The iPhone offers up to 9 pages of 16 apps. Sounds like a lot but with the number of apps out there offering an immense wealth and variety of functions, combined with the trial and error required to find truly useful apps, these can quickly fill up.
As iPhone app pages fill it becomes all the more important to organise the pages, making the most useful close to hand; those apps that are called upon daily to organise, plan, inform or entertain. Below is a guide to the iPhone apps I regard as essential and hold pride of place on my iPhone’s home screen. Now naturally the prominence of apps is something of a personal choice; each person probably places a different amount of weight on different tasks and their respective apps. These simply are mine. I don’t profess they’re the life-changing for everyone but I would certainly feel poorer without them. Non-default apps in bold.
1. SMS – Yes there’s e-mail and Twitter but many tasks still require the simplicity, immediacy and obtrusiveness of the text message. The iPhone’s SMS display is the best I’ve ever accounted, displaying messages to/from each contact in the style of a conversation.
2. Clock – Yes other, more attractive clock apps are available and I’ve got a couple installed but when it comes to setting the alarm for work I still call upon the default clock.
3. Calendar – To be fair I don’t use the default Calendar a great deal but it has its uses, such as the alert. For tasks to-do I use Things, below.
4. Weatherpro – A fine improvement over the default weather app. I’ve reviewed Weatherpro in detail separately but its highlights include detailed weather forecasts for throughout the day, animated satellite and rain radar maps and favourite cities, all combined with the best weather information for Europe available on iPhone.
5. Maps – The default Google Maps and still the best, utilised by many of my favourite apps. Simply superb and indispensible.
6. Settings – Default iPhone apps, always useful to have handy.
7. Contacts – Again, necessary to have at hand.
8. Night Camera – An improvement on the default camera app, Night Camera’s most useful feature is the movement detection, whereby it takes a photo only when it detects the camera is still. This makes it superb for clear, unblurred photos in all manner of conditions and I have it on this setting by default. Also offers timer and normal camera modes.
9. TubeStatus – This free app tells me the status of each of the London Underground lines. Clear, nicely laid out at-a-glance guide to how my commute will be.
10. Pro RSS – All the newspapers and other news sources you want easily at hand with what’s widely regarded as one of the best RSS readers for iPhone. I check the news and tech news websites each morning on the way into work.
11. WunderRadio – This glorious app turns your iPhone into an Internet Radio. It seems to be regarded as best in class and certainly offers the best selection of stations of any such app that I’ve found, including, crucially, all of the BBC radio stations, often with multiple bit-rate options.
12. Facebook – Does what it says on the tin, the Facebook site optimised for iPhone through this app. I like it a lot of quickly and easily checking what everyone has been up to. I find the chat element of it doesn’t work so well but on the whole it does the job. Allows you to update your status and post images, so it’s a good on-the-go option too.
13. MyDiary – Simply a replacement for a written diary. I use Things to remind me what I need to do, however MyDiary is a fine app for logging the progress of the passing year.
14. Things – An excellent to-do app which does have a desktop Mac equivalent that I haven’t yet used. I find this app does a fine job of managing my to-do requirements as it is and I know I don’t use it half as much as I could (and probably should) do.
15. YouNote – While Things reminds me what I need to do and MyDiary logs what I have done, if I come across something in my travels I need to quickly note down, be in in text, as an image or in audio then YouNote is the eminently flexible way of doing it.
16. Tweetie – Last but certainly not least – as I find the bottom-right location really quite handy – is this very well regarded Twitter app. It does pretty much everything I’d call upon a mobile Twitter app to do with its location-based features adding an impressive extra dynamic to Twittering. Not only can you search for Twitterers nearby (my favourite option) but you can also use the GPS to update your profile location and post your location in a map link.