Top 10 Must Have iPhone Apps April 2010

Here’s this month’s must have list of the best of iPhone and iPod Apps:
Unless otherwise noted, all apps mentioned here are FREE (requires iTunes for download).

Must Have Apps for April 2010
With over 200,000 active iPod and iPhone apps, there’s nearly an endless selection of tools and toys for every occasion. We’ve scoured the iPhone apps directories and tested many hundreds of tools. Here’s our top ten list of must-have iPhone apps for April 2010.
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Top 10 Must Have iPod iPhone Apps February 2010

New – Click here to see April 2010 Top Ten Apps

Must Have Apps 2010
With over 200,000 active iPod and iPhone apps, there’s nearly an endless selection of tools and toys for every occasion. We’ve scoured the iPhone apps directories and tested many hundreds of tools. Here’s our top ten list of must-have iPhone apps for January 2010.

iPhone and iPad Suitable
We chose apps that are suitable and work well on both Apple iPhones and iPads. These apps will add to your iPhone experience, and are in addition to the great set of apps that Apple includes with your purchased device.

The apps listed here require you to have an iTunes account and you must download them from the Apps tool on your Apple device or from your PC or Mac’s iTunes.  Most of these apps are free.  The paid apps will include their cost in the description.

On Sale Now: Apple iPod touch 3rd Generation Portable Media Player (32GB) with FREE Shipping!
All iPod sizes on sale now.

Top Ten Must Have iPhone iPod Apps

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Is the iPad Really Just an iPod for Giants? Analysis and Review.

As we’ve already reported, Apple’s official announcement of the iPad to be released in a couple months, has sent shockwaves through the technology world. Steve Jobs and Apple have a history of being at the forefront of innovation in the technology industry.

A New Era – The iPad Era?
Could this new iPad foreshadow the shift in consumer migration and mix with telephony and media? Has Apple hit this one out of the park with a new concept for a new era? The reviews thus far have been mixed. Most industry pundits are cautious not to outright pan the device for fear of the boomerang should Apple prove again that it knows better.

Pricing
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iPod vs. iPad vs. iPhone Features Comparison

Apple’s announcement of the new iPad gives the consumer a new challenge to decide which device to purchase. TechExposures set out to make the decision process a bit easier. Here’s a side by side comparison of the features and specs of the three Apple popular devices.

Side By Side Comparison

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iPad is an Oversized iPod

Is the new Apple iPad A Product Without a Market?
With a 9 inch plus screen size and at only 1/2 inch thick, the iPad looks like an oversized iPod.
The prices look great too, and much less than what the analysts had thought $499 – $699 for 16GB up to   64GB models. This just proves that corporate secrets can still be kept, even in the day of the Internet’s “run of the mouth”.

Steve Jobs does a great job of selling his products. The man was surely a snakeoil huckster in a previous life. He sat there on stage showing all the nice tricks and things that this new device can do. The question is, has Apple created a product for a need that does not yet exist, or have they essentially extrapolated on the iPod to a bigger size to capture all consumers. e.g. from iPod, to iPhone, to iPad, to MacBook, to… you get the idea.

What is the iPad niche?
As I watched the news conference, I tried to imagine shlepping an iPad around on the train, or on a plane. Like the iPhone/iPod, there’s no cover to protect it (unless you consider a plastic film a ‘cover’). I think it would be in that awkward size – too big for the pocket, and too small to really get work done. If you’re traveling to work, you want to listen to a podcast, maybe a song or two, or catch last night’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Are you really going to take the iPad with you for that? The iPhone/iPod size is just right for media on the train.
If you are traveling by plane, and you expect to get some work done at the airport gate or on the flight, what do you really want to have with you, your Dell Studio, or the iPad?

I guess the iPad is looking for the niche of home users who want easy access to online media, such as online books, videos, and music. Essentially, the iPad will give the iTunes store a bigger footprint to work with. Is that a game-changer? I don’t think so…

The Kindle is not such a whopping success in terms of units sold. So, iPad can’t have its crosshairs on the online book market. Likewise, the home media experience is still much better in surround sound stereo on your huge LCD HD Plasma screen.  Does the iPad have a niche of its own that has not yet been created?  Apple sure does have experience in convincing consumers that they _must_ have products that weren’t even invented a decade before.

What market niche is left for the iPad? Giving your kids a video player for their bedroom?  I guess we’ll soon find out.

Free Convert avi and flv files to iPod and iPhone 3GS with Linux command line

Problem:
You have a lot of FLV and AVI files that you want to add to your Ipod Touch or iPhone 3GS.  You can’t just drop them in to your iTunes program since they need to be in an acceptable format.

Solution:
If you are using Linux, ffmpeg is a great tool that can convert all the multimedia files you need to a format acceptable for your iPod, iPod Touch, and iPhone 3GS.

Conversion steps:

1. Go to a Linux command line Shell and type in the following command for each file you wish to convert.

ffmpeg -i input.avi -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -mbd 2 -flags +4mv -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 320×240 output.mp4

Note: replace input.avi with the filename you wish to convert, and output.mp4 with the name of the file to be outputed (this must remain with as .mp4)

Pay attention to the command line results.  If all goes well, ffmpeg will stream and convert the file.  ffmpeg may shout out that you need to install codecs.  In that case, it will tell you what is missing, and after you’ve added the missing codec, try again.

2. Copy the outputed files to a disk key and plug them into a Windows machine to drop them into your iTunes software.

3. Sync your iPod or iPhone and you are ready to go.

Please let us know if this worked for you and/or if you have suggestions on how to improve it.

Linux – Convert Videos to Creative Vision Player

I love my Creative Vision W Player. It was built to last. The problem is that there’s no software provided by Creative that supports converting video files – such as flv from Youtube, Myspace, Megavideo, and elsewhere – to your Creative Player from Linux.

Here’s the tool that I use to easily convert all FLV and AVI files to the format that Creative players require.
mencoder is a great conversion tool.
You can install it with this command sudo apt-get install mencoder

The manual is thick, but have no fear, the command below works every time.

mencoder -ovc xvid -oac copy -xvidencopts bitrate=687 -o

The command essentially copies the video to a size and bitrate that is accepted by your player.

If you are missing the required codecs for xvid, you can get them here.

OK, you’ve got the file in the perfect AVI format. Next, you’ll need to copy it over to your player.
I use Gnomad. It works fine in Kubuntu and in Gnome Ubuntu. Unfortunately, it’s not in the Ubuntu repository.
You can get information on how to download Gnomad2 here. You may need to also download libmtp and libnjb. The instructions are at that link as well.

Free Linux Tools – Convert Media Files to Your Sansa Disk

Sansa Media Player
You bought the Sansa Player and you use Linux. Sansa doesn’t come with Linux support. Have no fear. It’s really easy to convert and copy your favorite media files to your portable Sansa Player.

ffmpeg
ffmpeg is a great tool for converting files from one format to another.  The flexibility and capability of this is seemingly endless.  Unfortunately, the manual has about 200 pages at last count, and the trial and error of getting a file into another format requires a lot of patience.

if you don’t already have ffmpeg installed, then use your Linux distro’s package manager and install it with all recommended dependencies.
In Ubuntu and Kubuntu to install ffmpeg type this into your Terminal command prompt

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

Convert to Sansa Disk Player Format
I’ve used this method to copy countless FLV & AVI files to my daughter’s Sansa Player.

From a Linux command prompt copy in the following code.  Replace INPUT and OUTPUT with the filename you are converting and the name of the output file

ffmpeg -i INPUT -r 29  -ab 96k -qmax 51 -mbd 2 -flags +4mv+trell -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -ar 44100 -g 300 -s 320×240 -aspect 4:3 -ac 2 -f mp4 -y OUTPUT

You’ll see a progress bar working in your Terminal window. Once it’s completed, simply copy the file over to the Sansa Disk directory. (Assuming you’ve connected it to your computer, it should probably be in /media/disk)

Let us know if this tip helped and/or if you have a better method.

Free ways to convert flv video files to ipod, sansa,creative vision

How to get those website files on to your iPod.

Problem: You have a whole bunch of downloaded FLV files from Youtube, MySpace, DailyMotion, Metacafe, Veoh, etc… You want to put them on your portable video player, such as an Ipod Itouch, Nano, Creative Vision W, or SansaDisk (and many others).

There are several programs that convert FLV files to AVI for Creative, or MP4 for IPOD and Sansa. They are all based on open source algorithms and tools such as ffmpeg. These are usually command line tools best-suited for Linux Geeks.

Solution: A whole new bunch of user-friendly tools with decent GUI’s are available for free. The king of all these tools is a program aptly named “Super”, which you can download here. Super essentially embeds all the open source command line utilities and provides a simple single-page interface for you to select input and output file options.

There are a bunch of other free tools that are worth mentioning here, such as Handbrake (which only works on Mac and Linux these days) and Media Coder, but if you stick to Super, you should have all the flexibility you need for free.

If you are on Linux, you can use command-line utilities like mencoder or mplayer, which we will explain in another article.

Some things to consider when converting FLV to either AVI or MP4: It’s usually best to use the Super Video File Converter original file’s screen resolution. The Audio for non-music videos can easily perform well at 96kbs, and mp3 files are usually a bit more compact than other methods. Likewise, the video bit rate can be dropped to 240Kbps without noticing much degradation on such a small screen. The Creative packs a max 320×240 screen rate, at 240 kbps video bit rate, you’ll be in fine shape. You will want at least 25 frames per second, or the video will flicker.

Super File Converter
Super File Converter

The screen shot to the right shows the best settings for converting FLV to Ipod as an mp4 output file.  It takes a few minutes to convert the file depending on file size and speed of computer.

Note: Make sure you know to which directory the files are being outputted.  You will need to copy them to your player (import to iTunes) after completion of conversion.

The download site for Super is a bit awkward and takes a couple pages to actually find the file to download. But hey, it’s a free tool!