Virtually there - September 2010
The new iphone 4 sold 1.7 million units in its first three days on sale. iPads are selling at a rate of two million units a month. Apple wonít say how many iPhones and iPod touches have been bought in New Zealand, but with more than 85 million sold worldwide I think we are safe in saying that there are a few around. But hereís an odd thing Ė itís not about the phone. In fact, as phones go, the iPhone (3 or 4) is kind of average. And itís not about the music, although as MP3 players go there is nothing to complain about. iPads and Pods and Phones are all about the apps.
Apps, for those very few of you who are unaware of their existence, are downloadable applications from the iTunes Apps Store that will turn your iThing into an Łbergadget, customised to fulfil your every whim. And with more than 225,000 apps available in New Zealand, that is very customisable indeed. Here are some of my favourites.
In the free corner is Yellow NZ, giving you access to the Yellow and White Pages. Brilliantly useful and much cheaper than calling 018. Flicks NZ uses the inbuilt location finder to tell you what movies are on near you, and when. St John NZ has a lovely instruction app (with built-in timer) that will help you perform CPR on any poor unfortunate who happens to need it. You know that feeling when you hear a great song on the radio or in a store or (horror) in a lift and you just have to know what it is? Shazam will listen for a few seconds, then tell you the songís name. How clever is that? TV Listing shows the free-to-air TV schedules and lets you know when your fave programme is coming on.
But the best free apps allow you to use your iPod touch and iPhone as e-book readers. Most of these apps come bundled with a few free books so you can try them out and see if you can tolerate electronic reading on something so small. If you can, youíll find that not all the books you might want to read are available here (geographical copyright restrictions) but there are plenty to be going on with and they are considerably cheaper than print editions (at $6 to $22 from whitcoulls.co.nz). A book takes up about a tenth of the space of a song, so you can take an entire library with you when you travel. Excellent for those long waits in transit (but make sure you have your charging cable and an international adaptor in your hand luggage).
Paid apps are where the real fun begins, however. If fitness is your thing, iMapMyRun ($6.49) speaks for itself. I can recommend Jamie Oliverís 20 Minute Meals ($6.49) but I was too mean to buy Nigella Quick Collection at $10.99, even though it claims to be the number one lifestyle app in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. I figure anyone married to Charles Saatchi doesnít need my money and all that finger-licking and bosom-heaving makes me twitch. DIY Calculator ($1.29) estimates materials for painting, wallpapering, tiling and flooring. ColorChange ($4.19) lets you take a picture of a room and then change its colours, which is perfect for those moments when you start to worry about the wisdom of a fuchsia feature wall. iHandy Carpenter ($2.95) turns your device into a plumb bob, level, protractor and ruler, all of which can prove surprisingly useful.
But wait, thereís more. Weather apps. GPS apps. In-car navigation apps. Personal organisation apps. Nasaís app. Guitar-tuning apps. How about an app that will let you process credit card payments? And I havenít even mentioned travel apps. Now thatís a whole column on its own.