In recent years, the release of Apple’s Software Development Kit (SDK) has seen an influx of professional and amateur iPhone and iPod Touch applications – some practically useful, others purely entertaining, and still others mundane and pointless. Despite all its success, however, the SDK has still failed to give rise to the coverage of certain niches in the market; niches which would be best filled with applications for everyday life.
Augmented Reality Social Networking
Augmented reality applications are becoming a lot more popular. They utilise the iPhone’s camera to provide users with real-time, updated information on their surroundings. For instance, Twittaround is an augmented reality app which allows users to see, through the iPhone camera, the direction and distance of people currently Tweeting.
This concept and technology could be applied to other social networking sites, giving users an updated, real-time picture of their online social network. Facebook, Bebo and other social networking sites could be ‘augmented’ allowing users to see which of their friends are online, where they are, how far away they are and what they’re doing at any given time.
One practical use of this could be when people want to find one another on a busy street, or if friends lose one another at a festival or in a busy shopping centre. All parties would log into, for instance, their Facebook accounts and would be able to rendezvous using their phones. This would, of course, assume that each person has a 3G enabled phone and at least one party has an iPhone 3G.
The general public should have called for this one a long time ago. Since its development many years ago the only way to ‘enqueue’ a particular song on an iPod, iPod Touch or iPhone would be to hold down a certain button with the track selected. There is no way of ‘enqueuing’ a song via software – which would seem the logical ‘step in the right direction’
Surprisingly, no-one has thought of developing a app for this. Apple’s iPhone slogan, “there’s an app for that” has failed to hold any water in this case. An ‘enqueue’ application allowing the user to scroll through their iPod Touch or iPhone playlist and touch tick songs they wish to listen to next (and displaying sequential numbers next to queued songs) would indeed be very useful.
For people who find it difficult to keep track of the food in their cupboards and refrigerators, the development of this app would be particularly useful. The frustrations of having to bin expired food will lead to the development of this app, which automatically keeps track of the user’s food and fresh produce, warning them when that pack of bacon or chicken breasts is near its expiry date.
All the user would have to do would be to take a photograph of the expiry date on a particular pack of food on their iPhone and the application would use text recognition software to store the date and picture recognition to record the type of food stored. The rest would be reliance on a calendar system to warn when food is going out of date.
Alternatively, building on the iPhone’s handy barcode reading application, the ‘expiry date’ application could scan a barcode on a product, taking information on the product type, price and expiry date. This would, however, require the participation of food companies who would need to put such information on barcodes.
Striking an iPhone Chord
Up and coming musicians would like this application. For anyone who has ever been playing the guitar, piano or anything else for that matter and has struck a particularly interesting chord but not known what it was, this app would employ the same sound recognition technology used by applications like Shazam to put a name to it. Extended even further, the user would be able to whistle or hum the melody of a song and, like Shazam, the application would put and artist and title to the tune with relative accuracy.
People were upset and disappointed when they found out that Apple’s Software Development Kit would only be available on Mac machines. Especially seeing as a large percentage of aspiring developers ran only Windows-based machines. The expenses involved in developing iPhone or iPod Touch software are almost off-putting for the Windows-based user. Why then, has an application for running the SDK on a mobile device such as an iPhone not been forwarded?
This application would allow users to work on applications on the go, allowing the editing and writing of code, as well as application testing and submission processes. This would not only be useful to Windows users, but would afford Mac users the flexibility to write applications wherever they wanted to, without the need for a desktop or laptop.
For Future Reference
These applications would need to go through the development and submission process, but would be very useful assets being carried around in one’s pocket. It is surprising that a scan of the internet for similar applications yields little or no results – surely people have conceptualized similar ideas. What is required is a bold move towards putting these ideas into practice.