Free from Yahoo, Amazon, and ESPN

My favorite apps are those that make it easy to access Internet content and tools. As it turns out, major corporations are lining up to give you such apps—for free.

In this column, I’ll look at a number of these apps, including a multipurpose app from Yahoo, a number of apps from Amazon, and an ESPN app that makes it easy to get the latest scores. I’ll also cover apps that let you stream music, access travel guides, find information tailored to your location, and more. Much of this content is available via Safari, but a dedicated app is usually faster, more efficient, and easier to use. In addition, it often has special features that you can’t access with a browser.

Finally, I’ll mention some Web sites that have been specifically tailored to work well with Safari on the small touchscreen of the iPhone and iPod touch. I’ll provide you with an iPhone Life Web site that lists several dozen of the best of these sites.

Some Web sites are optimized for the iPhone

In addition to using these custom apps, you can also use Safari and simply access Web sites as you ordinarily would. However, I’ve found that Web sites created and formatted for the larger displays on desktop and laptop computers are cumbersome on the iPhone. Some features found on these sites are optimized for desktop computers may not work on the iPhone.

Some Web sites detect if you’re accessing it from an iPhone and will redirect you to a mobile version of the site tailored to work with the smaller screen and Safari’s capabilities. Note that some sites have mobile versions but do not automatically redirect you to them.

I’ve created a directory of Web sites that are specially formatted to work well on the smaller screen of the iPhone and iPod touch ( It lists several dozen of the most useful Web sites available, and organizes them into the categories of News, Weather, Sports, Entertainment, and iPhone.

Major corporations release free apps that make it easy to access their contentFall 2009Web54