iphone app review – BBC Reader, mPass Air NZ, eReader
Allows you to view a customisable list of BBC headlines, and select the ones you’re interested in which gives you the web page of the article (without opening Safari). Kind of an improvement on getting an email from the BBC each day with the headlines.
What does it do? Gives you the current headlines from the BBC website
So what! Previously you could either go to BBC’s site using Safari, or subscribe to their email service and get a html or text format email with the brief headlines. With this app you can select the headline you’re interested in and get the full article.
Looks... OK, I guess. It’s just a small photo and a short description.
Ease of use… This is where this app falls down. It’s customisable, in that you can choose three categories you want headlines on, for example; main headlines, technology, asian news. But why can’t you have more than three? If there was more focused customisation then you could avoid downloading all the articles you didn’t want. You have to way for it to update – it optimistically says a few seconds, but it takes longer than that. For just reading the news it’s fine, the customisation is rubbish really.
Criticism? It crashes, in fact out of all the app’s I have only Sim City (which is much more complicated) and BBC Reader are the ones that crash. If you’ve waited for it all to download, then open an article and it crashes, you have to start again. The customisation is weird, it could be so much better and surely it’s not that difficult to sort out. Given this is from the BBC you’d think they had their sh*t together, this has a long way to go. Also be veeeeeery wary of using this if you’re roaming overseas, I just got a horrendous bill from Vodafone!
Air New Zealands mPass app
I know I’m always giving Air NZ stick, but this time they’ve come up with something clever and useful. This nifty app allows you to see all you flights, and gives you a bar code to scan on the machines to check in. It also has links to grabaseat, arrival times etc.
What does it do? Gives you all your flights and bar codes to check in.
So What! This beats waiting at the counter, and now you don’t have to put the flight details in your calendar. The bar code allows you to check in and when we finally get Visa to come up with some way of having cash on you’re phone, you won’t need to carry a wallet around.
Looks… Not bad, simple and easy to understand and get around.
Ease of use… Great, very easy to use. Nothing too fancy (and hopefully they keep it like that as Air NZ have a tendency to try and complicate things).
Criticism? Why aren’t more airlines doing this, so far only Cathay and Qantas offer something similar.
Ok, now you’ve probably heard of Amazon’s Kindle, it’s basically an ebook – an electronic book. Well you can do this on your iphone as well. I guess I was a bit sceptical, could I really be stuffed trying to read a book on the iphone, really it wouldn’t be the same as a real book, or even an ebook would it? Well, after reading two large books, I’ve changed my mind. Obviously a Kindle would be best, but Amazon are so disorganised it isn’t available in NZ (or anywhere apart from the US) Sony haven’t bothered with their reader in NZ and there’s nothing else available. Reading a book on the iphone isn’t that bad at all, for one, you don’t have to lug a huge paper back around with you so you’re book’s always at hand if you have a spare moment.
eReader is owned by Barnes & Noble and therefore has millions (?) of books available in electronic form. What’s more they are cheap, Ian Hamilton’s scifi paper backs are normally NZD35+ each, the electronic versions are about USD5.90.
What does it do? The eReader app allows you to download a book you have purchased from the eReader site (set up an account online first, it’s painless) or a number of other ebook sellers, and read it. You can customise font size and colours, bookmark your page.
So What! Easier than taking your ‘real’ book with you and it’s much cheaper too.
Cost? Free, books themselves range from US$2 – 8 each, eReader runs a loyalty program and seems to have lot’s of specials every week.
Looks… Nothing flash, it’s simple to use, the page turns are quick, obviously you turn the page a lot because of the small screen, but I got used to that quickly.
Ease of use… Great, once you have your online account set up you buy the books and they sit on your virtual shelf waiting for you to open the eReader app and download them – suggest you use wireless rather than 3G, books are generally more than 1MB. Simple to use.
Criticism? None. There are a few other reader app out there, Stanza being one that was recommended, eReader was connected with Barnes & Nobel and I found it easier to set up.
Rating 8/10 (would rather have a full sized ebook, hence the 8/10)