Let’s talk about sex. Not really. Let’s talk about sexy iPhone apps, or more specifically, what their existence (or lack thereof) says about the future of the app store.
2010 has been the year of purging the app store of what Apple would consider overtly sexual material. But apparently, not all sexy apps are created equal. While apps containing scantily clad women created by unknown developers are dropping like dominoes, apps containing scantily clad women created by companies like FHM and Sports Illustrated continue to thrive on the app store. My problem with this is twofold.
One, the customers who were downloading sexy apps from unknown developers are now just downloading them from SI and FHM. Moms, your child isn’t refraining, they are simply moving to a more recognizable brand. If Apple wants to purge the store from objectionable material, they must do it throughout the store.
Second, the beauty of the app store has always been that it gets closer to leveling the playing field between mom-and-pop developers and big brand companies. If Apple allows brand names to create what they want on the app store while limiting small developers, they have shifted the playing field back to where it was: inherently unequal. This encourages sub-par products from brand name companies, while many talented developers may become disenchanted with developing for the iPhone and move away from it all together.
I don’t really care about sexy apps, but what I do care about is keeping the single biggest draw of the iPhone moving in the right direction. Let the developers create what they want. Instead of purging, the app store should fix their rating system, and the moms who complained about objectionable apps should focus on monitoring their child’s applications and attitude towards women instead of spending time on the phone complaining to Apple Customer Care.
Oh, by the way, Tekken is coming to the iPhone. If you read last week’s column, you now know what I have known for a long time: I am a genius.
With the games, maps, gyroscopes, fart soundboards, compasses, cameras and the other newfangled whosiwhatsits that make the iPhone great, it’s easy to forget that the phone can actually be used as a messaging device too. Developers have come up with some pretty cool apps to make messaging easier, more fun, or smarter for the user. Thus, we give you three popular messaging apps for your iPhone.
TigerText- This app has been making all kinds of headlines for being named after a belabored golf superstar by the same name, despite being named months before the athlete’s transgressions came to light. That being said, it is a pretty amusing coincidence. TigerText allows you to avoid ending up on Texts from Last Night by deleting texts you sent from other’s phones.
The biggest obstacle to discrete texting using TigerText is that both parties have to have the app, and so far, the only phone to have TigerText available is the iPhone. However, the demand for the app will surely be great, and the developers are already pushing to have app on Blackberry and Droid by the end of the month.
TigerText allows users to set the time the message stays on their texting partner’s (or in many cases, much more) phone for, after which it is deleted from both phones and off the carrier’s server forever.
Customers can try TigerText for up to 100 messages over 15 days, after which they can purchase 250 messages per month for $.99 or unlimited messages for $1.99.
On it’s own, this app is a really original and useful, though the implications of what customers may use it for is a little scary (drunk texts excluded). 3.5/5 Stars.
IM+ Lite- The best free instant messaging application, hands down. IM+ Lite keeps users connected to all of their networks, from Facebook and Twitter all the way down to ICQ and Jabber, and alerts them whenever they receive a message from any of these networks.
Quite simply, it works. IM+ Lite is an all-in-one app that ensures you see an IM the moment it is sent to you, no matter how many messaging networks you frequent, and allows you to send and receive not only plain text messages, but video and voice (sent in MP3 format) messages via MMS and SMS.
IM+ Lite also possesses some unique features to go with messaging, such as geo-location statuses to keep friends apprised of where you are, the ability to browse the web without leaving a chat, and animated emoticons. While these are really just bells and whistles, they are cool and functioning ones that push IM+ Lite above other free messaging apps. 4.5/5 Stars
Trillian- The messaging app to end all messaging apps. The only problem is, it is $4.99, and quite frankly, the nature of messaging on the iPhone is such that a customer should never have to pay for a messaging app. There are not enough features in the world that could make me pay for a messaging app.
That being said, Trillian is optimized for those that demand the most out of there messaging (whoever that is). The UI is extremely impressive and intuitive, and is made for low bandwidth conditions. That means if you can get an iota of a signal, you can send your message. The app also allows people to customize their contact lists as if they were using a computer, a feature that many messaging apps are surprisingly missing.
Despite these features, unless you are a hardcore messenger or are frequently in areas with poor service, save the money and buy a $5 footlong. 3/5 Stars.