free app uses GPS to track your workout

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I suppose apps like this have been around for a while, but I hadn't heard of them. And I think it's a really neat idea. The free SportyPal app uses your iPhone's GPS to track your workout — running, cycling, roller-blading, walking, or whatever. The app logs your position, shows it on a map, and logs your movement, distance, speed, and calories burned while working out. You can view your workout in a map view, which shows where you went. And you can view the stats as charts or in summary fashion. Plus, it offers real-time information while you're working out, such as speed/pace, distance covered, and maximum speed.



AT&T Mark the Spot -- free app lets you easily notify AT&T about poor service

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AT&T Mark the Spot is a free app that lets you help AT&T pinpoint problems with their network. If you have a dropped call, failed call, no coverage, data failure, or poor voice quality, the app uses your GPS location and makes it a snap for you to send AT&T an alert. (If you have a first-generation iPhone, it uses triangulation to pinpoint your location.) Of course, the question arises: if you have no service, how can the app send an alert? There's an option for marking your location and sending the info after the fact when you do have service.



New Audubon Guides include free sampler

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Green Mountain Digital began releasing the first in its series of Audubon field guides last month, including birds, wildflowers, trees, and mammals. You can see their offerings on this page in the App Store. The prices range from $6.99 to 19.99. If you think you might be interested in this offering, check out the free Audubon Sampler, which contains 40 examples from the 3,700 species found in these guides. 



Wallace & Gromit — free digital comic

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The App Store has a series of 5 Wallace & Gromit digital comics, and they're quite popular, especially in the UK App Store. You can now download the first one in the series for free: Wallace & Gromit 1: The W Files. The subsequent comics in the series are $0.99 each. Here's the description: "When strange shapes and flashing lights are seen in the night sky, there are only two paranormal investigators that can solve the problem. Sadly they aren’t available, Wallace and Gromit might as well have a crack at it. After all, what could possibly go wrong?" Not familiar with Wallace & Gromit?



Sad Scale — app by iPhone Life contributor featured on TV

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As wonderful as Christmas is, it can be a depressing time of year for some people. iPhone Life contributor Harvey Castro, M.D., has created Sad Scale, an app that helps people assess their mood and determine if they're depressed. It has five different assessments, including scales for postpartum, geriatric, and child depression. You simply answer a questionnaire, and the app helps you get a sense for where you stand. It was recently featured on KDAF-TV in Texas.



7 Essential tips from TidBITs; Everything you wanted to know about backup from MacWorld

Check out these two really useful articles. Jeff Carlson has an ebook called Take Control of Your iPhone Apps, and in this article on TidBITs he gives what he feels are the top 7 tips from the ebook. The first tip, for example, tells you how to silence an incoming call and direct it to voicemail. Also, Ted Landau has an ebook titled Take Control of iPhone OS 3. And this excerpt on MacWorld tells you everything you need to know about the iPhone backup.



Translate Now! — free translation app

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Translate Now! is a new free app that uses Google Translate to let you do translations between 36 languages. You can easily paste text into the translation window and copy the translation text to the clipboard. Plus, you can e-mail translated text from within the application. The application automatically increases the text size for languages such as Hindi or Japanese. It works with iPhone 3.0 software and requires an Internet connection. Also available is Free Translator, which also uses Google Translate and which is ad-supported.



2,001 Gift Ideas — in case you don't know what to get

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You probably have people who are hard to buy for and could use a bit of inspiration for ideas. Try 2,100 Gift Ideas ($1.99). It offers gift ideas from hundreds of online stores. The gifts range from electronics and jewelry to things you might not even have known existed. You can choose gifts from various categories, such as Mom, Dad, Kids, Him, Her. Plus, you can sort by price so that you only see suggestions in a particular price range. You give your iPhone a shake, and it then starts serving up gift ideas.

[Edited this 12/9/09 to reflect the app's new name.]



Waze — free GPS "social navigation" app

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I badly want Waze to be a success because the idea is just so perfect: a free navigation app that integrates user-generated traffic information. So, you're stuck in traffic someplace, you whip our your iPhone, and let the world know that they ought to take a different route if they're traveling the same road that you are. It's a wonderful example of crowdsourcing. The trick is to get lots of people to use it. And increasingly people are. But if you live someplace where there's not much coverage, the app has less value than other places where it's really caught on.



App Store adds list of top-grossing apps — these are the best

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Apple has recently added a new listing in the App Store called Top Grossing apps. It appears in the right margin under the listings of Paid Apps and Free Apps. Simply put, the top grossing apps are the ones that are making the most money — an indication of how much they're valued. If somebody's willing to plunk down $9.99 for Call of Duty, the current top-grossing app, it must be pretty good. If you look at the ratings for the top apps in this category, they're typically very high.



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