So I'm a big tech geek and the story this weekend will be the new iPhone 3G coming out around the world. Bigger than the actual phone itself is the new App store which in effect turns your phone into a mini mobile computer.
The 2 most obvious apps available to foodies at the launch are Yelp and Urbanspoon, both of which utilize the GPS to track down restaurants in your vicinity. While both of these look quite interesting, it's just the tip of the iceberg on what we could see in the future.
First and foremost, I can imagine all sorts of food reference material. I love cheese, but I'm not exactly a cheese expert. Sometimes you'll go to a fancy restaurant and see a nice cheese plate, but not know exactly what the different varieties are. Wouldn't it be nice to have a little app with infomation on cheeses of the world complete with pictures, descriptions, and history cross referenced with country of origin, age, and maybe related cheese families? I'm not a big wine drinker, but I imagine something like this could be a hit with the wine lovers. Heck, how about a sake compendium for someone who frequents Japanese restaurants?
I love to travel to try cool foreign foods, but I end up spending inordinate amounts of time searching for blogs and checking through long forum threads to find information on where to find great food gems. Even in places with a handy food guide like the Makansutra in Singapore, it's a huge headache trying to find things with the lack of an abilty to sort and organize all the different entries. And that's not to even mention trying to figure out where it is and how you get there once you know where you want to go. Imagine some kind of collaberative food guide for Bangkok, for instance, which listed good restaurants, had some decent maps to show you where they are, and could display the name and address of the restaurant in large Thai script so you could just show it to the cab driver!
I think chowhound.com is THE definitive food resource online for serious foodies and I'd love to see this site get in on the iPhone App action with a cool app. The format doesn't lend itself to an app as easily as Yelp, but I'm sure there are tons of ways to make it happen.
Anyway, none of my ideas are very original or innovative. They're all really simply things that don't revolutionize anything. That gives me hope that someone somewhere out there is trying something like this and the iPhone Apps era can take being a foodie to another level. :)