Jun 26

Apple's new Podcasts iOS App

One of the rumors about iOS 6 was that Apple would be moving podcasts from the Music app to its very own application on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  Well, the rumor was true, but iOS 6 isn’t required:

This morning Apple released Podcasts, a new standalone podcast app for all iOS devices.

Here’s what Apple says about Podcasts:

Podcasts app is the easiest way to discover, subscribe to and play your favorite podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Explore hundreds of thousands of free audio and video podcasts from the Podcasts Catalog, and play the most popular podcasts, organized for you by topic, with the all-new Top Stations feature.

Browse new and noteworthy iOS apps…

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Jan 10

GoMusic for Google Music iPhone AppUPDATE MARCH 31, 2012: GoMusic, after being briefly pulled from the App Store, is again available for purchase and download.

As Cloud services have rolled out en masse over the last couple of years, I’ve mostly stayed away.  They’re interesting, but buggy and often useless, and aside from Dropbox (which quickly evolved from cool option to indispensable tool), I’ve tried and mostly abandoned each Cloud service du jour. 

Google Music, on the other hand, had me from my first log-in.  Google, which already powers so much of my digital life, offers the service as a “music locker,” a place to store your music online and to listen from any location, so long as you have an internet connection.

But there was a problem…

Google Music was fine while at my desk, using an Android device, or on my laptop, but mostly useless on my iPhone (there’s no official Google Music app in the App Store, but you can access the service via Safari).  So I set out to find a third-party solution that could make my Google Music collection more iPhone friendly. And after spending a good bit of time with three such apps, I’ve found the best iPhone-Google Music option: GoMusic

It isn’t perfect, but it’s by far the best solution if you’re an iPhone user.

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Aug 04

Vonage Time to Call iPhone App

Vonage has released a new VoIP app that allows iPhone users – even those without Vonage accounts – to make international calls over Wi-Fi or 3G. The app, Vonage Time to Call [App Store Link], allows 15 minute calls to 100 countries for $1.99 or less, and to another 90 nations at costs between $2.99 and $9.99 per quarter hour, depending on the country.  Charges are billed to your iTunes account.

As inexpensive as this might seem at first glance, however, the application may or may not be your best international VoIP option.  For example:

If you use Time to Call to phone someone in Germany, you’ll pay $1.99 per 15 minutes, whether you’re calling a mobile or landline phone.  A Skype credit call to a German T-Mobile or Vodafone mobile number can cost as much as $0.29 per minute, or $4.35 for a 15 minute chat, in which case the Vonage app is a bargain.  But calls to a landline phone in Germany on Skype are only $0.02 per minute, which would set you back only 30 cents for a 15 minute mini-gab-fest. 

And there are other iPhone VoIP solutions to consider as well.

So you’ll have to do a bit of research to find out which solution will save you the most. Vonage has posted a web tool to find the cost of calls to available countries, and you can visit Skype or other VoIP web sites for their international rates.

For a limited time, Vonage is offering a free 15 minute call to one of 100 countries using Time to Call.   The app is free.

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Aug 02

Skype for iPad v1.xWell, it took long enough, but an iPad-specific version of Skype is now available for the iPad and iPad 2.  And if have an iPad 2, you can finally make face-to-face video calls using the tablet’s front-facing camera.

Some features of Skype for iPad include contacts view, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, front-facing or rear-facing camera support for video chat, IM chat with emoticons, Skype Out calls to landlines and mobile phones (if subscribed), chat and call history, and more.

Skype for iPad is free and now available for download from the App Store.

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Jul 14

dragongo_ss1Nuance Communications – the company behind Dragon NaturallySpeaking – has released several popular voice-centric iOS apps since late 2009.  These applications have been praised for their performance in voice-to-text tasks, and for good reason; but the company’s latest iPhone app, Dragon Go!, may be their best yet.

Dragon Go! [App Store Link] is the replacement for a previous Nuance app called Dragon Search, and if you used that older search app, you’ll quickly recognize the inspiration for Go!.  Simply put, the app allows you to speak a term, iPhone 4 Cases for example, and get results from select sites, all without leaving the application. This search term gave me quick access to Amazon.com and eBay results for iPhone 4 cases, general Google search results, YouTube videos, and related tweets, among others.

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