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Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever.
by Bruce Ure at 13:17 30/07/08 (Blogs::Bruce)
These are my top 7 apps, as of today, and mostly from a "omg that's amazing!" point of view.
1. 'Band' (5.99) by MooCowMusic - a 'band in a box' type app, with 12-bar blues riffs, a drum kit, funky drummer riffs, and keyboard... you can record and use basic edit functions, or jam along to an existing recording, and overlay on top of it. This is so much fun it's indecent. The attention to detail is superb, and at 5.99 it's a steal. MooCowMusic also make 'Pianist' which is similar only just a piano, a much more fully-featured one than in Band, with full 88-key keyboard, sustain, soft, pan, and so on... again the attention to detail is superb, and it's only 3.49.

2. 'Shazam' (free) by Shazam Entertainment Ltd - this is the iPhone version of that thing where you dial a number and hold the phone up to a radio (etc) and it tells you what the track is. I can't believe how good this is... I was in a pub the other night, two rooms away from the disco, with a bunch of noisy pissheads in both rooms, and it was still identifying track after track. It's very accurate as well... it never gets the wrong artist when it's a cover version. After identifying the track it allows you to purchase it from the iTunes library, which is presumably how they fund the app, and you can tag it with a photo you take on the spot... nice touch!

3. 'Midomi' (free) by Melodis Corporation - very similar to Shazam but also identifies songs from humming, whistling and singing, as well as searching for artists or tracks from voice input. Whistle the first two bars of "somewhere over the rainbow" to it and it lists a whole bunch of versions, with Judy Garland at the top. Which is nice. It's nowhere near as accurate as Shazam when sampling an actual playing track, also the interface is not as good as Shazam.

4. 'Maps' (free) by Apple. Built in app using Google's mapping API. The GPS functionality and integration with the maps API is superb... lovely looking and very fast to locate because of its Assisted (by cell phone mast and wi-fi triangulation) nature. It's not a full-blown sat nav, and could do with Tom-Tom like satnav features, or maybe I just haven't found them.

5. 'Last.fm' (free) - by Last.fm, the iphone incarnation of Last.fm, the excellent instant personalised radio station service. It's so good you almost don't need to put your own tracks on your iPhone.

6. 'Starmap' (6.99) by Fredd. I haven't used this sky mapping thingamajig extensively but I have high hopes for it when I reach the dark skies of Italy in a week or so. I hope it may double my astronomical knowledge in about five minutes.

7. 'SignalSuite' (5.99) and 'SignalScope' (14.99) by Faber Acoustical. These are quite expensive especially the Scope application, but when you consider their quality and what they are actually doing, it's really not that much to pay. SignalSuite is an audio signal generator, with three types of output waveform, all usable together, programmable sweeps, white and pink noise generators, and loads more. SignalScope is a full audio spectrum frequency analyser that can use the built in mic, a headset mic, and even the iPhone's accelerometer as inputs. It has a zillion configuration options and is very easy to use. My only gripe about these two is that you can't output pink noise using SignalSuite at the same time as using SignalScope to analyse it coming out of your speakers. I'm sure if this was possible they would have made it so... but I'm going to mail them about it anyway :-)

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Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 13:17 30/07/08
Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Simon - 13:35 30/07/08
Any sign of a decent SSH client and terminal app?

With that, I could dispense with being at home completely and work from pretty much anywhere.

Subject to ubiquitous network connectivity, of course, and since O2's coverage in these parts consists of a man on a pushbike arriving and telling you there's a phone call waiting in Salisbury I'm dubious of any 3Gness showing up any time soon.

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simon

Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 13:42 30/07/08
You'd need to jailbreak (as distinct from unlock, which is very naughty) it, using Pwnage tools, which installs Cydia (apparently) and you can then install one of several SSH clients/terminals.

There's also a VNC client I believe.

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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Simon - 13:52 30/07/08
Hmm - I think I'll have to wait until Apple in their wisdom decide to simply provide their own Terminal app.
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simon
Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 13:54 30/07/08
I've been a bit iffy about jailbreaking mine but apparently it's very safe, and not illegal, and totally reversible, so I may yet do it... still weighing it up.

All jailbreaking does is allow you to put your own (unofficial) apps on it. It's not allowing it to be used with other mobile carriers or anything dodgy like that.

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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Simon - 16:16 30/07/08
I don't object to jailbreaking the iPhone I don't have yet :-)

... just a tad suspicious of any 3rd party apps from a crowd that are clever enough to jailbreak an iPhone in the first place.
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simon

Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 16:35 30/07/08
They don't write the apps, they just write the jailbreaker tool, and it's open source.

See http://blog.iphone-dev.org/

The link linked to from http://blog.iphone-dev.org/post/43015795/one-members-rant is quite interesting too, in as much as it exposes a bit of their ethos.

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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Simon - 17:26 30/07/08
Ta for the reference, I'll go educate myself :-)
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simon
- Deleted User Account - 10:23 31/07/08
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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 10:49 31/07/08
How does that make it less secure than a Windows Mobile platform?

'Down the pan' because governments don't adopt it? 1 million sold in the first 3 days... hmmm.

Rumour has it there's a hardware keyboard version in the wings to address the corporate market, but who knows... I can't see it myself. (The virtual keyboard is fantastic... the people who diss it seem largely to be people who "just know" they won't like it. Its predictive text input is just superb: aim vaguely at the keys and it works out what you probably meant. For example type "wrstetm" and it guesses "western".)

I can't belieeeeeve I'm defending Apple like this after my vehement anti-applism of a few years ago :-)

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- Deleted User Account - 12:14 31/07/08
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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 16:15 31/07/08
I'm surprised you haven't bought an iPhone for this :-)

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- Deleted User Account - 17:31 31/07/08
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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Hugo van der Sanden - 04:51 10/08/08
And of course if it's open source it must be safe. :)

Hugo

Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Steve - 14:18 30/07/08
I only have an iPod Touch, but I've found some great apps too.

1. CubeRunner (free). Very simple but VERY addictive game that uses the built-in accelerometer. This was actually the first ever game I got from the App Store.

2. Labyrinth LE (free). It's a limited version of the $$ full version with just 10 levels but it's great fun.

3. StarMap. (6). Bought this on the strength of Bruce's recommendation and also because I have this hankering to find out more about the constellations and the planets. Like Bruce, I've not yet used it in earnest.

I've got a few others that are OK but I might end up deleting them soon as their novelty wears off.

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stevepa

Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. David Crowson - 16:18 30/07/08
Concur and add

1) Remote - control your itunes library when your away from it...

2) MochaVNC - very cool vnc client with zooming.

3) NetNewsWire - RSS reader (linked to Newgator.com)

4) Fizz Weather - better than standard

5) Currency - xchange rates

and some not so important ones

5) Enigmo - like lemmings only more complicated and with amazing physics

6) Advent - Collosal Cave :)

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bombholio

Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 10:57 31/07/08
Yes (thanks Dave) I must add:

8. 'Mocha VNC' (free / 3.49) by MochaSoft. A very good implementation of VNC, with excellent scrolling motion, and the paid version supports right-click (a cunning cripple if ever I saw one) and scripting and something else. Even viewing a 1600x1200 desktop this is very usable.

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- Deleted User Account - 12:24 31/07/08
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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. Bruce Ure - 12:37 31/07/08
Scrolly scrolly scrolly scrolly scrolly stop. Tappy tappy tappy. Scrolly scrolly scrolly stop. Tappy tappy.

It works very well indeed. I'll show you tonight.

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- Deleted User Account - 12:47 31/07/08
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Re: Best. iPhone. Apps. Ever. David Crowson - 09:56 05/08/08
update:

Although Mocha Lite is free and 3.50ukp for the full, I think I much prefer Teleport (even though it costs 15ukp) it's a much better implementation and the auto discovery blows Mocha into the weeds...

If you're gonna use vnc a lot Teleport is a better bet, but if it's an ocassional thing then go with the free Mocha

ymmv.

PS I note there is a telnet client, but it doesn't support ssh, so that's pointless :)

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bombholio

- Deleted User Account - 23:40 15/08/08
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