Apple's App Store is a great resource, but with hundreds of thousands of apps the obvious challenge has long been finding the best ones to suit your needs and interests. I had an article in our How To Guide about great websites to help you find apps. But I missed an excellent one: AppAdvice, especially its AppGuides section. It helps you identify the best apps in the areas of books, education, entertainment, finance, healthcare & fitness, and lifestyle. Each of these areas has a number of specific guides.
A couple very good articles have recently been published that give a thorough overview of transferring and syncing files between a desktop computer and an iPad. For example, you can create a Word doc on your desktop computer, save it to Dropbox, and then open it on your iPad and edit it via an office app such as Office2 or Documents to Go. The revised version then syncs automatically back to your desktop computer via Dropbox.
There are a gazillion rumors that the iPhone will be getting "near field communication" — a technology that will let you pay just by waving or tapping your iPhone as you leave a store. The New York Times reported that Apple has filed related patents and has hired an expert in this area. And while this definitely seems to be coming, Engadget reported in March that it's not in the cards for iPhone 5.
I finally got around to signing up for Carbonite, and am amazed at how well this backup service works and how easy it is. In my mind, everyone who uses a computer should use Carbonite. The service costs $59 a year for unlimited storage. You install it, and it automatically backs up the files and settings on your desktop computer. Then if you like, you can use their Carbonite Access iPhone or iPad app to access your files anywhere, anytime. The iPad app was just released in March.
Last week I posted that Time, Inc had begun making its magazines available for free to subscribers via iPad apps. Now Conde Nast has made The New Yorker available for free to subscribers via its New Yorker iPad app. You can read more on Macworld.
On Thursday Apple released iOS 4.3.3, which fixes a bug that had widely caused privacy concerns among iPhone users. It was revealed that your iPhone not only tracks your location, but keeps a log file of that information. And that log file is transferred to your desktop computer when you sync. Not only that, this happened even if you had turned off the Location Services setting. The update reduces the size of the log file cache, no longer syncs the file to your desktop computer during automatic backup, and deletes the cache if you turn off Location Services.
Catalog Spree (free) brings you over a dozen catalogs, with more to come. The app offers a very attractive and functional presentation of catalogs ranging from Nordstrom Lingerie to Filson (men's outdoor clothing) to DwellStudio (bedroom domestics). You can order from within the app, which has a shopping cart and everything.
TouchGen, a website devoted to gaming on iOS devices, has recently created a free magazine on the same topic. TouchGen Magazine is a "pilot issue" that collects 15 of their reviews over the past two years. Their forthcoming Issue 1 will have many of the features you'd expect from a newsstand gaming magazine, such as news, reviews, features, and commentary, but in an interactive format designed to make the most of the iPad reading experience. Their intention is for the magazine to continue to be free. If you're a gamer, you may want to check it out.
I'm always amazed by all the novel uses of the camera on iOS devices — from taking your pulse to helping those who are colorblind determine colors — and wrote an article about that in a recent issue of the magazine. And I just received a press release for another. CaMeasure lets you use your camera to measure size or distance. It does this in one of two ways. For smaller objects such as furniture, the app asks you to put an object of known size, such as a sheet of paper or a credit card, by the object.