Roundup: The Best iPhone Apps of the Week

Wednesday Oct 15th 2008 by Troy Dreier
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Our weekly roundup of the best free and paid applications available for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Our weekly roundup of the best free and paid applications available for the iPhone and the iPod touch.

Flight Status

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Frequent fliers, this one is a must-have. Flight Status ($4.99) lets you check the status of thousands of flights worldwide from your phone, using data from 1143 airlines and 4246 airports.

Check status either by route, flight number, or airport. The app provides gate and terminal info, estimates for arrival and departure, baggage claim info, and more.

We like the Trips section, which lets you track all of the flights for a trip on one screen. Rather than scrambling to learn how much time you have between flights, you can find out with just a tap. We also appreciate the option to search an airport's flights for a given time period, to see if flights are leaving on time or if there are massive delays.

Check out Flight Status here at the iTunes App Store.

Cheapskate

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This shopping app isn't just great for cheapies, but for anyone who has trouble thinking of holiday purchases. Start your planning now with Cheapskate, available here at the App Store.

It lets you create lists of people you'll be shopping for, then take photos of gift idea while you're out shopping. The app keeps track of where each idea was found. We love the simplicity.

When you're ready to buy, just use Google Maps to find your way back. It's the perfect app for shoppers (like us) who see great gift ideas while browsing through stores, but then forget all about them once we're home.

Wine Pad 2

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If you enjoy sampling new wines, but have a hard time remembering what you've tried in the past, Wine Pad 2 ($2.99) is a great way to keep track. Use it to record a bottle's name, vintage, price, rating, color, clarity, aroma, and taste, as well as your personal comments. You can even take a picture of the label for your wine library. Check it out here at the App Store.

Last.fm

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Use Last.fm's 5 million track library to get personalized radio on your iPhone. You can create custom stations based on any artist or genre, then listen commercial-free. The more you listen, the more it learns what you like and recommends new music. The app, available here at the App Store, even provides artist bios and concert information.

TimeLogger

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If you bill by the hour, you're going to appreciate having TimeLogger ($4.99) on your iPhone. Simply start a timer when you begin a job and stop it when you're done. The app, available here at the App Store, runs in the background even when you're using other apps and it lets you run as many timers as you want.

A Personal Assistant

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If passwords are too much of a hassle for you, install A Personal Assistant and get all your data in the palm of your hand. You can monitor bank accounts, credit card transactions, track cell phone usage, and even view your Netflix queue. The program uses 128 bit SSL encryption and offers a remote destruct option, should you lose your iPhone. Check it out here at the App Store.

Monarchy

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Anglophiles, take note. Monarchy ($.99) is a one-of-a-kind app that give you instant access to everything there is to know about the English monarchy from 1066 to the present day. The easy interface gives an overview page (with picture) for each king and queen, plus a detailed biography. Check it out here at the iTunes App Store.

Google Mobile

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When you open up the browser on your iPhone, you're probably looking for quick information, so download this app from the king of quick information and save yourself a few steps. Google Mobile, available here, not only lets you run fast searches, but also offers suggestions as you type.

Color Expert

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If you work in design, you'll find it handy to have Color Expert ($9.99) on your iPhone. This is an interactive color wheel and swatch library that helps artists and designers identify, capture, and showcase color. Use Color Expert, available here at the App Store, to pick colors from photos, slides, and swatches, then create matching color schemes. You can search Pantone libraries, Web safe colors, and HTML colors.

LockBox

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Securly store your credit card numbers, bank accounts, and passwords safely with LockBox. This app protects your data with a PIN so that it's always close at hand, yet completely protected. Get it here at the App Store.

See the the next page for the previous week's selection of hot iPhone apps.

Phone calls, music, directions… and even inner peace. Who knew an iPhone could deliver so much? Meditator ($3.99), the best meditation helper in the App Store, available here, makes it easy to sit quietly and look inward anywhere you go.

Set how long you'd like for a session, and how much time you need to get settled before you begin. You can even set interval timers, so that you know when a certain amount of minutes has passed.

We love the versatility of this app, which lets you save three mediation configurations, so that you can start up a session with just a tap. We also love the alert sounds, which include bell, gong, and thunder sounds.

The controls let you set different beginning, interval, and ending sounds, so that you don't need to use the same sound each time. Use it for silent mediation, or choose one of four natural ambient sounds (forest, ocean, river, and storm) for a peaceful backdrop.

Bloomberg

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If you want to keep an extra close eye on your investments in these days (and who wouldn't?) you're going to want Bloomberg on your iPhone. Leave it to the market news source that's become the Wall Street standard to deliver an incredibly useful and detailed financial app

Bloomberg offers news, stock quotes, company descriptions, market leaders and laggers, price charts, market trends, and more. You can even use it to create customized lists of stocks to track.

After using it for a while, we're crazy about the ability to drill down into data, and to easily track a portfolio. A few minor ads support this free app. Check it out here at the iTunes App Store.

Election '08

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Election-junkies, you're going to love having this app on your iPhone. Election '08 ($.99), available here, gives you up-to-the-minute knowledge of which candidates is currently leading in the polls in each state. Advanced features include a section on just the battleground states, a list of poll sources, and historic polling data for all of 2008.

Stitcher Radio

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Stitcher Radio offers a new way to get current broadcasts to your iPhone, delivering free personalized news and entertainment radio streams right to you. Start by choosing a topic you're interested in and Stitcher will "stitch" together the best, up-to-the-minute shows on that topic from sources such as NPR, BBC, ESPN, and CNN. Check it out here at the App Store.

PubSearch

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Not a tool for finding a nearby bar, PubSearch ($.99) is a fast and efficient research tool for medical professionals and students. It lets you access the millions of research papers indexed in PubMed. By combining a simple, efficient user interface with fast access to the database, it lets you concentrate on finding the research articles you need without getting in your way. The app, available here at the App Store, includes EZProxy support, so that even when you're away from your institution's network, you can (if your institution uses EZProxy) access the full text of articles in any journal your institution subscribes to.

WeatherBug

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Sure, the iPhone includes a weather app, but the information it offers is pretty limited. If you need a little more information to plan your day, download WeatherBug . It puts live, local weather conditions from over 45,000 locations at your fingertips. View severe weather alerts, weather cameras, detailed forecasts, current radar, and satellite maps. Check WeatherBug out here at the App Store.

iTranslate

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This handy app ($3.99) goes way beyond what any pocket dictionary can do. Not only does it translate English sentences into Spanish, it reads them back to you in that language. The same company also offers translation apps for German, French, and Italian. Additionally, a $9.99 Ultimate package gets you all four languages. Learn more about iTranslate Spanish here at the App Store.

Delivery Status Touch

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Delivery Status Touch ($1.99) lets you track packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS, and even foreign services such as Canada Post, Posten Sweden, and Royal Mail. Besides that, it lets you track online orders from Amazon, Apple, Adobe, Nintendo, and Google Checkout. If you want a visual, it lets you view your package's current location on Google Maps. You don't need to enter numbers manually, as you can send information to it from your computer. Find out more here at the App Store.

21 Pro: Blackjac

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It's easy to forgive the occasional advertisement when a free game looks this good. 21 Pro: Blackjack, available here at the iTunes App Store, offers hi-resolution graphics, authentic game play, and all the right details to make you feel like you're sitting at a green felt casino table. If you're new to Blackjack, this game makes it easy to learn. If you're experienced, the game's card counting will help you fine tune your skills.

Shazam

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Have you ever heard a song in a movie or coffee shop or store and wondered who was singing and what the title was? Let Shazam, available here at the App Store, come to the rescue. Simply hold your iPhone to the music and within seconds it will tell you the artist and track name. It will even save your history, so you can view results later on.

See the the next page for the previous week's selection of hot iPhone apps.

CityTransit NYC Subway Guide

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Whether you live in New York or if you're just planning a visit, you need to download CityTransit NYC Subway Guide ($2.99) to your iPhone. This must-have app , available here, makes navigating the lines far simpler. It puts the entire subway map at your fingertips, and also delivers timely info, telling you which lines are down because of weekend service interruptions, for example. We also love the GPS connection: the app uses the iPhone's GPS ability to pinpoint your location, then tell you the nearest lines to where you are. With this interactive guide in your pocket, getting around the New York City subway system is almost as easy as hailing a cab.

Earthscape
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Earthscape, available for free here at the App Store, offers a curious way to explore the world on your iPhone. See and share what's happening in the world today—down the street or on the other side of the planet. Earthscape is the world's first and only virtual globe app for cell phones. Explore the earth in 3D and view photorealistic image of the planet from any perspective. Users upload their own images to build a shared photographic model of the planet. Glide over maps and view photos geotagged to nearby locations. We love the personal view it adds to maps, showing not only where people live but how they live. It's a fascinating way to get to know the people in any area.

TextGuru
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Owning an iPhone doesn't have to mean giving up on document editing. TextGuru ($4.99), available here at the App Store, is an advanced, desktop-class, multi-function text editor. Use it to work on Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) and PDF documents, making cuts, replacements, searches, and more.

Brain Tuner

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Not only is this app a fun diversion, it'll also make you sharper. Tune your brain in less than a minute a day by giving it a little mental exercise. Chose from two simple math quizzes. The app keeps track of your best time, so you can compete against yourself. Download Brain Tuner from the App Store here for free.

CraigsMobileList
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CraigsMobileList ($2.99), available here at the iTunes App Store, is a simple and intuitive application designed to improve searching, browsing, and responding to Craig's List listings on an iPhone. By streamlining the interface, the app makes it easy to search and browse all categories, bookmark favorite searches, and respond to listings.

Showtimes

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This beautifully organized app is a must-have for movie-lovers. Showtimes recognizes where you are and instantly shows you listings from the movie theaters nearest to you. You can learn what's playing, get show times, and read movie descriptions. The free app even lets you view trailers and read reviews. Give Showtimes a try by downloading it from the App Store here.

Spend

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Keep track of your money with Spend, a quick and easy-to-use personal budget tracker. Create daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly budgets in categories that you define, and enter new expenses in seconds with a few touches of your finger. Spend ($0.99) travels with you on your iPhone or iPod Touch and does not require Internet access, so you can enter your purchases before you even leave the mall or grocery store. Learn more and download Spend here at the App Store.

Save Benjis

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Save Benjis gives you the best Internet prices while you shop in the real world. Compare prices on your iPhone or iPod Touch for millions of products from hundreds of stores. When you find a better price using Save Benjis, you can buy the item right from the app. Download and install Save Benjis for free from the App Store here.

vCard Mailer

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vCard Mailer ($1.99) is an app for your iPhone or iPod Touch that lets you send contacts from your address book to any device with the ability to read vCards (including PCs, Macs, iPhones, and many mobile phones). Just choose a contact, type in or select a destination address, press Send, and that's it. Check it vCard Mailer here at the iTunes App Store.

FlyCast

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Need some more variety to your music? With over 1,000 digital channels, including all genres of music, talk, news, sports, weather, and traffic, FlyCast (free) offers the largest variety of digital broadcasts available today. FlyCast partners with the top radio broadcasters and webcasters to bring a comprehensive collection of live radio streams to your iPhone. Download and install FlyCast here at the iTunes App Store.

See the the next page for the previous week's selection of hot iPhone apps.

If you're only going to buy one game from the App Store, this is the one to buy. It's an online classic and now it's available on the iPhone. We loved testing Bejeweled 2 ($7.99), since it's now enhanced with cool backgrounds and video effects. It feels tremendously responsive and is even more fun than on a computer. Choose from three modes: Classic, Action (timed), and Endless. The settings let you either hear the game's own tense music while playing or hear your own songs. Check out Bejeweled 2 here at the iTunes App Store.

Pandora Radio

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Your iPhone doesn't have a built-in FM radio, but with Pandora (free) it's got something better. Pandora is your own free personalized radio station. Just start with the name of your favorite artist, songs, or composers and Pandora creates a station that plays their music and more just like it. We've been using Pandora for years, and it's great to finally have it on a mobile device. It's the perfect mix of familiar songs and new songs you're almost guaranteed to enjoy. Check it out here at the iTunes App Store.

FaceMelter

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Have a little fun with your photos. Face Melter ($1.99) is the ultimate application to generate funny expressions out of pictures of your family and friends. Find out more here at the iTunes App Store.

Cookie Bonus Solitaire

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If you need one good solitaire game on your iPhone, then this is the one to get. Why this one? Because it lets you cheat. The free version has occasional ads, but they're never a nuisance. Find out for yourself at the iTunes App Store here.

SpeakEasy Voice Recorder

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iPhone apps work best when they provide tools the iPhone should have, but doesn't. SpeakEasy ($1.99), which is intuitive and fun to use, is one of these titles. The app enables you to record and playback notes, reminders, or just about anything from your iPhone's built-in microphone. Check out SpeakEasy here at the iTunes App Store.

GasBag

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With gas prices soaring, every driver should have this app. GasBag is a user-driven application that provides the fastest way to find the cheapest gas near you. GasBag allows you to search for any type of gas, and also jump to any location within the U.S. To download GasBag for free, see here at the iTunes App Store.

TanZan

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Find your zen with this updated version of the classic tangram puzzle game TanZan ($0.99). Tangrams have been challenging minds for centuries, wit the deceptively simple goal of combining seven geometric pieces into a shape. This version has over 200 puzzles. Learn more about TanZan at the iTunes App Store here.

Where

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Use Where to find hot restaurants, Zipcar locations, or to name the constellations overhead. Or, you can use the free app like we do: to find a nearby Starbucks. There's got to be one around here somewhere. Where tells you where. Check it out at the iTunes App Store here.

Ambiance

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Your iPhone or iPod touch isn't just good for playing music: now it can help you relax with sound. Ambiance ($0.99) is an environment enhancer geared towards helping you create the perfect ambient environment so you focus or relax. Select from one of the many looping noises, such as rain, waves, white noise, and more. Learn more about Ambiance at the iTunes App Store here.

Meet Bubble

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Some apps are fun and some are productive, and some manage to be both. Meet Bubble puts a bubble level with personality onto your iPhone or iPod Touch, so that you always know your pictures are straight. It's a free gift for your inner Monk. See here to head over to the iTunes App Store, so you can download and give Meet Bubble a try and learn more about the application.

This article was first published on SmartPhoneToday.com.

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