In recent weeks Apple has taken a good deal of heat over everything from the MobileMe debacle to some apparent iPhone 3G reception issues. Much of the criticism is, in my opinion, well-deserved and the on-going silence from Apple certainly doesn’t help the situation. All that aside, however, I am absolutely loving my iPhone 3G and upgraded iPod Touch. While I had some instability issues at first, after a simple reinstall of the firmware both are now rock solid. Moreover, while there is an abundance of garbage available, the iPhone App Store also offers some fantastic applications that I’m finding indispensable. Best of all, many of the top applications are actually free.
In addition to the privilege of being the most recent member of the Gear Diary Team, I have the good fortune to be one of the individuals who started WhatsOniPhone, an iPhone application news and review site, just over seven weeks ago. Because of my involvement with What’sOniPhone, I’ve been spending a good deal of my free time this summer looking at the wide range of available iPhone applications. Here are some of my favorites and links to our reviews.
Media and News:
I am loving Pandora Radio and, most recently, Simple Media. Pandora is the “intelligent” web radio that has an uncanny ability to present songs you actually want to hear. Simple Media is a new application that allows you to stream your iTunes music, as well as that of 30 friends, to your iPhone or Touch. The fact that Pandora, the most amazing online music service, may be reaching the end of its life is a real loss for all of us who enjoy music and technology. Fortunately, through Simple Media and the iTunes collection of just four friends, I have over 200GB of music now available so long as I have a data connection.
eReader: eReader’s app was due before the end of 2008. Instead, it appeared with the launch of the App Store on July 11. An update at the end of July made a good app even better. With eReader you can access your eReader and Fictionwise bookshelves, as well as other books in eReader format.
NetNewsWire is my RSS reader of choice. It works well and integrates with NewsGator so all my feeds are in sync across all platforms and devices. Most recently, I started using Instapaper to augment NetNewsWire. Instapaper provides offline access to saved webpages in a format that is exceptionally easy to read.
Two apps I am loving because they allow me to avoid two of life’s biggest annoyances:
DialZero helps you avoid the voicemail hell of many major companies and go straight to a real live human being. It even allows you to make the call from within the application. (It might have come in handy when I was on the phone with Apple’s MobileMe support the other day.)
Now Playing (formerly BoxOffice) provides more information than MovieFone with the added benefit of you never again having to hear– “If you know the name of the movie you’d like to see…”
LocalEats is a restaurant guide and a whole lot more. It offers a list of one hundred top restaurants in 50 major cities and uses the iPhone’s location feature, web browser, and integrated telephone superbly.
WatchItChange is a neat little application that uses the iPhone’s integrated camera to quickly make stop-motion movies. (Okay, “quickly” is a bit of a stretch- stop-motion movies take forever to make- even WITH this great app.)
And on an entirely frivolous front, I am totally taken with a little application called Koi Pond. It creates a virtual koi pond on your iPhone or iPod Touch complete with fish, lilies and splashing water. I don’t know why I like it but I really do.
My two favorite productivity apps have become completely indispensable- Evernote and reQall. The iPhone applications for each were good when they were first released and have gotten much better in the past weeks as updates have been rolled out. Evernote now allows for note editing and, according to their blog, will soon offer offline storage and access of notes. reQall is great for taking 30 second voice notes and having them returned as text, as well as offering a host of additional features. (I’ve gone back and forth between reQall and Jott. Thanks to a long discussion and some testing with Wayne the other night I am using reQall with excellent results.) Both incredible as productivity tools.
Finally, for task management the jury is still out. OmniFocus, ToDo (which integrates with Toodledo and RememberTheMilk) and Things are all superb. The next update of Things will be arriving in the App Store any day (it was submitted last week for review) and will enable sync with the desktop version. I’m waiting until that release before I compare the three, write my reviews and make a decision on which to personally use. As I note, though, all three are terrific.
So there you have it- some of my current favorites. Am I right? Wrong? Did I miss anything?