Tag: iphone

Steven’s most-used iPhone apps

Steven is currently 2 and a half years old and has been using the iPhone since before he was two. Here are the ones that have amused him the most over the past almost-year or so.

  • Peekaboo Barn – Tap the barn to open the door and see what animal is making the noise. A voice-over tells you the animal and a word is also displayed, although you can change the settings for no voice (or to hear it in Spanish!). Steven learned to say “moo” from this app and still enjoys it now. There is a free version with a few animals, but after just a few days of hearing “moo,” “baa,” and “cockledoodledoo” over and over and over again, we sprang for the paid version.
  • FirstWords: Deluxe – Drag mixed-up letter tiles into the right spots. When the word is completed, the picture animates, a fun sound effect is played, and a voice reads the word. The Deluxe version combines FirstWords: Animals, Vehicles, At Home, etc., etc. for about the cost of a venti Starbucks drink. Even before Steven started recognizing letters, he knew to drag the tiles around until they “hit” the right spot; now he’s starting to pay more attention to the letters that “match,” even if he still can’t recognize them on his own. This is probably one of his favorites. There is a free version of FirstWords: Animals, I think, but I would just get the Deluxe version right away.
  • Shape Builder – Drag puzzle pieces into a silhouette of a shape. When the puzzle is complete, the object fades in, a voice reads the name of the object, and a sound effect is played. It took about two days of us holding Steven’s hand to guide the puzzle pieces into place for him to figure out how to play it on his own. This is also one of his favorites. There is a lite version but the paid one is well worth it.
  • Preschool Connect-the-Dots – Tap the dots labeled with uppercase letters, lowercase letters, or numbers, in order to form an outline of a shape that fills in with a spoken word and sound effect. You can change the settings so that it’s easier (the next dot is immediately highlighted), so that the letter/numbers are spoken as you tap them, etc., etc. Steven needs it on the “easy” setting for now, but we noticed him starting to say the names of the letters as he played it more and more.
  • Old MacDonald – an interactive sing-out-loud “book” with lots of animations and Easter egg-type things that happen when you touch the pictures.
  • Balloonimals – Blow into the mic to inflate a balloon, then shake the phone a few times to “twist” the balloon into a cool balloon animal. There is a free version with two animals, but we got the paid version, too. Steven ends up spitting all over the phone when he tries to blow it, and sometimes he gets frustrated when he can’t blow it up all the way and it deflates.
  • weeGiggle – Steven liked this “exploratory app” more when he was younger. Drag around the scene and touch the animals to hear funny sounds, laughs, and watch them change shape. He’s a little bored with it now, but initially it was a sure-fire way to keep his attention for a long time.
  • Stunt Wagon – I think we got this game for free during a promotion (it’s now $0.99). It’s more for older kids/adults as it’s a video-game-type app, where you have to steer your character down a hill, avoiding obstacles. Even though Steven can’t play it for real, he likes the music and the funny sounds that the characters make when they crash into obstacles, so we often hear it coming from the back seat. I probably wouldn’t have bought it, though.
  • Built-in iPhone Photos – Steven loves to browse through the photos and videos on my iPhone.
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Mobile Mouse

I just found out (via @chriscoyier) about a way cool iPhone app: Mobile Mouse, only $1.99. It turns your iPhone (or iPad or iPod) into a remote mouse, trackpad, keyboard, etc. for your PC or Mac — or for multiple PCs and Macs!

The overview video had me sold about me halfway through (it’s a long video, about 9 minutes), and it was a matter of minutes to download the app, download the corresponding software for my Mac and PC, start up the software to turn the computer into a server (I didn’t have to adjust any settings), start up the app, and let it automatically connect. It’s super-easy to switch between controlling the Mac or PC by hitting the ‘settings’ icon in the top left corner of the phone screen and choosing which server to connect to.

I had some trouble getting the “air mouse” feature to work until I looked at their support page and figured out that instead of trying to move the mouse like a laser pointer, I had to tilt it from side to side (true for iPhones 3GS and below). You can easily switch from “air mouse” to “trackpad” — and the trackpad works horizontally or vertically. The keyboard can be shown or hidden and there are easy buttons to switch to view all your programs/applications, a browser-specific button panel, or a media button panel. The media button panel is smart enough to know if you’re using iTunes or DVD or Windows Media Player or whatever. It’s going to be perfect the next time that Steve and I watch DVDs on the laptop.

I am not so sure how much I will use this app, apart from DVD-watching, but overall I’m quite impressed with its functionality!