I was lukewarm about Yelp's initial iPhone application, but some new features stitched into Yelp for iPhone 2.0 (and iPod Touch) this week are beginning to stoke my affections.
High on the list of Yelpers' demands was being able to write a review from the iPhone. In addition to any technical impediment Yelp may have experienced here is the fact that typing long missives, praises, and rants on the iPhone's virtual keyboard just plain stinks. To work around this, Yelp now gives you two ways to review a business. The first is through a Quick Tip, where you're encouraged to be pithy above all else. A 140 character cap holds you to it.
If budding novelists don't find that fulfilling, there's also way to draft a review on the iPhone--that includes the star rating--and finish it on the computer. While that's not a terrible method, the bottom line is that you're still not allowed to post a rated review from your iPhone. If I've got an hour to kill and I want to spend it stabbing out a Yelp review on my keyboard, that should be my business.
In addition to review-flavored changes, Yelp for iPhone also acquires a feeds list that aggregates the latest reviews, quick tips, and photos located near you. If you're signed on to your Yelp.com account, separate filters show you friends' feeds and your own activity history, including how people voted on your witty tips.
Subtler improvements to the app include a sign-up process for first-time Yelpers, a new way to view photos of a business in full-screen mode, and localized spelling and address formatting for British users. I'm still a little miffed that I can't rate and review a restaurant on the spot, but this pack of changes makes the app much more usable than it was before. Since Yelp for iPhone is free and mass opinion isn't a bad jumping-off point, that makes this update a success in my book.
Related: Yelp: Businesses may publicly respond to reviews