Saturday, June 13, 2009

An idea for a new iPhone app.

I'm not an iPhone app developer by far, but I like watching UIkit developers code and do wonderful things. I'm also an Apple fan owning most of their products, from laptops to desktops and Power Macs, Airports and ATV and last but not least iPhones and iPod Touches. Yes, in plural...

As I was driving to Brussels yesterday noon, a cool song started playing on Radio 3. I knew the tune but had no idea what it was called. I wanted to own the darn song, so I launch Shazam in a heartbeat and tag the sound. Within seconds Shazam came back with the full coordinates of the song. Of course, I was driving at the moment, give and take 100km/hr, which is not at all my usual fast, but quite unsafe when reading tiny letters on an iPhone at the same time, not? Once I got the song name, I launch iTunes and search for the song. They didn't have the original track (it was Gymnopedie One by George Shearing) but had plenty of alternative covers. I'm sampling a few of them and decide to order the one I felt was the closest to the one on the radio. Driving with one hand and one eye on the traffic and my other hand four fingers holding the phone and thumb keying-in the iTunes Store account password, as my other eye is watching the screen (I feel like Martin Feldman) to conclude the transaction... (that was the hardest part). Within seconds a 6MB song file was on my iPhone (thanks much 3G) and via the aux input to my car stereo the song played a 'thousand' times until I reached my destination! Wow! And Wow again! Ten years ago this would have sounded like SF and starwars! But... it could be improved. Here's the idea:

Suppose the same thing happened again. But this time the driver owns a brand new 3Gs with voice activation. Suppose some smart iPhone developer kid made an app (ShaziTun ?) that worked out the script:

Driver drives places...traffic is huge... car stereo plays some cool jazz tuned on Radio 3!
Driver likes the song they're playing right now.
Driver talks to an iPhone and sez "Find that song!"
iPhone samples it, calls 'home', finds out song coordinates, and tells driver "It's Gymnopedie with George Shearing. Do you want to own it?"
Driver, with eyes fixed on driving and the traffic, and without looking at the phone at all, goes: "Yes"
App goes via iTunes and finds a few alternative covers. It sez "They don't sell the original but here's some alternatives". And it plays a couple of samples...
Driver goes "Buy second sample"
App asks driver "Spell your password"
Drivers goes "M-O-R-O-N-G-E-E-K" (or anything else for that matter)
App buys the song and once downloaded it sez: "Purchase completed. Do you want me to play it on iTunes?"
Driver goes "Yep"
Music plays thru the car stereo.
Driver gets orgasmic! Traffic is still packed... But, who cares anymore! Long Live His Jobness!

This would be a driver safest possible process for any app on the planet. Also, it could be used by older or visually disabled people. If you ask me, Apple itself should enhance iTunes to behave like that. And they should offer this version as part of their standard package by not charging any additional penny. Are you listening Apple?


Sebastian said...

ye, it's an interesting idea, but I've experienced some minor problems with the voice recognition on the Mac. The pronounciation must be just right, or not to fast/slow...+ when the iPhone misunderstands me and buys me that other down the drain.
Voice recognition hasn't been one of my favorite features.

btw OS 3.0 is absolutely amazing!

VJK said...

Oh, kid, that's easy to fix. It's called confirmation for verification. Once you made your choice, the voice activation system responds once more, for instance, with the sample title you have supposedly selected to make sure it's gonna be ordering the right track... For the purpose of this blog I avoided detailing many typical steps such apps normally execute (developers know them well and many more)... Your mom knows all about this stuff as an oldtimer doctorandus beleidsinformatica from KUL.