I recently was asked by a soon-to-be iPhone owner what apps should be on the top of the list. I wanted to highlight some of my favorites of the moment. Some are free, others are not. Given how long it has been since the App Store opened, I think it has been a while since a list like this was compiled. I also left out some classics like Twitteriffic, Pandora, and AIM because they haven’t changed much since launch and have been covered extensively elsewhere.
Ubiquitous and among the first to land on my iPhone, the Facebook app has a variety of good functionality. Facebook Chat is increasingly handy. It’s also a good first place to look if you don’t have someone’s phone number in your address book and you can dial straight from the application.
Flight Control ($1)
Popular a few weeks ago. A good balance between thinking and mindless entertainment. Fun graphics that are pretty without being overwhelming. With so much focus on 3D games, the smoothness of the 2D graphics is appreciated and makes the game more playable.
Great for starting an entry when an idea strikes. The UI needs some polish, but it is otherwise solid and functional.
Google Earth (free)
Possibly more entertaining than functional. The 3D view uses the accelerometer to provide a sort of “augmented reality” experience that’s an impressive preview of the future. It also makes explaining the trials of my hiking experiences that much easier to explain.
Since my unintentional, externally-induced (read: mononucleosis) weight loss in November, I’ve been trying to lose weight at a bit more reasonable pace and keep it steady when I don’t have time to do so. A gorgeous custom interface exemplifies that iPhone apps can be pretty and functional.
Another early success on the App Store. Much lighter and smaller than the real thing. Shown is the “night reading” mode that uses gray text on a black background, which is great for me since I tend to read at night or in bed. Also features some downloadable translations to speed things up and save a bit of battery life. Good to check out different translations – I sometimes try to read the Louis Segond version to recall how miserable my understanding of French really is.
It doesn’t get quite as much use as the rest of the apps on this list, but when something is coming from Amazon, it’s a lifesaver. Add to that synchronization with the Delivery Status widget for Dashboard and you have a real time saver.
The iPhone is great, but it doesn’t do it all just yet. This lets me get back to my Mac when I need to.
Keynote Remote ($1)
Not quite as perfect as I expect from a first-party app, but the ability to have presenters notes and your slides available at your fingertips is hard to argue with.