A friend emailed a few people to ask for recommendations of what to install on her new iDevice. My reply was detailed enough I thought you might be interested too. Seasoned iOS experts will yawn at the list because a lot of these are commonly accepted good choices, but if you don’t spend time each day on apps you’ll probably find something you didn’t know about below.
Note: I’m too lazy to find links for them all. Open up iTunes and search and you should be able to find them pretty fast.
- Instapaper – Does nothing by itself, but add the special bookmarlet to the bookmarks bar on your normal browser (and iOS browser), then when you get to a long article you want to read later you ‘add to instapaper’, then on your idevice you open the instapaper app and all the articles are waiting for you in pleasant easy-to-read format with no adds and configurable fonts. It tracks where you are in the articles and lets you archive them when your’e done. Takes some time to get used to filling it with articles, but once you get in the habit it’s very useful for always having something to read when you’re out (just remember to sync when you have wifi once in a while). It’s a lifestyle more than just an app, but I love it a lot. Especially useful when checking twitter because you can ‘add to instapaper’ things that you want to read after you’re done with twitter. There is ‘add to instapaper’ integration in the official twitter app (“read later” option in the arrow menu once you have your instapaper account set in the twitter settings under advanced)
- Twitter – of course.
- Wikipanion – dedicated Wikipedia app, faster than using browser.
- Reeder – if you want a good way to check your google reader subscriptions. Not free but wondrous.
- Find my iPhone – to track it if someone robs you or you lose it.
- Touch Pad – to use your device as a mouse/keyboard for your mac.
- Stream to me – if you want to watch videos stored on your mac using the device.
- Soma FM – beautiful radio stations
- Netflix – Requires a subscription. YMMV on tiny screen, I really only use it on iPad.
- Art – Reference for history of art with a fun game where you guess the artist
- Stanza – best free ebook reader with integrated catalogue to find free stuff. All public domain books are there but also modern stuff that is free. If you’re lost just look for Cory Doctorow and read his books cause they rock. Also useful for reading PDFs and other docs though on small screens YMMV with that shit.
- IMDB – faster than web version.
- Dictionary.com – why not? fast free dictionary
- Skype – works surprisingly well
Games anyone could enjoy
- Tiny wings – 1$ well spent, everyone loves it and it’s surprisingly intense to play.
- Carcassonne – expensive but beautiful board game conversion.
- Shanghai Mahjong – most beautiful and functional i’ve tried, free version has what you need.
- Dead Runner – so fun and simple
- Spike Dislike – so fun and simple
- Free Solitaire 3D – not beautiful but really fun and free. Only has strange new variants that are challenging but engaging and way more interesting than normal solitaire. iPad and Mac App Store versions are also excellent. Makes normal solitaire feel like a waste of time for babies.
These are all apps I have installed on my iPhone, so they are all handheld-friendly. They also mostly have iPad versions that work well, but the list would be longer if I included iPad-only apps too.