Applications

Making the switch to Apple? Get the perfect setup

With the undeniable popularity and success of the iPhone 4 (despite the antenna debacle), iPad, and ever-increasing Mac sales, Apple is gaining customers faster than ever. If you're thinking about making the switch, this could be your perfect setup.

Component one: iPhone 4 Now in its fourth iteration, Apple's iPhone has forever changed the mobile phone landscape by thrusting touch-screen technology to the tips of every tech geek's tongue and every consumer's wish list. Despite its early and somewhat overblown issues, iPhone 4 has had record-setting sales. With the exception of the complaints from a vocal minority regarding its antenna, … Read more

Muzix brings queuing to iPhone and iPod Touch

Muzix is a music jukebox application for the iPhone and the iPod Touch that is centered around on-the-go playback queue creation, a feature not offered by the onboard player. The free app offers a reasonable amount of functionality and a fun way to interact with your music, but the interface isn't the most intuitive we've come across. Still, for those who loathe iTunes but love making playlists, Muzix is worth checking out.

Before you get started with Muzix, you should know that the experience is more visually thrilling if all of your music has album art attached. The … Read more

Store music in Google Docs, play it on your iPhone

Google Docs is primarily designed to give you online access to Microsoft Office and other types of documents via a Web browser, but technically, you can store just about any type of file in the Docs database. A new iPhone app called Cloud Music, which debuted in the App Store on Monday, takes advantage of this flexibility to deliver a quick-and-dirty music locker service.

First, you have to register with Google and use your Web browser to upload some music files into Google Docs. The service offers up to 1GB of storage for free, with a maximum file size of … Read more

Free iPad sports app a must-have for sports junkies

When I see an app like TheScore for iPad, it forces me to think in big-picture terms, as in: this is how sports news was meant to be consumed. Not in some day-old newspaper or tiny iPhone app, but on a big, beautiful screen jam-packed with scores, standings, videos, and blogs.

In other words, I'm really digging TheScore--and I'm not even that into sports. (It says clearly on my Tech Nerds of America membership card that sports are permissible only as a "passing interest" or for "social interaction research.")

Actually, I do consume a … Read more

Carrier billing coming to Android Market

A short post on the official Android Developers blog last weekend brought big news for Android app developers and Android users: carrier billing will soon come as an option for the Android Market.

The blog didn't reveal a specific date, but "authorized carriers" are now considered an indemnified party. Current developers have 30 days to accept the new conditions to the Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement (DDA), whereas new publishers are agreeing to them when signing up.

Adding carrier billing as an option should help developers move more copies of their apps. In the early days of … Read more

Check out CardStar's Foursquare check-ins

If you're toting around an iPhone in one pocket and a bulging wallet stuffed with loyalty cards in the other, let us respectfully say this: You're doing it wrong. With only a bit of legwork, you can lighten your load by scanning or manually adding your cards for your supermarkets, book stores, pet shops, sports stores, and the library, and stick them on your phone with an app like CardStar.

Version 3.0 of the free card-minder is on its way to to the iPhone App Store, and it's packing some pretty major feature changes, including integrating … Read more

iTunes not connecting to the iTunes store after updating

A number of people are having an issue where upon upgrading to the latest version of iTunes they are not able to connect to the iTunes store. The program will claim there are problems with your internet connection and will state something like "iTunes could not connect to the iTunes store. Make sure your network connection is active and try again."… Read more

What the iPhone-jailbreaking ruling means (FAQ)

To help answer some questions about this week's announcement by the Copyright Office, a unit of the Library of Congress, regarding the legality of so-called cell phone jailbreaking--that is, modifying the software that comes with iPhones and other handsets and that is designed not to be changed--we've compiled the following questions and answers.

What does the Copyright Office's ruling mean? The short answer is that jailbreaking your iPhone or other mobile device will no longer violate a controversial federal copyright law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA. Bypassing a manufacturer's protection mechanisms to … Read more

Cooliris turns Wikipedia into an iPad magazine

The first thing that should come to mind when you think of Cooliris is photos. The company is well known for its imaging products, which include a very snazzy cross-platform browser add-on, an iPhone app, and embedded Web site and mobile phone technology. All of these are able to turn a collection of photos into an interactive, 3D wall, be it in on your browser, Web site, or cell phone.

But with its latest creation for Apple's iPad, called Discover, Cooliris is moving beyond the presentation and organization of photos and into something a little more pedestrian: text.

Discover, which was submitted to Apple on Tuesday, takes content from Wikipedia--both text and still images (but mostly just text), and splits it up into sections. These can be flipped through with your finger, instead of scrolling down a large page in Safari. The app also keeps track of where you've been so you can retrace your reading path if you've gone several pages deep.

"When the iPad came out, we took an idea we had, and said 'this is probably a perfect platform to try it on,'" Cooliris' executive VP of products Michele Turner told CNET. "This new application takes structured data--in this case Wikipedia, as the starting point. We've then created a templatized starting page and structured data from Wikipedia to let users navigate the depths of Wikipedia in a beautiful and efficient way."

The end result is a Wikipedia with larger text that can be read like an e-book, and photos that can be thumbed through and scaled up to the iPad's full resolution. The app also takes advantage of orientation to reposition, or expand or consolidate the data it's showing. Along the way, Cooliris serves up advertisements, which is where it can make some of its money given the app's free price tag.

But why Wikipedia, and not a larger chunk of the Internet, as something like the recently popular Flipboard has done with RSS feeds? The short answer is that it's not there yet, but it will be soon. Turner and company do, in fact, envision Discover as a platform for various data feeds from around the Web. "We have over 100 content partners in the mainstream Cooliris product," Turner said. "The longer term opportunity is to work with the content partners to flow into this application, but that's kind of down the line."

Eventually the company plans to bring it to other platforms, including Android tablets. In making the iPad iteration of Discover, the company even built one for the iPhone, though Turner says it didn't feel quite right given the smaller form factor.

More pics of Discover can be seen after the break.… Read more

Landing the best iPhone flight tracker apps

Whether you're leaving on a jet plane or picking up Mom at the airport, a flight tracker app is an essential tool for your iPhone. You can use it to keep tabs on your departure time, confirm when Mom is arriving, and even check her plane's position in the air. And if you're an airline geek right like me, you might even check it just for fun.

There are a handful of flight tracker apps available in the iTunes App Store, but up until now I wasn't sure which offered the best experience. So to find out, I downloaded six titles and tracked a sample flight on each one. Below you'll find what I consider to be the upsides and downsides of each app, plus my overall assessments and a screenshot. For a further peek at the maps for each title, check out this related slideshow.

Note: For this roundup, I chose only standalone Flight Tracker apps. I did not include more comprehensive trip planning titles that happen to include flight tracker functionality.

FlightTrack Developer: Mobiata Price: $4.99 Can it track international flights? Yes, even when outside the United States.

What's good: FlightTrack offers a lot of information without saddling you with an overwhelming interface. For each flight, it not only lists the scheduled departure and arrival times (when the plane leaves from and arrives at the gate), but also when it will take off and land. Delay information is clearly marked, as well, and you view the aircraft type, departure gate, and scheduled flight time.

Once a flight is in the air, FlightTrack shows the airspeed, arrival gate, baggage claim number, and present altitude. And if that isn't enough, you can jot notes on a separate page, access a shortcut to the airline's phone number, and look up the local time and temperature of the departure and arrival cities.

The maps are gorgeous, and that's not an overstatement. You get a full satellite view with weather radar data and I really like that you can zoom way in and scroll around the map using your finger.

What's not: The satellite maps can take a long time to load depending on your connection, and you can't switch to a simpler format.

The final word: FlightTrack offers a clean, data-rich interface with the best maps of the bunch. Don't let the $4.99 price tag scare you off; FlightTrack is my top choice and well worth the money.

Neat bonus: You also can shake your iPhone to see a random flight.

Other versions available? A Pro version ($9.99) adds push notifications, weather, and TripIt integration. You'll need a subscription, though. … Read more