Monday, April 16, 2012

Favorite iPhone Apps

Here's my list of iPhone apps that I think are very useful. I'll keep updating this list as I find new ones.

Camera Awesome: This free app by the folks at SmugMug makes a huge difference to the quality of photos taken by the iPhone. It allows the user to select a certain area of a photo to focus on, has tools that allow better framing of a shot, and includes tons of tools for post-processing of the photo once it's taken. My only gripes are that it is a little slow when saving the image, and it only allows the user to export one photo at a time to the iPhone album.

Genius Scan: I don't own a scanner or copier, but I do have a printer.  I stay away from multifunction devices because they seem to have "too much" making them less dependable.  Genius Scan allows me get  the functionality of a scanner or copier using my iPhone.  I take a picture, the scanning software enhances it, and I can then email the image to myself and print it if I need a copy.  I've used it for several months now.

Google Maps: With the advent of iOS 6 featuring Apple's mapping program, we lost the ability to get directions using public transportation.  Google Maps can be added as a separate app that allows the user to get back that functionality, but additionally also offers turn-by-turn spoken directions even on older devices (unlike the built in iOS maps program which requires at least an iPhone 4S in order to provide turn-by-turn spoken directions).

Tips and tricks (iOS6)

The 25 (more) awesome iPhone tips and tricks article on yahoo is certainly worth a read.  I found many useful things there including the ability to lock my screen and a quick way to generate a period while typing an email or text message.

Streaming directions from Apple Maps to your car's speakers

This requires the car to have bluetooth and the phone to be paired with the car.  Then follow the directions in this article to enable HFP prompts.

Testing RF performance

From the iPhone keypad, dial *3001#12345#* and hit “Call”

This will bring up the true signal meter to replace the bars. You can use that to determine just how badly the signal is fluctuating. If you are standing outdoors with the phone on a level surface and not moving, the meter shouldn't change more than 10 db.

iPhone camera specs

This article provides a nice comparison of the cameras in iPhone 4 through iPhone 5s.

  • Manuals for various versions of iOS are available here.
  • User guides for the iPhones currently on sale are available here.
The most versatile device?

Aside from being an extension to my computer for things like email and web browsing, my iPhone has essentially replaced the function of all of the following devices
  • Watch
  • Calendar/planner
  • Music player
  • GPS
  • Compass
  • Alarm clock
  • Scanner
  • Flashlight
  • Calculator
I don't consider at the point yet where is can replace my computer, though, mainly because it's very hard to connect to certain websites and get them to deliver their native pages; many websites only offer a pared-down mobile version once they detect they are connecting to an iOS device.

iPhone camera controls

I took a free 1-hour class at the Apple store on 12/27/15.  I learned a few things about the camera.  Here's what they covered:
  • Regular picture, square picture.
  • Focus, focus/AE lock (tap and hold), exposure adjust (by sliding finger up and down).
  • Changing perspective by rotating the camera because the lens sits differently in each of the 4 positions.
  • Burst mode (vary the number of shots by holding the click button), timer mode (displays a count down and the number of shots), live photo mode (captures 1.3 seconds on either side of the shot within the jpg file, use a long touch to view the photo with motion).
  • Panorama mode.  
    • Can be set to create a panorama shot moving left-to-right or right-to-left.
    • Phone must be upright for side-to-side shots.
    • Phone must be tilted 90 degrees for top-to-bottom shots.
  • Flash settings -- auto, on, off.
  • HDR - high dynamic range.  This is useful when taking pictures with a combination of bright and shadows, e.g. during sunset.  HDR and flash are mutually exclusive.
  • Video, slow-motion video (120 or 240 fps depending on size 1080 v 720), time-lapse video (compression of long duration events at 1 fps).
    • Focus/AE lock works but you cannot change the exposure.
  • Digital zoom for photo and video.
  • Viewing, editing the album.
Many of these features are covered in this video.

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