Friday, December 26, 2008

iPhone App Review

Everybody else seems to be doing it, so I've put together my rundown of my favorite iPhone apps after a few months of use.  Full listing inside...

Evernote - free

It looks on the surface like just a note-taking app, but they've put together a pretty interesting service that encourages you to keep your brain in this thing.  You have to get over the fact that all of your stuff is stored on their servers (although all the sending and receiving is secure), but they have iPhone, OS X, and Windows clients that automatically sync.  Among other things, the iPhone app automatically geotags your notes and lets you attach images from the camera -- notably once photo notes sync to the server, they are automatically OCR'd such that you can, say, take a photo of a whiteboard and search for any text that was written on it later.

I've been using Evernote for meeting notes, car records, personal journal, recipe index, and password file among other things.

BeejiveIM - $15

It seems kind of obscene to pay $15 for a chat client, but this is absolutely the best one for iPhone.  It looks good, supports every chat protocol out there (iChat, AIM, MSN, etc.), and most importantly has a clever feature that allows you to receive messages while your iPhone is off, which I find indispensable.

Wikipedia Mobile - $3

There are a couple free Wikipedia browsers, but this is well worth the 3 bucks for a well-thought-out experience.

NYTimes - free

Offers the whole Times and archives in a nice iPhone format.

NetNewsWire - free

My favorite RSS-reader, particularly because it automatically syncs your feeds and read/unread items with the OS X desktop NetNewsWire client.  I can't imagine not having this feature.

The Weather Channel - free

It's not the prettiest weather app (that would be either the built-in one, or WeatherBug), but it's got the most extensive information by far.

Remote - free

Apple released this very cute app that can control any copy of iTunes on a local wifi network with your iPhone.  If you have a mac playing music through your stereo (or remote speakers connected to Airport Express bricks), this is brilliant.

Jaadu VNC - $20

I know this one is a niche, but I bought it when it was $35 and thought it was a bargain.  If you have a mac always running and connected to the internet, Jaadu can connect to it from anywhere in the world, and lets you view its screen and control it as if you were sitting in front of it.  Using this to play with my media center Mac Mini wherever I happen to be feels like magic.

Q Contacts - free

Simple little app that lets you pull up and call/email/text contacts by typing the first few letters of their name.

PCalc - $10

Okay, I realize there are likely literally hundreds of calculator apps, many free, but I really love PCalc.  The developer has been making various versions of PCalc for different platforms for over 15 years.  It's amazingly capable, customizable, beautiful, and optionally operates in RPN mode, as god intended.

Twitteriffic - free / Tweetie -$3

After researching the silly number of Twitter apps, I think these 2 will stand out for most people's needs.  Twitteriffic is the free choice, and Tweetie is the way to go if you can spend $3.

AppSniper - $1

This is a great app if you're either app-obsessed, an app bargain-hunter, or both.  It shows you the latest iPhone apps hitting iTunes, apps that have gone on sale, and lets you create "snipes" to alert you if an app you're interested in has dropped below a price threshold you set.

Flixster Movies - free

Currently playing and upcoming movies, theaters and showtimes (with location awareness), trailers, rottentomatoes reviews, IMDB links.  "Now Playing" is close, but this is a bit nicer.

Pandora - free / - free

Each has its benefits versus the other, but both offer really nice streaming personal preference-driven net radio, even when not on WiFi.  Pandora has more ability to shape individual "stations" to suit specific tastes, offers the ability to drive selections on your overall music collection and listening habits.  I use both.

Urbanspoon - free

My favorite of the social restaurant finder apps, not so much because the user ratings are great (they're not), but because the iPhone app gives you a lot more options than, say, Yelp.  I use it to keep track of restaurants I've been (and liked/disliked), search through places I prefer, and do things like add pictures of menus to listings.  It also does the cute shake-it slot machine thing to find a random restaurant nearby, although I never find much use for that.

Amazon Mobile -free

Offers a surprising amount of's feature set (browsing, searching, wishlists, ordering, etc.) in a very clean little iPhone interface.

iPhlix -$3

The only Netflix queue browser/manager that actually works.

Zagat To Go '09 -$10

Just what you'd expect.

AccuFuel - $1

Very clean little app for tracking (and graphing) your car's fuel usage.

Google Earth - free

Not at all necessary or useful day-to-day, but whoa, it's really Google Earth in your pocket.

WikiMe - $1

Interesting concept.  I didn't even realize that Wikipedia articles about specific locations include GPS coordinates, but this app uses this to show you articles about things near your location.  Turns you into a local tour guide wherever you happen to be.

Simplify -$4

Set up a little program on your home Mac, and this app lets you browse and stream music from it wherever you are.  Handy.

Stanza - free

The best eBook reader for iPhone.  Includes free online access to a large library of classics, and a broad selection of downloadable eBooks, if you're into that.  I just like being able to pull up the Art of War or some Lovecraft on demand.

Easy Wi-Fi for AT&T - $1

AT&T offers free WiFi hotspots at Starbucks and a bunch of other locations, but they have a ridiculously complex system for gaining access each time you want to use one.  This app just makes it go.

FAAwait - $1

Gives you an up-to-date listing of all US airport delays.

And finally, as a bonus here are my favorite games and other amusements, which I'll let you check out on your own:  Koi Pond, Bejewelled 2, Ocarina, RjDj Album, Katamari, Rolando, 1112


Post a Comment