iPhone really is all about the apps

I said that a few weeks ago: iPhone is all about the apps and I’m more convinced of that than ever.

As I was scanning the Wall Street Journal on my iPhone, I got to thinking about some of the other apps I have installed on this mobile device.

54 in total so far (click the image to see the larger detail). That seems an awful lot yet it also illustrates just how compelling this platform is, for developers to develop and users to use.

I don’t use all those 54 apps. In fact, many of them are ones I’ve installed to try out and haven’t used since. So they’re just cluttering up the iPhone. (Heh, how desktop PC bad habits are so easy to transfer to other platforms!)

Of those 54, though, many really stand out for their utility, their functionality and, in many cases, the sheer fun of use. The vast majority are free.

Here are my top ten favourite apps, the ones I’m currently using more than any others, in alphabetical order (I’ve marked with an asterisk * the apps that you have to pay for):

  • Audioboo: Record audio up to 5 minutes in length, publish on the web. Astounding audio quality. New service features include commenting on boos and following other audiobooers (must find a better descriptor than that).
  • Boombox: Stream music from Blip.fm. Search for tracks and create playlists.
  • Google Mobile: I especially love the voice search feature. It always works when I use it. :)
  • Shazam: This app is so cool – hold the iPhone up to any music you’re playing or hearing and Shazam will try and identify it and give you a link to it on iTunes.
  • Skype: Make and receive free phone calls whenever you have a wifi connection.
  • Trace: This game is so absorbing (you have to see it to understand that), perfect for quiet moments or when your train is delayed.
  • Tweetie*: I think this is the best Twitter app for the iPhone. Run multiple accounts, retweet, follow/unfollow, just about everything you want to do with Twitter.
  • WiFi Checker: It looks as though this app isn’t available any longer. That’s a pity as I find it immensely useful in discovering wifi connections.
  • WordPress: Write blog posts, upload photos, edit pages, manage comments – do it all from your iPhone.
  • Wall Street Journal: Free access to WSJ.com content via ad-supported iPhone app. Includes excellent audio and video content.

What iPhone apps do you like – and that you’d recommend?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Daniel Penton

    Night Camera is great for getting the best out of the very low megapixel iPhone camera if need be. It uses the phones accelerometer to take photos at the moment when your hands are shaking least.

    Bloomberg can be useful too – who would have thought that we would ever have close to a fully functioning Bloomberg terminal in the palm of our hands and for free!

  2. Mark McGee

    I’ve started using the Nambu app for Twitter, it just seems more intuitive to me than Tweetie (although I still have Tweetie installed).
    Another favourite is Evernote, which allows you to take clips from web sites, docs, etc and compile them remotely using tags for research, etc.
    Wasn’t aware of the WordPress app – heading off to find yet another app to install now …

  3. Chris Nee

    It’s Audioboo-urns, surely? :-)

    Posts like this make me *so* desperate to get my hands on an iPhone. A lot of folk think it’s all about the cool interface and it’s just a status symbol, but the cold hard fact is that this thing can do so more than the appalling handset I’m stuck with.

  4. neville

    Thanks, great comments. I’m now trying out Nambu, Mark, although it doesn’t impress me as Tweetie does. I have Evernote but never really got into it.

    Good tip re Bloomberg, Daniel, thanks.

    That’s exactly it, Chris – iPhone is about the apps. A major bonus that it’s such a cool platform on which to run them!

    I’ve heard of the Shakespeare app, Philip. Prefer my WSJ, though :) And hoping there’s an FT app very soon.

  5. TheMoonMan2

    While WiFi Checker may not be available the app Wi-Fi Finder is and for me the app has worked great. I kind of suprised that you haven’t listed the following apps:

    DirecTV – I understand that maybe only 5% of iPhone users also have DirecTV but this app works incredibly well. I’ve never missed a show I wanted to record using my DVR through this app.

    Flick Fishing – To date this is the most incredible game I’ve played on the iPhone…extremely addicting. Yes, this is a paid app…but well worth it…IMHO.

    Koi Pond – Very relaxing, extremely tranquil…I believe this is a paid app…I apologize I don’t remember.

    Loopt – This app is SO cool. I have a friend who is moving from the west coast to the east coast and he is driving there. I’m able to track his travel across the country and he is able to upload photos along the way with little captions. The funniest picture and caption so far is – “My pleasant run in with MSP (Montana State Patrol) @ Butte – Silver Bow (balance), MT. He even has a picture of the trooper and the trooper’s cruiser in his drivers side mirror.

    NYTimes – FREE and you gotta love the New York Times.

    Pandora – I almost like this better than the iPod feature because it plays music I haven’t purchased for my iPod…thus I get to hear what I like for free.

    Urbanspoon – Definitely works better in bigger cities…but even in the small town I live in it has opened me up to dining opportunities I would have never tried if it weren’t for this app.

    USA TODAY – I usually peruse NYTimes first and USA TODAY second. Between these two I get all of the national news I need.

    That’s my two cents worth…thanks for letting me share.

  6. Mark McGee

    I use the Nambu OSX client, so the iPhone app was an easy choice, although I also have Tweetie which is easier to sort your DMs, etc (as you mentioned).

    Perhaps when Nambu is further developed it might feature sortable DMs and mentions. Although it does allow you to view your FriendFeed and identi.ca feeds all in one app, which is in its favour.

    Another thing to note is once I start using multiple accounts, Tweetie is the only choice really for an all-in-one. As with all these Twitter apps (and there are loads), it’s just a case of finding one that suits the way you use Twitter.

    I forgot to add that I also have the Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype apps ready to go (and now the WordPress one – thanks for the tip!).

    The most addictive app I have is FlightControl (I just have to beat my previous score!).

    So many apps!! Shame the battery doesn’t last longer … lol

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