Fav iOS Apps (Archive)

My favorite iPhone & iPad Apps from back in the day

I wanted an easy place to refer folks to with links to iTunes App Store, so here it is. My favorite apps are listed in order of my general preference / usability / niftyness. Most are FREE and definitely work on an iPhone 4 / iPad 2 / iPad (3rd gen.) and with iOS 5+ unless noted otherwise. Prices are for iPhone version (iPad version at least doubles the price).

How did I link to directly to Apps in iTunes? See my Jing video on how-to right here.

Wikiamo – the BEST Wikipidia app with best interface and features set, use it every day … but occasional hiccups with updates, but always fixed very quickly. Wish it was available for iPad too.

NPR News – very good apps for reading stories and listening to NPR shows and stations. Works exceptionally well on iPad, I use it as my NPR radio with it’s great live streams feature.

AP Mobile – up-to-the-minute news, really like the new (March 2012) interface.

NASA – very very well done, tons of info and news feeds, and NASA TV (also a separate app), I want to be an astronaut!

NY Times – a lot of news for free! … well, use to be a lot more, but still a lot of free content

Yahoo! Sportacular – up-to-minute scores, play-by-play, choose your teams, choose game winner & compare with nation, standings … and obnoxious fan chat, the BEST all-in-one sports app IMHO …

USA Today – it really looks like USA Today! same color schemes, crams tons of info onto screen, very graphically appealing, and all that content for free!

LA Times – very different screen layout than other news readers, but quite useable and fun to get a west coast take on things.

TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) – all Mac all the time! A must-have for iPhone and/or Apple fanboyz & girlz, owned by of all companies … AOL!

All Things D – all Wall Street Journal tech writers in one easy app, and all free, essentially all the stuff I like to read in the WSJ without the pesky editorials, kinda amazing it’s still free.

Consumer Reports – their blog posts and videos, not full magazine, but lots of good stuff.

Seismic – (99cents) Earthquakes!!! USGS reports worldwide, a bit unsettling actually … Simple list interface lists magnitude with color coded graphic and locations world-wide, links to USGS website for details on each quake.

FREE GAMES (these are the gateway drugs to the paid versions)

Words with Friends – Basically a “you-git-what-you-pay-fer” version of Scrabble with built in IM. The “dictionary” is an open-source word list (found here as a .txt file) and by no means anything you’d use in a real game of Scrabble. Thus the frustration level of what words it will or won’t allow is can be, shall we say, rather high. But you need to play it as the game it is meant to be, not a as an exercise in vocabulary building. And as a bonus you can give the game’s developer, Zynga, all kinds of data on your life by signing in to Facebook and Twitter thru the game too. Oh and the reason it’s free is because you have to put up with 10-15 seconds of ads between each turn. So embrace your Qi … I just gave you at least 11 points there!

Paper Toss – tossing paper into waste basket

Darts – throwing darts by finger flick

Dizzy Bee Free – motion control, cute and sinister, I ended up buying it

Subway Shuffle Lite – quick fun brain teaser, I ended up buying it

Pac Man Lite – just like the arcade without the quarters, I ended up buying it


Angry Birds Seasons – (99cents) is the best buy in the Angry Birds portfolio. Just plain the funnest IMHO, wonderfully witty updates throughout the year based on holidays or seasons (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Spring …). OMG! This game is app crack! I was late to this party a few years back, and in hindsight that may have been a good thing. This may be the most addictive game I’ve played on the iPhone and given how addictive Doodle Jump and Flight Control can be that’s saying a lot. There is also a lite free version, but trust me, just buy it because you’re going to anyway.

On the iPad all the above is true, plus a bigger screen, so better detail for your precise aiming! The newest addition in the AB family, Angry Birds Space may be the best ever, I’m certainly thinking the iPad version is. Angry Birds Space HD is gorgeous to look at and with it’s gravitational fields in play is too much.

Flight Control – (99cents) easy to catch on to and hard to master, addictive. iPad version (Flight Control HD) is even better, adds a two-player version sharing the iPad’s screen.

Doodle Jump – (99cents) addictive, constantly updating features, and can share scores on Facebook

Crazy Tanks – ($1.99) awesome motion control game with very smart kitschy graphics

SimCity – ($2.99) stripped down version (only slightly) of PC game, amazing it’s on a handheld, even better on the iPad.

Carcassone – ($9.99) Yes, the most expensive game I’ve bought, but also yes to being the best board game adaptation on a computer I have ever seen! Faithful to the orignal (and awesome!) board game with added modules for solitaire play as well as playing against people you do or don’t know on the interwebs. I find it a great way to practice and learn before playing the “real” board game. Turns out I’m not as awesome as I thought … the computer consistently beats me. Even better on the iPad.

Echofon – best Twitter app, even better than the official app IMHO. You can do everything you need to do, but only 1 acct, but it’s FREE!!!
IM+ Lite – all IM accts on one app

Flickr – upload from device, acct settings, search

Delicious, not perfect, but better than nothin’

Facebook – no stupid apps or ads so far

YP Yellow Pages – very very handy if you’re in area don’t know or just want to find a coffee shop or barber, contact info, web links and map links … and without all the annoying-ness of the Yelp app (NO! Yelp, I don’t want to register or link with Facebook! And really don’t care if the reviewer is the check-in “king” or “mayor” of this Starbucks).


Waze – (free!) Can’t beat the price. Luv the interface, very easy font/graphics to view whilst driving. Easy destination look-up, seems to work off of Google or Bing, as you can just type in a place name without actual street address and it finds it! Updates from fellow Wazers warn of traffic slow-downs, roadside hazards, accidents and most importantly …Speed traps! It will give a choice of routes and seems to do a pretty good job of re-calculating routes if you happen to know a short cut or miss your turn (although maybe not quite as quick as CoPilot below at doing this). It also has voice guidance, but I haven’t used this very much as I usually have podcasts or music playing. And lastly, as you cruise through traffic (or don’t), there are cutsie little icons of fellow Wazers to let you know you are not alone on the road. Until it steers me wrong, this is my GPS app of choice.

CoPilot Live USA – ($9.99+) For 5 bucks, now $10, you get a GPS voice turn-by-turn (in a variety of accents) on your iPhone / Touch! I was skeptical of these apps, read reviews on iLounge, iTunes, etc. After a good 8 months of using this, gotta say it’s quite a bargain. Especially when the TomTom & Magellan apps are 10x as much. It’s not perfect in and it does take a bit of practice to get the hang of it. Maps are easy to read in 2D (also offers 3D and a text list of turns). It sold me with the ability to listen to your iPod music or podcasts while using the GPS, it will interrupt with voice directions as needed. It does an amazingly good job of re-routing if you know a better route or short-cut, it takes a second to re-calculate and it’s done (unlike some real GPS units that’ll repeat “recalculating” for like 3 minutes as you cruise down the road). It also has all the POI bells & whistles of “real” car GPS units too. I added the in-app upgrade for test-to-speech directions, essentially gives more detailed voice instructions (and voices), but find I rarely use it. And added the Live traffice in-app add-on too, which I’m not sure about still in terms of accuracy, but between it the free Google Maps and the Sigalert apps, you can get a pretty good comparison of just how bad your commute will be. So for $10 my iPhone is a full-blown GPS, pretty neat!

GasBuddy – alright its not a GPS, but how you gonna get anywhere without gas? OK, OK, yes, when you have your electric car this app won’t be need, it will be re-badged as OutletBuddy (hey, that’s my idea!) … Anyway, this app can be so darn handy when you’re trying to find that bargain gas pump. The only downside is that the prices can become out of date if no one using this app at a station for a while, so pay attention to the posting dates. It has built-in integration with Google Maps app to help you fnd the station. You cansort stations by distance or by price. And you do not need to create an account on this app to use it, so fr I’ve resisted their invitations and been able to use it just fine.


File Magnet
– ($4.99) transfer almost any file format to your device from Mac
Best Camera
– ($2.99) my goto editor, very easy nifty photo editor/uploader (Flickr, email,, etc.), edit options are all presets, not as flexible as Photoshop Mobile in that regard, but quick and easy to use.
Photoshop Mobile
– the only great thing Adobe has ever given away for free, it’s a truly amazing little image editor
Google Mobile – search, News, Reader, Docs, Calendar, GOOG-411 & voice search (iPhone only)
iDoodle2 Lite – draw and save on device, great for self-designed wallpaper
Coin Flip – comes in handy for decision making and you get to choose your coin!
Clinometer – (99cents) no practical application but it looks useful and very very cool!

Weather Bug – very very local conditions, forecasts, etc.
The Weather Channel – the big picture and radar!
Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy – ($2.99) packs in a ton of features for the price, especially compared to the two astronomy apps below. Sky charts, astro news for the day, moon phases, truely amazing for the price.
GoSkyWatch – ($5.99) my goto “what’s that star?” app, astronomy charts, loads very fast, nice “night view” feature, unique easy interface
Starmap – ($11.99) astronomy charts, more info detail than GoSky above, most expensive app I’ve bought!
Planets – what’s up in the sly at night that you can see without a telescope
Google Earth – a little slow, but nice gee whiz factor
Flixster – movie times, review, and links to NetFlix acct
Kindle Reader – not a big e-reader reader, but nice interface and you can get free samples of nearly every book andthen get the real one for free from the Public Library! Or use your’s public library’s OverDrive subscription to download e-books or audiobooks directly to your iPhone.
Epocrates – amazing prescription drug reference, including drug interactions! Have found this amazingly useful for myself and family members (and even our doctors on occasion).
Ocarina – iPhone only, it’s a real ocarina flute

And I always check the “Top Free” apps list in iTunes as well as the App Store in iTunes or on the iPod/iPhone itself.

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