iFidelity: A New Class of Apps That Make the Grade
The Real L Word [FREE] Showtime’s new reality series, The Real L Word, follows the lives of six comely and successful Los Angeles lesbians (see page 119). A spinoff of the network’s original scripted drama, The L Word, the real-life version boasts all the glamour and cutthroat competition that L.A. is famous for. The show’s app provides access to the cast’s favorite places to eat, drink and gossip. Check into their chosen venues via Foursquare, gain insider deals through Access Perks, read their blog entries and watch videos to keep up with all the trouble they get into.
Stanza [FREE] Stanza is not just a digital book reader—it’s the digital book reader, unrivaled in selection and organization. The app invites bookworms to download more than 50,000 titles and import their ePub, eReader and Mobipocket books from their computers onto their phones. Plus, it’s much more convenient than lugging around a Tolstoy hardcover.
The iBall [FREE] Since we were kids, the Magic 8-Ball has been the go-to authority for all of life’s major dilemmas (although perhaps it’s come to mean something more prurient as we’ve gotten older). Much like version 1.0, the iBall needs only a quick shake to reveal your fortune. It also caters to a bevy of specific lifestyles: switch between themes that include “Zen” (for Buddhists), “WWJD” (for Christians) and “New Year’s Resolutions” (for smokers and binge-eaters).
FARO Nerd Detector [FREE] Are you naked without a pair of Buddy Holly glasses? Do you work in I.T.? Can you quote the Na’vi from Avatar? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re definitely a nerd. Users can measure their levels of social ineptitude by uploading a photo of themselves into this app, which delivers the verdict using high-tech facial recognition and photo enhancement. Translation: Upload a picture and use the app to get fitted with A/V-worthy costumes and nerdy backgrounds. Better yet, turn Biff the Quarterback into Worf the Klingon with the click of a button.
100 Words to Make You Sound Smart [$2.99] Based on a book of the same name, this app cuts the “unsmart” crap out of the dictionary and emphasizes sharp verbal acumen. Each word, carefully selected by the editors of The American Heritage Dictionary, is defined and linked to its usage in publications, speeches and popular culture. It’s a speedy resource for those who don’t have enough time to read the dictionary—again.
Brain Trainer by Lumosity [FREE] Lumosity is a cognitive research company that partnered with the world’s leading neuroscientists to boost intellectual capacity. Now, thanks to the iPhone, its brain games are available to the rest of us. Brain Trainer features daily mind exercises meant to strengthen memory while evaluating speed, attention and problem-solving skills. Playing these games for a few minutes each day can help users achieve genius status faster than they can say, “Sarah Palin, parasailing!”
Nerd Workout [$.99] A tool designed specifically for those whose biggest muscle sits atop their narrow shoulders, Nerd Workout measures the number of calories burned while actually using your phone. Get an easy—and totally useless—workout by shaking your iPhone. The jokey app lets others know you’re exercising by making grunting and groaning sounds, while also keeping track of the number of burned calories: 11 percent of a breath mint is average, 100 percent of a pea a triumph.