Social networking is the theme of 2009, so why shouldn’t it play a role in your holidays, too? These apps can help you stay in touch, find the perfect present and travel safely this December.
Keep in touch with these iPhone apps
If you aren’t going to be with all of your friends and family this year, Skype (free) is a great option for sending your seasons' greetings, especially if you’re low on minutes or calling international. But, if Skype is too everyday for you, you can capitalize on the holiday spirit with some other options. With Holiday MSG (free), you can create Mad-lib style holiday greetings to send via email. Choose the length, holiday and tone, fill in a few nouns and adjectives, and the app generates a holiday message for you.
Christmas Camera (99 cents) has a good user interface for taking new photos and giving them a twist with more than seven frame choices. Select a theme, use the zoom function to center your subject, then save your Christmas image to send to the loved ones you’re away from. You can’t add a message in Christmas Camera, so another option is Holiday – Postage ($1.99), which offers E-mail, Facebook and Twitter integration for your postcards. You can also send your photo message—choose from 10 designs—via MMS.
iPhone apps for giving great gifts
Getting a good deal is pretty easy this time of year, but the new app from auctioneer eBay, eBay Deals (free), makes sharing those deals the matter of a tap. Users can create and save personalized searches and then, (hint hint), post found sales to Twitter and Facebook. Of course, if you just can’t wait, or you’re actually shopping for others, you can place bids in-app. If the deal items are too restrictive for your tastes, you can stick with the original app eBay (free), which has sharing capabilities as well.
If you’re in charge of any sort of gift swap, you’ll want to pick up Gift Exchange ($2.99). The app can import your contacts from your iPhone or iPod Touch’s address book, or from Facebook and the app will automatically create gift matches, which saves you the chore of setting up the swap. The app also allows for exclusions to ensure that no one gets an undesirable match. Then generate a Facebook event instantly so everyone can toss around ideas for your party.
iPhone apps for traveling
If you’ll be braving the airports for the holidays, or if you’re expecting guests from out of town, delays at the airport are expected and inevitable. FlightTrack ($4.99, pro version $9.99) can help you get real-time updates on flights around the world. Push notifications are included with the pro version, but both versions offer gate numbers, delay and cancellation information, and in-app information sharing with friends.
For holiday road warriors, Trapster Speed Trap Alerts (free) can help you avoid police speed traps when driving, er, spiritedly (not that Appolicious would ever promote this). The app’s developer calls Trapster “social networking meets radar detectors,” as it relies on others to report enforcement points. Whether or not Trapster will work on your route is a gamble, but if you’re in a hurry to get to that ugly holiday sweater party, Trapster could save you a stop.