I’ve been meaning to do a post about iPhone apps ever since I got it (… which was back in September 2008 or so…). But recently my friend Jolie and my sister both got iPhones so that’s a bit of a recent incentive.
I sort of plan on updating this as I find new apps and get recommendations. So please recommend other apps for me to add to this list!
The secret about the iPhone that you don’t really realize until you have one is that it’s almost more of a mini-computer and less of a phone. I honestly don’t talk on the phone much (though I do text message all the time), but I’m constantly using my iPhone for non-phone functions — and I’d say 90% of those non-phone functions are due to apps.
- Facebook — This one is pretty obvious. You can update your status from anywhere, see what your friends are up to, etc.
- Remote — Control your iTunes library from your phone! I’ve used this during parties and when I have people over and stashed my laptop somewhere but still want to control the music.
- Wikiamo — The best Wikipedia interface. I probably use this app more than anything else on my phone. If I’m sitting on the couch watching the TV and want to look up something about an actor or show to whatever, I use Wikiamo to do a quick lookup.
- Shazam — Recognizes songs you hear at a restaurant, on TV, on the radio, etc. Since I’m always on the lookout for new music anywhere, this app is essential and it’s a great way to impress people. Personal highlights for me: Identifying “White Horse” by Sarah McLeod (a song that my ex-bf and I always used to hear on c89.5 [not that we really liked it, but we frequently heard it], “Feel Alive” by the Benassi Bros [another c89.5 song that samples "Layla" by Eric Clapton], “Major Tom” by Shiny Toy Guns from that Lincoln MKZ ad, “Wizball” by Beatphreak from an episode of Entourage)
- Yelp — I mainly use this app as a phonebook that stores my bookmarked places so I don’t have to store tons of delivery places in my normal phonebook. It’s also good to get a quick review, of course.
- Tweetie — I’ve tried both Twitterific and Tweetie (Tweetie is 99 cents) and much prefer Tweetie. While I don’t update my Twitter as much as I want to, Tweetie makes it easier for when I am feeling inspired.
- Flixster — The best movie times app. It lets me bookmark my favorite theatres and then quickly see what is playing where. And like any good movie times internet app, it makes sure to put the matinee showings in ( ) so I can save some money.
- Skype — Free calls if you are on a WiFi network. You need a Skype account (which is like $30/year). Unfortunately this app has been working like shit for me for the past couple months, but when it first came out it was great. I work at home a lot and this app could ideally save me tons of minutes for when I do conference calls and whatnot.
- Amazon.com — Because I’m obsessed with Amazon. I don’t do the one-click checkout shopping too often. Mostly I use the app to look things up and then add them to my wishlist for later.
- Zenbe — This is my favorite “list” app/web site. You can enter things on the site http://lists.zenbe.com/ and it synchs to your phone. This was really useful when my friend Katrina came to visit and we had a list of stuff we wanted to do and before she came up she could add things via the web site then when she got here they’d already be on my phone.
- NPR Mobile — If you want to listen to tons of NPR stuff. I haven’t used this app much, but the design and concept is really cool.
- myWireless — tracks your AT&T Wireless account. It shows your used/remaining minutes, which is very helpful.
- i.TV — The only program I’ve found that synchs up with my TiVo so I can tell it to record shows when I’m not home. It’s got tons of other features so it’s kind of bloated.
- Chase — Since Washington Mutual turned into Chase I now have an app to check in with my bank. And it does find nearby ATMs, which is cool.
- Shopper — It costs 99 cents and is supposedly a great shopping list app. I still can’t tear myself away from post-it notes for shopping lists, though. Someday I hope to finally use this app.
- SeattleBus — Yea, this app costs like $5 or $10 but for me it’s been totally worth it! While this isn’t the be-all-end-all bus app (you can’t, for example, say “get me from A to B”), it does show when buses are going to arrive at a particular bus stop. I use this at work so I don’t have to wait too long at the bus stop. It also shows when buses are running late, which is nice.
- Seattle Metro — Another bus app. I don’t like this one as much, though. But I want to support both and sometimes use this one as a backup when SeattleBus isn’t working.
- Seattle Cocktail Compass — Shows happy hours near you and how much time you have to get to them before happy hour ends. Unfortunately I don’t do happy hours too often, but the concept is cool and if nothing else you can use it to find bars.
- Sol Free — The solitaire app I like. For some reason I still love playing soliatire. I’d be open to a new/better version, but haven’t found one yet. This app also includes some other versions of soliatire (Demon, Baker’s Game, etc. — I always play Klondike Deal 3)
- Scramble — Boggle — my ex’s favorite game so I sort of got into it, too.
- Tangram Pro — I used to love these when i was younger so imagine my excitement when I found an app for it. A great “brain exercise”-type game. I think there is a free version, too, with less puzzles.
Cool Stuff To Show Off With
- Seadragon — One of the only Microsoft-written apps. Seadragon is meant for touchscreen and this app shows how cool it is/what potential there is for when more PCs are touch-screen.
- Lightsaber — How cool is it to have a lightsaber?!?! It totally sounds like the Star Wars lightsabers when you move your phone around.
- Urbanspoon — This is that famous app from the commercials where you shake your phone and it shows you a random restaurant. I’ve never found it useful (it always seems to show restaurants that I for sure don’t want to go to), but still neat to play around with. If you use it for real, be prepared to veto its choices often.
- TonePad — A Tenori-On for your iPhone!!! Recently popularized (to me, at least) by the amazing video of Little Boots playing with her “new toy.”
- Zillow — Connects in with the Zillow site to see how much nearby houses/condos/etc. cost.
- Kitsuné — Hooks you into my favorite French record label: Kitsuné Music. I haven’t found much use for this since I don’t use iTunes to buy music… but still cool.
Some other iPhone tips and tricks:
- I text message way more than use the phone, so I put the Messages app in the “bottom four” so I can easily access it. I never use Safari, either, so I might move Wikiamo down there, too.
- To make my own ring tones I use the export as an AAC then rename to m4r method.
- If you use the iPhone headphones, you can click once on the speaker to pause a song, double-click to skip to the next song, and triple-click to go back to the beginning of a track.
- When synching my iPhone with my computer, I have it set up so that I select which playlists I want to copy over to the iPhone. I have one playlist called “iPhone” that has my favorite albums so I’ll always have them if I need them.