Have you seen the ads about the apps for the iPhone? How about the one where if you don’t know a song, you hold the phone up to the source and within seconds it tells you what’s playing and where to buy it? And I don’t mean you hold the phone up to your iPod or some other device that the iPhone is designed to ‘talk’ to. I’m saying you hold it up to your car radio or TV or the ceiling of the Gap and it figures it out. It’s call Midomi, and it scares me.
I think this could be the beginning of one of those ‘end of days’ scenarios where the computers take over and we’re just hanging out in liquid-filled cocoons providing them battery power.
Don’t panic just yet though. There are still plenty of harmless (if not a little stupid) apps out there:
Sonic Lighter – although there are apparently almost a dozen free lighter apps, people can’t wait to pay $.99 for Smule’s Sonic Lighter. Apparently they’ve built in social and viral features such as the option to share your geographic location information with the application, and when you light it you show up on a virtual earth-like globe. The longer you leave it on, the more “kilojules” you burn, and now teams are competing to be the brightest on the globe. Someone needs to get France and Japan some more entertainment, because they’re apparently leading the pack at this. Oh, and you can blow on the microphone and extinguish the flame, which I must admit is beyond cool.
Ocarina – the same company has now introduced Ocarina, which apparently allows you to be a one-man Peruvian band with just your phone. It’s named after an ancient flute-like wind instrument, and lets you play those haunting, South American-esque tunes by blowing into the iPhone microphone and hitting the virtual buttons. Moreover, you can hit a button and listen to what other Ocarina users are playing around the world. It’s social music, and probably the beginning of a whole new arm of the virtual connectedness that marks this century.
Koi Pond – This is a virtual fish pond where you can change the water color, amount of fish, lily pads in the pond, the different animal sounds you hear, and switch it from day to night. You can shake the iPhone and feed the fish, tap the pond to scare the fish, or leave your finger in and watch them eventually swim up to you. Nothing else happens. You don’t get smarter. You still have no idea what string theory is. You don’t make business contacts. But who doesn’t love koi?
Oh, and get this! Remote turns your iPhone into a remote control for your computer. This app lets you pause, fast-forward or rewind anything you’re watching or listening to, or switch to a different playlist. It also operates the ‘Apple TV’, a device that sends music, photos and movies from your computer to your television. Wow.
And last, but not least, Shozu. When you take pictures with the iPhone’s built-in camera, Shozu links the phone with sites like Flickr and your blog and posts them right away. This would’ve been a lifesaver on my backpacking trip, when I never had enough bandwidth to get the pictures loaded in under an hour. I may just have to start a blog-based fundraiser to finance one of these before the next big trip!
So as it happens, all this talk about these apps makes me want an iPhone. Bad.
I don’t care that the phone is transmitting information back to an unknown source and that it’s occasionally scary and may signify the downfall of the human race. Bring on SkyNet and the rise of the machines! As long as I can play my electronic pan flute, I don’t care!