The Download Blog

iPhone stargazers geek out with Starmap

If there's one thing that Google Earth taught us, it's that the stars never outgrow their mystery. For fans of the sky layer on Google Earth, there's Starmap, an educational iPhone app that, unlike your laptop or desktop, you can easily take with you on a cloudless night to a nearby hilltop.

Pocket astronomers will find a screen that shows a sky full of planets, visible stars, named stars, galaxies, and nebulae, and coordinates that you can access and search for from an unobtrusive ribbon of icons. Sensitivity to the accelerometer tips the view vertically and horizontally, … Read more

You gotta know when to fold' em--on the iPhone

Several new iPhone apps are bringing Vegas-style poker to the mobile world. With them, users can deal and draw without toting around a deck of cards.

One new poker app is Griffin Technology's "5 Card Touch" video poker. Released along with the iTunes 7.7 App Store Thursday, the application works like any other video poker game, except it's available on the go and on a touch screen.

Players bet between one and five credits, tapping the screen to deal, discard cards, or draw for new ones. A royal flush earns the most points, and jacks … Read more

Sing for search results with iPhone app

Singing into an iPhone may garner some strange looks, but an application by Midomi encourages users to croon, hum, speak into their device. In return they will get the song title, name, and a link to buy the mp3 from iTunes. The service also works with SMS.

With the new Midomi Mobile application (download), iPhone users can find an artist or song with voice or text search. The app also has the ability to "grab" a recording of a song to use for search. Users just have to hold their iPhone up to a speaker and submit the … Read more

Insider Secrets: Best free security apps

You don't have to pay a cent to keep your computer secure against the bad guys. Watch this discussion on best practices and best apps between CNET TV's Tom Merritt and's Seth Rosenblatt. When you're done, head on over to our Security Starter Kit to check out must-haves for both newbies and power users.

Looks and smarts: Twitterrific for the iPhone

Dark and lustrous, Twitterrific for iPhone is one of the best-looking apps from the iTunes App Store I've seen all day. The application, originally built for Mac by software publisher Iconfactory, is a premium Twitter updater a free trial that sells for about $15. This iPhone app, however, comes as a free ad-serving version or as a premium version.

Twitterrific is also one of the more complex applications, and it takes its role as a Twitter service seriously, serving up a an environment, tweeting experience, and navigation--complete with hints!--all its own. Twitterrific has also maximized on the iPhone … Read more

eBay's iPhone app now out of the box

When the native eBay app for iPhone was demoed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco in June, Editor Josh Lowensohn commended it for its slickness, storage capacity, and winning looks. The eBay for iPhone application is indeed easy on the eye and similar in look and feel to eBay Desktop that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux on the AIR platform. At least the home screen is.

After that, the application might as well be considered eBay Light. You can quickly take in an overview of your personal stats on the home screen to see … Read more

Hands-on: iTunes Remote App

We've had a few minutes to play with the Remote App (download) for the iPhone. The (not surprising) verdict? It's an easy must-have for any iPhone or iPod Touch owner who enjoys listening to music at home.

Once you've upgraded your iPhone (or Touch) to version 2.0, just go to the App Store and search on "remote." (Amazingly, that--not "iRemote"--is the program's official name.) You can download it straight to the phone over a Wi-Fi connection (tap the word "free" on the upper right corner), and it auto-installs, adding a new icon to your home screen. … Read more

10 absurd new iPhone apps

We've swooned over Pandora's new iPhone application, LOL'd at the chat application from AIM, and poked our friends with the new Facebook application. But as we continue to dig deeper into the growing catalog of iPhone applications one thing is clear: there are some stinkers in the mix. Sure, they might we well-coded (or not), but who needs them? We've put together a list of 10 absolutely absurd new iPhone apps.

1. Birth Buddy. This app lets you track labor contractions--you know, like when you're about to have a baby. This $10 application does have … Read more

Hands on: Facebook's iPhone app

Along with over five hundred other applications, Facebook's iPhone app made its debut today. The application gives you easy access to your friend's updates and profiles, along with Facebook Chat and your inbox. Facebook's app also lets you take and upload photos directly to Facebook.

Viewing Facebook photos is really great in this app. They have implemented the same "flick" style of navigation that the iPhone uses and photos flip over to reveal comments. Overall, the UI is pretty intuitive and uses a lot of the same conventions that Apple does. Taking photos and uploading … Read more

Stalk friends responsibly on Loopt 's iPhone app

Loopt was one of the first companies to strut its stuff in an onstage demo at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in June, and Sam Altman, the CEO of the location-aware social networking app, said the iPhone version is "the best version of Loopt we've ever created."

It shows.

Thanks to an early release of iTunes 7.7 (for Mac and Windows) and the App Store, that version of Loopt is available--for free--for anyone willing to risk the unofficial firmware upgrade today or the official Friday upgrade.

I've done the former, and Loopt's … Read more