Fresh iPhone Apps for Mar. 23: Word Lens, Shazam update, Spro

Mar 23, 2011
Tech

The addition of the iPad 2’s new rear-facing camera opens the device up to a range of new app possibilities. One of the cool apps that can now work with the iPad 2 is Word Lens, which uses the rear-facing camera on the device to translate text on the fly, right on the iPad’s screen. […]

The addition of the iPad 2’s new rear-facing camera opens the device up to a range of new app possibilities. One of the cool apps that can now work with the iPad 2 is Word Lens, which uses the rear-facing camera on the device to translate text on the fly, right on the iPad’s screen. It leads today’s Fresh Apps list, along with a social media update for the music-finding app Shazam and an app filled with coffee information. Read up on all three below.

Word Lens (iPad) Free (with in-app purchases of $9.99 each)

Looking for the best use of augmented reality in the iTunes App Store? It has to be Word Lens (it’s at least among the top five), an app that uses your device’s rear-facing camera to instantly translate words from one language to another. The app reads the words in real-time and puts the translation on your device’s screen.

Word Lens was formerly only available on the iPhone, but with the release of the iPad 2 and its own rear-facing camera, you can now take Word Lens on your iPad. The app works best with short, sweet bits of translation — signs, for example — and is only currently available for Spanish to English and vice versa, but more updates are supposed to be on the way.

Shazam update (iPhone, iPad) Free

Shazam is one of those apps that makes you proud to be a smartphone owner. Turn it on when you’re listening to a song you don’t know or can’t identify, and the app “listens” to it using your device’s microphone — then shoots the information out to the Internet and comes back with some answers as to what the song is, who performs it, and how you can purchase it.

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Developer Shazam Entertainment just updated all the Shazam-related apps with a big new change: a social networking feature that allows users to share the songs to which they’re listening using Shazam’s identification abilities. You can see what your friends are “tagging” using Shazam and preview the tracks to get new ideas for music you might like.

Spro (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

Tons of information on how to make great cups of coffee can be found in Spro, a great coffee resource for the coffee-illiterate and the fanatical alike. Inside the app are instructions for creating 14 different Espresso-based drinks — Spro will walk you through step-by-step on how to make each, what ingredients you’ll need, and what the proportions each requires.

Spro is filled with educational information about coffee too, down to the history of each drink and the pronunciation of their names. It also includes diagrams of the various drinks and will teach you how to do things like grinding beans and frothing milk.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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