The Iphone is the perfect travel companion to help the local or visitor make the most of their time in New York City. With its inbuilt GPS, 3G Internet or WIFI connectivity, large color touchscreen and excellent disk capacity, these applications will have you experience and exploring the Big Apple like a local.
NYCMate â€“ Densebrain Inc, Free. The New York subway is undoubtedly the quickest and most efficient method for travelling large distances across Manhattan and out to the other boroughs. The reputation of the NYC subway has improved rapidly over recent year's thanks largely to the amount of money and police presence that the city has thrown to improve the systems problems. NYCMate is without a doubt the best subway map application within the Apple App Store. The application uses the official subway maps, reproduced in stunning clarity for the Iphone 4 and its retina display. At a glance you can quickly ascertain route locations and subway lines, with the ability to zoom in for additional details. The application gives the ability to view the subway timetable for each line and station and with Internet connectivity, service delays. Beyond the subway information, the app also displays bus information for bus lines for the 5 boroughs. With this free app, it's like having a subway map permanently in your pocket with up to the minute status and timetable information and is the must have application to help you experience New York to the maximum.
Yelp â€“ Yelp Inc, Free. The best way to explore a foreign city is to stay away from the chain restaurants and get out and eat where the locals eat. Yelp is the perfect application to receive up to date user ratings on a range of businesses, most importantly restaurants, bars and cafes but also gas stations, banks and drugstores. Leveraging the Iphone's GPS capability, this application will show you businesses of your specified type in your vicinity, allowing you to search by type, price or distance. You can also search for specific items, such as Chinese or Indian food, which will limit the results returned to just restaurants serving this cuisine. In our recent visit to New York City we found numerous great restaurants that we would never have known about as they were usually tucked out of sight. But by using the Yelp application, we were able to find all of the restaurants within 1/2 a mile of our hotel and pick which ones to visit based on user reviews, distance and price. Absolutely free, this is a must have application to have in your Iphone at all times to find new and exciting places to eat, no matter what city you happen to be in, even your home city.
NewYork2Go - Tymon Wiedemair, $0.99. This application markets itself as a virtual travel guide and searchable map conveniently located on your Iphone. Its best feature is that all of its information is stored on the Iphone itself, perfect if you do not have an Internet connection due to either being in the subway, terrible AT&T coverage or you are travelling from overseas and don't want to pay the exorbitant overseas data roaming rates. The Iphone 's GPS functionality will still work even without an Internet connection, as long as the phone is not on Airplane Mode. To ensure that you are not being charged overseas roaming rates, check Settings -> Network and ensure Data Roaming is switched to "Off". For 99c, if you don't have an Internet connection, having a fully searchable map that can track your location and give accurate directions on how to get to your specified location is a god send. I personally found that the virtual travel guide portion of the application wasn't overly useful. Although there is 900 pages of content, all of it is sourced from Wikipedia, so not only is it available elsewhere or free, most of the content is about the history of particular landmarks with little to no commentary on whether a location is worth your time to visit or items of note at each location. If you have Internet connectivity, you are better off saving your 99c and use a combination of Google Maps, Yelp and the Internet to fulfil all of the functionality that this application can provide. On the other hand, if you do not have Internet connectivity, having a local searchable map to find your current location and to get directions is worth much more then the 99c asking price.
American Natural History Museum (ANHM) Explorer â€“ American Museum of Natural History, Free. Although this application has only one purpose, to guide visitors around The American Natural History Museum in New York City, it shows the exciting future that smartphones like the Iphone will enable in the near future. Being in a multi-storey building, GPS can't be used to determine where a person is. Instead, the museum has placed over 300 wireless access points around the building, which determine where the phone is. From there, directions can be given to other museum artefacts that the visitor is interested in seeing. Truth be told, the wireless points don't work as well as GPS does, mainly because rather than using triangulation from 3 or more satellites to accurately determine a persons location to within a couple of yards, being connected to one wireless access point at a time can only give a very general idea of where exactly the person is. International efforts are underway to standardise on a mechanism to allow proper triangulation indoors that can then be made available to all GPS/Smartphone like devices, but until then this is the best the technology can currently deliver.
Beyond the GPS like functionality that his app brings, the application acts like a personal tour guide, giving detailed information about the museums most prominent exhibitions and artefacts. Learn more about everything that the museum offers, from the dawn of the universe through to the history of the dinosaurs and indigenous cultures from around the world. You can also choose from a variety of museum designed tours to maximise your time at this wonderful museum or you have the freedom to create your own tour, which you can do from home before you even arrive. With this application being completely free, it should be highly encouraged that everyone with an Iphone install this application before their next visit to the Natural History Museum as it really does add significantly to the experience.
With hundreds and thousands of applications in the Apple App Store, it is hard to sort through the quality from the chaff to determine which will be of greatest help on your next holiday. With the applications above, you will be able to maximise your time and experience in New York City, getting to explore and experience this great city like a local. With more and more people carrying smartphones like the Iphone, the quality and functionality of these applications will only increase into the future.
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