Millions of people carry an iPhone or iPod worldwide. These little devices have so much potential; all they need is the right apps to make amazing things happen. Here is a list of some apps that I would really like to see.
I envision a simple app that scrapes certain relevant current financial stats for the device’s owner. It should show the current bank balance for any and all checking accounts and the current available credit for any and all credit cards. It should refresh all its information with a single press of the button. This information will ensure that the device’s owner always knows to the penny exactly how much money and credit s/he has available.
Critically, this app only displays information from any and all checking and credit card websites the device’s owner teaches it to know. It does NOT allow the device’s owner to manipulate the accounts in any way. That is, you cannot withdraw money, move money between accounts, add money, use the credit card, or pay the credit card bill. All you can do is view how much money and credit there is. This is important for the security of the device’s owner.
Medical apps could literally save lives. I envision rolling out three different but related medical apps. All three apps make use of a centralized medical database (though it would be possible to create apps similar in concept without the database, they would be much more powerful with the database behind them).
First is an app for the individual. It accesses highlights, recommendations, doctor’s instructions, and plain English summaries of the phone’s owner’s personal medical information, makes it available on the iPhone for the owner to check at any time, and presents it in an attractive and easy-to-understand format. This program also makes it easy for people to create their own notes. In addition, it should also offer the ability to type and send a quick question to your doctor, and display the answer when it comes.
That first app should also come in a multi-patient format, which would be useful not only for people who share their phones, but also for parents of children and/or pets, and people caring for elderly or disabled family members.
With minor modifications, this app could also help various field workers, nurses, and other practitioners who could make use of quick summary information for reasons such as refreshing their memories before meeting with someone or helping to discuss or explain this information.
Next is a more comprehensive app that accesses all the relevant medical information in the database about a given phone owner. Essentially, this app collects all medical information from all doctors the patient has ever seen (or at least, all doctors who are cooperating with the database project), and puts it in one place. Patients can browse this information for themselves, of course, though this information will be technical. More importantly, the patient can also present all this collected information to a doctor, who can flip through what other doctors have done.
Finally, a third app, or perhaps an extension of the second app, will enable medical workers to collect and send medical data back to the main database, and/or to various processing facilities. This app will be able to accept images and other data from scanning devices hooked up to the phone (and also the phone’s built-in camera, obviously) as well as typed notes. This would be invaluable in field situations, such as the earthquake in Haiti or a war zone, where people are injured or otherwise in need of immediate medical help.
In today’s society, talking into your phone feels quite natural for most people. This app would enable you to talk into your phone and record what you say. You can keep this recording and play it back any time. The app should also make it easy to edit your recording, at least as far as removing sections (ums, long pauses, etc). You can send this recording easily to a transcription job database, where a transcriptionist can claim your job and type out your words. The app returns the completed transcript for you. (A fee would apply for the transcriptionist’s time, of course – though simply recording what you say is free.)
The BP oil disaster brought many issues into the public’s mind again. One such issue is water quality. How much oil or other industrial contaminants happens to be in the water today? With this app and the purchase of a small re-usable probe that plugs into the phone, you can sample the water any time and any place. Simply fire up the app, dunk the probe into the water, and wait a few moments while it analyzes the data. You quickly find out exactly what is in the water at that spot. You can share this data to an international water quality network with the push of a button. The app automatically tags the submission with time and date. If you have GPS enabled, that information gets included as well. If you do not have GPS enabled, it will prompt you for a description of where you are located. Any notes you wish to hand-type also get loaded to the database, and you get credit for your find.
The app also connects to the database so you can see a map of all entries. You can scroll through randomly, or zero in on any locality. You can get a big picture overview or a local one. You can narrow by time for a recent or historical perspective, or even watch an area change over time. You can also search by contributor, by certain tags (“high oil content”, for example), or by anything else that interests you.