Practicality apps are always put at a premium, but they rarely work exactly as advertised. Recently, however, more useful apps to provide additional functionality or ease of use for the owner have been popping up in the app store. Here are three must own applications that make the iPhone even better.
DozeGuard-If you ever fall asleep while consuming media on your iPhone, this app is well worth the $0.99 price tag. The app uses the phone’s accelerometer to detect whether the user has fallen asleep, and stops the media, be it a movie, podcast, or audiobook. When the user wakes, they can choose to restart the media from the point at which they last moved the device, or when the application stopped the media. It’s a neat idea, and further exemplifies the ingenuity of app developers today. Depending on the setting, users can set the interval DozeGuard expects them to move in, and be alerted by a chord soon before the app stops the media to alert the user that they should move the phone or the media will stop. The app just works, and those listening to long form media need to have it.
Clock Pro– This is the most versatile and high functioning clock app in the app store today. The impressive thing about it is it essentially gives the iPhone the ability to multitask by supporting alarms exteriorly, allowing users to run their iPhones to full capacity without losing their alarms, a severe limitation to many clock apps except the iPhone’s native one. The app also supports a sleep timer and alarm clock that allows the user to rise and fall asleep to music on from the iPod application. In addition to these core functions, Clock Pro features an analog clock, chess clock, world clock, stopwatch, nature times, egg timer, project clock, metronome, and a count down clock. It’s basically the temporal equivalent to AppBox Pro, and the first of its kind worth purchasing at $0.99.
StealthType SMS– One of the most common complaints new iPhone users make is that with a completely flat surface, it is now impossible for them to type text messages without looking. With StealthType, users can now type completely accurate messages without ever glancing at the screen. The interface allows them to quickly select a message recipient from a favorites screen and then type around where users expect letter or character to be. The application speaks back, letting users know what letter is selected, allowing them to toggle their finger around until they have found the right letter, and then release to select it. The delete and space keys are easily accessible, but the app has some serious limitations. Unless users have headphones plugged in or are alone, the app is basically unusable, and special characters are hard to find. If this were an option in the native messenger on the phone, it would be exponentially more useful, but as a stand-alone app, it will oftentimes be more trouble than just simply looking down at the phone. It’s a great idea though, and one Apple and iPhone users should definitely take notice of.
Apple announced that they will unveil the iPhone 4.0 operating system on April 8, so it only seems fit that we add to the rampant speculation surrounding it and make my predictions of what the OS will include. First is the most obvious and needed improvement: multitasking. Second, some basic enhancements to the UI while keeping a similar profile, like a fancier graphic for moving in and out of applications (or between them). I expect more customization to be allowed as well, namely wallpapers and the ability to set any song on the iPod app as a ringtone or message alert. Third, better integration with social media, like icons on the contact list screen to all the specific contact’s social media accounts. Also, voice commands like "post on Matt Schnitt’s Facebook wall" could be supported. Next, I think Apple will fully embrace the augmented reality revolution and release a killer native AR app that pushes the technology to the next level. Finally, though this is more wishful thinking than anything given the iPad’s limitation, but Flash support would make browsing exponentially more pleasant. It will be really cool to see what this OS contains, as it will set the bar for mobile platforms moving forward. I wonder how "magical" and "revolutionary" it will be.
In other news, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg clearly wants the iPhone and it seems like it’s only a matter of time. After last month’s Wall Street Journal article claiming that Apple is working on two phones, one for Verizon’s CDMA platform, Seidenberg said Tuesday that they are open to the iPhone and that they have told Apple that. The CEO wouldn’t confirm or deny whether he knew if the iPhone was coming to Verizon this year when he spoke Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, but did cite the WSJ report when talking about the possibility. Meanwhile, Apple COO Tim Cook recently spoke about Apple’s gains from only partnering with AT&T, saying, “It’s important to remember that AT&T has more mobile broadband users than any other carrier in the world. In the vast majority of locations, we think iPhone customers are having a great experience.” Eventually, the iPhone will be available on all carriers. It’s inevitable. The question is how soon it will happen. As of now, I would be cautiously optimistic that the iPhone reaches Verizon customers within the next year.
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