11 Essential iPhone Apps

Posted on by Andrew Kalinchuk (kalinchu)
URL for sharing: http://thisorth.at/3fve

The iPhone made a huge splash on the smartphone front a few short years ago and its climb to superstardom has been successfully aggressive. With such a large fan base and a devoted following, the App Store attached to the iconic smartphone attracted a whole lot of attention from the developer's circle, thus filling up the App Store with a plethora of options.

As a user, however, I didn't enjoy trudging through a crowd of 350,000 in order to find the shining stars of the group. That's why I put together this little list of apps that I found to be exceptional. Let me know if I missed a knock-out app or two. (I mean, I doubt it... but nobody's perfect.)

1. Angry Birds

Price: $0.99

I know you're sick of seeing this on a top app list...but get over it because it deserves to be here. It was the first game I got on my iPhone 3GS and I still play it daily. It is the perfect game for the casual gamer and is easy enough that even your mom won't have trouble with it. Just ask mine.

The game play is simple. You hurl flightless birds into various structures that house evil green pigs in order to bring them all crashing down and squash them. And in case you need motivation, the pigs are evil because they are stealing your unborn children. Oh yeah. It's on.

Note: I officially recommend all the versions of Angry Birds because they are all great. However, do start with the original since it offers the most bang for your buck. Plus, it will give you street cred.

2. Tiny Wings

Price: $0.99

The App Store really responds to cute, colorful, and flightless birds. The newest offering, Tiny Wings, whose main character is that adorable little bird up there, is one of the only games in a long, long while that has been able to usurp Angry Birds from its #1 spot on the iTunes Chart.

You are a ball disguised as a bird, making your way through a bunch of little hills. When you approach a valley, you press anywhere on the screen to fold your wings and rocket down it. You gain speed by letting go of the screen which makes you lighter by spreading your wings jumping off the following hill.

3. Instapaper

Price: $4.99

Instapaper stores articles offline for you to read later. It's perfect for people like me, who have too much they want to read and not enough time to read it. It frees you from your computer and lets you take your reading wherever you go, whether you have Internet or not.

First, you sign up for a Read Later account. Next, add the 'Read Later' website link to your Bookmarks Bar of any web browser that you choose. That includes the mobile versions of Safari that run on your iPhone and iPad. Once you do that, the next time you find an interesting article without the time to read it, simply click your new 'Read Later" bookmark and it will be saved to your Instapaper account, where you can pick up where you left off.

Note: If you need to do offline reading, like when you take your Wi-Fi only iPad on the road, make sure that you sync the Instapaper app while you do have a connection.

4. Facely HD

Price: $1.99

Facely HD has grown in popularity over the last few months and it is easy to see why. It has a great layout and offers a much better user experience than the official Facebook app. I love the ability to change the standard "Facebook Blue" to any color of your choosing, I have switched from black to aqua green and everything in between. It's constantly being improved, with almost-weekly new updates to fix any problems that users may encounter, as well as add new functionality. It had its fair share of glitches at the start, but they are long gone now.

5. Words with Friends

Price: Free with Ads; $2.99 without Ads

If you have ever enjoyed a game of Scrabble before, you owe it to yourself to pick up this app and force all of your friends to do so as it is most enjoyable while playing with a friend.

Start playing a Scrabble-esque game of earning the most points by spelling out words, aiming to place letters on top of bonus squares. You can either play against a friend or look for a random opponent online to spar with. Either way, you're guaranteed to have a good time.

6. Movies by Flixster with Rotten Tomatoes

Price: Free

The Movies application provides you with a list of the top movies in the box office, showtimes for theaters near you, and the latest DVD releases. But the best part of this app is its integration with the Rotten Tomatoes rating system, listing the movie's 'percentage' right beside the title throughout the app. It's hard to believe that once upon a time we had to resort to the newspaper for showtimes and reviews. *shudder*

7. Soundhound

Price: Free

Soundhound has one main competitor, Shazam, but the thing is... they are not even in the same league. With the free version you have unlimited usage, meaning you can ID as many songs as you like with no limits, whereas with Shazam you only get 5 per month. Unbelievable.

You can search for a song simply by recording a small portion of it. Alternatively, you can sing or hum the tune, or even search by specific lyrics within the song. Not only that, but you get lyrics to songs that are playing on your iPod with the "Now Playing" feature, as well as lyrics to songs that you have identified with Soundhound. All in all, extremely useful, especially if you have trouble with names.

8. Remote

Price: Free

The perfect app for a budding DJ, or if you own an Apple TV. It allows you to control media playback on your Apple computer or Apple TV by putting your entire iTunes library onto your iPhone for you to control. You can play, pause, rewind, make playlists, etc, all from wherever you are in the house. It's incredibly convenient, allowing you to leave your existing music setup where it is while staying completely in control.

9. Dropbox

Price: Free

Sick of relying on physical media to store your data? Yeah, me too. That's why I signed up for a Dropbox account and started storing my information in the cloud.

Dropbox provides you with a free 2 GBs of space at sign-up, which you can access through your smartphone app or any web browser. Once you're finished with the straight-forward setup, you are free to drag-and-drop files in and out of your Dropbox folder to your heart's content. Bye bye, USB!

10. Adobe Photoshop Express

Price: Free

It's the express version of Adobe Photoshop in your pocket. You won't be doing any marking or playing with the lens flare effect, but you will have access to a variety of color adjustments, filters, effects, and basic editing tasks such as crop, straighten, rotate, and flip. They are all very handy to have on hand when taking pictures on the fly.

11. Netflix

Price: Free

Say "Hello!" to the future of entertainment and the end of boredom. Cable is so 2010.

How it works: You create an account and pay a measly $7.99 a month to stream an ever-growing collection of movies and TV series straight to any web-connected device via browser or dedicated application. Granted, the selection isn't stellar at this point, but I do think their TV offering is very strong. Also, they are adding new content all the time. Netflix is the future!

Honorable Mentions:

Weather Eye

Price: Free

The pre-loaded Weather App given to you by Apple sucks. Plain and simple. If you want actual weather information like current, short-term, and long-term forecasts, as well as so much more, you are going to need to get your hands on this.

Websites on Your Homescreen

Price: Free

I know that website bookmarks are not exactly apps, but they are icons on your app screen, so I think that counts. Not everyone knows this, but when you are setting up a bookmark on your iPhone, you can actually choose to have that site featured as an icon on your home screen, saving you precious seconds.

Which pint-sized fowl do you prefer?

18422 views & 29 votes

Debate It! 10

where's air penguin and fruit ninja?

Posted By tzxsean,

Fruit Ninja is a good one! I just find it to be really tedious. But I have never heard of Air Penguin! Tell me more.

Posted By kalinchu,

Air Penguin is a new game by gamevil. It's a full tilt control game. For now it has 100 levels for the players.
Here's a game play video. Watch it!


Posted By tzxsean,

and for the weather app... I like weather HD the most... it's universal despite the word HD

Posted By tzxsean,

That game looks sooo fun. Nice suggestion. Too much iPhun for one list!

I will have to make a separate list for just games because I need to find room for Plants VS Zombies and all my other faves.

I also enjoy Weather HD, but I wanted to feature a free option for weather because it seems silly to pay for an app when you could just go online for free to get the forecast. However, I have Weather HD on my iPad and it is awesome.

Posted By kalinchu,

i see...by the way if you like Plants vs Zombies...you should look at Leave Devil Alone.

before I switch to Weather HD, I use the free AccurateWeather app ..but after 1 major update....all the things I like seems gone...

Posted By tzxsean,

this or that needs an app!!

Posted By sirjake64,

Rebecca. You listening? Haha.

Posted By kalinchu,

Have you tried the free app called "Unblock Me" or an even funnier mind bogling
app that will drive you mad is "Moron" !

Posted By auntie,

tiny wings for the win!

Posted By dylancayleb,

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