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.
Coinciding with CES, Beckett Media announced the availability of Guide to Phone Apps magazine, which covers three platforms: iPhone, Blackberry, and Android. The press release describes it as, "the #1 source for all your iPhone and BlackBerry app news and reviews." I beg to differ, of course. The first issue is 100 pages, like our own magazine, and covers apps in a variety of categories, including games, travel, social networking, utilities, and more.
Following the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the TidBITS website gave the "most insane technology" award to Parrot AR Drone, a hovercraft that you control with your iPhone or iPod touch and that has an onboard camera. It was demoed at CES but isn't expected to be available until the end of this year. The video makes it look like great fun.
The free ICE App is one that everyone should have — and hopefully no one will need to use. The idea is simple: everyone is supposed to have an ICE contact in their phone, "ICE" standing for "in case of emergency." ICE App suggests that you put its icon in the upper right-hand corner of the main screen. The app lets you enter four categories of info: who you are, your emergency contacts, medical info, and allergies.
Zinio is a leader in electronic versions of major national magazines, with their editions including our very own iPhone Life magazine (4 issues for $10). Zinio does a good job of digitally replicating the experience of reading a print magazine. And now they have a Zinio Magazine Reader out for the iPhone. You need to be a Zinio subscriber, or you can purchase single issues or subscription via the app.
Continuing with my series on year-end lists of best apps, here are lists from the New York Times and Time magazine. The list of 14 favorite apps from New York Times writer Roy Furchgott includes a few apps for other iPhones, but mainly guides you to some really good iPhone apps. Time magazine's top 10 for 2009 are all excellent apps that deserve your attention.
Moodagent has only been out about three weeks and already has over 200,000 downloads and is currently averaging 25,000 downloads a day. Pretty impressive. It's a freebie that lets you move sliders to indicate the type of music you want to hear, and in seconds it generates playlists. It uses the song's actual content to make recommendations based on digital analysis of the music. This is in contrast to Apple's Genius, which makes recommendations based on purchase history.
I've just been looking at some of the "Best of"' lists that have been posted, and thought that I'd share a couple. It's a great way to get ideas from great apps that will be useful to you. TechCrunch has posted a list of the Best iPhone Apps of 2009 that was compiled by the lead reviewer at AppVee. Erik has identified the top 10 apps and the top 15 games, as well as the top 5 innovations. Each app listed includes a link to the AppVee review, and there are also embedded video reviews of quite a few of the apps.
The game site TouchGen recently named the top games of 2009 in nearly 20 different categories, from the best action game to the best online multiplayer game. The site also named a runner up in each category. Plus, they selected the best overall game of 2009. And the winner is . . . . iBlast Moki, a puzzle game. The judges liked it in part because it was the one that "truly feels unique to the platform."