Saturday, February 23, 2008

Unlocked iPhone Innovations Continue

Every day, it seems, developers come up with nifty new ways to use the iPhone to do this or that. The latest creations allow you to use your iPhone as a full touchpad remote for your PC, zoom through applications on the iPhone using CoverFlow, and LoJack your iPhone.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a gold mine of applications and ideas for the bold and brave who decide to unlock their iPhones and install third-party apps. This week it posted three new apps that range from visually appealing to just plain old fun.

TouchPad Remote

An enterprising TUAW reader sent in this application. It essentially turns an iPhone into a complete remote control for a PC, allowing you to use it as a mouse, click, double-click, drag windows around, etc. It requires a jailbroken iPhone and That means it isn't approved by Apple. Yet. Here is a video of it in action.


Erica Sadun, iPhone hacker extraordinaire, wrote a new bit of code that lets you fly through the applications on the iPhone in a way that is similar to iTunes' CoverFlow. Writes Mike Schramm, "AppFlow is a CoverFlow-style interface for launching iPhone apps and icons. You just install the app on your jailbroken iPhone, and then launching your favorite app is as simple as flipping to the icon and double-tapping."

It may not actually enhance the usability of the iPhone, because, after all, the applications are all right there on the home screen. But it does look nice.

iPhone LoJack

This is another one from Erica Sadun. She says:

Way back, one of our readers begged for an iPhone LoJack solution. He wanted his iPhone to "call home" regularly in case of loss or, let's be more realistic, theft. Over the past week, I finally had a chance to give this request some time, and I put together findme. It's a command-line program that returns the location of the cell phone tower nearest to your iPhone. When run, it tells you the tower id, plus its latitude and longitude courtesy ofGoogle (NSDQ: GOOG) Maps.

There are some more tweaks involved, of course. You need to create an account with Twitter just for your iPhone, giving it a unique e-mail address. It then uses Twitter to fire off Tweets of the phone's location in a manner that is secure. You can read more about Sadun's solution here.

This is what the developer community is up to before Apple releases the SDK. Just think of the possibilities that will open up once the SDK is available and these applications are officially sanctioned by Apple.

by Eric Zeman

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