Favourite iPhone Apps

I’ve had my iPhone for over a year now. O2 have got more money out of me than they really deserve given how much I actually use it as a phone, but overall I’m still very happy with it. This is all the more surprising when you consider that I’ve been disappointed with pretty much every phone I’ve had over the years. The last one I was actually happy with was a Nokia 6310i, one of those boring but ultra-competent devices that basically just works. I even got nearly two weeks on a single charge; I barely get two days on the iPhone.

But I digress. This post was inspired by B getting an iPhone and asking which apps she should get. I’ve never actually compiled a list, so here goes…

First, the context. I’m not one of those people who downloads pretty much everything. I’m a long way from having the maximum allocation of 148 apps and I can be pretty ruthless at pruning applications that I don’t use. That means that every application below is something that I actually use and not just like.

Yummy. Okay, so I’m not actually including this in the five. I do genuinely use it every day but I think bias and modesty precludes me from saying it’s one of the best apps on my phone. Still, if you want a delicious.com client it’s the one to get.

In alphabetical order:

Byline. I live in London and spend over an hour a day on the underground, so the ability to read my Google Reader feeds quickly, efficiently and off-line are incredibly useful. The ability to download and read complete web-pages is also great. What’s not so good is the aesthetics (faux wood panelling?!), the time it takes to sync and the fact that some options don’t do the same thing as the web version.

Enjoy Daily Sudoku. I went though a lot of the Sudoku apps, including a couple of paid ones, but this is the one that I use. It’s simple, keeps out of the way and downloads new puzzles from the internet on demand. The layout of the number buttons and the way you can “pencil” on guesses just kind of jells with the way I work.

Instapaper. This is an interesting one. I’d vaguely heard of it but had never tried it until a number of users requested that I add Instapaper support to Yummy. And now that I’ve tried it, I’m hooked. The basic premise is that you tag web pages and Instapaper downloads a text-only version for off-line reading. It makes something that I’m sure is not as easy as it looks very easy and convenient.

Tube Deluxe. I basically bought this as a “thank you” for the immensely useful “TubeStatus” app by the same developer. It lets you know what problems are reported on the various London Underground lines. The extra features in the full version — the map, the departure board and the “locate” function — are less used than the core, free functionality but that does not detract from a very useful app.

TwitterFon. I hear great things about Tweetie but, frankly, as long as there is TwitterFon, which is both free and Open Source, chances are I’m not going to make the switch. TwitterFon is faster and looks cleaner than most of the other Twitter apps I’ve tried. Some functionality is fairly well buried but the options I used every day are well thought out.

If there’s a theme here it’s simple and off-line. And by “simple,” I don’t mean lacking in features. I mean probably doing hard stuff behind the scenes but without exposing that to the user.

And off-line is something that is often forgotten. Yummy, for example, is far more complex than it might have been because I made a huge effort not to lose changes if there is no network connection available. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same of other developers.

In the end, these are all applications that I use at least daily. I can’t make a higher recommendation than that.