iphone 2.0 – the real story
It’s official, iPhones everywhere have been updated to v2.0. The interface looks the same, but there are subtle tweaks here and there, mostly to the back-end. But the real story is the App Store. App Store – where have you been for a year?
I’ve used some great web apps for the past year – Facebook, Pownce and even Bank of America had great mobile apps for iPhone. I’ve also discovered FarFinder, which isn’t necessarily for iPhone specifically, but has a fantastic browser for Safari. If anyone is looking for a way to access, upload, download and email files from your Mac while you are on the road (through any web browser), FarFinder is the way to go.
So there are great apps for the iPhone as part of the v2.0 software and the App Store. AIM is an obvious choice – putting instant messaging on the iPhone at last. Why Apple hasn’t created an iChat for iPhone yet is beyond me (since Apple doesn’t put out a product unless they can do a superb job – no Flash plugin yet – I can understand why they haven’t done this yet). Bank of America has basically ported their web interface to a native app, as well. Facebook and Myspace have sleek and easy to use interfaces, and the Apple Remote is a nice app for controlling iTunes on any synced computer without even waking the host box.
Most of the apps below are for web services that already exist, but for which a new app has just been released for iPhone. This is the way I discovered some of these services, so companies would be smart to jump on the iPhone App Store bandwagon if they want to attract people they couldn’t beforehand. All of these apps are also FREE, by the way.
So on to the gems I’ve found. Whrrl is a Google-based website service that maps places you (and your friends, or the Whrrl community) have been, and reviews of such places. It seems very handy for finding restaurants, clubs, etc., from people you trust rather than from a site like Citysearch or Yelp.
The iPhone app is pretty nice – the only complaint I would have is controlling the map is a bit of a pain. I wish it behaved more like the Google Maps application, but perhaps it will be updated in the future. There’s also no way to ADD new places in on the iPhone – for that you have to use a browser.
The key to Whrrl, as with all “social networking” apps and sites? Getting your friends to actually sign up, look at it and then post. So far I’ve got 2 friends who accepted my invitation, and 1 of them actually rated a restaurant! Wow, that’s, like, 1 more reader than I have on this blog!
Shozu is a neat little app that aggregates a lot of different site services in one place, and allows you to post images to those sites. For instance, I have Snapfish, Facebook, Twitter, my Blogger sites and Qipit (check that out… very cool idea) set up inside Shozu. I take a picture, and I can upload it to any of these services from one app. I can also download feeds from Flickr (you need friends on any of these services to really work – see my above comment), read and reply to comments, update your status and more.
I guess you can even Geo-tag… but this idea’s gotta be more interesting to people that actually TRAVEL. I mean, 50 pictures all taken in my house is not that interesting to check out.
The posting isn’t perfect – I sent this image to my family blog with tags and all, and none of that came through. It also didn’t really format the post the way I like, but I can see how this would be great for updating friends and family on the go from anywhere, to all your services at once. Sending images to Snapfish right from your phone would be great for family members who prefer to get prints, as well.
Finally, a new service I just found, thanks to an inadvertent mention on a friend’s Facebook status yesterday. Pandora (once again a web service with a new app for iPhone) is amazing – it’s made by the Music Genome Project, which analyzes music to determine “…up to 400 distinct musical characteristics…” – basically, figures out what about a song makes it like OTHER songs. So, you input an artist or song that you like, and Pandora searches the database to find other artists and songs with similar characteristics.
So much better than Amazon’s “people who bought this great music also bought this shitty music you might enjoy!” Qualitative over quantitative data, baby.
It’s great to see that two artists you like are related musically, but also to find new artists whose work you immediately, strangely love. And the great thing? It works in the car, over Edge, driving around.
Stick around for more reviews as more Apps become available.