Sometimes it takes a tip to navigate the blurring landscape of iPhone apps. (image courtesy of Steven Rhodes)
The Breakdown: Everyone is talking about the iPad, and we’re interested in seeing what develops, but in the meantime we still love our iPhones. That’s why we asked a handful of Razorfish iPhone users to tell us about iPhone apps they like and why. Explore their recommendations and tell us what your favorite is too.
Nicholas Heasman, Information Architect
StationStops is an awesome iPhone app that helps me figure out what trains I can catch out of Grand Central Terminal (GCT) each night without having to carry a folded paper Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) train schedule. After I enter where I want to go, StationStops displays the entire schedule for my stop, highlights the next train, and tells me how long it will take. The most useful feature is the fact that the entire train timetable is stored locally, so it’s always available, regardless of cell phone reception, which can be key when shuttling around underground by subway. With reception, the app becomes more powerful by displaying the posted track numbers for soon-to-depart trains. When you’re commuting every day, not having to stop to look at the departure board is a huge win, helping save time and reduce the need to do battle with the crowds. If I could improve the app, I’d allow users to enter both origin and destination stops, instead of being required to always either depart or arrive GCT. Overall, it is a very useful iPhone app that is innovative because it encourages the MTA to open up and share more of its public transportation data.
Shiv Singh, VP & Global Social Media Lead
My favorite iPhone application is Baby flash cards. It lets me expose my son (who’s not yet a year) to new words and sounds. Why is it special – because it’s an application that can be used to help someone who is far too young to have an iPhone himself. There’s nothing strictly social about it and nor is it probably the most sophisticated application but it serves a distinct, discrete and important need without cluttering up my apartment. Is it truly pushing the boundaries of the iPhone experience? Maybe not in the traditional sense but it’s another way that I’m being brought closer to my son and that makes all the difference. The best apps are the ones that connect people to each other even if its parents connecting with their children in different ways and helping them learn.
Andrea Harrison, VP Strategy
I’ve enjoyed playing with Where the Wild Things Are app. It was designed for the movie launch and has the standard movie info, but for me the real fun is playing with the animated Carol Wild Thing. He interacts with you and even breaks your screen if you throw too many rocks at him. The app lets you select pictures and contacts from your phone and insert them into the animation where Carol eats them, laughs at them and stomps on them. You can also select music from your iPod and he’ll dance to it. All in all a great free app showing what you can do outside of straight brand promotion when you use all the parts of the phone.
John Pettengill, Information Architect
It’s hard to pick one app to be my favorite (because, really, I love them all equally), but I’ve been seriously impressed by Pocket God. A playful, discovery oriented environment combined with regular updates lead to a playful environment that isn’t technically a game. There are no rules, there are just activities to explore. The faceted game play (through clever gestures and the sheer number of things to discover) makes me come back to this app again and again whether I have 1 minute to kill or 15.
Matt Geraghty, Content Strategist
One app that has caught my eye is GQ Magazine — Conde Nast’s first shot at publishing a monthly issue through the iPhone. It has the feel of a mini-magazine in the palm of your hand as you quickly flip, zoom, and explore content and features. Two alternate elegant viewing options are enabled by switching between the horizontal and vertical view and there’s a cool navigation bar that lets you leap instantly from page to page. Most of all I like the simple idea of having an entire issue of your favorite magazine in your pocket . To be honest, I’m also very interested to see how the new digital possibilities play out for magazines with the iPad. Word has it, GQ is first in line.
Kyle Outlaw, Experience Lead
I’ve been interested in augmented reality applications lately. Augmented Reality is loosely defined as a live view of a physical real-world environment merged with virtual imagery resulting in a “mixed reality” experience (according to Wikipedia). Recent examples of augmented reality for mobile include Mobilizy’s Wikitude and Layar augmented reality browsers for the iPhone and Android platforms. I’d argue that one of the more ground breaking (and lesser known) examples of AR is ARGH (Augmented Reality Ghost Hunter). The point of ARGH is to capture “ghosts” that have been superimposed on the users’ environment using “Ghost Goggles”. It will be interesting to see how agencies and their clients will utilize augmented reality combined with social networking, geolocation services, and other mobile-based technologies to transform the physical world into something more gamelike.