Apps aren’t just frivolous downloads clogging our iPhones—they’ve become a culture unto their own. Apple’s App Store now serves more than 225,000 different apps; engaging with this culture is one of the biggest pulls toward the iPhone (it’s certainly not the antenna).
Here are five free iPhone apps you may have never heard of—but could change your app-centric life.
PetRescuers [iTunes Link]
Lost pet signs are probably the saddest single sheet of paper in the world. I remember plastering Somerville telephone poles with pictures of my kitty Lolita. Whenever I’d see them, I’d ache for death (LoLo came home eventually—yay!).
But now that geolocation apps have become ubiquitous with GPS-enabled smartphones, searching for lost pets just got easier. PetRescuers’ lost pet postings can by sorted by photo, species, age, breed, area last seen, medical information, or personality description. It has targeted alerts that branch out from five to twenty-five miles, and even bark, meow and chime sounds!
It’s simple but uber-useful for iPhone communities.
UberCab [iTunes Link]
Googling cab companies and then calling is totally last year. I mean, who uses the phone on their phone anymore? UberCab eliminates the necessities of calling and cash by integrating the hailing process right into your iPhone.
UberCab—only available in San Francisco at the moment—offers one click iPhone requests, location based dispatch, on demand limo service, and in-app billing—no cash required. The charges are a bit more than normal taxi rates and are solely for black car services like Towncars and Escalades, but it might be worth it to those who loathe the pungent odor of curry and BO.
Fashism [iTunes Link]
The age-old question—“Does this make me look fat?”—can now be answered digitally. Fashism’s website has provided fashion advice and criticism for a while, and now the company is taking the next logical step: invade the iPhone.
Snap photos of what clothes you want to buy right in the dressing room, compare styles with over fashionista mavens, judge people from afar, and so much more.
Relatedly, U.S. stores will begin unveiling IBM-powered software called Virtual Mirror that will scan your face and tell you if you look pretty today. Virtual Mirror is being marketed by EZFace—and their website lets you try it out for free! Do you look handsome/like a good man today? (Because I look hungover.)
Carticipate [iTunes Link]
Go green: carpool. Carpooling—also known as ride-sharing—is a great way to help save the environment and talk shit about your boss away from the watercooler. Carticipate culls user data and helps you find other people looking to stink up your ride with their tuna salad sandwich.
The carpooling app genre is due for an evolution. GigaOm recently profiled Zimride and explored how its forthcoming app will bring carpooling to the masses and will include a trust-based ecosystem, eliminating the potential to share an hour-long commute with a serial killer. Zimride has fifty-five corporate and university partners (and counting), so co-workers can ride together, and college students can guarantee the other carpoolers will be fellow students.
Bartab [iTunes Link]
Facebook gifts were stupid—that’s why the service was shut down. Why would I need a goddamned virtual flowerpot? Webtab, Inc. rethought the concept and introduced Bartab, an iPhone app that partners with a select few bars in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City (with more coming soon).
The concept sounds the same as buyyourfriendadrink.com (which was also shuttered), wherein you upload dough redeemable at bars. But Bartab upped the ante: all drinks are just $1—the rest of the tab is picked up by the bar at which these coupons are redeemed. This is Web 3.0 marketing at its best. Better yet for business owners: bars control what drinks are offered; gift redemption automatically posts viral advertising updates to Facebook; and statistics show that 80 percent of Bartab users stay for at least one more paying drink.