Everybody's getting into app development these days. What if you're a trash collector and you have a great idea for an app that lets people get help for their problems? Rob Shoesmith was that trash collector (though called a "bin man" in the U.K., where he lives). He took his idea to the MEDL Mobile's App Incubator, and it was one of 8 out of 12,000 proposed apps that were selected for development. You can see an entertaining video of Rob on his website.
I'm sure my lovely little iPhone wouldn't do this to me, but apparently some of them have, well, exploded. CNet reported a few days ago that the European Commission is looking into reports of exploding iPhones. The account in the New York Times says that one person so far has been slightly injured when his iPhone overheated and shattered, sending debris into his eye. So far it seems like the incidence is rare, so you likely don't have anything to worry about. But do be cautious if you're iPhone or iPod touch feels real hot.
Kim Komando, the popular syndicated radio host, has a great article on backing up your iPhone. You likely know that it's backed up automatically to your computer. But what would you do if you wanted to restore your files? Or if you bought a new phone and wanted to move your old data and settings to it? Or if you wanted to also have a backup on an external drive or remote server? Kim tells you all of this, and more. She begins by explaining the basics — the difference between synchronizing and backing up — and then gives a lot of useful information.
Fluent News is a new free app that aggregates news from many sources, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Plus, it claims to be the first app to let you do keyword searches across many sources. Version 1.1, released yesterday, adds the ability to save articles to a Saved section in the app. It also has in-app e-mailing so that you can send interesting news stories to your friends and colleagues — without leaving the application. You can also share news articles via Twitter and Facebook without leaving the app.
i.TV today announced the imminent availability of version 2.0. Already this app was promoted as "the only movie, DVD, and TV guide you'll ever need." Version 2.0 includes the "i.TV Remote Control Framework," which allows third parties to integrate functionality into i.TV. And the first to do so, is TiVo. You'll be able to use your iPhone to change the channel, fast forward, record, and play your favorite shows and movies with just a tap on your iPhone or iPod touch.
AreaCellphone.com has posted a fun list of the 10 most idiotic iPhone apps. They range from Poop the World (which lets you keep a public record of where you've, aah, well, you know) to Hold On (which lets you see how long you can hold your finger on a button on the screen).
It's astounding that the pace of new apps only seems to be accelerating — and on track to reach 100,000 by the end of this year. I wonder if there's ever been anything like it. And of course it makes you wonder if all these people can make money. Recently there was a great article in The Guardian about the App Store — it's history, the goofy apps that have taken off (such as iFart), the wide range of apps, how free apps bring in money from advertising, how app development tends to foster creativity, the rising popularity of lifestyle apps and the relative decline of games, and the stumbling blocks that may hinder progress in the future. Highly recommended.
Following up on my discussion of the Where To? app, I wanted to mention Urbanspoon, a free app for finding nearby restaurants that appears to be quite popular. It uses GPS to find a restaurant near you. And you can filter the results according to price, type of food, and neighborhood. You can also access reviews of these establishments from newspapers, bloggers, and other diners.
Where To? is offering an introductory price of .99 until August 23, so this is a good opportunity for you to try this app. It uses the iPhone GPS to give you local information, such as the nearest steakhouse, bank, or movie theater. Version 2.0 was recently released and uses several of the new features available in iPhone 3.0, such as having a built-in map to display results right within the application. It has an appealing interface, as you can see from the image, that lets you quickly drill down to what you want without your having to do any typing.
Sometimes PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) seems a bit extreme. On the other hand, you really can't argue with the goal of this app. If you're shopping and you need to choose between a couple products, why not select the one that's cruelty-free? PETA's BNB app (Be Nice to Bunnies) is a cruelty-free guide that gives you instant access to a database of companies that do and companies that do no test their products on animals. Plus, 15 percent of every $1.99 download goes to further PETA's work in behalf of animals.