February 2010 Issue

iPhone Aviation Apps: Some Serious, Some Silly

We’re not about to get our pants snagged on the iPhone’s pretentious preciousness, but some apps offer genuine utility. Every 50th one is brilliant.

We can imagine only three reactions to the phrase, "there’s an app for that." One, utter puzzlement because you’re clueless about apps, two, you recoil in disgust against the overblown preciousness of Apple’s iPhone or, last, "yeah, I’ve seen it." Apps are, of course, modest little single-purpose programs that run on Apple’s iPhone smart phone or iPod Touch MP3 players. At last count, there were more 140,000 apps and at least 195 of them are aviation applications of some kind. In this report, we’ll take a minimal survey of a handful of these but, more to the point, we’ll examine the basic Zen of apps. Are they just gimmicks or are they really useful? (It’s a little of each, in our view.) Worth noting is that other smart phones like the Android-based products and the Blackberries also have aviation apps. We’ll get to those later.

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