A lot of people picked up a shiny, new iPhone 3GS yesterday. Those folks will probably love and enjoy all the great features Apple has baked into that shiny, rounded-rectangle exterior. But soon (very soon) their eyes will wander to the wild and wooly kingdom of third-party applications.
They shouldn’t have to go it alone.
Which is why I, a happy iPhone 3G user, am happy to lead the way. Your first-party apps are lonely. Let’s give them some company, shall we?
Evernote - Free
I enjoy the Evernote desktop application, but having access to the service on the iPhone really kicked my usage into overdrive. The app supports text, voice and picture notes, all of which sync to your Evernote account. A much more unified and dynamic alternative to the iPhone’s voice and note applications.
Remember the Milk - Free (Requires pro account after trial)
There’s no shortage of competent task managers on the iPhone (check out Things and TreeTask) but if you’re as big a fan of Remember the Milk as I am, you will not be disappointed by its iPhone extension. Every feature is intact, which for me justified the purchase of a pro account. There is a free trial period, I would encourage you to try it out.
Byline - $4.99
While the iPhone version of Google Reader is a capable means of reading your feeds, Byline is a wonderful native alternative that’s much easier to read and navigate. Sync up your feeds before you hit the road to enjoy your feeds sans internet connection.
Mint.com - Free
Mint is an excellent means of managing your finances, and the iPhone application provides a useful and tangible birds-eye view of your accounts. If the idea of having your financial info on your mobile device frightens you, you can choose to log in each time you launch the application.
MemoryInfo - 99¢
Although the iPhone’s vibrant App Store is one of its key selling points, the unfortunate side effect is that the device’s performance can slowly degrade (just like a PC). This application allows you to free up memory without a pesky restart.
Dropbox - Free (Web app)
I typically find Safari experiences less snappy and usable than their native counterparts, but there’s no denying how thought-out and useful Dropbox’s mobile analog really is. If you haven’t tried the excellent file-syncing service, you should do so now (it’s free).
Tweetie - $2.99
There are literally piles of Twitter applications, but Tweetie is my personal favorite. It’s stable, snappy and polished in a way that feels native to the device, at home among your Phone, Messages and Mail apps. If you dig a larger feature set at the expense of polish, give TweetDeck a try. If you want to write tweets without a stable connection for later publication, use Birdhouse.
Facebook - Free
When it comes to this popular social network, I actually prefer the iPhone application to the typical browser-based experience. If your primary interests are status updates and photos, you may feel the same.
PixelPipe - Free
Until Flickr adds more sophisticated support for mobile uploads, this app remains my preferred means of adding to my photostream on the go. It supports over 80 services including Picasa, YouTube, MobileMe and more.
Skype - Free
It’s Skype, on your iPhone. Free calls over wi-fi, chat over 3G. I can’t wait for the inevitable push notification support!
Google Mobile - Free
I know what you’re thinking: “I can Google from Safari. Why would I need an app?” Two words: Voice search. Way faster than the touch keyboard.
Amazon Mobile - Free
Ever been in a brick-and-mortar store and wondered whether or not you were being ripped off? This app gives you nearly instant access Amazon’s amazing catalog of products and user reviews.
Wiki Mobile - $1.99
Reading Wikipedia on the iPhone is a pretty horrible experience. This app makes the site readable, with the helpful option of saving articles for offline reading.
Delivery Status Touch - $2.99
Keep track of your upcoming deliveries by pasting in your magical tracking numbers. With support for dozens of carriers, this is a helpful and quick way of checking the progress of your goodies in-transit.
Dictionary.com - Free
An entire dictionary and thesaurus right in your pocket, and offline no less! If you do happen to have a net connection handy, you can hear helpful word pronunciations. Useful for more than just settling Scrabble arguments.
Fandango - Free
The urge to catch a flick usually occurs when I’m out, about and away from a PC. This app insures I don’t wander to the theater dazed, confused and unversed in the showtime schedule.
Ego - $1.99
With support for Google Analytics, Feedburner, Mint and Twitter, Ego gives you a great look at the impressions your web presence is generating.
Analytics App - $5.99
While Ego is quicker and grabbing total site visits over a period of time, Analytics App is a full-featured way of monitoring your Google Analytics accounts.
WordPress - Free
A must-have for any WordPress blogger. Manage posts, pages and comments quickly and efficiently through a straightforward interface. I even managed to write a post in it from scratch!
FTP On The Go - $6.99
Web developers know the horrible feeling of a bug cropping up when you’re nowhere near an internet connection. FTP On The Go’s integrated text editor allows you to navigate to and edit any file on your server. Assuming your corrections are small enough to be fixed using the touch keyboard, this app may save you a hasty trek to a wi-fi hot spot.
Doodle Jump - 99¢
My favorite iPhone game is a testament to the power of “easy to learn, hard to master.” Guide your character’s jump by tilting the device, avoiding obstacles as you continually ascend. As intuitive as it is addictive.
Rolando - $5.99 (Free “lite” version available)
Possibly the most enjoyable platformer I’ve played since New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo DS. Plays sort of like a cross between Katamari Damacy, Roco Loco and my game Ramps. Seriously fun, and as deep as anything you’d expect from a dedicated gaming handheld.
Zen Bound - $4.99 (Free “lite” version available)
A wonderfully relaxing puzzle game that takes full advantage of the iPhone’s capabilities. Odd as it sounds, the goal of each level is to use the accelerometer and touch screen to wrap small figurines in twine, covering as much surface area as possible. A hip soundtrack and elegant design make this a truly memorable winner.
Bloom - $3.99
Co-created by legendary non-musician Brian Eno, Bloom is a minimal, avant-garde ambient music sequencer that is truly addictive. While the price may seem steep, the app is unique enough for fans of artier electronic experimentation to give it a try.
Solebon Solitaire - $1.99 (Free “lite” version available)
Probably the best handheld solitaire I’ve ever played. A free versions exists that will probably meet the needs of most players, but the paid edition offers many more variants of this classic card game.
The Oregon Trail - $4.99
This version of the classic PC title is much more than a port; I can never remember the original being this good. Although occasionally prone to crashes, the vibrant artwork and addictive minigames will keep you fording rivers and avoiding dysentery over and over again.
Kern - 99¢
If you like Tetris, and you’re a total geek for typography, give Kern a try. And ignore when the unitiated call you a design nerd.
Miscellaneous Cool Stuff
iHandy Level - Free
It sounds like a silly idea, but it works really well. The virtual “bubble” is extremely sensitive, and the numeric readout in degrees is quite nice. I have this app to thank for newly straightened photo frames.
A surprisingly full-featured and competent paint program, perfect for in-the-field sketching or quickly capturing that idea you just had but can’t yet put into words.
Convertbot - $1.99
There are a ridiculous number of conversion tools in the App Store, but none are as tactile and fun to use as Convertbot. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually put this to practical application; interacting with the novel interface and resultant sound effects is enough to justify purely frivolous use.
CardStar - Free
We’re all annoyed by the extra bulk retail membership cards add to our wallets, but many of us refuse to surrender our savings in protest. CardStar consolidates all those barcodes into a single application, where you can conjure them up at will.
Pandora Radio - Free
The canonical internet radio application. Enjoy streaming tunes over any 3G or wi-fi connection. If you crave greater recommendation features at the expense of 3G service, give the free Last.fm app a try.
By now your iPhone is already managing your contacts, calendar, email, Twitter account, task list, notes, web server and bank account. Why not control your media-dispensing devices? Remotes are available (some free and some not) for iTunes (Free), Boxee (Free), XBMC ($2.99), VLC (Free) and many more.
Like a lot of iPhone owners, I find myself nearly addicted to third-party apps. This list represents only a portion of the seductive, glassy icons littering my home screen. You can send payments via PayPal, identify songs with Shazam, orbit the planet with Google Earth, terrorize islanders with Pocket God and just about anything else you can think of. The best way to stock your device is to simply browse the app store yourself.
What apps do you recommend?