Sometimes it's uncanny how many similar iPhone apps appear at about the same time. Over the past week or so, we've heard about a number of new apps that "tune you into" streaming police, fire, and emergency medical service radio services. Apps like this can be useful to volunteer firefighters, off-duty policemen, news crews, scanner enthusiasts, and the occasional ambulance-chasing lawyer.
The first out of the box is Police Scanner 1.1 (US$2.99, click opens iTunes) from Juicy Development. This app now features over 1,100 streams from 7 different countries and a streamlined interface for getting to your favorite local emergency radio, The developers will add any compatible stream to their app within hours of being notified of that stream, so if there are no local radios listed now, there may be soon.
Next in the queue is Emergency Radio 1.1 (US$0.99, click opens iTunes) from Edge Rift. It's available in a free "Lite" version if you want to try it out on a handful of major cities, or you can spend a buck to get over 900 feeds from all over the US. I personally thought the code lists (see photo) are a nice touch.
If you prefer a little music with your police calls, Wunder Radio 1.6 (US$6.99, click opens iTunes) not only captures the same emergency radio streams from ScanAmerica.us as the other two apps, but is also the best (IMHO) iPhone app out there for listening to local radio stations. It also gives you NOAA weather information for US locations, not to mention railroad crew and dispatch calls.
Regardless of which scanner app you select, it's sure to give you hours of fun, and it's definitely worth listening in on why the cops visited your neighbor's house at 3 A.M.