Back in October, Sean and I joined the world of iPhone owners. Like so many others before us, once we got the hang of the touchscreens and how the phone worked, we went nuts picking out apps. We have some apps in common, but there really isn’t a whole lot of duplication. If you pick up our phones, you can definitely tell which is Sean’s and which is mine (and not just because of the purple case I use).
Here is a list of apps that I’m using a lot right now. You may find them useful, but one thing I’ve found while searching Apple’s App Store is that when you want an app for a specific purpose, there’s usually lots to choose from. But only one app has the one killer feature you need, or is set up to do things the way you want them to. So this list may help you, or it may lead you to other apps that work better for you. And your phone will look different from mine. Which will make picking it up off a table full of iPhones that much easier.
Price: $4.99 (Free version available)
Echofon is by Naan Studio and exists as an iPhone app, a Mac app and a Firefox extension. I used the Firefox extension for a while last year back when it was still called ‘Twitterfox’. I find the single-column layout more useful on my iPhone, given the limited screen space. The app works well and can post pictures directly to my Flickr account which was a great bonus. Free and paid versions are available. The pro version does push notifications from other Echofon users. This has been the only Twitter app I’ve had on my phone since I’ve had it and it serves me well.
Price: $0.99 (Free version also available)
Ping! is an iPhone-to-iPhone messaging app that replaces SMS messaging. (For all you Blackberry users, it’s like Blackberry Messenger). Great if you have a low SMS message plan. Sean and I use this to send quick messages to each other when we’re apart and a phone call is overkill or inappropriate.
There is a extra paid option in the pro app to send picture messages, but we haven’t bothered to upgrade to that yet. And it’s made by a fellow Torontonian to boot.
Price: App itself is free, but requires a Pro Remember the Milk account to use it ($25/year).
I’ve been using my free Remember the Milk web account since 2007 so I knew I really wanted to have it sync with my iPhone so I could take my to-do list with me wherever I went. I haven’t been disappointed. RTM is very customizable, and allows you categorize your to-do lists in all sorts of different ways. Reminders can be received via email, SMS, Twitter and of course, iPhone push notifications. Tasks can be sent to RTM using any of these methods too. I keep all my to-do’s in here: from doctor’s appointments to website ideas. It really works for me. I would definitely recommend trying the web app for free before shelling out the $25 for the Pro account though.
OurGroceries is a very simple app that does something incredibly useful – it syncs lists between multiple iPhones. As you see, we’re using it for our groceries, our Costco runs and Sean’s growing cigar collection (I guess he thinks I’m going to support his habit). Any user can add to the list at any time and it will sync with the other users list when they open the app next. I like being able to add things to the list as I remember them (no missing paper lists), and Sean can do the same. Then whoever goes to the store next has a complete list. Tap the item and it gets crossed off. If the other person has the app on when the other one is shopping, they can see the items being crossed off. (Sean tried to mess with me one night by repeatedly adding garbage bags back to the list after I had crossed them off. Fortunately, I only bought one box of garbage bags.) There is also a saved recipe option where you can add the ingredients for a recipe in one tap, but we don’t use that.
Price: $3.99 (described as a “special price in anticipation of version 3.0)
I must admit, I’m new to RSS and feed readers in general. I’ve tried different readers on my computer and just couldn’t get into it. What made me try Byline out was the fact that I could cache the articles and read them offline. This meant that I could load it up when I was online do some reading on the subway without an internet connection. This allows me to catch up on the blogs and sites I don’t always get to read but enjoy when I do. It syncs with Google Reader, so if you’re already set up there, you can have Byline set up really quickly.
Favourite Game Apps: Bejeweled 2 & Words with Friends
Price: $2.99 each (free version available for Words with Friends)
I feel like showing screenshots of these well-loved games will just fuel my addiction so you can have a look at the screenshots on your own. Bejeweled has several play modes, including Bejeweled Blitz, which hooks up to Facebook if you play there as well. Since I put this on my phone, I’m not sitting at my computer playing Bejeweled. Another great time filler for the subway (the scores sync up when you’re online next). As for Words with Friends, it’s a Scrabble clone that is played asynchronously. I can take my turn now, and my opponent could play in two minutes or two days. Players can have up to 20 games going at a time so it’s helpful to have lots of games on the go to make up for the slower players when you’re ready to play yourself. This game needs an online connection so not a subway timewaster. Good for just about anywhere else though.
I try not to go too crazy with app downloading, but these aren’t the only ones I have (I haven’t even mentioned the ones I got for Flora and I to play with!). What are your favourite apps? Let me know in the comments.