Monthly Archives: October 2008

My 10 Favourite iPhone Apps that you’ve never heard of

In no particular order:

Cocktails – The typography and design of this drinks app are gorgeous. I especially like the way the page colour reflects the recipe age

iSSH – For anyone who manages remote servers, this SSH client is an essential download

PuzzleManiak – 15 great puzzles in one affordable package. Loopy is my personal favourite

Shufflepuck – Great presentation, and the skill level is set just right. Better than any of the bowling games I’ve played

Wings – While nowhere near as sophisticated as X-Plane, I just love the chilled atmosphere of Wings. Reminds me of Pilotwings 64

Zone WarriorElite, meets X-Wing, meets the iPhone

Darkness – Best of the sunrise and sunset apps that I’ve tried

Locly – Good local information, but I especially like the local Twitters

GeoPedia – For some reason, this has much more comprehensive coverage than the other geographic Wikipedia apps (at least where I live)

iLaugh – I know it’s only a front end to a website, but this is very well executed, and sometimes it’s just nice to have funny stories or jokes available at one click

My 10 Favourite Popular iPhone Apps

You’ve probably heard of these, but they’ve taken up longterm residence on my iPhone 3G. In no particular order:

Google Earth – No explanation should be needed. It’s as near to the desktop version as you could reasonably expect

Twitterific – It’s free and it does Twitter beautifully

Camerabag – Turn the poor quality iPhone camera into an arty camera. I especially like the 1962 filter

Gazette – The best Google Reader app I have tried. Currently prefer it over Byline, as Gazette allows for browsing of individual feeds

MotionX Poker – This simple poker dice game is executed absolutely perfectly. A great app to demo the iPhone, and it has an addictive one more go quality

Galcon – Super fast real time strategy game. The videos out there don’t do it justice, it must be played to be appreciated

ToppleBoom Blox in reverse. Needs no further recommendation

eBay – eBay has a horrid website design. This app is cleaner and more focused than the parent website

Wikipanion – Just edges Kiwi as my favourite Wikipedia reader

FizzWeather – Beautiful and detailed weather app with good UK coverage

iPhone 3G Thoughts

I’ve had an iPhone 3G 16Gb for about 3 months now, and have been meaning to post about it for ages. Rather than writing a detailed review, which has been done to death, I’m going to focus on my general impressions, and some less obvious points.

Stability: Firmware 2.0 was absolutely terrible, especially if you installed many 3rd party apps. Firmware 2.1 has been rock solid for me. Fingers crossed that 2.2 preserves the stability.

3G: Reception isn’t that great (not as good as my N95), and the handover between 3G and GPRS is slow, so I turn 3G off unless I’m somewhere that I know has a strong 3G signal. Not ideal, but more acceptable than I would have expected

3rd Party Apps: The range, quality and low price of 3rd party iPhone apps has blown me away. Yes, I wish there were less restrictions on the apps, but overall purchase and upgrade experience through the iTunes store, makes every other software purchasing experience look like something from a previous century.

Battery life: Very variable. Can be pretty good when mostly in standby, but heavy app use can kill it. Running the battery flat once a month (before charging) seems to increase the battery life.

Basic phone usage: Unusually (in my experience) for a smartphone, the call quality (at least for the caller) is very good.

Camera: Macro focus would be very helpful. More important than extra megapixels.

Gaming: The iPhone is an absolutely killer games machine. It’s a genuine competitor to the Nintendo DS, but for me, having multiple games on one device, all very cheap or free, and built into my phone, is just amazing. I defy anyone to be bored with an iPhone.

Media Player: It’s great, especially the YouTube integration, but for just playing music, I actually prefer the simpicity and solidity of my old 1G iPod nano.

App management: Not good enough. Both iTunes and the iPhone don’t cope well if you add lots of 3rd party apps. Managing and navigating through tens or hundreds of apps needs to be improved.

Overall: The iPhone 3G is definitely the best phone or PDA I’ve ever owned. I loved my old N95, but the apps on the iPhone take the smartphone experience to a whole new level.