Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Peek at iPhone 3rd-party Apps

In June iPhone owners can expect an avalanche of new capabilities being added to their iPhones with the new 2.0 operating system, an apps installer and the officially sanctioned Apple Apps Store. With all the talk and excitement building for the new iPhone, Apple stock prices have soared and analysts have set new targets in excess of $215 a share.

One such new application in development is iControl, a software application on your iPhone that will allow you to monitor the critical security devices in your home -- cameras, thermostats, heating and air-conditioning, lights and locks. On your iPhone, you will be able to monitor remote-access systems via broadband internet rather than on telephone lines as many smart home systems today require.

Another application in development with funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers iFund is Whrrl by Pelago, a Seattle based company located in the WaMu Tower. Whrrl is an internet 2.0 social discovery service that allows iPhone users to discover places "through the eyes of your friends and poeple you trust." The designers of Whrrl say that you will be able to "track the places you've been and the places you want to go." A beta version of the Whrrl is currently available for download from the Pelago web site

Apple has also acquired a Chinese third-party handwriting recognition application that will give iPhone 2.0 users the ability to write text by hand that will then be translated into text font on their touchpad screen. The application developed for entering Chinese characters is already available under the name HWPen for jailbroken iPhone and iPod Touch.

GigaOm and Wired magazine have been reporting that the new iPhone to be released in June will have true GPS chips onboard. The rumors started to fly fast and furious when geotaged code was observed in the iPhone SDK. The Google maps application on the iPhone using wifi cell tower triangulation technologies has been very popular on the iPhone, however, with 3G and the new GPS technology it will become much more accurate and powerful as a platform for new application development.

iCall is a new application being developed for the iPhone that will allow its users to make and receive phone calls using the internet rather than the exclusive contract Apple has with AT&T in the U.S. and with other providers in foreign countries. The features of the new third-party app will allow you to integrate with your address book, customize voicemail options all while calling using a wifi connection. Also, the application encourages you to move away from using your expensive cell network plan minutes and move your calls to VOIP. As Walt Mossberg commanded, "Break the Lock!"

Loopt, a free social mapping application that uses location finder API in the iPhone to let you combine a GPS like searching for entertainment, restaurants and coffee-shops with social networking to hook up with friends, AIM buddies and contacts.

eBay has announced a client-side application that allows you to sign-in, search, preview photos of items for sale, monitor the bidding, and bid on items at auction on their service. It will be free on the Apple Apps store as soon as it opens.

TypePad Mobile is a free photo blogging service that allows you to take a photo on iPhone, upload it to the TypePad, and text and make mobile blogging much easier.

Associated Press has built a free mobile news network using location API it knows where you are and in stores information based on your location and it combines text, images and video directly to the iPhone and it allows you to send new images and stories to AP and they will weave it into the news after review by their editors.

Pangea makes games and Enigmo and Croman Rally are two of their games that use the iPhone itself as the controller will be for sale on the Apple Apps store for $9.99.

Mark Terry' application for MooCowMusic for the iPhone Band creates music on the iPhone itself using virtual instruments (Keyboard, Funky Drummer, 12 Bar Blues, and Bassist) allows an iPhone user to play instruments on their phone with simple touch user keys. has developed "At Bat" which lists all the days games and up to the minute line scores and even video of all the games as being played with a few minute time delay. At this time it is not known if the app will be sold or if you'll need to subscribe to the service but for baseball fans this is a "gotta-have-it" app.

Modality is a medical learning applications with illustrations of the complex parts and structures of the human body with instant mobile access and also search the web for additional information outside what the app provides. All these apps are indications that a huge variety of new programs and tools are coming to the iPhone and it has become a operating platform to rival Windows and Mac OS.

Other big news that seems to have made its way from the Apple rumor sites and now out into mainstream news services (BBC) is that Apple could drop the price of its new 3G iPhone to compete with the rift-raft of imitators and handset manufactors like Motorola and Noika who have begun to feel the heat Apple design has brought to the world of cell phones. That price has been rumored as low as $199 for the entry level 8GB iPhone.

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