Apple changes stance on LED flashlight apps

Apple is now approving flashlight apps that use the LED on the new iPhone 4 that were previously denied for "inappropriate use of hardware." And surprisingly, they're quite useful.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

It's been hot here in the northeast with temperatures expected to be in the triple digits for the next three days. We've been running the air conditioning a lot and last night the power went out -- undoubtedly because everyone else in the area is doing exactly the same thing.

This turned out to be the perfect chance to test the new Light-O-Matic app ($0.99, App Store) exclusively for iPhone 4.

Previous iPhone "flashlight" apps were pretty pathetic, simply turning the screen white, with some silly other features grafted on. I mean come on, you can do the same thing by opening the Mail app.

Light-O-Matic is actually quite useful because it uses the LED flash on the rear of the iPhone 4 as the flashlight -- not the screen. And last night I was able to find my way to the bedroom because of it. The app has several other features too (strobe, safety mode, morse code), but let's face it, you want it for the flashlight.

There's an interesting backstory. Apple originally denied flashlight apps that used the LED on the new i4 for "inappropriate use of hardware"

Apple blocked all the LED flash light apps because they did not expect developers to by pass the camera feed and just use the lights. Battery drain was also another major concern. So, they met up and discussed it and decided to let them through, but all devs had to add a disclaimer to their iTunes Store description about battery drain.

Apple finally relented allowing apps to use it with one proviso: developers must include a disclaimer that continued use of the iPhone's LED may dramatically decrease battery life. Well, duh.

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