In this week’s world dominating iPhone app roundup: Your every whim, robotically indulged! Radio champagne, poured generously! Football stuff, assimilated! Your computers, turned into wirelessly controlled zombies! Death foods, avoided! And more..
To use the iPhone app, you just have to say aloud a command like 'Book a table for six at 7pm at McDonalds' (I'm sure you're classier than that, but let's stick with it for now), and then using speech-recognition technology and the iPhone's GPS capabilities, your command is translated and processed by the app, responding with confirmation of booking-or lack of availability.
The app is paired with OpenTable, MovieTickets, StubHub, CitySearch and TaxiMagic, and recognises a respectable number of commands with surprising accuracy. Success seem to vary voice to voice, and some types of requests seem to have a higher success rate than others, but really, just find out for yourself--it's free, and very impressive.
Where Is My Phone: While this app's name implies that it has some kind of phone-finding capability, Kyle discovered very quickly that this app is fundamentally about farts. And other noises! But mostly farts:
Turning your iPhone into a remote controlled whoopee cushion is what I had in mind. Little Worlds, the makers of the app, apparently also had it in mind, including more than one variety of fart among the dozen or so sound effects included with the download.
Here's what's going on: 'Where is my Phone' listens for your whistle and then plays the sound effect of your choice (or your own recorded soundbite) when it hears it. The makers claim it can recognise you Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah-ing from up to 30 meters away, and I had no trouble in activating sirens, explosions and the rest just by whistling on the other side of the room.
Not bad for a buck, athough you'll have to get comfortable with the prospect of planting your iPhone, which is not cheap, in various risky places for sound gags, which decidedly are. Anyway, far be it from me to put a price tag on a good fart joke.
MotionX GPS Drive: Once upon a time, a homely little app called MotionX GPS was described on this site as 'Hands Down the Best Value In GPS Apps'. Now, our biggest complaints about the app--its somewhat clunky UI and lack of landscape mode--have been remedied. Says Wilson:
All in all, it's a palpable improvement for a worthwhile product, especially one so durned cheap. That's right, it's still just $1, with $3/month or $25/year turn-by-turn voice service. You may hate GPS navigators, you may even hate GPS apps, but if you are on vacation and you don't have this app-at the very minimum, that is-you are just crazy.
See, in the App Store, three bucks buys you a decent novelty soundboard, or, you know, that cross-country road trip you've been aching to take your whole life.
Logitech Touch Mouse: Air Mouse Pro is one of the coolest apps in the App Store. With it, you can control your computer's mouse, enter text via the iPhone keyboard, run apps, control media--it basically turns your iPhone into a wireless control centre for your laptop or desktop, without the awkward experience of using a full VNC client. Logitech Touch Mouse is that, except with just the mouse and the keyboard. So, 75% of the functionality, for 0% of the price.
Don't Eat That: There's a tremendous concept here that's not fully realised. What Don't Eat That can do now is tell you what pretty much any listed ingredient on a food label is, and perhaps whether or not it coincides with some allergenic, philosophical or preferential objection you have. It also introduces you to new reasons not to eat specific ingredients. (They're carcinogenic, bad for kids, etc.)
What it can't do, though, is take a single food item and break it down for you, which is what it feels like this app is reaching for. If you have the patience to enter ingredients individually, and don't mind an app that errs (way) on the side of caution with some of its recommendations, you'll get a lot of use out of this thing.
This American Life: This American Life is the best thing on the radio right now. (ATTENTION RADIOLAB FANS: You will have failed if this statement nets me less than 20 hate mail letters.) So when I say that the TAL iPhone app does nothing but play you lots and lots of WBEZ's flagship show, I mean that in the best way possible. Half of what you're paying for here is utility: you can access any and all TAL shows whenever you want, as well as live streams. The other half of what you're paying for here is the show itself: anyone who's listened to their podcast over the last few years knows it costs them a lot of money, and this app is intended to help pick of the bandwidth tab, at least a little. To this end, it helps that it's very, very good. $3.
Super Bowl XLIV Official Program: As many people as watch the Super Bowl, I have my doubts about how many actually purchase a hard copy of the official game program. Programs are for plays, or foreign films, or your daughter's dance recital! This is football! (This is something a football fan would say, right?)
Anyhow, this is that print program, adapted for the iPhone. It's five bucks, packed with photos, historical context, stats and fresh editorial content. Warning: there is roughly a 50% chance (feel free to debate that figure in the comments) that you'll hate this app come Sunday.