A selection of truly cool iPhone apps chosen from among the vast sea of sort-of-cool iPhone apps.
A truly cool iPhone app boosts the iPhones already exceptional form factor. Right out the box, the fashionable handheld (ever the cool kids accoutrement) handles everything from texting to movie downloads to shooting video. But add a few choice apps say, a top-flight personal organizer or a cool music app and your iPhone stretches the envelope of design coolness still more. Its one very impressive gewgaw.
But which ones, youre wondering, are the really cool iPhone apps? Among the ten bazillion out there, which apps need to be on my very own handheld? Ah, fret no more, here for your downloading pleasure are some deliciously cool iPhone apps:
Recommended by NY Times tech guru David Pogue, this organizer helps with to-do lists, short memos and scheduling. Many users find the free version perfectly suitable, but its also available in the $25 per year Pro version.
2) Bento Organizer/Mobile Database
Track expenses, create to-do lists, manage your schedule. A complete personal organizer/information storage system, this mobile database app includes 25 templates to customize based on your work-life flow. $4.99
3) Air Sharing
Seriously cool idea: Air Sharing lets you use your iPhone as a little wireless hard drive. Send files between your computer and the iPhone with just a quick drag n drop over WiFi. (Why didnt Apple include this?). Costs $5 for the basic, $10 for the more advanced Air Sharing app.
4) My Battery Life
Measures your iPhones battery life based on any number of conditions. Gives a separate monitor level based on talk time, Net time, and audio/video time. Seriously useful for the road warrior.
Air Sharing: iPhone as Wireless Hard Drive
Install JotNot and presto you can use your iPhone as a scanner. Take a photo of a document you want to scan (keep your hands steady!) and JotNot turns it into an attachable document you can email. $2.99.
6) Grocery IQ
For the minor cost of Grocery IQ, making your grocery list just got much easier. In its memory are most of the 1.5 zillion items in the typical supermarket. Just type the first few letters of your favorite highly processed semi-food item (Ding Dongs, anyone?) and Grocery IQ types the rest. You can set up the list by the layout of your local market, and a handy feature lets you click off each item as you put it in your cart. $.99
Helps you buy high fashion clothes right from your iPhone yes, the app is free, but hang on to that credit card! Make wish lists on the go, share with your friends, read the weekly fashion news. If Sex and the City was still on, this app would have warranted an episode.
Trippy, strange and weird: the Ocarina app actually allows you to play your iPhone like a little flute. (Or actually, like a little Ocarina.) Heres a video to see how it works: $.99.
Live, local weather, gathered from a network of professional weather stations across America. Far better than merely looking out the window.
10) AOL Radio
Dont be discouraged by the AOL brand name. This app offers 200 radio stations, featuring over 25 styles of music. It may or may not have country hip hop. Free.
Brain Challenge: Exercise Your Mind
11) Brain Challenge
Geared for those who want to exercise their mind power, Brain Challenge includes 43 mini games intended to boost skills in logic, math, and creativity, as well as relieve stress. $4.99
12) Storynory: Stories for Kids
Keep your kids entertained for hours and hours on end with this extensive archive of family-friendly stories. Free.
13) Loan Calculator
Never be fooled by a subprime loan again. Gives monthly payments, interest paid, total amount paid all those scary things you may not want to really know. $2.99.
14) Armchair Home Design
Use your iPhone to spruce up your living space: this app helps you figure out all the design parameters of your home/apartment so you can more efficiently redesign it. $2.99.
15) Where Did I Park the Car?
No matter how big that parking lot (or how spacey you are) this app will help you find your vehicle. It provides turn-by-turn directions back to your vintage heap. $.99.
17) Shazam: Name that Tune
Oh, I know how that song goes I know some of the words lets see, what was the title? Never be stumped again. Free.
Got a song on your iPod or iPhone you want to know the words to? Lyrics+ is your source. One of the iPhone app stores most popular picks. $.99.
Find restaurants, movie times, the cheapest gas even find your friends. The Great Walt Mossberg puts this one on his ten iPhone apps to check out list. Free.
Lets you add comments virtually about the various places youve been. You can access others comments and they can read yours. Give feedback on everything from restaurants to restrooms to local bands. (And no need to use actual spray-paint.) Free.
Star Defense Game
21) Twitterrific Premium
Be a power Twitter users on the go, with advanced tools for retweeting, URL shortening, email and more. You know you cant live without Twitter! $3.99
Listen to detailed city podcasts as you tour the city youre visiting. The link above goes to San Francisco, but theres a full list of cities. Sorry, no Terra Haute, Indiana quite yet. Free.
23) Star Defense
No casual gamers invited. Star Defense is known for its lavish visuals and other cinema-style production values. A full universe (in conflict!) on your iPhone. $5.99.
Edit photos on your iPhone: crop, sharpen, touch-up, add brightness or contrast. Your iPhone is now a complete photo editing studio. $2.99
25) ColorSplash: Photo Touch-Up
Enables you to take a color photo and turn most of it into black and white, while leaving one key part in color a very neat effect. It gives you four different brushes to work with. $1.99.
26) Camera Zoom 1.1
Gives your iPhone 3GS a helpful zoom function for when youre too far away from your photo subject to get the detail you want. Provides you with a slider bar that lets you zoom in and out.
Photogene: Edit Your Photos
Help Rolandoland is being invaded: can you use this games multi-touch controls to save it? Finger click through a maze of puzzles and strange worlds. $5.99.
28) New York Times
Customizable and designed to fit on your iPhone, this app delivers Americas paper of record to your handheld. Free.
29) Amazon Mobile
Use your iPhone to easily browse the worlds biggest online marketplace. Whats in your cart and whats the best price? Free.
Get real time updates about flight departures and landing: gate numbers, delays even speed and altitude. Answer the eternal question: how long will I be stuck in this airport? Cost: $4.99.
31) Gas Cubby
Track your cars gas mileage. Enter all the info when you fill up, then learn how many dollars youre burning through as you drive across town. Track several vehicles, create charts and export to a spreadsheet. Oh, it also reminds you when an oil change is due. $4.99.
32) iOwn, the Inventory App
Track your own personal inventory, from gear to furniture to clothing to jewelry. (And yeah, include all that junk you bought on eBay.) Free online backup. $4.99.
Track your golf results putts, fairway performance, distances and email it to your friends. Compare your stats with your last outing, and use the GPS to find out about course lengths. $19.99.
34) Allrecipes Dinner Spinner
Take a look at recipes from hundreds of skilled chefs, including pastas, salads, seafood and yes! sugary sweet deserts. Free.
Okay, so you endured all those piano lessons as a kid shouldnt you be using that skill now? Turn your iPhone into an 88-key (baby) baby grand. $3.99.
Facebook: Poke Your Friends
36) AIM Social networking
Send instant messages from your iPhone, via 3G, Wi-Fi, Edge. Communicate with anyone, regardless of whether theyre on AIM, ICQ, .Mac or other networks. Your friends want to hear from you! $2.99.
A strategy game of tower defense, Fieldrunners has a ton of fans. Interesting, colorful graphics. (Havent you been too productive today, isnt it time for some gaming?) $2.99.
38) Real Tennis 2009
Dont just watch tennis play it in 3D right on your iPhone. In fact, Real Tennis transports you to top stadiums for sweat-inducing, heart-pounding play. Using Wi-fi has never been so breathless. $4.99
39) Pennies Expense Tracker
Enter your monthly budget in just a few taps, then monitor your expenses as the weeks go by. An Overview screen lets you know how close you are to Zero. (Not too close, we hope.) $2.99.
Not sure if youve heard of it, but theres a little-known web site called Facebook you might want to check out. Only 250 million people have signed up so far. This app helps you get on board. Free.
Organize the many tasks in your life with this app, which allows you to jot it all down for today, and also includes a larger must do ideas list for another time. $9.99.
42) Kindle for iPhone
Who needs to actually buy the Kindle? With this app, if you own an iPhone you already own a Kindle. More and more books are coming out for the Kindle. Free.
I Dig It: Save Farmer Lewis
Never wonder about a meaning or a spelling again. All the words youll ever need, right on your iPhone. Free.
44) Real Racing
Zoom, zoom! This multiplayer game pits vehicle against vehicle, with (virtual) burning rubber and engine smoke. Neat feature: the artificial intelligence makes things truly tough. $9.99.
45) Pi Cuber Power Calculator
A seriously muscular and capable calculator, this app handles trig, roots, logarithms, and more. To aid understanding, the built-in equations (150 of them, annotated) are written in clear chalkboard style rather than the sometimes obscure readout of a calculator. $9.99.
46) I Dig It
Yes, its a unique game: an old farmer named Lewis is trying to save the family farm by digging up things to sell. Can you help him? Monitor fuel and temperature but watch out for damage while digging. $.99.
Doesnt just track and record your workouts, but also provides instructions: iFitness includes images of people sweating through many contortions, uh, I mean exercises it boasts of more than 230 exercises in its tutorial archive. $1.99.
49) The Price is Right
Includes 16 popular pricing games, including (of course) the classic The Price is Right. Play it in single player or party mode. To get you in the mood, this app includes theme music and that big, brassy announcer audio. Come on Down! $.99.