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iPhone Apps I'd Totally Buy

Detail from conext-specific location controls in OmniFocus for iPhoneAs I wrote yesterday, I'm loving the new iPhone apps on the iTunes store. Also, as we mentioned on MacBreak Weekly yesterday, it seems likely that we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what people will do with that SDK.

But it got me thinking about the stuff I want -- the itches I want to scratch. So, iPhone developer friends. Please make these three apps.

Prime This

Elevator pitch: Scan barcode to instantly order an item via Amazon

Out and about and see something you want to buy? Maybe a book, CD, or DVD that you want, but don't want to buy/carry/pack right now? No problem.

Take a photo of the item's barcode, hit one button, and the item is instantly ordered through Amazon 1-Click using your default credit card and shipping preferences. Done.

Yeah, I know; I know. You want price comparisons, and wish lists, and an API for tagging and "mashups." Well, suck it up; you're not who this is for. This is for hardcore, mainlining Amazon Prime power users. That's why it has exactly one button: "Prime This."

Suggested price: Free (developer will make a killing on affiliate money)


Elevator pitch: Location-aware parking reminder

Open the app, hit a button, and your location is noted and added to a map. Optionally add an alarm (for the parking meter or street cleaning), notes and photos ("3rd level; Area G"), and other pertinent data ("Closes at 1am; after hours number is....").

When you're ready to go to your car, the app reminds you where you parked (with a walking map), and off you go.

Suggested price: $5

That Reminds Me

Elevator pitch: Lightweight, location-aware alarm app

Tell TRM the really mushy kinds of things that fall somewhere between a todo and a wish and a curiosity.

  • buy a lottery ticket on my birthday
  • pick up a crazy notebook next time I'm in Chinatown
  • grab a takeout menu next time I'm at Andy's

Using functionality similar to OmniFocus's flexible, location-aware contexts, add new items to your list with optional alarms and start/end dates. Then forget about it.

Next time you're geographically near where you need to be, you get a reminder and a map to get you there.

Suggested price: $5

The Question to You

What’s the iPhone app you crave? What would take great advantage of Location Services, the camera, SDK features, or what have you? What itch do you want to have scratched?

raygan's picture

My pie-in-the-sky iphone app wish list

My List (For anybody that's listening)

(These aren't really productivity related, but I'm hoping they get churned out eventually.)

SimpleComic for iPhone (or similar)

A lightweight CBR and CBZ reader for reading comic books on the fly. Nice features would be bookmarks, multiple view options, sending and receiving comics by email, etc...

Suggested Price: $5-10

Text to Speech

I'm not sure if this is possible on the iPhone, but some kind of text reader would be marvelous, particularly if it had the facility to read web pages, text documents, emails, etc... Bonus points for audiobook-like place saving.

Suggested Price: $5-10


Self explanatory. I saw that somebody had it on a jailbroken phone here a while ago. Save everyone the time of transcoding video.

Suggested Price: $0 (it's free software after all...)

Podcast Aggregator

I always thought that an iPod with WiFi would be able to snatch new podcast episodes over the air. That much desired feature has yet to materialize. I'd love a way to either update my iPhone's normal podcast structure over the air sans iTunes, or if that's not possible, use a dedicated program separate from the "iPod" to do the listening.

Suggested Price: $5

Remote Video

This is probably a pipe dream. I'm envisioning something like what Sony has done with remote play between the PS3 and the PSP. A Mac-side program transcodes videos on the fly and streams them over the internet on demand to the waiting iPhone. The program automagically handles IP Addresses and so on, and chooses video quality to suit connection speed.

Suggested Price: $20

A final desire, though I believe this would have to come from outside the development community:

Hulu/Netflix Watch It Now/Google Video/etc...

Individual per-service apps ape-ing the YouTube app, providing streaming video despite the lack of flash support on the iPhone. Preferably they would be able to handle links in web pages and emails, as the YouTube app does.

Suggested Price: $0 (add supported)




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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