Plan on owning an iPhone in the future? Bookmark this post!
A former colleague recently announced on twitter he had finally purchased an iPhone. Next the inevitable question followed, “What apps should I get?” With the on going Verizon iPhone rumors, I think I’m going to wake up one morning inundated with this question. With this post, I’ll have a response ready.
This post attempts to outline the must have applications for first time iPhone users. I’ve categorized them all and included prices and links to the iTunes download. If you have additional recommendations, post them in the comments.
Angry Birds ($0.99) – This is literally the most popular iPhone app of all time. There is also a free “lite” version you can download to try out, but trust me, this one is well worth the money. Every few weeks the developers put out an update of 21 extra levels. To date there are 252 levels available. You will be hard pressed to get more bang for your buck than this app.
Shibuya ($1.99) – This one is a fast paced, Tetris-like, puzzle game. Bricks drop from the top and you have to match them up by placing them in the correct order. Occasionally the game developers give this one away for free, so be on the look out. If reaction speed and (simple) puzzles are your thing, then be sure to gives this one a try.
GeoDefense Swarm ($1.99) – Classic tower defense game at its best. This is one of those games where enemies spawn and you have to build defensive towers into a maze to stop them before they reach the other side of the level. There is a lot of strategy and thinking involved here. For the huge fans there are additional levels available for purchase.
Plants vs. Zombies ($2.99) – For a long time this app was the most downloaded in the app store until it was finally dethroned. This is similar to the tower defense game above, but with less intensive thinking and a more playful side.
Pandora (free) – A simple sign up process is all that stand in between you and limitless, free music. This app generates playlists based on your tastes in music and then learns and adapts to your preferences.
Shazam (free) – This is the app that lets you record a song playing in a bar or on the radio and then tells you the name of the song. It was featured in tons of commercials. Get it just to show off to people.
Flixster (free) – Of all the apps that let you search local movie theater times, this one is by far the best.
IMDB (free) – Can’t think of the name of that actor? Look no further. The search function is the most useful part, but it also offers movie news.
Netflix (free) – You can stream content straight to your phone, but the much more useful aspect is checking and modifying your queue.
Twitter (free) – There are a ton of different Twitter clients available, but the official one known as “Twitter for iPhone” is the all around best.
Foursquare (free) – Out of all the location based apps, foursquare’s is my favorite. It gets frequent updates and rarely crashes. Not to mention there are a lot more users of this service than the alternatives.
Facebook (free) – From time to time there are unofficial versions available, but none of them are ever very good. Get the official app and set up the mobile preferences on Facebook.com from a computer.
Search / Information:
Wikipedia (free) – Probably the best part of owning a smart phone is having a world of information at your fingertips. Most of that information is best found within Wikipedia.
Instapaper (free) – This service allows you to sync articles between devices. It is really helpful when I click on a link from the twitter app. If I see something that is interesting, but several pages long, I’m not going to sit and read it on my phone. I’ll use this app to save it for reading on my laptop at a later time.
Google (free) – If the best part of owning a smart phone is having a world of information at your fingertips, this app takes it a step farther with voice commands. Need to know an answer to your questions? Just speak into the phone and an answer will arrive.
TripIt (free) – Combine all of your flight information, rental car confirmation codes and hotel maps in one place. This will change how you travel. This has literally saved me hours of time on trips, not to mention removing the necessity of carrying around a bunch of different print outs.
Evernote (free) – I keep notes of tons of different things. To do lists, movies I want to watch, books to get from the library, a beer or wine I enjoy, the lists are literally endless. Evernote allows you to sync notes across different computers and smart phones. A lot of my notes are just pictures. Say I drank a beer I really enjoyed and want to remember to order it in the future. I just take a photo of the label and Evernote converts it into text which is easily searchable later on.
Dropbox (free) – Sync important files between your phone and computer(s). Have a spreadsheet of contact info you need access to on the fly? No problem, just upload it to Dropbox. Need to send a file to someone? Done. Need to transfer files between computers? Done. Great app with a ton of different uses.
Mint (free) – If you’re already managing your money with Mint.com (and why wouldn’t you be?), the mobile app is a must have. Out shopping? Just a click away is your budget.
If you have additional recommendations, post them in the comments.