“Not everything is for everyone, but almost everything is for someone,” Abraham Lincoln once said, probably, and these nine mobile apps prove him right. They each do one specific thing, and most of them will be useful to only one specific kind of person.
Which means they’re almost always useless, except for when they’re absolutely essential.
RPG Sounds: Fantasy
Every dungeon master knows the hassle and panic of trying to referee a game with 1,500 pages of rules while also maintaining a suitable “atmosphere.” RPG Sounds: Fantasy at least makes the “soundscape” part of tabletop role-playing simple: If the party steps into a tavern, this easy-to-use app lets you instantly fire up the background noise of a roomful of elves and halflings drinking mead and layer in the baleful panpipes of the local bard/NPC so you can focus on calculating encumbrance. The app’s library includes over 1,500 sounds, and you can layer multiple tracks of atmospheric audio, sound effects, and music, create custom playlists, and even import your own sounds.
The Optigan was a musical keyboard manufactured by the Mattel toy corporation in the early 1970s. This flimsy, plastic not-quite-a-synthesiser played sounds from floppy optical discs. The optical organ was expensive, not very versatile, sounded pretty bad, and hardly anyone bought one. But it’s a cool curiosity. And now it’s back, in app form! iOptigan lets you experience all the crackly, grimy sounds and limited possibility of this forgotten instrument for only $US5.99 ($8) instead of the $US2,500 ($3,471) you’d pay if they were still selling ‘em today.
You can download iOptigan for iOS.
Have you ever missed the best part of a movie because you had to pee? RunPee will ensure that this nightmare scenario never happens to you again. This constantly updated movie database alerts you with a quiet vibration 30 seconds before each film’s “PeeTime” allowing you to make a quick exit during a less-important scene. Then, it gives you a synopsis of what you’ve missed. Plus it tells you if there are any easter egg scenes after the credits.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Blower was a troll. Videos of an iPhone blowing out a candle seem designed to trick dummies into destroying their phones or burning down their houses. But it actually works. Blower uses your phone’s speakers to send out puffs of air strong enough to extinguish small birthday candles. Sure, you could blow out the candles on your birthday cake yourself easily enough, but in the days of COVID, do you really think that’s a good idea? Plus, you could probably use it to win a bar bet.
You can download Blower for iOS.
Is it Dark Outside?
Is it Dark Outside is both totally stupid and totally genius. Once you’ve installed it and entered your location, you can click on it to see whether it’s dark outside where you are. That’s all it does, but sometimes you need to independently verify your senses.
You can download Is it Dark Outside? for iOS.
Calculator Photo Vault
If you’re some kind of weirdo hiding dark secrets on your phone, Calculator Photo Vault might be the app for you. It looks like an innocent calculator, and unsuspecting people can even use it as one, but if you enter a secret PIN you can access hidden files, videos, pictures, and more. So sneaky. It will even delete pictures from your gallery app as soon as you add them. (What are you hiding though?)
A View From My Seat
If you’re buying a ticket to a concert or sporting contest, A View From My Seat will show you what the view looks like from any seat so you can make an informed decision. Users send in photos, rate views, and leave comments, so the next ticket buyer can see whether they’re purchasing a seat with a broken armrest or a blocked view. It’s genius, and you’ll probably use it exactly once.
You can download A View From My Seat for iOS and Android.
Binky is an antisocial media platform. It gives you all the excitement of scrolling through endless amusing, boring, or interesting images, swiping left or right, hitting “like,” sharing content, and more, but without actually being connected to anyone else in any way, because it’s all fake. No one will ever read your comments (that Binky writes for you) and no one will ever know that you swiped right on a picture of the 1998 Chicago Bears offensive line.
Binky might seem like a one-off joke (and it is, kind of) , but if you’re trying to cut down on doom-scrolling but you can’t quite go cold turkey, it might actually help you.
There are innumerable free apps that will help you to tune your guitar, bass, or ukulele, but if you want extreme tuning, pro-level, no-screwing around tuning, you need CyberTuner*. It’s costs $US999.99 ($1,388), and that’s not including the monthly subscription. But it’s actually worth it, or so some people say. It’s made for professional piano technicians, so normal people won’t understand how it works or what it does, but when it comes to specific, single-use apps, this is definitely one of them.
You can download CyberTuner for iOS.
*You cannot use CyberTuner to tune your guitar, bass, or ukulele. It only works on pianos.