Turn Your iPhone into a Mobile Starbucks Locator, Debit Card

Imagine yourself in a strange city on a business trip, and, since you're not in Seattle, there isn't a Starbucks on every street corner. Instead, there's one on every second corner. How do you get your coffee fix? You could use Google, but that's for suckers. Instead, you pull out your iPhone and zero in on the closest location with the new Starbucks iPhone app.

In fact, Starbucks has released not one, but two apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch:

myStarbucks. Find all the nearby Starbucks locations with myStarbucks. See at a glance if the cloest store is actually open. Get directions. Call the store. This is an essential app if you are planning to become a Starbucks stalker. You can also browse the menu and find the nutritional information about those giant oatmeal cookies.

Starbucks Card Mobile. The Starbucks Card Mobile lets you check your Starbucks Card's balance and recharge the card electronically. And for a limited time, you get $5 free when you add $25 to the card via your iPhone. In certain California locations, you can even use the iPhone app as your Starbucks Card -- no need to pull the card out of your wallet, because you pay electronically using the phone. Cool -- just like Japan.

I'm actually somewhat surprised that Starbucks hasn't had its own apps till now. Oh well -- better late than never. And they're both free.

It also occurs to me that, depoending upon how addicted to coffee and scones you happen to be, you might want to add this to the list of seven essential apps for traveling with your iPhone.