With the pending release of the new iPhone 4S it seems like it’d be a good idea to get ahead of the question everyone I know who’s getting an iPhone for the first time is going to ask me: WHAT APPS SHOULD I GET? Okay, sit tight… I’m gonna spare you the list of all the apps I’ve every used and liked and just list what I think is valuable and worth looking at adding to your shiny new toy. I’m also not going to include any of the built-in apps that come installed with the iPhone. One more disclaimer: I haven’t messed with iOS5 yet, and I’m sure I’ll love some of the goodness it’s bringing… that stuff isn’t mentioned here either.
I’ll break is down in to two categories: Everything Else and Games. Why those two? Cuz if you’re looking for games you’ll know what to read, and it’s too tough to categorize everything else. Crappy reasoning, but deal with it. Most everything on this list is either free or dirt cheap–if it made the list, it’s worth whatever it costs.
- Evernote – Your notes… about anything you want… everywhere you want them. While it’s a good note app by itself, this one really shines if you have it on multiple devices.
- Our Groceries – A simple grocery shopping list with a simple way to sync it. Example: Monique and I both have iPhones, we both have this app, we both can add and remove things on a grocery shopping list and have it update immediately. The best part about this app is that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. Give me a simple list and let whoever I want to see it, see it. If I have time to run by the store on the way home, I can check the list to see what I should buy.
- Sports Apps – lemme clump these together (CLUMP!) I use Sportacular for most things (but go find your favorite as there’s plenty out there to choose from), then there’s a few specialty things I need (I need them, I say!) like Speed for all things racing, and Yahoo’s Fantasy Football app (however clunky it always starts out being each year, it always gets better as the year progresses)
- Social Media – You’ll wanna go get Facebook and Google+. Facebook because you have to use it and Google+ because you want to. Also grab Twitter (although iOS5 will have ) and Foursquare if you’re into that kinda thing. Now you can let everyone you know where you’re eating and what type of soft drink you just poured yourself. (please don’t)
- Yelp – Speaking of eating, this will tell you where you wanna do that, based on the public’s opinion, which is always a pretty good judge of that kinda thing. But the people don’t stop there, oh no… Yelp can also give you pointers on mechanics, gardeners, or whatever you’re looking for. I like the yelp, it’s not just for girls!
- IMO – Instant Messaging on your phone. I paid $10 for one that wasn’t as good as this one, it has its quirks, but it’s free and it does every protocol you can think of.
- Moxier Wallet – Okay I know I’m all over the place, but that’s what you get when you’re in a category called “Everything Else” duh. This app is a vault of sorts, keep all of your top secret info in here. I use it to remember all of my logins and passwords to websites. It’s fully encrypted and password protected of course. This isn’t the only app like this in town, there’s a ton! But this is just the one I use, there might be something you like better out there.
- Your Bank’s App – Speaking of finances, if you’re bank is a real bank, they probably have an iphone app. Heck I have a credit union and they’ve got one. So look it up, it’s a nice way to check balances and what not quickly.
- Subscription Entertainment – Two in this group… Netflix and DirecTV. The former for instantly watching media, and the latter for scheduling your DVR. You have to, of course, subscribe to the corresponding service (I told you this was my list!)
- Shazam – Why the heck is this so far down the list? I use it all the time. You’ve heard about it, right? This is the app you want if you need to identify music you hear in a public place. Activate it, hold it up, and seconds later you know what song is playing. I also use it remember to remind me to buy songs I hear on the radio during commuting.
- Instagram – with the upcoming iOS5 changes, I would have recommended Camera+ but I don’t think you’ll need it anymore. Have a look at Instagram for some cool presets for your photos. I could list a ton more photography apps that I have, but that’s another post all together.
- IMDB – Not only is it a great app for all things movie facts, but it’s also got a great local showtimes feature. If you’re looking for a movie trailer app that also has local times in it, check out the newly released iTunes Movie Trailers app.
- KAYAK – Great for checking Airline fares, but it also has a great airline tracker that I use more than anything else it offers.
- Shopping Apps – Going to list a few here, no need to go into why. You need a UPC code scanner with price comparison, these are great for when you’re in the store and want to make sure you’re not getting ripped off, or at least know you are before you buy the thing anyway. The two I have are Red Laser and Price Savvy, both do essentially the same thing. I also like the ebay and Amazon apps, the latter having the ability to take a picture of something and find it on Amazon! So naturally, I took a picture of Vork… that was interesting because it found a book by some dude that looks pretty much just like Vork. Creepy.
You should know that I’m not into really serious gaming on my phone… I have an Xbox for that! But I do, however, have a list for you:
- Game Center – Before you play any games, register on Game Center. It’s an app that’s already on your phone and it’s so much fun to add this social aspect to your games. You’ll be able to tell what your friends are playing, how you rank against them, and even use this app to play games with them! Add me, I’m “joepopp”!
- Angry Birds – Oh just get it already.
- Cut the Rope – When you get bored of Angry Birds (hey, it happens), another place to get that similar fixanother one of those addicting games with a cool unique concept. This one takes things a bit too far, if you ask me in the later levels, but the first 4 worlds or so are a lot of fun, and passable by non-gamers which is always attractive.
- Red Remover – See above, put it in the same folder as those two once you get it.
- Trainyard – It’s a puzzle strategy game! This one involves getting trains from point A to point B, but there’s a whole lot more to it than that.
- Seven Little Words – Monique found this one, and man is it addictive. This one is less about arcade-y puzzle action like the three listed above, it’s a word game, no timer, just play it. Tons of add-on games available too.
- Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends – two great social turn-based word games for free! I’m “joepopp” if you wanna play!
- There’s more games I dig, but I’m just gonna list’em here in case you made it this far down the list and still want to download stuff: StarDunk, Tiny Wings, Strategery, Slice It!, Wurdle, Moxie, Solitaire, DrawRace, Flight Control, Blue Block and Fruit Ninja.
Let me close with some advice. Activate “Find My Phone” as soon as you can, and put a passcode on your phone! Your life is in this thing, as well as the life (Well, the contact information) of all of your loved ones. A simple 4-digit passcode will keep people from snooping in your phone and it’s only a minor inconvenience for you. Small price to pay for peace of mind.
And you know what, kids? That wasn’t even all of the things I could have put on this list. I think I owe you a part 2 sometime. This should be enough to get you all started though. Have fun with your new phone!