Higher iPhone sales fuels applications and accessories

Consumer Reports News: January 23, 2009 06:08 AM

Apple's announcement on Wednesday that quarterly iPhone units sold were up nearly 88 percent (to 4.4 million units) over the same quarter last year is a rare bright spot in an otherwise bleak economy.

Such growth helps account for the continuing increase in the number of iPhone applications sold through the iPhone App Store.

When I was at Macworld recently, some iPhone (and iPod Touch) applications caught my attention. Here are some new titles you might want to look into:

  • Truphone is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) app for both iPhone and 2G iPod Touch, using a wi-fi connection to make calls (free between Truphone users). It may save money on international mobile calling in particular.

  • E-wallet from Ilium Software lets you store all your critical data and passwords in one place accessed by one strong password. It offers 256-bit encryption, 30 UI templates, and multiple "wallets" allowing users to store by type (banks, credit cards, social sites, etc.).

  • Consumer Reports even has its own free iPhone app, which carries the complete postings of this blog as well as our sister blogs on Cars, Shopping, Home, Health, Safety, Money and Babies and Kids. The next update, which should be live in a week or two, will add videos with regular updates on the above topics and much more. (Do you have the latest version of iTunes and want to try out our free app? Click on the image above and you'll be taken directly to the page on Apple's online App Store where you can download our program for free.)


  • MobileFiles from QuickOffice lets you access, create, format, and edit Excel spreadsheets. It calls native MS libraries (licensed with Microsoft), for a desktop look and feel. Files can be saved locally, e-mailed as attachments, or stored on your MobileMe iDisk. There is a free version and a $10 "Pro" app. The Pro version offers 4-character passcode protection, supports 120 functions, and supports Bonjour for wi-fi desktop connections to a Mac or PC. By mid-2009, QuickOffice hopes to have a combo application that will do the same for Word documents.

  • iTalk from Griffin Technology turns your iPhone or 2G iPod Touch into a voice recorder. The ad-supported download is free; the ad-free version costs $4.95.

At Macworld Expo 2009, I also saw some interesting iPod/iPhone accessories from Griffin Technology, including:

  • TuneFlex lets you play your iPod/Phone through your car stereo's AUX-in jack, including a wireless remote control that attaches to the steering wheel.

  • AirCurve is a piece of acrylic custom-curved into a precise wave guide, that the Griffin says can amplify an iPhone by as much as 10 decibels. (Click on image at right for a closer look.)

  • Simplifi is a small-footprint iPhone charging dock that's also a media card reader and USB hub.

—Thomas A. Olson

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