Application recommendations for your iPhone and iPad



November 2010:

I am enjoying both my iPhone and iPad. I'm also enjoying Her iPhone and my folks iPad too! We're a connected set of geekers. In my travels I've come across a number of iApps that are entertaining or useful or both. Here's my current recommended list.

Must Have Apps

  • Google (free) -  Provides uncannily accurate voice searching and integration with Google Maps and GPS. And you simply MUST try google goggles - the little camera next to the search box.
  • DropBox (free) - Install this on your iDevices and your PCs and files will sync between them all. Very useful.
  • Pandora (free) - Stream music like a radio for free.
  • Facebook (free) - If you use FB this will make the iPhone an extension of your connected life.
  • PhotoShop Express (free) - Lets you crop your photos and adjust the exposure.
  • Flickr Sender (free) - A great way to add photos to your flickr account to share with everyone.
  • Around Me (free) - Lists businesses close to you based on GPS. Find ATMs, restaurants, gas stations, and more.
  • Evernote (free) - I like this system for keeping web notes and photos of things I want to remember.
  • AAA Discounts (free) - If you are a AAA member, this will use the GPS to show you discounts near you.
  • Yelp (free) - Restaurant reviews and recommendations using the GPS.
  • Trailhead by The North Face (free) - Hiking trails near your location.
  • Photo Sort ($3) - Allows you to organize your photos on the iPhone, and to keep them safe.


  • NY Times (free) - Great app. Better on the iPad.
  • Washington Post (free) - More top news stories.
  • NPR (free) - Good way to keep up on NPR stuff.
  • USA Today (free) - I don't care for the news, but the "day in pictures" feature is great.
  • CIA Factbook ($3) - The official book of world wide information.

Passive Entertainment

  • TED (free) - The best lectures on a variety of topics. When you're stuck somewhere this is a great way to educate yourself in 20 minutes.
  • Netflix (free) - If you have the $9/month service, this let's you watch unlimited movies and TV on demand. Fantastic.


  • Flight Control (free) - She's addicted
  • Words With Friends (free) - A Scrabble like game you can play with others. Rick got me hooked. My mom and I have played about 25 games so far. I have six active games going at any one time. The free version works, but has annoying ads. I paid $3 to get the non-ad version.
  • Angy Birds ($3) - Most popular application on the iPhone right now. Mom loves it on the iPad.
  • Toobz (free) - Another race against time game to complete a constrained free form puzzle.
  • FlipBook (free) - You can make a little cartoon and publish it on flipbook.tv (see my efforts)
  • Quordy (free) - A word game that has sucked up my time.
  • Jewel Quest (free) - A dropping gems game that is popular on Facebook.
  • Whirly Word (free) - Another anagram game. Mike told me about this one.

Good for Showing Off Your Device to Others

  • Skies of Glory (free) - A flight simulator. I'm not big on this kind of thing, but it shows the power of the platform.
  • Google Earth (free) - Just like on the PC, you can roam the world.
  • Zillow (free) - Shows you the price of real estate around your GPS location
  • What The Font (free) - Take a picture of some printing and it will tell you what the font is. It's amazing.
  • Remember the goggles search in the Google app mentioned above? This will blow your friend's mind.
  • Compass (free) - Uses the internal compass to drive a display. Cute.
  • Deer Hunter (free) - This is a poor game, but the shock value is worth it.
  • FS5 Hockey (free) - If you have two devices, this air hockey is interesting.
  • Dragon Dictation (free) - Speaker independent speach to text. I don't use it, but it is cool.
  • Star Walk ($5) - I'm not a natural star gazer, but when The WaPo recommended this as a must-have I bought it. It is *very* cool and is a nice one for showing off the power of a 4G phone. I don't know if it works on a wifi-only iPad.
  • Wikitude (free) - Another augmented reality app, this one drops Panoramio, Yelp, and other social site information over the camera view.

If You Have the Hardware, These are Essential

  • ATT Uverse (free) - Let's me program my home ATT PVR from anywhere.
  • Slingbox ($30) - You have to have a Slingbox at home, but it lets me watch my PVR from anywhere in the world.
  • Kindle (free) - The iDevice version of the Amazon book reader. Keeps in sync with my own Kindle.
  • Apple TV Remote - Gives you better, faster control of your Apple TV.
  • iPeng (free) - Controls my Squeeze box multimedia player when I'm at home

Network Tools

  • Speed Test (free) - Shows you the speed of your current network connection.
  • Snap by 9BitLabs (free) - A LAN scanner. Once it discovers the devices you can see what ports are open.
  • Net Utility (free) - Enter an IP Address and then test it. Very useful.


  • Reuters Galleries - Seems like a fantastic idea, doesn't work. Photos don't load. :-(
  • Crime Reports - Often has no data. If they get better feeds it would be interesting.
  • Scanny - A network tool where the user interface just confused me.


Jim Schrempp is a sometimes freelance writer (only Vanity Press will publish his work) living in Saratoga, California. His writings have appeared on numerous pages on his own web site. The opinions expressed in this piece are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of anyone else (although Jim wishes more people shared his opinions)