The Microsoft of the coffee biz, Starbucks, announced this morning that they've introduced two new iPhone / iPod touch apps to help customers make the most of their coffee addiction. myStarbucks and the Starbucks Card Mobile App [iTunes links] are free apps available in the iTunes App Store today.
These apps were the subject of much speculation, particularly in the Mac Rumors forums, after Phil Schiller showed the myStarbucks app on the screen at the September 9th, 2009 "It's Only Rock and Roll" music event.
While the company could have combined the two apps into one monster app, it's apparent that they're for two very different purposes. myStarbucks is primarily targeted at finding stores (as if there isn't one on every street corner in America...) and educating consumers about the drinks and food items available in those stores. The Starbucks Card Mobile App, on the other hand, is pointed towards the professional coffee slurper who already has a Starbucks Card in his or her quivering hand. Let's look at the two apps in a bit more detail.
myStarbucks starts with a geolocation feature to find the nearest dozen or so Starbucks stores within a few miles of your present location, shown on a map or in a list. If you haven't had your morning coffee fix and need directions, the app will fire up Google Maps and provide you with driving, transit, or walking instructions. For each "official" Starbucks franchise, there are icons indicating whether or not the store is open, as well as whether or not they have Wi-Fi or oven-warmed food.