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A couple of Fridays ago saw long lines of geeks up and down the country, hoping to get their hands on Apple’s latest product, the iPhone 5, leaving those suckers on the iPhone 4S in their wake.

I’ve never been part of the iPhone club, preferring to look after the penis (Ha. I was going to correct this but have elected to leave it in because of its factual honesty) and last time I upgraded, I chose an inferior phone for £10 a month less. The result? I spent two years resisting the urge to drop-kick my BlackBerry Bold into a concrete wall every time it said “Browser is closing, insufficient memory for this page”. Page? It’s an email for crying out loud. Insufficient memory? When did you get digital Alzheimer’s? I don’t need you to memorise anything; just reveal a text-based message to me – that would be in keeping with my expectations. [Please say those last couple of sentences with the voice of the ponytail comic store guy from The Simpsons].

So, this move to the world of i-Phone. And aside from the fact that its inverse case system annoys me (why does its ‘i’ deserve to be pronounced like an uppercase ‘I’? Surely its two syllables should be pronounced with more emphasis on the capitalised ‘P’? Anyway…), my first impressions have been good. Very good, in fact. In terms of my technological progression I feel akin to the apes encountering the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Since my enlightenment, I have been boring anyone with or without ears about how exciting it is. Especially the apps. All those ads about there being an app for everything – I’ve discovered that it’s true. I’ll be telling someone about an app only to find that people roll their eyes disinterestedly and say they’ve had it for ages.

So, whilst wondering what to write about this week (not that you can tell I’ve struggled) I’ve decided that it is my duty as arts correspondent for Trivial Pursuits, to tell you about the five best art apps that I’ve found so far. However, you’ve probably heard of them or got them already.

But just in case you haven’t, without further ado, here is Ed’s Top 5 Arty Apps. In no particular order:

  1. Magic Tate Ball – Free

It turns out that Tate have commissioned a number of apps to enrich people’s experience of their galleries and appreciation of art. Free downloads include the Muybridgizer, which allows you record one of those zoetrope style sequences made famous by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge and QuizTrail, which tests your knowledge of subject themes in the gallery and rewards you with a 10% discount voucher in the shop if you do well.

My favourite Tate App, however, is Magic Tate Ball. You shake the Magic Tate Ball, it then records the date and time, the weather conditions, your location and the atmosphere in your environment before taking through the depths of space and time to reveal a related art work to that very moment. It gives you a condensed explanation of the work and tells you why it has been selected. Silly but brilliant.

2. Art Guide – Free

If you’re thinking of something to do on a weekend morning and you want to know what’s on near you, then this is a pretty good app. Created by the Art Fund who get you in for free or do half-price discounts to most major exhibitions, the app records your location anywhere in the UK and tells you what’s on in your locality.

3. Draw Something – Free

For a more creative app, this is excellent. It’s like Pictionary, where you get a word you have to depict and others have to guess what the hell it is. Here you send your masterpiece to a friend who has to work out what it is with a hangman style guess system. If playing with boys, I’d estimate close to 50% of depictions will involve a hairy knob and bollocks.

On the theme of more creative apps there’s also Brushes, again free, allowing you to be like David Hockney and create paintings on your iPhone or iPad. Having had a quick go with this has only increased my appreciation of Hockney as it’s seemingly impossible to create something of merit. Patience or boredom is key.

Here’s The New Yorker’s effort when they used the app to design the cover of their magazine in 2009.

4. National Portrait Gallery Tour – £1.49

For anyone willing to pay the equivalent of half a tube fare, this is probably the best of the London gallery apps that I could find. You can tour the collection on your phone, watch videos of the curators talking about different parts of the collection and have audio accompaniment to many of the major works.

5. Exhibition Guides – c. £1.50 – 3.00

This is just a general one, but most major exhibitions now come with their own apps, which for a couple of quid gets you a full audio-visual guided tour, although you might annoy a few punters if you forget your headphones.

You may well read the above, roll your eyes in the way that people with iPhones do and tell me that you’ve had all these apps for ages. But if you know of other decent art apps then let me know because, I assure you I won’t have seen it before.

By Edward Lines

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