Essential apps for the iPhone

As a bit of a follow up to my essential mac apps for new users post… here are my recommendations for iPhone apps…

1ST PAGE:

I keep my home screen in the default app arrangement. Not sure why, perhaps its and OCD issue or  my fingers have just learnt where all the main apps live. The only one I don’t really use regulary is Stocks, but it’s a nice icon :)

2ND PAGE:

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Page 2 is for my most used non Apple apps… just one flick away from the home screen.

IceTV:
An Australian based TV guide service. A paid subscription lets you activate recording of shows back on you media centre / DVR remotely.

TV Forecast:
A great little app that lists the upcoming air dates of your favourite TV shows in whichever country they screen first. Great so you remember to grab them on channel BT.

ABC:
This is the official app from the Australian public broadcaster. I use it to scan news headlines. You can also download ABC audio and video podcasts in the app. I just wish they would add a frequency guide!

Tuner:
This is an app that lets you play streaming Internet radio stations on your phone over wifi and 3G. It comes with a list if American-centric stations, but you can add your own stream (such as Triple J) by entering a URL.

Pocket Weather:
This app is an Australian replacement for the supplied weather app on the 1st page which seems to be fairly inacurate, particually for forcasts. Pkt Weather uses data direct from the Australian Bureau of Metorology (BOM) and includes animated radar images. There is another app in this league called ‘Oz Weather’ but as I paid for this one first so I’ve not used it.

Skype:
It took a while for an official Skype app to arrive, but it was worth the wait! I use Skype for calls while travelling overseas at Wifi hot spots and at home calling friends OS. Works as advertised!! It’s also great for instant messaging on Wifi or 3G. I guess sending SMS via Skype on the phone isn’t going to happen any time soon, but fingers crossed!! EDIT: Version 1.1 is now available and has voicemail retrieval and you can now send SMS messages!!!

Linked In:
I don’t use this professional networking took a real lot, but it does provide a much nicer interface than their actual website.

Analytics:
I manage quite a few websites and this app serves up all the Google Analytics traffic data presenting it in an easy to digest UI.

Facebook:
Well if you don’t know what this one is about, call up a mate and get them to help you lift off the rock that you’ve been hiding under! Once again a far nicer interface then the real website in my opinion. Also all the messages and info are cached on the phone so you can view it still if you have no data connection.

Tweetie:
This is a really nice apps for communicating using the Twitter service. I originally used Twitteriffic, but with V2 the interface got very busy and complex. The only thing I miss in Tweetie that was in Twitteriffic is the offline caching of tweets.

Reader:
This is a link to the mobile web app version of Google Reader for reading RSS feeds. I have tried using the native Google Reader app called Byline, but found it to be really slow. Google mobile web app is super fast and easy to use! RSS feed readers are a great way to get your news and monitor new posts on sites you visit daily. They basically strip away all the site except for text and some images, helping you get to the content you want to read easily!

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3RD PAGE:

This page is still full of good apps, but I them less often…

Currency:
A must for traveling and doing currency conversion in a one page dashboard widget style app.

Grocery Zen:
Not a bad little app for doing shopping lists. It organises your shopping into aisles and categories. There are heaps of these sorts of apps on the App Store, but this is the one that was recommended to me.

Convertbot:
This one has an awesome animated user interface. Converts just about anything. Be sure to go into the settings and activate some of the hidden conversion options… only the common ones appear by default.

iStat:
This is an app by the company that did iStat Menus for the Mac. This app lets you monitor not just all your Mac’s remotely, but also the iPhone it’s installed on. A useful little feature is the ability to clear out the allocated memory on your phone which sometimes can get quite full if you have been playing games.

ATM Hunter
When I got back to Australia form overseas, I was pretty shocked by this new ATM withdrawal arrangement where you have to pay around $2 for every time you use an ATM not operated by your own bank (I am with a credit union and they used to let you withdraw anywhere for nix). This little app uses your location information to find the nearest ATM’s and tells you which bank operates them.

FTP on the Go:
Was really useful while traveling to make small changes to code in websites for clients.

Air Sharing:
Lets you use your iPhone like a USB memory stick. I also use it to store and view iPod formatted videos. This way I don’t have to import them into iTunes and sync the phone. You connect to your phone via Wifi and then phone appears as a drive on your desktop.

Wikipanion:
At the pub disagreeing on a fact? Wikipanion is a great mobile interface for the wikipedia.org site.

1Password:
Nice little app that syncs with the desktop version. It’s a place to keep all your passwords, serial numbers, ftp logins etc etc and have them with you on the road. All the data is encrypted and you need to enter a pin and password to access the data.

Mobile Usage:
Connects to the Optus billing server and retrieves your account balance, the number of SMS & MMS you have sent and data you have used for the billing month. Very useful for tight arses like myself!

Cities:
This app lets you see what time it is in other places in the world at a designated time. It’s kind of like the built in Clock app but it only lets you see the ‘current’ time. Useful if you have to plan a phone meeting OS or stay up for an OS event.

Tick:
This is the iPhone app for the web service at tickspot.com that I use for tracking time for work projects. Nice to be able to enter your time while out and about.

Remote:
Apples own app for letting you control iTunes or  an AppleTV via your iPhone. Great for a party situation so you can keep your lappy in a back room. If you use the iTunes DJ playlist, multiple people running the app can add tracks to a ‘request’ queue.

Byline:
This is an offline viewer for Google Reader. Useful if you are going on a plane or on the Tube. You just sync the app with Google Reader and all your RSS articles are downloaded. It’s a bit slow so I only use it when I know I am going to be without data coverage. It’s also best to use it over Wifi rather than 3G or Edge.

Tip:
A nice little Tip calculator for working out those dinner cost splits.

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4TH PAGE:

This is my page of ‘fun’ apps…

Sol Free:
A free Solitare app. One of the first apps I think I downloaded!

Tris:
This is a Tetris game. You can’t download it anymore as it infringed copyright. EA does a licenced Tetris app, but the UI isn’t as nice…

Sim City:
I bought this app for my girlfriend and installed it on my iPhone too… I haven’t really  had a chance to played it much, but I will soon I hope!

Flight Control:
One of the best examples of an iPhone game that uses the touch interface for gameplay. The premise is that you have to land different places on different runways without them crashing into each other. You use your finger to glide the plane to the appropriate runway.

eShaver:
Funny app that turns your phone into a shaver. Great way to freak people out.

A-Level:
Turns your phone into a spirit level. There are a couple of free version on the app store now.

Kern:
Nerdy app for graphic designers. It’s a bit like tetris…. you line a missing letter up with a gap in a word and drop it into the space trying to get the spacing before and after the letter correct. Really nice visual design.

Thats about it for my list of current apps that I use on my phone. Hope you find one or two that are useful for you as well!

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