10/27/08
10:10 am

MacMost Now 151: Free iPhone Apps

Gary Rosenzweig looks at seven free iPhone applications: Google Earth, iTalk, Fring, Fonts, Translator, Wikipandion and FaceBook. You can find iPhone Apps using the MacMost iPhone App directory at http://macmost.com/iphoneapps/ .

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
"Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.
Today, let's take a look at some great free iPhone Apps. Among the thousands of applications at the iPhone Apps store, there are some that are completely free. Now, a lot of these are junk but some are actually pretty good. So, let's take a look at some of the free iPhone Apps I've been using recently.
Let's start by taking a look at Google Earth. Google Earth is just like you would see it on the map. It presents the entire earth via satellite photos and allows you to jump around, do searches, and even use the GPS in your device to find out where you currently are. You can go ahead and pinch and squeeze to expand, contract, review, and even rotate it around. So, it's pretty neat. I'll let you decide whether it's a toy or a useful tool.
Next up is iTalk from Griffin. Now, there are a variety of free and pay audio recording iPhone Apps out there. This one is ad supported--you can see an ad at the bottom. The thing about iTalk is that it has a lot of features. It lets you select quality, start a recording, then you can pause a recording and pick it up later on. So, it's easy to record short memos or maybe an entire university lecture. When you're done, I like the fact that you can go back in and edit notes and information about the recording. Then you can transfer it to your Mac using a piece of software that you download for you Mac as well.
Now, here's one to keep an eye on. It's called Fring and what it allows you to do is to chat over a lot of instant messaging networks so that you can avoid the SMS over AT&T if you like. You can also make calls over voice over IP networks like Skype. So, I've entered in my Skype account information here and I have the ability through a paid Skype account to make calls out on Skype so I can actually dial a number and use Skype rather than AT&T to make a call. Now, I can only do this over a WiFi network. So, I can do it at home or at the office but that's going to save me a lot of minutes every month. The quality is so-so and the software is really buggy so it's not something that's going to replace your regular phone just yet, but it's worth keeping an eye on.
Here's one called Translator. Now, Translator does exactly what you may think. It allows you to go ahead and select a starting language, a target language, and then go ahead type some text, and translate. It's pretty useful for translating things you may be reading but not that great for helping you speak foreign language because it does not give you a pronunciation guide. But still, it's free.
Now here is one that no iPhone web developer should be without. It is called simply Fonts. What it does is it gives you a complete list of all the fonts that are available on the iPhone and it includes the ability to actually see how they look on the iPhone. So, this is very useful for designing your CSS for iPhone webpages.
Wikipanion is another self explanatory application. It basically allows you to look up things on Wikipedia. Now, it does this fast enough in a nice enough way to make me prefer it over using the wikipedia.org website through Safari on the iPhone.
Now, no internet user should be without a FaceBook account and no FaceBook user with an iPhone should be without the FaceBook iPhone App. It basically allows you to access almost your entire FaceBook account and even some different applications. It's very useful and great for updating your status and checking your friends' status updates. There is also a Linked-In application if you use that network instead.
Of course, a great way to find free or pay iPhone Apps is to go to the MacMost.com/iphoneapps directory. There you can go ahead and search for things that are new, things that have been updated, or you can search by price so you can see the free stuff first. Give it a try.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig for MacMost Now.

Show notes:
You can search for iPhone Apps and sort them by price to find the free ones at the MacMost iPhone Apps Directory. You can find the ones talked about in the show there too:
Google Earth: Explore our planet using satellite views and Web data.
iTalk: Record audio.
Fring: Instant messaging and calls over Skype using Wifi.
Fonts: See which fonts are installed on your iPhone and how they look. Useful for iPhone Web site developers.
Free Translator: Translate text from one language to another.
Wikipanion: Look up items on Wikipedia.
Facebook: Check FaceBook and make status updates.