Condé Nast Digital Britain recently unveiled a series of apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, dubbed Condé Nast Traveller City Guides. There are four separate apps for Barcelona, New York, Paris and Rome priced at around $9.99 each.
The apps [iTunes link] are divided into six sections containing more than 500 searchable listings, complete with venue information, photos and editors’ reviews:
- Neighbourhoods: Browse all listings in a single neighborhood
- See & Do: Major sites, museums, parks, farmers markets and other attractions
- Places to Stay: Organized according to location, price range, type (i.e. fashionable, family-friendly or classic), and a key feature (gym/spa, internet access, etc.)
- Eat & Drink: Mainly high-end sit-down restaurants with some exceptions, like a well-known knishery and an East Village dumpling house
- Shopping: Features an array of products, including apparel, home, records and electronics from high-end to outlets
- Nightlife: Bars, music, dancing and other venues for late-night entertainment
- Word of Mouth: Recommendations from celebrated New Yorkers like designers Oscar de la Renta and Paul Smith, nightclub owner Amy Sacco and architect Carlos Almadada
The list of venues is well-curated; there are enough to appeal to a relatively broad array of tastes without being overwhelming. Users can bookmark interesting listing by adding them to a to-do list and share them via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.
What’s most impressive about the apps is their Augmented Reality functionality (pictured above). Simply point your phone in a direction and it will bring up images of nearby attractions, which you can narrow down by type. You can also use GPS to pull up venue locations on a map.
The apps contain a number of other neat little features as well, including a handful of guided audio tours and magazine articles, a travel journal, a Flickr-integrated personal photo log, a timeline of the city’s history and essential travel information about local customs, transportation and the location of tourist offices and so forth.
What’s more, Condé Nast Britain promises to update the apps’ content every four months free of charge.
The only major drawback are the prices, which are hard to justify when free apps like restaurant-finder Urbanspoon also come with many similar features (although Urbanspoon’s Augmented Reality functionality is admittedly more basic and many users would rather read a review from a food editor than from the guy next door). In all fairness, Zagat’s TO GO app [iTunes link] also costs $9.99, but then it has a key feature Condé Nast Traveller’s does not: the ability to make restaurant reservations. It also covers almost every major U.S. city in one app.