The iTunes App Store is chock full of apps…so full, in fact, that finding the great ones can take a great deal of work. So, like an archeologist, I sifted through the treasures buried deep in the App Store and unearthed 10 jewels you probably don’t know about. These apps work on both the iPhone and iPod touch.
In addition to the apps mentioned, there are a vast number of free apps available for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The following is a list of the five free apps which I simply could not live without.
The Associated Press is where your local newspaper gets most of its news. You can use this free app to read all the latest AP news stories as well as view videos and color photos.
One of my favorites, Evernote is available for the iPhone as well as Mac and PC desktops. You can write and save notes on any computer, sync them, and access them anywhere. You can even integrate photos into the notes.
Enter the name of your favorite band and the app will create a “radio station” that plays music from the band you selected or from bands that play similar music. And the best part? You never have to listen to a yappy disc jockey again.
Shape Writer Lite: This app adds an alternate text entry method to your device. You use Shape Writer’s keyboard to enter text, but instead of tapping on letters, you draw a line on the screen connecting the letters you want to enter. An algorithm inside the app interprets the shape of the line and its location on the screen, and turns it into a word. It is unfortunate that you can only use Shape Writer to enter text into its notepad. However, with OS 3.0 you can cut text from Shape Writer and paste it into other iPhone apps.
From one simple interface, you can find all of the latest sports news, scores, standings, and more, from 14 different professional and college sports leagues. The Local Tap feature covers sports teams in your area.
If a device is to be taken seriously as a business tool, it has to be able to let you review your important business documents on the go. Air Sharing lets you do this by turning your iPhone into a network drive on any wireless network. Once connected, you can transfer virtually any files to your iPhone and view them offline. The “Pro” version of this app is also available; it gives you additional PDF support and allows you to e-mail items from any computer to your iPhone where you can view them with Air Sharing.
Air Sharing: view important docs on iPhone
- $4.99, Pro version $9.99;
- Avatron Software, Inc.
Password managers allow you to securely store all of your passwords, account numbers, registration codes, and pretty much any other important or private information on your iPhone. There’s a number of these apps available in the App Store, but eWallet stands out because it provides 256-bit AES data encryption—the highest available. Additionally, Ilium Software, the developer of this app, provides customer support that is among the best in the business. Finally, the interface is intuitive and easy to use. You can even sync eWallet with your desktop computer, which makes it unique among this crowded field.
eWallet: securely store sensitive info
- Daniel Amstutz; Illium Software, Inc.
Fizz Traveller provides much more than a place to store flight and hotel information. In addition to the travel itinerary module, it provides you with the following modules:
- The Today Module shows the current time (with your choice of six different clock faces) and weather con ditions.
- The Conversions Module converts virtually any unit of measurement.
- Weather Module gives detailed weather reports, including 5-day forecasts and animated weather maps for 50,000 global locations. This is the module I use the most.
Fizz Traveller: travel tools for trips around the block or around the world
- Fizz Software, Ltd.
Instapaper helps you stay on top of the news when you’re away from a data connection. Use the app or the Instapaper Web site to add your favorite news sources to your account. Then, before you head out, sync the app with the Instapaper Web site. Any new content from your selected sites will be automatically downloaded to your device and be waiting for you to enjoy during your commute into work. You can even use the iPhone’s pinch motion to zoom in or out on an article.
Instapaper: offline access to favorite Web sites
- $4.99, free version also available
- Marco Arment
MLB At Bat not only gives you real-time scores and schedules, but also provides standings, SMS alerts, video, and even live-game action. With the paid version, you can follow your favorite teams using video, box scores, pitch-by-pitch, and even live audio. For just shy of ten dollars, it is the almost as good as being there (maybe even better depending on how your team is doing). This one is a “must-have” for baseball fans.
MLB At Bat 2009 every ball and strike on your iPhone
MLB At Bat 2009
- $9.99, free Lite version also available
- Major League Baseball Advanced Media
A large part of digital photography involves editing photos on your computer to fix the contrast, color balance, etc. Photogene features a fantastic user interface which allows you to edit photos on the fly. You can crop photos, fix colors and contrast, straighten and rotate them, create mirror images, and more. You can even do some fun things like apply special effect filters, caption bubbles, and more.
Photogene: edit important photos on the fly
- Omer Shooter
The app’s name says it all. Pocket First Aid provides you with instructions on how to provide first aid for almost any medical emergency. Whether you have to deal with choking, chest pains, or allergic reactions, this app provides you with instructions on what you’ll need to do if you or somebody near you experiences a medical emergency. This is an app you hope you never have to use—and one you don’t want to be caught without.
Pocket First Aid: important app you never want to use
Pocket First Aid
Quickoffice lets you edit or create Microsoft Word and Excel documents on the iPhone. To edit a document, transfer it to your device via e-mail or a wireless network. You can then open it from within the app and add, delete, and format content. I was a little disappointed that the app does not support more document formats such as WordPerfect, Google docs, etc. However, it’s great to be able to work with Word and Excel. In one stroke, this app has turned the iPhone into a serious contender for the business market. See complete review on page 22.
QuickOffice: edit Word and Excel documents
Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite
I tested a number of task managers when I bought my iPod Touch, but kept returning to Todo. In addition to its fantastic user interface, Todo has the ability to sync with online task managers, such as Toodledo (toodledo.com), Remember the Milk (rememberthemilk.com), or iCal on the Mac using Appigo’s own sync program. You can sort, organize, tag, and categorize all of your tasks to display them in a way that is most useful to you.
Todo: organize and manage tasks
I get up at 5 a.m. for work, and typically do not return home until 6 p.m. That makes for a long day—one that leaves little time for exercise. So, I was pretty excited to try Workout of the Day, which helps you integrate a quick but intense workout into your daily schedule. The program uses 16 different exercises to create 365 unique daily workouts. None of these require weights or other expensive equipment. The workouts are around 10 minutes each, so they’re easy to fit into the day. Most involve multiple rounds of lunges, pull-ups, and other exercises. It is a great exercise solution if you’re pressed for time. But be ready to work your butt off— literally and figuratively!
Workout of the Day
- Jason Laan