Apple iPhoneEnlarge Photo
Assembly photo for MyDoorOpener appEnlarge Photo
Apple and its hyper-popular iPhone have been in the news a lot this week -- and not for good reasons. It seems that Steve Jobs' minions have begun heavily censoring the apps available on the App Store, removing any that contain nudity, swimsuits, or ice skating tights (not kidding). But while censorship always gives us a case of sad face, one app was released this week that makes us want to smile: MyDoorOpener [iTunes link], which turns your workaday iPhone into a handy-dandy garage door opener.
Now, there's good news and bad news here.
The good news is that the app -- which launched yesterday -- is currently free to download. It doesn't need to interact with a computer at your home or business in order to work. The application's software is heavily encrypted, meaning that others who use MyDoorOpener won't be able to crack your garage door. And features like multiple-door support are allegedly just around the corner.
And now the bad news: you have to build the receiver yourself.
Yes, you have to build a device to act as the middleman between your phone and the garage door motor. The parts aren't very expensive -- between $100 and $150, depending on your configuration -- but any project that requires us to download schematics sends up warning flags. We haven't tested this one ourselves just yet, but judging from the diagrams, assembly looks slightly more complex than wiring a doorbell and slightly easier than putting together an Ikea bookshelf. To its credit, however, MyDoorOpener seems an easier solution to the garage door problem than previous iPhone hacks we've seen.
Those who love the iPhone know that its release was a game-changer in telecommunications and that, by putting a mini computer in your pocket, Apple created a device with a vast number of possibilities. Apps like MyDoorOpener explore those possibilities and show the potential of the iPhone (or any smartphone) to become a universal tool for making payments, controlling your environment, or even, in a pinch, communicating with friends and family -- so long as you have a soldering iron and a couple of aspirin on hand.