02 December 2008

Noisy iPhone app week

The week before Thanksgiving was “Noisy iPhone app week”. (And I haven’t gotten around to posting about it until now.)

Smule’s Ocarina is an iPhone simulation of a four-hole ocarina. I’d been reading good things about it, but when my friend Cheli sent me a link to the Stairway video, I had to try it. Smule discovered that they could detect when you blow on the iPhone’s microphone, which I think they first took advantage of this with their Sonic Lighter app. Given the five-touch limit of the iPhone screen and the typical square arrangement of holes on a four-hole ocarina, the ocarina was a good choice for a flute to simulate. Of course, the digital ocarina boasts some features unavailable on a real ocarina, such as the ability to change key and mode. Of all the musical instrument apps for the iPhone, this is the first one that’s really felt like a usable instrument rather than just a novelty. (And the app got me to buy a real ocarina.)

FourTrack by Sonoma Wire Works is a four-track recorder. A little multi-track recording studio on your phone.

I hadn’t really had much use for Google’s iPhone app. When I read that they were adding voice recognition, it just seemed kind of gimmicky. It actually works pretty well, though, and speaking your search terms can sometimes be more convenient than typing them on the on-screen keyboard. I imagine that some users will find it much more convenient than the on-screen keyboard. Check out the video demo.

I discovered Midomi long before Noisy iPhone week, but it seems like it deserves a mention too. It was one of the earliest iPhone apps I downloaded, after seeing Andrea use it. Midomi can listen to a song and identify it for you. It can listen to you sing or hum a song and identify it. It also has voice recognition—like Google’s app now has—for looking up a song or artist by name.

No comments: