Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 20, 2017
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How much can you put in your pocket?

How popular are iPhone/iPod Touch applications? In the last nine months, over one billion have been downloaded. Applications or apps are mini-programs that allow the devices to perform an astonishing number of tasks. They’ve taken what, at its most basic, is an MP3 player and rocketed it into something you might find in the pockets of the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

With the right app, you can make your own music; downloads include piano, guitar, flute, harmonica and drums. The instruments appear on the tiny screen and you tinkle, strum, blow and tap. Come up with something worth recording? You can do that too.

Feel like curling up with a good book? Amazon Kindle subscribers can browse more than 285,000 titles and download them instantly. Eucalyptus ($5.99) accesses 20,000 English titles (you pay for each book).

Travel apps include translators, subway maps, traffic cams, restaurant guides, a walking tour of Paris and virtual Rome that illustrates ancient sites, describes them with the tap of a finger and even shows you what they looked like the year they were built. Another app finds villas to rent anywhere in the world. AAA (CAA) points you to discounts, others let you track your expenses on the road.

Many banks offer apps to manage your accounts on the go. A host of apps offer to count calories and carbs and map out a fitness program for you and track your progress. There are cookbooks, advice on pet first aid, an app that converts your device into a flashlight or a virtual Zippo lighter. Another is an electronic measuring tape.

Then there are the games, by the hundreds: backgammon, chess, tennis with Rafael Nadal, golf with Tiger Woods, and countless arcade games. More are added everyday. Many are free, some cost a dollar or two, few are more than that.

The iPod Touch (from $259 to $429) is essentially the same as the iPhone without the phone or the camera — or the monthly charges. Both use Wi-Fi to download apps.

To sample some 4350 apps go to Appsafari.com. iTunes is the program of choice to download applications. It comes with Macs and can be downloaded for Windows free at www.apple.com/itunes/download.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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