I know what it’s like. The anticipation of getting a shiny new gadget. You stand in line waiting patiently for the assistant to become available, or sit at home wondering what the UPS guys excuse for being late will be this week (my local UPS plant has had three power failures in the last month, apparently). And whilst you can’t MMS anyone, and the nearest to tethering you’ll achieve is if you get some sticky tape, attach your new phone to the computer screen and pretend, you know you’re holding a pretty awesome piece of kit.
Whilst this article isn’t really designed for people who’ve already experienced the wonderful world of apps (I’d recommend they explore our reviews or forum), for a new iPhone or iPod touch user the sheer variety of apps and games available can be intimidating and some gems might be hidden under the surface.
But fear not, new iPhone users, because I, an eccentric British man writing to a 4am deadline, am here to guide you through the perils of the App Store and give you some pointers as to what you might want to buy, what you really should avoid and how this whole apps business works.
Read on for dozens of great apps and more info.
Being appnoxious is a term created to describe those people who are constantly showing everyone they know those really cool apps they have just found. Here are some of those apps that people keep showing off. Shazam [App Info] listens to a short sound bite from the microphone on the iPhone and tells you what song it hears. Band [App Info], a multi-instrument music app that lets you jam on your iPhone. Email ‘n Walk [App Info] an odd little app that lets you compose an email while looking through your iPhone. Finally, Bump [App Info], this app lets you trade contact details with another iPhone user by bumping your phones together.
Let’s start out with social networking. All of the major services are covered. Facebook [App Info] has released a fantastic native iPhone app . For Twitter you have a variety of excellent options from Tweetie [App Info], Twitterific [App Info], and Twitellator [App Info]. Oh yeah, and if you still log into MySpace for some odd reason, there’s an app for that too [App Info].
Get Down To Business
As many iPhone users move from Windows Mobile devices, you’ll probably immediately notice one feature is lacking amongst all the shiny Apple newness – Microsoft Office document editing. Don’t worry – it’s easy to find some great apps on the App Store to help you with this.
If you’re willing to wait a little for Excel support, the recently released Documents to Go [App Info], a stalwart of the Blackberry and Palm platforms, will edit your Word files with ease – it’s at an introductory rate of $4.99 and we’ll have a full review up soon. Alternatively, if Excel is a must, competitor QuickOffice [App Info] will suit your needs for $19.99 (you might want to buy Documents To Go now and just wait, if you want to save your $15 – pretty much all updates to iPhone apps are completely free, with exception to major new releases of games and in-app purchased add-ons).
If you spend a lot of time on IM and what to stay connected while not at your computer, the new feature in iPhone OS 3.0 makes this really easy. Beejive [App Info], our higest recommended IM app has announced support for push notification. This feature gives you the ability to get instant messages even when not running the program. The app is currently available, the update to add push notifications should be live any day now.
Now you’re sorted for work, one area that the iPhone is still lacking is the included Notes application. It just lacks in terms of features. Useful for a shopping list (although keen shoppers may want to take a look at Groceries [App Info]) but very little else.
Hence, keen notetakers would be better suited with the incredible Evernote [App Info], which is completely free and syncs with the Evernote site and software for PC and Mac users alike. Shiny and recently updated for 3.0, the Evernote application can take text notes, snapshots and much more – you’re limited to 40MB of notes per month (about 400 snapshots) unless you get Evernote’s premium subscription for $5 a month, in which case you’ll see a huge increase – 12 times the amount of notes.
How about Tasks. It’s one of the common functions that the iPhone does not include a simple app for. Luckily other companies have filled in that game and have come up with some great todo / GTD apps. The easiest to get going with is Todo [App Info] from Appigo. It syncs with a special program from their site with iCal on the Mac. Next up are the heavy duty Getting Things Done style task managers. Things [App Info] from Cultured Code and OmniFocus [App Info] from OmniGroup are both excellent and sync with their counterpart applications on the Mac desktop.
Enough With Work, Let’s Have Some Fun
Once we’re done making notes, grocery shopping and editing the latest annual report (heck, you might have even tried making a phone call) – it’s time for a break from the tedious nature of working life. Thankfully, iPhone is one of the most impressive gaming devices out there – with games to rival any of the DS or PSPs latest titles, at impressively low prices – you’ll be hard pressed to find a game for more than $9.99.
Whilst Jeff, our head-honcho here and all around good guy, wanted me to alert you to the availability of classic gaming titles like Tetris [App Info], Bejeweled 2 [App Info], Pac-man [App Info] and the blue speedy hedgehog Sonic [App Info] – all of which you’ll find in the app store for a variety of prices, I have (ambitiously, as this is my first piece for the site), decided to usurp him and also detail some of the incredible independent titles you’ll find across the App Store.
Tapulous make an essential for every iPhone user – TapTap Revenge 2 [App Info], a completely free finger tapping Guitar Hero clone, with 150 free tracks to tap away to – they make money by selling premium editions of the game, so if you’re a fan of Lady Gaga [App Info], Dave Matthews Band [App Info], Coldplay [App Info], Nine Inch Nails [App Info] or Weezer [App Info], you’ll find an edition of Tap Tap Revenge designed for you (premium editions retail for $4.99).
Once your fingers need a break, accelerometer based racing games let you use your iPhone as a wheel – try Moto Chaser [App Info] from Freeverse for 99 cents, or splash out on Real Racing [App Info] or Need for Speed Undercover [App Info] both fantastic racing games. Games like Real Racing and NFS really do make you forget you’re using a phone.
You’ll find plenty of other EA titles on the iPhone, and many other major publishing houses are flocking to the iPhone platform – try The Sims 3 [App Info] if you feel like controlling peoples lives, or some of the incredible titles from iPhone only developer ngmoco:) – if you haven’t played Rolando [App Info] you’re missing out on a LocoRoco-like puzzling experience that’ll keep you scratching your brain for hours.
There are a lot of unique, iPhone only games available too. Some take advantage of the unique hardware of the iPhone, some are just from small indie iPhone only developers. Some of our favorites include the fantastically addictive Flight Control [App Info], Blue Attack [App Info] and Blue Defense [App Info] a pair of fantastic shooters, Labyrinth [App Info] the accelerometer based maze puzzle, Touch Grind [App Info] a fingertip skateboarding game, Fieldrunners [App Info] a fantastic tower defense game, and Motion-X Poker [App Info] realistic poker dice.
Keen bargain hunters can find the latest price drops on a wide range of apps here on our website, in the Price Drops section and the newest apps available on our New Apps page. Both of those lists are also available on Twitter and as RSS feeds, see those pages for details.
The Best Camera
There an old saying, the best camera for the job is the one that you have with you. With the iPhone, you always have a camera with you. The camera in the iPhone and the iPhone 3G was a decent camera, but the 3.2 MP auto-focus camera in the iPhone 3GS looks fantastic. Developers have created some fantastic apps to take advantage of the camera. Here are a few favorites. PhotoGene [App Info] lets you do some great editing and filter effects on your images. Night Camera [App Info] uses the accelerometer in the camera to gauge when you are holding it still enough to take a low light shot. AutoStitch [App Info] creates amazing panoramas from your pictures, automatically. Darkslide [App Info] lets you view your Flickr collection and upload new photos.
It’s All About 148Apps
At 148Apps we review dozens of applications and games each week, alongside live coverage of important iPhone events and great editorials – over the last few weeks, we’ve visited E3, WWDC and even the Google IO event to keep an eye on the competition. 148Apps is completely free, and we’d love it if you participated in our forums and comments sections to tell us what you think of our content and the various apps and games that make up the store.
Oh, and speaking of stores – if you’re looking for any accessories we’ve got our very own iPhone Accessories Store – please grab an screen protector it’s for your own good, my iPod touch screen has scratches all over, and they wouldn’t be there if I had protected it from day one.
You will likely find your iPhone most intuitive and easy to use. If not, Apple has produced a pretty good page that tells you how to do everything on your iPhone. It’s a great reference for figuring out everything your new iPhone can do.
In closing, enjoy your new iPhone – it really is an incredible device – and we hope you’ll keep us in mind for the latest news, reviews and previews throughout your iPhone life.Posted in: Blog
Tagged with: 3gs, introduction, iphone, new owner