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10 Web and iPhone Apps that Need to Happen, Stat

Think every idea for an internet startup is taken? Think all the “good stuff” on mobile platforms has been squeezed out of the Web, so that all we’ll be left with are lolcats and iFart?

There are still hundreds of ways to provide solid value to people– and more all the time. To prove the point, I decided to spend an hour and think up some new ideas– none of which are (at this point) taken. Feel free to develop them as you wish :)
Here are ten examples of Web applications we still need–either desperately or just for an interesting use of technology:

  1. An app to traverse and navigate bureaucratic websites (ie. taxation agencies, the DMV, etc.) so one is able to keep up with the status of their information– WITHOUT having to use those infuriating, horribly-designed sites.
  2. A website that keeps track of where your food products are coming from (this may be fertile territory for future businesses). I know that certain things are already happening in this field, but there is PLENTY more work to be done– and it will only become more important in the future. It would be particularly great if you could someday snap a picture of the label on a tomato and figure out exactly where it came from and when.
  3. An iPhone app with a really gorgeous interface that lets you order food delivery from multiple nearby restaurants (and saves frequent orders), automatically using your credit card (stored on file) etc.
  4. An iPhone and computer app that shows you the actual, projected upload/download speeds of the networks near you (based on an algorithm involving signal strength, network status, and network type).
  5. An app that uses the combined databases of multiple mobile-accessible websites, to collect an aggregate of activity in a given area and “reflect it” back to an iPhone in that area (one can see what types of activities are being done by people around them).
  6. A program or website that handles RSS in a much more helpful way– putting stories in context through a “wrapper” that adds additional value and improves readability (Acrylic’s “Times” app is closer to what I’m envisioning, but it’s still very limited in approach)
  7. 7. An iPhone app for use by people with various mood disorders that lets them quickly chart and track their moods (and triggers) over the course of their life. There are numerous apps that do this right now, but they’re all TERRIBLE. Optimism, a Mac app that does this very elegantly, is immensely helpful but requires access to a computer every day to be useful (that may not seem like much, but it would be far more useful and accessible in a mobile device).
  8. A new online, pervasive personal assistant in the vein of the incredible (and now dead) “I Want Sandy”, with Jott support or its own rewritten speech-to-text engine. Tell your iPhone to remind you of things, and have it sync up to a server somewhere so that you get to move on with your life!
  9. A highly-sophisticated iPhone app that can train, listen and offer suggestions about instrument playing (”I hear what you’re doing wrong, try this”, or, alternately, a real “musical thinker”– like having your own composer assistant: “try these chords at the end instead” (quite ambitious, but potentially doable).
  10. “Home”, a location- and preset-based app that works with your AirTunes, electronic lighting and heating systems, etc. to automatically trigger changes when you leave and enter your home– putting your favorite playlist on, turning the lights up, altering temperature based on weather forecast, etc. Would be best if it had multiple “moods”, involving both music and lighting, that could be switched between easily. This is slightly silly, but would be really cool– especially in day to day use.
  11. And a bonus– just for good measure!

  12. A website (and maybe an app, too) that tracks “the answers” given by multiple “authority sources” throughout history. ie. What is our purpose in life? Here’s what Islam says, here’s what Christianity says, here’s what Sufism says (in plain english); here’s what Steven Hawking says. This would work best if it covered many different types of questions, and made an effort to make the answers as similarly-worded as possible so one could explore the subtler differences between them.
  13. Finally, a hardware bonus– why hasn’t ANYONE made a keyboard that works with the iPhone?? Do this and you will have MILLIONS of sales. I promise.

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