I like MacWorld's reviews and articles. And their new app, called App Gems, looks to be really useful. Each weekday this app highlights and App Gem of the day — an app that's highly recommended by their staff of experts. Plus, the app also includes Essential Collections of great apps, which are handpicked by the editors and writers at MacWorld. You can also see lists of top-rated apps by category. And finally, App Gems includes news stories, blog posts, and tips posted on Macworld.com. The app is $1.99.
One of the amazing things about the iPhone is the number of niche applications. If you or your children play soccer, you'll want to try SoccerCard SKS, a customizable stats application for iPhone and iPod touch that enables you to create an unlimited number of virtual soccer cards featuring current player photos and season records, stats, and totals in real time. And you can e-mail these virtual SoccerCards to others. The app looks like a real SoccerCard, with a photo on the front.
In an earlier post I noted that i.TV 2.0 had been announced. And now it's out. This free app is billed as "the only movie, DVD, and TV guide you'll ever need." The new version lets you use your iPhone or iPod touch as a remote control with a TiVo, and more devices are being added. The new version also includes a streamlined interface, push notifications, and more.
One of the complaints when the new iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 came out was the continued lack of MMS — even though the new software was capable of it. Now AT&T has announced that this multimedia messaging functionality will be coming September 25. You can read a short report on CNet and also a brief statement from AT&T. You'll need to have an iPhone 3G or 3GS to take advantage of this.
Are you getting dropped calls on your iPhone? It's your fault. According to a report in today's New York Times, your iPhone is a data guzzler, and you, like most other iPhone owners, use it a lot. After all, it's the greatest handheld computer ever invented. But iPhone joy comes at a cost: the average iPhone owner uses as much as ten times the network capacity as a typical smartphone user. The result is a lot of angry customers. The article has some interesting anecdotes, including the occasion when thousands of iPhone owners attended a technology conference in Austin — and inadvertently brought the AT&T network to its knees. But don't despair.
I just came across a couple useful websites for learning about apps that might interest you. The App Podcast offers nearly daily video demos of apps, and sometimes as many as four or five a day. You can watch the demos online or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and watch them on your iPhone or iPod touch. Developers pay to have their apps reviewed, so it's not a typical review site. But it's hard to beat a video demo for getting a quick idea regarding whether you'll like the app.
Earlier I posted a link to a news report about some iPhones exploding in Europe. "Explode" was a bit of media exaggeration, since what happened was that the glass shattered. But no one got hurt, and there was only a small number of instances. Now the BBC is reporting that Apple investigated the issue and that in every case if found that some kind of force had been applied to the screen, though some people involved deny that.
The Facebook app is one of the most popular free apps, with an amazing 343,000 ratings. Version 3.0 was released late this week. So if you're into social networking, and like doing it from your iPhone, head on over to the App Store and get the latest version. It requires iPhone 3.0 and has a ton of new features, including landscape mode, the ability to post photos and videos, and much more. According to online discussion, everyone is pretty thrilled with this new version, saying it's very different from 2.5 and a huge improvement.
This is yet another great development. London Bus and Metro Paris Subway are the first apps to bring augmented reality to the iPhone. As you point your camera at the scene around you, specific information related to your location appears on the screen — superimposed over the live image. Pretty amazing. There's a video demo on YouTube that gives you an idea how it works.
Well, I guess I shouldn't judge — you never know about these things. But an article on Mobile Crunch makes a fairly good case that a successful PR firm is faking app reviews as a way of promoting their clients' apps. The company denies it. But it does seem undeniable that some of the reviews for new apps are planted. I realized when reading this article that when I look at app reviews, I always subconsciously dismiss certain ones that sound phony. There's just something about them that doesn't sound genuine. And usually a surfeit of exclamation marks. Plus, they appear so quickly after the app is released.