Developer: SHAPE GmbH
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store
With the ever-growing list of practical applications for iPhone users that allow your iPhone to become an all-in-one device, sorting out the good from the bad is the only rub.
While you may not have been looking for a way to turn your iPhone into a wireless headset, Shape Services' Headset is an app that does just that. For a mere $0.99 – a price well worth the experiment – iPhone users with a PC running Windows XP or newer can use their iPhone as a headset for use with Skype, Google Talk, and AIM, as well as to listen to audio and record conversations.
Headset works in conjunction with Mobiola Headset Desktop, which you will need to install on your computer. It’s available for free and once installed, acts as a sound driver that you will need to apply to the various programs you want to use with Headset.
After installing and setting up the desktop software, connecting the iPhone to your computer couldn’t be simpler. When you launch the app with Mobiola Headset Desktop installed and open, it automatically recognizes and connects to it. Provided you’ve accessed the sound settings on your computer for audio playback and made Mobiola Headset your default, you’re good to go.
Granted, for some uses like Skype, the Skype app is probably more practical than going the Headset route, and some users may find the setup steps to perform this dance a bit too much. However, once you’ve set it up, there really are a number of practical uses for Headset. It can act as wireless headphones for audio, allowing you to listen to Internet radio and even TV, though the audio accompanying video is not really in sync. Still, for basic audio playback, Headset gives you the freedom to roam about the house instead of being chained to your computer.
The other useful feature of Headset is the ability to record conversations. This could prove a powerful business tool for some users, giving them the ability to record a conference call or interview, and you can also use Headset to dictate. Your sound file is automatically saved on the desktop application as a sound file for quick access or review later. The app can also work with an iPod Touch, providing you have ear buds with an external microphone.
While Headset may have its limitations and may not prove as streamlined for some uses, as a wireless headset for certain applications, it could be quite a useful (and inexpensive) alternative indeed.
Currently, the desktop software is only available for Windows users, but Mac support is in the works. For the price, users looking for new ways to hear or record audio wirelessly should find Heaset a worthwhile addition to their productivity toolbox.