Wednesday, August 10, 2011

11 Must-Have Apps for your iPhone

The iPhone is a pretty amazing piece of technology, but what really makes the iPhone take off and become useful, fun and fascinating are the thousands of apps that you can either download for free or buy in the App store. Maybe one of the hardest things about setting up your new  iPhone is deciding what apps you should load on it.

Unlike the ancient days of computers, to get a program to run on your machine does not mean going out to the computer store, buying the program in a box and installing it from a diskette. For the iPhone, apps are so easy to download and you can be running them in a matter of seconds.

Of course, that also means you can run up a big tab on your credit card if each app brings with it a charge. Therefore, you do have to apply some common sense in deciding which apps to check out so that you use your iPhone fun money for the best apps there are. To help things along, here are eleven “must have” apps for you to seek out for your iPhone. This list will not be the end all or have all of the kind of apps that you want, but it is a pretty good start.

  • Redlazer – This is a free app -always nice on a ‘must-have’ list. With the addition of a very handy scanner, you can use this app while out shopping to give yourself an edge over the retailer. When you scan an item in the store, it quickly downloads all kinds of product information. You get information about the product, and competitive data about where you can buy that item online and what prices you can expect. Your iPhone makes the customer the boss once again in the retail environment.
  • Quickoffice Mobile Suite – It is easy to get snotty about people who love the Microsoft suite including Word, Excel and some of the other office products that come with that package. However, that group of programs has powered the business world for a long time. In the spirit of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” this inexpensive app lets you open Microsoft Office programs and perform limited actions on them right on your iPhone. To a mobile business person, this is nothing short of a breakthrough.
  • Firefox for the iPhone – This is another step to bring the comfort of desktop applications to the iPhone world. The Mozilla people who pretty much took over the browser world now hand out for free an app to be able to use the Firefox browser interface on your iPhone.
  • Star Walk – What if you could navigate the heavens for $3? This must-have app lets you simply point your iPhone at the sky and if you have a clear view of the stars, it can map and explain everything you are looking at. This is one that you have to see to believe that it can actually work and even then you will be in awe.
  • Urbanspoon – Many PC users already have this website bookmarked because it is one of the very best places to learn about local restaurants. You get not only what they serve, their themes and prices, you get reviews so you can make up your own mind whether to give your evening over to a night of dining there or not. This is a must-have app for the iPhone that is a slam dunk.
  • Polkast – This is one of the best new utility programs out there. View and download files from your PC onto your mobile devices via Wifi- no cables required. Sync speeds are significantly faster than online back-up and cloud solutions. You can find the app in the iTunes store, but visit to share files from your PC.
  • Angry Birds – This one game has become a watchword for addictive iPhone games. It should come with a warning that you can get the app for $1, but if you get hooked and download the full version, you addiction will only worsen.
  • Evernote – With so many digital tidbits floating around your iPhone, this free app lets you bring them all together. You can take a picture, create a caption or note for it, make a voice track for it, and synchronize all of that with your browser and your desktop. By the time you get done, you have a complete digital package to pass to your computer or to upload to the website of your choice, and you did it all right on your iPhone.
  • Soundhound – This app takes the ability to identify a song based on a short sample that could even be hummed into the iPhone and kicks it up to the next level. Perfect for a night out or on a long car drive where someone inevitably yells out, “What is the name of that song?”
  • Histamatic – In these days of graphics processing and the ability to do amazing things with pictures, it makes sense to have a powerful app on your iPhone that can empower you to clean up, make gorgeous or just have fun with the pictures you take. Histamatic does the trick.
  • Google for the iPhone – Never to be outdone, if you can get Firefox on the iPhone, Google is not going to be left out. It’s a free app, of course, so you can cooperate with Google's quest to conquer the world, one computer and iPhone at a time. But who can deny them when all of us want to be able to “Google it” anywhere we are? This app makes that possible.

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