I’ve never been a so-called Mac addict. That’s not to say I didn’t understand the attraction, but I’d been much too practical to swear allegiance to the brand. Then, one day, into my life the iPhone came, and now I know that Apple is the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.
If you’re tied to your Blackberry or other non-Apple smartphone technology, stay tuned; this blog will cover those, too. But if you have a choice and like me, worship at the altar of productivity within the temple of great user experience, head to your nearest AT&T Wireless and transfer your old number to a new iPhone. Great riches await you at the iPhone App store, and I will cover the best apps here on a regular basis.
Best iPhone Apps for Travelers
AroundMe may be a mobile locum’s best friend. Countless Web sites can tell you where to find the best burger in town but how about the closest ATM from where you’re standing – right now? Oops – need to fill up the tank on the rental? AroundMe pinpoints the closet gas station, and then, with a mere click, displays a map to get right there. Most importantly, there’s never a need to enter your current address; AroundMe uses the iPhone’s GPS to detect where you are. It also finds the closest banks, bars, coffee, hospitals, hotels, movie theaters, parking, pharmacies, pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, and taxis. (Tweakersoft, free)
FlightTrack Pro works with a Web site called TripIt; email your itinerary to email@example.com. It’s then conveniently found in FlightTrack Pro, where the app automatically tracks cancellations, delays, and gate changes. When you’re not flying but picking someone up at the airport, use to app to track the flight in real time and view weather radar. (Mobiata, $9.99)
Urbanspoon helps fight restaurant fatigue by encouraging you to mix it up a little bit. The app displays a slot machine metaphor with three columns – neighborhood, cuisine and price range – any of which you can lock in if you want more control (i.e., you know which neighborhood you want to be in and need to keep the price moderate, but cuisine is up for grabs). Shake the iPhone to see Urbanspoon’s restaurant choice (much like Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” search result), which links to professional and user-generated reviews and a map. (Urbanspoon, free)
Plan.pack.go You know darn well the times you made packing lists everything went more smoothly. Now you can manage and save all of your packing lists from business trips to weekend jaunts to taking the whole crew away for the summer. Not only can you add your own unique items (e.g., a stethoscope) but you can draw from a master item catalog of 600 items organized by category like camping, diving, etc. Completed lists can be saved as templates for reuse. (Tangent Software, $1.99)
Xpense Tracker is one of about a half of dozen expense related apps in the iPhone App store. I put it here because it focuses most on the traditional “expense report,” whereas the others are more geared for monthly budgeting. Wouldn’t it be great to get the expense report done on the fly? Enter that business lunch into the app as soon as you’re back in the car. Xpense Tracker lets you customize expense categories and exports reports to CSV files. It also stores exchange rates on a daily basis for currency conversions. Use the iPhone’s built-in camera to snap photos of your receipts. (Silverware Software, $7.99)
QuantiaMD for the iPhone is our preferred app for MedEd on the go. Its rich media is easy on the eyes and the content is designed for mobile usage with bite-sized clinical education for quick viewing. What’s more, QuantiaMD links you to a community of peers, allowing you to interact with colleagues from around the country in case studies and surveys. (Quantia Communications, free)