Backup of David's Livejournal

The Ultimate List of Critical iPhone Apps

What makes this list of critical iPhone apps the ultimate?  I've never opened the App Store and I don't have an iPhone!  It's the "ultimate" in the sense that it's being posted before the start of my iPhone experience.

In a few days, I'll have an iPhone.  I think it'll be fun to post what I currently think I'll need to download, and then revisit this post in a few weeks and update it when reality hits and admit to what I really downloaded and what I actually use.

What I Think I'll Download [Original post on June 15th]

  • SplashID : This is the most critical application I currently have on my Treo.
  • Some battery saving utilities.  Hopefully something that turns on BlueTooth only when it's time for me to drive.
  • An awesome Google application that removes a little of the chrome from GMail, Maps, etc.
  • Maybe a Plurk / Twitter / Micro-blogging-and-geolocating-service client.
  • Some organizational utility that hides things I don't use and presents things I do with fewer swipes.
  • Maybe some silly tech-demo to show off the accelerometer or a game.  I dunno.

What I really Downloaded [Edited later on July 4th]

I'm back, and I've had the iPhone for a few weeks now.  How did I live without the it? Let's accompany this with screen captures.

First, the "Main Page with Utilities"

I removed some standard apps from the main page, and replaced them with ones I deem worthy of being on the Main Utilities page.

I added TripIt, which I'd already fallen in love with, simply because if its webpage.  The iPhone app was just icing on the cake.  If you travel and you're not using TripIt, go check it out.

I added SpashID.  I was already using it on my Treo, so it was a no-brainer to continue using it on the iPhone.  There may be better alternatives, but I'd already paid for mine.

I also added Sketches, because a man needs to doodle.

Finally, and this is tentative, Pandora made the cut.  I haven't been able to make all the Pandora stations I really need, but I'm willing to give it some time.  If iTunes can finally come around and offer a good JPop selection, then hopefully Pandora can too.  Here's hoping for a Namie Amuro station.

Second, the "Social Apps and Games page."

I added the following Social Network Apps:  Plurk, Facebook and Twitterific.  Plurk and Facebook were no-brainers.  There are a million Twitter apps, and I'm not interested in assessing all of them before I commit.  I might change it if another one come up and bites me on the ankle.

I'm wildly in love with Shazam, which has worked for me on multiple occasions.  I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have it recognize a song for me (that was playing at a restaurant), and make a note of it.  What an awesome app.

Now Playing and Coffee Finder are both awesome location aware apps.  Coffee Finder finds a Starbucks near you, and Now Playing tells you what's playing at the theaters near you.  It allows you to choose the reviews it displays, and I've chosen Rotten Tomatoes.

Planets is handy for having at hand when I'm outside with the kids at night.

All the others are the sort of games that I like to play myself.  Make of that what you will.

Third, the "Rarely used, Games for Children, and Emergency Apps Page."

This is the garbage bin, full of utilities, tech demos, and games that don't interest me, but interest my children. 

The following two utilites almost made it to my front page, though: Phone Flicks, for NetFlix queue management, and TouchTerm, for emergency ssh.

You can see I relegated what I consider to be nearly useless standard utilites here: Compass, Stocks, Messages, iTunes, Voice Memos and YouTube.  Meh on all of 'em.

Flixter is a sanity check against Now Playing, as iSSH is being evaluated against TouchTerm.

Why my kids enjoy SmackTalk so much, I'll never know.  But they do, and so I keep it for them.

Notably Missing

  • I never got that BlueTooth enabling app.  Shame.  On the iPhone, you really have to burrow too deeply to enable and disable BlueTooth.  What a pain.
  • I also don't have an excellent RottenTomatos or IMDB app for strolling around in a brick-and-mortar video rental store. [Edit] I wrote one for myself.
  • There's no app for efficiently browsing your LJ friends page.
  • I never needed the Google app I thought I'd download.  Integrating GMail with Mail on the iPhone is easy, and GMail's site itself is optimized for iPhone clients, anyway.
Tags: geek, lists, toys


 sjonsvenson on Jun 16th 2009 at 9:09 PM
Add to that a telephone app ... ^__^ ... cause you probably want to uses it ever so seldom for a real call.

 dblume on Jun 16th 2009 at 9:28 PM
Nice one.

 paradox_puree on Jul 13th 2009 at 11:37 PM
I'm surprised that you have the four icons on the bottom as you do. I've replaced those with applications I use more often, specifically, I've removed safari and ipod and replaced them with calendar and messages.

 dblume on Jul 13th 2009 at 11:39 PM
OMG! You can change those, too? Great! I needed someplace more prominent to put my Wikipedia app.

 (no name) on May 20th 2010 at 5:04 AM
love love love the wiki app.