December 18, 2010, 3:19 PM — Among the more than 300,000 apps written for the iPhone and iPad, there are plenty designed specifically for practical, worklike functions (sometimes even functions that are actual work, rather than simply looking like it).
All, or almost all, are portable versions of apps, organizational tools or advisory services you could get in other ways, though more awkwardly, more expensively and, often, with less timely information.
Apps that really let you do something you could never do before without spending ridiculous money and time, are rare. (OK, innovation is rare by definition, but don't try to claim Angry Birds or Salesforce for iPhone have broken new ground in the intellectual or productive life of the species.)
These two apps, on the other hand, show what quick processors, good data connections, slick programming and innovative thinking can really give you.
Word Lens -- flogged around the Web late Friday as various gadget sites discovered it and mono-linguistic geeks shouted "I need that!" -- is an iPhone app that uses the phone's camera to create an image of text written on a sign or other surface and automatically translate it into English.
The other -- less cool but far more useful on a day to day basis -- is an Android app Domino's Pizza released in Japan that lets the Domino's deliver the Japanese squid-and-whalemeat version of its cardboard pizzas directly to customers without having to get a street address by using the GPS location service in their phones.