Got an iPhone? An iPad? Then you may already know what I’m talking about. Apps — that's "application programs" for you newbies — would seem to be the most obvious selling point for these devices.
And for good reason. Apps can be awesome. But not every app is worth even the ninety-nine cent mark. And with the recent proliferation of pet-related apps, who’s got time to sort though ‘em all?
I certainly don’t ... not that I didn’t try.
In advance of my recent trip to Costa Rica (btw, you've really gotta go), I bought myself an iPad. As an attached-to-the-hip user of technology (only by necessity, I assure you), I figured that something more portable, with better battery life, was preferable to my hefty, electricity-sucking [and more expensive] MacBook.
It didn’t hurt that the week before had seen a blip in my MacBook’s theretofore perfect functionality. Though it was only a false alarm, it was clear I needed a backup device anyway. Hence, I indulged myself with the beautiful e-tablet I’d been trying so hard not to look at every time I cruised by my local Apple outlet.
This acquisition, of course, occasioned the need for more indulgences … all those apps! Luckily, I had a stash of my son’s iTunes cards tucked away in advance of a critical need such as this one (I usurp them after Christmases and birthdays), so I was able to shop away for a couple of hours this week … on the subject of animals, of course.
With all the time I’ve dedicated to this task, I feel almost like an expert in this matter. Hence, I can offer you this following list of worthy and not-so-worthy animal-ey iPad apps for your consideration (btw, they're all available in iPhone app versions, too)
Pets for iPad
Here’s an app that has so much potential it’s actually sad to see it offer so little. The good news here (and the reason I offer you this flop first) is that in the near future, iPhone and iPad apps will almost certainly be able to help you keep your pets’ medical records and other crucial details on file in an easy-to-access format like this one. Too bad this one fails in its mission. Maybe its next iteration … ?
Clean My Screen
Here’s where the apps shine: Pure, unadulterated fun! Have great pics you’d like to showcase in an exciting new way? Upload them to this app and watch them get licked away by cats and dogs with apparently nothing better to do than entertain you. If you spend $2 at Starbucks every day, you have no excuse not to try this app out.
This one is soooo popular — and it’s free — but it’s kind of creepy, too. Tom repeats your words and purrs with wild abandon when you scratch his head and chest. But he also responds to punches, tail, pulls, belly jabs and toe stomps in a disturbing fashion. I’m not so sure this app has the best intentions ...
So you know, I’m not big on games, but this is a GREAT game. What I like best about this one though is the concept that you can actually use it to play with your cat. The idea is simple: catch the laser pointer’s dot ... or the chicken ... or the leaves ... or that other bird ... (you get the picture).
This is my favorite kind of app. Import a photo (I amass so many it’s kind of pathetic) and alter it. I have about ten or fifteen apps that work this way. However, this is the only one that allows me to add cats to my pictures. And, surprisingly, adding cats to my pics makes me SO happy!!!
Here’s another game that’s made as much for your cat as for you. It offers lots of fun ways to get your own kitty into the app action.
Bryan Edwards Dog/Cat Anatomy Flash Cards
For the veterinary student. But even at $4.99 it’s for me, too. How better to brush up on my canine and feline anatomy? (See a screenshot of Cat Anatomy)
Dog Parks NYC (and more)
This is the best app for New Yorkers with sociable dogs. Hands down. It’s up to date and very specific about the doggie spots in town. The idea is to make it nationwide, but it only works if YOU contribute your town's hot doggie spots. Consider it.
Dog/Cat Commander Pro
Too cute. I couldn’t resist. Tell your dog or cat what you want him/her to hear and then listen to the app translate your words into their language. Wishful thinking? But of course. Still, it earns high marks on the basis of just that kind of sentimentality. (See a screenshot of Cat Commander.)
Plenty of apps offer you the option of listening to fun dog and cat sounds. None, however, offer you the musical instrumentation the dog and cat piano apps do (they're sold as two separate apps). Now you too can make beautiful music using canine and feline vocals to match classical notes. Yes, even my [very rusty] Mozart complied. (See a screenshot of Cat Piano.)
These are my best picks after two hours of [not-so] extensive research. Now tell us, what are your favorite apps?