Iphone app filter 2009
April 8, 2009 7:49 AM   Subscribe

What are the most fun and useful I-phone apps?

It's been about a year since the last general round up of the gems of the Iphone apps.

I'm a total noob so I just have Facemelter and Urban Spoon so far...what are the wackiest party-tricks, most useful (but not work-related) tools, and most oddball and addictive games that you all use?

I'd rather spend nothing but if its something you swear I'll use more than once I would pay a few bucks for it.
posted by Potomac Avenue to Technology (39 answers total) 71 users marked this as a favorite
shazam is great
posted by Flood at 7:49 AM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: Also if you could explain a little about what it does that would rock.

Shazam I have heard of but I am way too smart to ever need help identifying anything at all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:51 AM on April 8, 2009

I like Things as a to-do list - sits in that nice space between too-simple and too-complex.

If you use Delicious for bookmarking, I've found that RedDelicious is the best app for it. Mobile Fotos is pretty good for Flickr, although I've heard they've improved their mobile site so it might not be necessary anymore, I'm not sure.

Stanza is the best e-reader, in that I'm regularly using it to finish reading novels instead of just starting to read them then giving up. Haven't tried the Kindle though, because of Aussie limitations.

Instapaper Free is pretty good - bookmark longer articles then read them as a text-only version on your phone later on.

The TED talks app isn't that great - you can stream the talks to your phone, which chews up your data rates, or wait until you've got free wifi. But you can't download them to watch later.
posted by harriet vane at 8:03 AM on April 8, 2009

My most useful apps:
iTrans NYC
Google earth
Ny Times
Usa Today
The Weather Channel
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:04 AM on April 8, 2009

What The Font (take a picture of some writing, it locates the font) is pretty mind blowing. As is SnapTell (take a picture of a book, it pulls it up on Amazon, et. al)

Skype for the iPhone is also great. Free calls (on wifi)!
posted by nitsuj at 8:06 AM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

Note that streaming TED talks is much less problematic when you've got unlimited data - as Americans like Potomac Avenue do.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:08 AM on April 8, 2009

Pandora is probably the best application I've used so far. It's an internet radio station that plays songs that sound similar to the songs you like.

The Facebook application is fast, user-friendly & good.

"Ambience" plays looping sounds of seawaves, birds etc to create, uh, an ambience.

"USAToday" is one of the nicer news applications in my opinion -- they have a photo gallery that's very well done.

"Phoneflix" lets you control your Netflix queues.

"The weather channel" is a good application for looking up detailed information about the weather.
posted by the_ancient_mariner at 8:08 AM on April 8, 2009

Frenzic, a game, is an excellent time-waster.
iNeedStuff is one of the only (if not the only) grocery-list app that lets you sync between two phones. This has proven to be really handy in my home.
Amazon.com's app
Google Earth
Labyrinth—like the old wooden tilty maze game. Excellent demo of the accelerometer.
Now Playing for movie listings and Netflix queue management
What's On? for TV listings.
Simplify Media lets you stream the music collection from your computer at home, in case your collection is too big for the phone's storage. Kinda slow to read in the library, though.
posted by adamrice at 8:22 AM on April 8, 2009

Below apps are all free and come highly recommended:

Public Radio
Lose It
posted by birdwatcher at 8:25 AM on April 8, 2009

AirSharing - Drag and drop files from your Mac/PC to your phone. Great if you have a PDF or two you'd like to have on hand.

Mega Man II - Seriously. It's Mega Man II! The controls take a bit to get used to and it can be pretty easy, but hey, Mega Man!

Pandora - Love it. Although if you listen to it long enough, they really start to scrape the bottom of the barrel for genre matching.

Kindle - If you have a Kindle already. (I do)

Most social networks have some sort of app, so if there's one (Yelp, Facebook, etc) that you use a lot, look it up in the App Store.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:35 AM on April 8, 2009

Wikipanion for looking stuff up on Wikipidia. I like weather bug for current doppler info.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:51 AM on April 8, 2009

AppVee have a site dedicated to reviewing Iphone apps. They provide - usually helpful - video reviews and a ratings system that seems less bozo-skewed than that on the AppStore.
posted by rongorongo at 9:09 AM on April 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm not a big game person, but Eliss is addictive and really REALLY well designed. The music and sound effects are soothing as well.

I also use gFlash a lot because I'm trying to learn French. its a flash card app which is free and you can upload your own flashcards from a google spreadsheet.
posted by minicloud at 9:12 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

The ones I tend to use the most:

games: Sneezies, iDracula, Passage
Twitter: Lounge, Twitterific
posted by empath at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2009

Shazam I have heard of but I am way too smart to ever need help identifying anything at all.

Shazam is absolutely fucking worthless for trainspotting during DJ sets. Just playing around with it at various clubs around town, it gets maybe 10%, and it's almost always in cases where I already knew the track title.

Though, I have found it useful for iding songs in stores and restaurants. I'm still bitter about hearing a beautiful song at Urban Outfitters a couple of years ago and never iding it, so at least I know that will never happen again.
posted by empath at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2009

Seconding Stanza. If you use the desktop client in conjunction with the iphone app, you can open Word docs and pdfs that you already have and sync it with your phone. If you just use the app on the phone, you can download free books from gutenberg and books you pay for from other sites you can access via the app.

I downloaded wurdle (a boggle-like game, $2) recently. I'm finding it addictive, fun, and frustrating - totally worth the two bucks if you like that sort of thing.

Nthing Instapaper and Airsharing.

The Drinks app is fantastic if you like cocktails - it has recipes, you search by ingredient, and you can add your own and modify existing recipes. I think it's about six dollars, and I don't regret buying it at all.

NPR Addict aggregates the various NPR programs (the news shows, Fresh Air, the music shows, etc) and you can pick through and listen to stuff you missed. Very handy. Also, free.
posted by rtha at 9:26 AM on April 8, 2009

Other people have already mentioned Stanza, so I'll throw in Drop7. Great game.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2009

Google was indispensable while on a road trip, for the maps feature using "current location" alone.

I've lost almost 15 lbs since installing the "lose it!" app. Just the act of counting calories and tracking my food did it, and it makes it easy. It's very west-coast centric, though, in terms of the chain restaurants included. I wish they would update more... I'm not expecting something as regional as Tim Hortons or Mighty Taco, but even Dunkin Donuts would be nice. (that seems to be a running theme for all the calorie count apps, so if anyone has a suggestion for one with better Northeast coverage I'd be thrilled to hear it.)

Phoneflix is the best netflix-management app I've found so far. I found the management portion easier than Now Playing (and i.tv's listings are better for tv than it, so I ditched now playing completely.)

Stanza, like others said, is great

Twitterfon is the best of the free twitter apps I've found so far.

Shozu is kinda neat- it interfaces from your phone to more than a dozen photo sharing sites, so you can send your phone pics to them without uploading via the computer. Flickr, photobucket, but also blogger, facebook, livejournal (pay), picasa, twitpic, etc.

Oh, and puzzlequest? you'll drain your battery and not care, it's so fun.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:47 AM on April 8, 2009

Though it has flaws, I have enjoyed Scrabble, but i am a big Scrabble nerd. Textropolis is another word game that is fun and you can play it a few minutes at a time.

I have the Metafilter app and use it occasionally, though I prefer it on my desktop.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:59 AM on April 8, 2009

Just going to nth Airsharing. I *love* having bus schedules and maps in my pocket at all times.
posted by valadil at 10:02 AM on April 8, 2009

What The Font (take a picture of some writing, it locates the font) is pretty mind blowing.

Oh my god, thank you.
posted by Fleebnork at 10:11 AM on April 8, 2009

Anybody use box.net? Looks like a free option to airsharing.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:11 AM on April 8, 2009

Response by poster: the Metafilter app

Stop teasing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2009

Quordy is a very fun and addictive game. It is sorta like Boggle.
posted by spilon at 12:19 PM on April 8, 2009

Flight Control is a perfect addictive casual game (with great graphic design if that sort of thing makes you happy).
posted by nicwolff at 12:43 PM on April 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

In addition to the excellent suggestions made above:

touchterm: a handy terminal with a connection manager for frequent ssh'ing

night stand: a led clock sim. I can read it without glasses or contacts.

tap defense: fun!

flixster: for movie reviews, showtimes & trailers. works well in the western canadian cities I've tried it in

hanDBase: a port of the venerable palmOS uber relational db manager. yeah you can do lists with it but you can do a helluva lot more.
posted by mce at 1:22 PM on April 8, 2009

Another vote for Flight control. Scramboni is a fun networked multi-player game.
posted by rongorongo at 2:36 PM on April 8, 2009

Bookmarks (del.icio.us client)
Twitterfon (free Twitter client)
Now Playing
Easy Wi-Fi
posted by karizma at 6:22 PM on April 8, 2009

Tweetie is a genuinely great Twitter client.
Deep Green is a fantastic Chess app. Really lets the beauty of the game shine through.
Rolando is, by far, the best iPhone game I've played.
Eliss is quite a good iPhone game.
Instapaper Pro is good - the tilt scrolling is great.
Facebook app is fine, though doesn't show nearly enough data.
WordPress app is very clean and provides a very reasonable interface for writing prose.
WikiTap is a handy Wikipedia reference app.
posted by maryrosecook at 3:49 AM on April 9, 2009

No one's said Evernote, so I will. Syncs notes among your computers and your phone/Touch.
"Ruler" is a ruler
iDb is a funny little database program - I have the free version and haven't played with it too much, but I believe you can import/export small amounts of data; one of the little prefab dbases lets you log notes with a timestamp
Scribble is a very simple interface for drawing pictures
Multiconvert does a variety of conversions
Kayak for flight reservations
EasyWriter gives you a horizontal keyboard (roomier) to compose an email on, then sends the text to the email program
Oh, and I have an app called MiniPiano that lets you play notes on a one-octave keyboard but I can't say I've found much use for it
posted by yarrow at 10:28 AM on April 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I think it's worth figuring out how to back up your apps before upgrading (google around for directions, I think it varies by OS); that way if you upgrade and don't like a change that's been made you can revert to an older version of the app.
posted by yarrow at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2009

mr. peagood and I have used the level about a dozen times now. That's all it is, a level. But there are no longer any arguments about picture hanging.
posted by peagood at 7:04 PM on April 9, 2009

dictionary.com (the app, not the website) is also fairly awesome.
posted by karizma at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2009

The Amazon Kindle app is the app of the year, hands down, no questions asked for me.

Fieldrunners was a super addictive game until I ran out of new strategies.
posted by talldean at 6:34 AM on April 11, 2009

Apps I use often that might be useful for a wide range of people:

Twitteriffic: Free Twitter client.
Day Bank: Keeps track of bank account balances and tracks spending. FABULOUS customer support from the company too.
Lose It: Already mentioned above, gotta second it.
Around Me: Shows restaurants, gas stations, banks, etc that are... well, around me. Great on trips.
Flickster: Tells you what movies are out, what's coming, show times, reviews, etc.
Bookworm: Freakin' addictive make-a-word game.
Stanza: Already recommended by several people here, I use it daily.
posted by cyborgirl at 2:04 PM on May 20, 2009

Glyder is my new favorite game and by FAR worth the 99 cents.

Other fun games: Mancala, Lock & Roll (kind of like Yahtzee but not really) and Lux (basically Risk).
posted by exceptinsects at 9:13 AM on May 21, 2009

I downloaded Drop7 (lite) and played it for almost three hours the first night I had it - absolutely love love love it. My boyfriend also downloaded it and now we play for an embarrassingly long amount of time.
Word Warp is free, and good. Like Boggle, but free.
And my nieces and nephew (ages five and six) love the Bolt game as well as Whiteboard.
posted by banannafish at 8:12 PM on May 21, 2009

For lists (To-do, grocery, gifts, etc) I got Listomni. You can email lists in spread sheet format, and the recipient can then move the email into their copy of the program. You can enter a list on a spread sheet on Google Docs, and load that into the program as well. The support is great and the project very actively making improvements.

I like the Weather Channel app for their hourly forecast.

In Switzerland, the SBB app is indispensable, if you use public transport. New version due out this month (June, as I post), will even sell you a class upgrade that you show the ticket people.

Touch Physicis is the most interesting game I've found. I bought the full version, the Lite was so much fun. Also, "Enjoysudoku", if you're inclined to arrange digits on 9x9 grids (LOL). "MarbleMazeUltra", if you like running marbles through mazes. This one has maze parts that move, too, making it trickier.

"Weightbot" is a nice weight-tracking program, with a very simple yet clever interface.
posted by Goofyy at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Eliss, a beautiful and original game really that really exploits the potential of multi-touch.

I also use Instapaper a lot.
posted by snarfois at 3:48 PM on June 9, 2009

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