It's the beginning of the New Year, and everyone is publishing their lists of the best iPhone apps for the previous year. Below are the iPhone/iPod apps I used the most in 2009.
Second on my list of favorite games is Real Racing ($4.99; firemint.com), a very life-like racing game. My short list of additional honorable mentions includes Battle Bears ($0.99; battlebears.com) and Jelly Car 2 ($0.99; walaber.com).
($0.99; task2gather.com) has great task/time management features and a collaborative task sharing capability. Remember The Milk (Free with a Pro account; rememberthemilk.com) is a simple but worthy time management tool. It is a to-do app with many worthwhile features to help you get those tasks completed in a timely fashion.
I use Files Lite (Free; olivetoast.com/files) from my iPod touch for quick network file-sharing. The full paid version ($4.99) now has an added feature for e-mailing documents.
(Free; sourcemac.com/?page=fstream) is high on my list of streaming players for the iPhone, but Pocket Tunes ($5.99; normsoft.com) is rapidly replacing it. Both allow you to quickly find and play Internet radio streams. Both support stream recording, but Pocket Tunes has more organizational features, and the stream playback can be redirected through Safari, allowing you to listen while accessing other apps on your device.
TV and Video
I use i.TV to find TV shows in my area. It presents listings for nearly all the channels my cable provider offers and allows me to view short videos, movie trailers, rent movies via Netflix, and much more.
Meebo.com is a Web-based solution that does essentially the same thing and works from Safari on the iPhone or iPod touch.
Education, Search and Reference
(Free; google.com/mobile/iphone) is great for more down-to-earth 3-D map reference and search capability. For quick access to Google services, check out the free Google Mobile app.
Bonus: My top hardware accessory
Sony iPod+iPhone alarm clock/dock
$99.95 (Model #ICF-Cs10iPBLK); sonystyle.com
This is where my iPod touch lives when I'm not actually holding it. It provides decent audio quality and comes with a handy remote control. My iPod touch slips into the dock easily and fits in it securely—even when the iPod is in its Griffin protective case.
These are all winners in my book. I use them, enjoy them, and am more productive because of them. Isn't that the formula for a "Best" app?
Peggle is a pinball-style arcade game that I could not stop playing. The physics of the game are similar to Pachinko; balls are launched from the top and bounce their way down to the bottom. Each time a ball strikes an object, it disappears and you score points. To advance, you must clear the board of the red colored objects.
- PopCap Games, Inc
Evernote is a Web service that lets you clip and save just about anything (even whole Web pages) as tagged and indexed notes. The iPhone/iPod app allows you to sync Web notes, edit and update them, and create new notes right from your device. You can also embed pictures from your camera roll into notes.
I trust SPB Wallet to protect my sensitive data. The app safely stores and fully encrypts account, credit card, and other key personal data. Desktop companion versions of the program with browser plug-ins are available for PCs and Macs. They assist you in setting up strong Web site passwords, as well as saving and automating secure login and data field completion, all of which can be synced to your iPhone.
I also recommend SafeWallet ($0.99; sbsh.net/platforms/apple_iphone), a similar app with a PC companion program that lets you securely store sensitive personal information on your iPhone.
- Spb Software
I prefer using Stanza, a free eBook reader app that lets you access and download books from Lexcycle's online catalog of over 100,000 eBooks (both commercial and free). Lexcycle also offers a free desktop application for PCs and Macs that lets you convert just about any eBook to a Stanza-readable format and download them to your iPhone or iPod touch.
One of my favorite Sci-Fi authors, Cory Doctorow, publishes his works gratis under a creative commons license, and several of his great short stories and novels can be downloaded via Feedbooks using Stanza. Another author of note who publishes free versions of his work via these services is Peter Watts. I like Stanza as is, but would love to see them incorporate auto-scroll and other features found in readers like Mobipocket.
- Free, commercial and free eBooks available
Remote Desktop Lite is my personal favorite for managing my network of Windows PCs at home. The app allows you to remotely log in and manage a desktop PC (XP, Vista, or Windows 7) from your iPhone or iPod touch across a Wi-Fi connection.
Remote Desktop Lite
- Jan Frydendal
Both of these apps are tops. With Pandora you launch the app, enter the name of an artist or song, and Pandora creates an Internet radio "station" that plays music from that artist and similar music from other artists. You can further refine things by voting on the songs and artists played by your custom station. Simplify Music is about the easiest way I have found to share my Windows Media Player, WinAmp, or RythmBox collection anywhere and to anything (it even supports Linux).
- Pandora Media
- Simplify Media
IM+ Lite is a useful universal IM client which you can use to chat through AIM, Yahoo, Gtalk, Twitter, MySpace, ICQ, etc. IM+ Lite also includes a handy Web browser that lets you surf the Web and stay logged into your services at the same time.
- SHAPE Services GmbH
Star Walk is a useful application for learning about the night sky. The app is like a mini planetarium and includes reference imagery for deep space objects (galaxies, nebulae, etc.). It will even indicate the next likely meteor shower in your area.
- Vito Technology, Inc