Twelve Days of Christmas: iPhone/iPod Apps

December 19, 2008
Several months ago, we posted a down-and-dirty overview of car-related apps for the iPhone (most, if not all of which, also work on the subsequently launched iPod Touch). Now, two more apps have crossed our radar--and they could prove invaluable as you're going over the river and through the woods this holiday season.

First up is Taxi Magic. Although the name sounds like one of Barbie's fluffy accessories kits, it's actually a fairly heavyweight app. Anytime you need a cab, just launch the program, and through the wonders of cell-tower triangulation, the app figures out where you are. Then you're given a choice of cab companies in the area. Some of those companies allow you to book directly through the Taxi Magic's "Magic Booking" function, meaning that you can order a cab right from the iPhone/iPod instead of speaking to an operator. ("Magic Booking" also tells you when your cab is dispatched and lets you keep track of its progress.) Other cab companies provide a phone number and require you to call in. The service works in over 4,000 cities, with the "Magic Booking" feature available in 25 or so. According to our friends at TechCrunch, the service doesn't work in New York City--but honestly, when's the last time you called a cab in Manhattan? And at a price of "free," what have you got to lose?

Second, we've got Punch Buggy Mobile, which comes in two flavors: regular and "lite." Both allow users to experience the unmitigated, adrenaline-fueled joy of the classic traveling game, wherein children of all ages look out for VW Beetles, then beat the crap out of each other when they spot one. In these high-tech versions, the ante has been upped, with a built-in scorekeeper and variable points for MINIs, Hummers, and various car colors. With the regular version, you can even win cash if you happen to spot the company's Ca$hBuggy roaming the streets. Who could possibly be content with merely inflicting pain ever again?--Richard Read

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