Augmented reality. It's that future tech we've all been waiting for--point your phone at something in the real world, and gain all the cyber knowledge the interwebs can provide. Wondering what species of tree you're looking at? Just direct your iPhone camera to it, and Wikipedia fills you in with a textual overlay.
Of course with the neat comes the not so neat too, so we at Mac|Life have done you the service of sifting out the junk. We've gone through just about every augmented reality app we could find, and here are our four favorites. They may not be the first apps you think of when you think about augmented reality, but they're actually useful. In fact, we'd say they're the best. And, iPhone 4 users, they're all updated for viewing on that gorgeous Retina Display.
Craigslist is the premier site for people looking for a good deal. Unlike Amazon and eBay, its searches are refined to sellers in defined proximities--usually people who are looking for quick pick-ups. Craigslisters who check often enough are bound to find something awesome for cheap, which means that well-designed iPhone and iPad apps could be huge.
We set out to determine if an iOS app could top the Mobile Safari experience, and it was no surprise to find literally dozens of Craigslist apps for the iPhone and iPad. It’s as if developers realized that the infrastructure was already set up, and all they had to do was beautify the site. However, many of them missed that mark, and we ended up wading through a sea of glitchy, crippled versions of the popular site--or apps even less attractive than the infamously minimal website. Still, a few interesting options emerged, so let’s take a look at the best of the bunch.
The iPhone 4 isn’t particularly well-named. That’s because one of the things you’ll use this ingenious little device for least is making boring old phone calls. Between the terrific dual cameras, the zippy performance, and the luscious Retina Display, we were quickly absorbed in photography, games, web-browsing, and loads more. It’s truly a dramatic leap forward from the not-shabby-at-all iPhone 3GS.
Board-game favorite, Carcassonne makes a smooth transition to the iPhone. While we'd like even more features, a clean interface and online matches show how to update a game for digital devices. Strategy fans--whether they know the original or not--will dock this one on the main home screen.
Welcome to our brand new weekly column. Every Tuesday, we’ll march through the mediocre multiplayers, sift through the sordid sporting titles, and pound through the petty platformers to find the best, most interesting iOS gaming gems. We’re kicking things off with five terrific new releases, and be sure to come back next week and every week to spare yourself the hassle of sifting the App Store’s latest game releases.
SoundHound takes Shazam's pioneering song-recognition approach to a whole new level, letting you not only identify recorded songs, but also use your own vocal cords to generate a result. The ability to sing or hum a few bars of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" or Rihanna's "Rude Boy" and get a correct identification is pretty mind-blowing, and a testament to the power of SoundHound's inner workings.
Guitar amplifiers have been going through an identity crisis lately. For years, one amp with a good sound was all fine and dandy, but then digital technology figured out how to capture and cram the sounds of many amps into one program--and who doesn’t like choice? Now the realm of digital amp emulation comes to Apple’s handhelds with AmpliTube, aided and abetted by the iRig adapter, and the results are rocktacular.