Thursday, December 31, 2009

JW's Favorite iPhone Applications Of 2009



Similar to last year's installment, I thought I'd share the apps which I found most useful, fun, and wowing in 2009. Written in the order in which I saw them on my home screens, my favorites of 2009 are as follows...

Remember The Milk

I tried Things, OmniFocus, & Google Tasks, but Remember The Milk came out on top definitively. The iPhone app is free, although it requires a yearly Pro subscription to the service for $25. It's worth every penny. There's great integration with the web versions of Google Calendar & Gmail, ironically better than Google's own Tasks offering. The iPhone app has Push Notifications, and makes it super-fast to input tasks. As an added bonus, I've setup reQall to handle voice transcriptions, send the text to Gmail, which then filters the task to Remember The Milk, sorted appropriately by due date & time. It's like living in the future. :-)

BeejiveIM

Use this one daily, albeit only with Google Talk. IM on your iPhone…this is kind of the textbook case for Push Notifications.

Facebook

When Joe Hewitt released version 3 of this app earlier in 2009, it became my primary interface to Facebook, surpassing the web interface. This is what a social networking app should be.

Tweetie 2

The best Twitter client, for any platform (mobile, desktop, or web). The "pull down to refresh" functionality needs to be incorporated into the entire iPhone OS…it just "feels" right.

Qik Live

This app completely fascinates me. Live streaming video from your iPhone. You can become a one-person TV station, bringing live video directly from the scene of something exciting. Amazing.

Evernote

This has become my dumping ground for anything that strikes me as interesting, but that I want to process later. My use of the app sees it getting fed primarily by e-mailing stories out of Google Reader to the custom Evernote e-mail account. I used to just send everything to my Gmail inbox to read later, but that makes the inbox too cluttered. Evernote solved that problem.

DVR Remote

I can control my TiVo HD from my iPhone. This never gets old.

Groceries

I finally did away with sticky notes for my grocery lists this past fall. This app makes collecting your list and then checking off items a pleasurable experience. The Favorites feature makes building out a weekly shopping list lightning fast, too.

iFitness

A recent addition to my daily-app usage, this is how I'm tracking all of my workouts and learning about new exercises. Surprisingly deep & robust for the price.

SplashID

I used to have an early version of this on my old Palm Vx. I keep all of my web passwords, insurance info, routing numbers, VIN numbers, etc. in this app. There's also a free desktop component to make data entry faster.

iStat

This is how I reference my phone uptime & memory usage. It's also great to monitor the live hardware stats of any other Macs you may have running in your house.

Sportacular

Still the best sports app on the iPhone. The Push Notifications from this app kept me up to date of every score from Auburn, Tulane, the Saints, & the Texans this football season.

Air Mouse

This makes your iPhone a wireless touchpad & keyboard for your computer. Great for a computer hooked up to your TV.

Gas Cubby

If you're a data junky, this app is perfect for tracking your car's gas fill-ups & maintenance. Just input data when you're at the pump and then watch your stats grow. There's also now a free sponsored version from Fram, which is identical to the paid version, except for the addition of ads.

90.7 WWOZ

Live streaming audio from the best jazz radio station in the world. And free to boot. This should be on the phone of every New Orleanian past & present.

Monopoly

Having this on my phone has completely changed my strategy in the game now that I play it more often. The graphics are great, too. Best board game ever.

3D Rollercoaster Rush

Bought this on a whim after seeing it in the iPod Touch commercial. Really glad I did. The 3-pack version gets you the original, Haunted House, & Jurassic games all in one. It starts easy, but gets really challenging in later levels.

Peggle

My favorite game on the iPhone so far. Makes excellent use of the iPhone's unique controls, and has limitless replay value.

Monster Pinball

I've picked up several pinball apps for the iPhone, but this one has the best graphics and most life-like physics.

iMario

I don't know how it made it into the App Store given the questionable use of copyrighted material, but I gladly paid $0.99 for a Super Mario Bros sound board.

Boxcar

This app enables Push Notifications for Twitter @-replies & DMs, in addition to alerts from Facebook. Right now I have it setup just for Twitter, and it fits the bill perfectly.

BlogPressLite

Free app to blog directly to your Blogger account. One of the few Blogger solutions currently on the App Store, although this one did have official help from the Blogger team.

iFly

This was indispensable during my travel-laden fall. Check flight statuses, get terminal maps, check gate assignments, see plane progress on a map. Really helpful.

IMDb

It's now so much easier to win a movie-related argument by using this app instead of trying to access the website in a mobile browser.

Convertbot

I use this less frequently than Weightbot (which I use daily), but any time I need to do a unit conversion, I launch this. Makes math fun!

Mark The Spot

Sadly, I hit way too many deadzones with AT&T. At least with this app, I can tell them exactly when & where, in hopes that they'll act upon the info.

On The Grill

Tips, tricks, & tools for getting the most out of your grill. I'm looking forward to the Texas temperatures warming up some, so I can get regular use out of this app again.

QuickMark

This app I've only used a few times so far, but foresee getting more use in 2010. It allows you to scan QR codes, those little swirly barcode-esque designs you frequently see on UPS boxes. Google is sending out stickers to 100,000+ restaurants and bars, which you'll then be able to scan with your iPhone to get menus or special information.

RedLaser

Similar to the last app, this one lets you scan real barcodes with your iPhone's camera and get pricing information back from Amazon.

Air Cam

This allows you to view a live webcam feed on your iPhone. I setup one next to Puggles cage so I can watch him during the days while I'm at work. While I didn't use Air Cam to make it, the webcam setup was inspired by this video project from Spring 2008.

Fandango

Browse movie times & purchase tickets directly from this app. There are lots of apps in the store similar to this, but this has proven to be my favorite.

GV Mobile

Sadly no longer available (or usable for those who purchased it before its App Store removal), this app was an excellent front-end to Google Voice. You could SMS directly from the app without using any of your monthly allocation of SMS messages from AT&T. Further, you could call directly from this app & make it appear as if the call originated from your Google Voice number. A new version has been submitted to Apple, but I'm not optimistic it'll get approved.

Look for my Favorite Apps of 2010 post this time next year.

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