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We’re used to buying complete packages, and the iPhone certainly looked like one. Lately though, it seems more and more like what we bought was just an empty box waiting to be filled up with awesome. And they’re finally getting around to it.

Exhibit A: the Coachella app that keeps you up to date with all the showtimes and lets you plot your own course through the madness of the festival. If only there were some kind of social network…

Exhibit B: The best work we’ve seen from Trent Reznor since those videos that terrified your parents. We’re talking about the Nine Inch Nails iPhone app, which brings together just about everything you could want.

Reznor has already spent a fair share of energy building up an online community with remix projects and free downloads, all of which gets reformatted and plugged directly into the iPhone interface, but the real prize is the social networking component. Location-based message boards let you see messages from anyone within a mile and a picasa-style photo app lets you tag your snapshots to specific locations, both of which should make their concerts a fully 2.0’d experience. Users can instant-message privately or publicly, and a direct stream of remixes, b-sides and concert tracks give them more than enough to talk about.

It’s a fusion of every cool functionality developed in the past five years, and should inspire jealousy in everyone from GE to Pets.com. If this were an independent project, it would be due for eight figures of VC money. If Facebook had done it, they’d get a few more cover stories and another ten million users.

Instead, Trent Reznor gets a stronger fan base and a few more album sales.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom