Tuesday, October 7, 2008

iPhone/iPod Touch App Reviews

Since the iPhone App Store came on line, hundreds and hundreds of applications have appeared, some good, some dodgy. (Well, ok, many dodgy. How many flashlights do you need?) There are quite a few really solid apps, and quite a few targeted at music, either performance or sequencing.

I'm always on the lookout for tools to improve my versatility at impro shows. I was carrying around my iPod anyway, so if I can use it in shows, why not? I've parted with a few bucks for a few applications now, and I thought it was worth sharing my experiences. It's only had one outing so far, as an emergency stopwatch for timed games.

Each of the apps I'll review is compatible with both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. I have a first-gen iPod touch - it's like an iPhone, but without the phone, gps, camera, hardware volume control, speaker, bluetooth. And without the exorbitant data rates. :) It sure looks a lot like an iPhone. I'm positive I look like an idiot on the bus when I've been using my looks-like-an-iPhone, then get out my cheap Nokia flip-phone to make a call. I should gaff tape them together.

As far as reviews for this site go, I'll particularly be on the lookout for apps that have some utility for musicians working in improvised theatre.

If you're going to use one of these in a show, you're probably better off if you have a mixing desk with you right there, and you're driving it yourself. Even with the iPhone's hardware volume control, you don't have the ability to quickly adjust volume by a random amount when you have one of those ohmygoshthatisreallyloud moments.

It's also worth being careful about setting the auto-screen-off function. No good if you have to push-and-swipe to get it going in a hurry. And if you leave the screen always-on, you'd better make sure you're on mains power. (Hmm, this is starting to get less convenient!)

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