I am a “proud” owner of an IPhone for about a year now. During this time period I have experimented with countless applications to evaluate their worth including both freeware and paid ones. Some of them were nearly worthless while others faired better and still some of them were indeed very useful in practice. So I decided to compile a list of the most useful applications that I came across so far. In this article I only considered the freely available applications. I tried to avoid the lite (trial/limited) versions of the applications as well. For the paid applications I will do another article in the future.
So enough introduction now lets cut down to the chase!
10. RSS Runner
There are many feed readers available for the IPhone and I have experimented with many of them but I think overall this one strikes a near perfect balance between the functionality and simplicity. Interface is overall pretty clean. If you want to go the website from a feed item it will open it with in the application without switching to Safari. No account creation is needed and you can start using it right away. Supports standard set of features such as sorting feeds on the titles, unread items etc. Feeds can be imported from the OPML files as well as from the Google Reader account. Other features include on the phone storage of the fetched feeds so that you can read them even if no Internet connection is available.
This is simply an IPhone version of the well known Internet speed testing tool. If you are curious to know the connectivity speed of your IPhone connection (Wi-Fi or 3G etc.) to the Internet then this is the perfect tool. It is a very simple application after running it once you hit the Begin Test button it will usually take less than a minute for evaluation of your Internet connection speed (unless your Internet connection is very slow). Basically it gives stats on upload speed, download speed and ping latency. Results for all the previously conducted runs can be viewed in the Results tab.
Currency provides up to date information about exchange rates for different currencies. It supports more than 100 different currencies. You can add as many currencies as you like to the start screen. Interval of the update for the exchange rates can be adjusted in the setting or exchange rates can be manually updated at any time by pressing a button on the start screen. It also supports a nice feature of inverse currencies where an amount from all the selected currencies is converted to a base currency amount.
This applications makes the setup of reminders for the important event in your IPhone a child’s play. Basically all you have to do is to setup a reminder description on the application screen, month of the reminder, day, hour and minute of the reminder. And lastly the amount of time before which the reminder should fire. It is all that simple! Best thing is that all of the actions happens in a single screen rather than to go through a countless number of screens in the built-in calendar application in the IPhone. After a few days trial it really becomes of second nature to add reminders this way. Its that fast! All the reminders that are set through this applications will appear in the IPhone calendar application. If you want to setup reminders with minimum hassle and minimum no. of touches then this application is a perfect match for you!
6. USB Disk
This application essentially transform your IPhone in to USB disk as its name implies. All you have to do to transfer data is to connect the phone though the ITunes application and then drag & drop files there to be transferred to the IPhone. One of the notable features is its excellent document viewer which supports many common formats such as PDF files and MS Office documents. If you were viewing some document before exiting the application then no need to scroll back to the appropriate position as program automatically scroll back to that position for you! In addition supports many picture, audio and video formats. Other features that it supports are as follows:
• Slideshow with adjustable delay.
• Fast scrolling, page up/down functionalities.
• Full screen file viewer.
• Copy, paste, cut, delete and create files.
• USB file transfers.
• Email your documents.
• View and download email attachments.
While there are some other good applications that are available in the Apps Store that can serve the same purpose but most of them are not free. You will be hard pressed to find a free application that has the same or better feature set as this one.
5. Wi-Fi Finder
This application tracks your current location and then scans all the Wi-Fi hotspots that are around you. All found spots are put on to a map and can also be shown in a list view with all relevant details including the distance for the specific hotspots from the current location. Once you decide on using a hotspot application also gives specific instructions on how to reach there. You can also filter by location type (restaurant, cafe, hotel, etc..) as well as the Wi-Fi type either freeware or pay ware. This applications works pretty well in my experience and can sometimes find free hotspots where you might not have even expected!
Well, I guess all of you already no about Skype (unless you were living under a rock for many yester years)! This is the IPhone version of the famous audio and video communication application. IPhone version of the application have continued to improve over time and now the latest version (2.1.2) is pretty stable and supports almost all the major features of the desktop counterpart. It even allows to make calls to any other Skype users in the world via 3G mobile service for free(Skype may charge in future for this option)! Latter versions of the application also supports backgrounding(IPhone version of the multitasking) so that application remains active even if it is not in the foreground. One word of caution though it eats up battery life pretty quickly so better not to enable backgrounding with this application unless really required.
ITranslate is a universal text translation application for your IPhone. Want to translate something written in a foreign language but not familiar with the language? No problem just copy the text, fire the application and paste in the text in the input text box, setup the desired source and destination languages and here you are! Newer versions also supports a swipe to paste the text.It is a simple but very effective application for all your translation needs.
This application from the Adobe is pretty good if you want a quick and dirty solution for editing on the go. As you might expect it is not a replacement for its MIGHTY desktop counterpart. In fact it will be a joke to even consider it as a comparison! However, it covers all the basics for image manipulation, color correction, filters etc. You can also create a free Photoshop.com account to upload and store 2GB of photos and videos online. Main editing features as mentioned by the Adobe are as follows:
• Basics: Crop, Straighten, Rotate, and Flip
• Color: Exposure, Saturation, Tint, Black and White, and Contrast
• Filters: Sketch, Soft Focus, and Sharpen
• Effects: Vibrant, Pop, Border, Vignette Blur, Warm Vintage, Rainbow, White Glow, and Soft Black and White
• Borders: Rectangle, Rounded, Oval, Soft Edge, Vignette, Rough Edge, Halftone, and Film Emulsion
One of the best free dictionary and thesaurus application available on the application store. Basically it provides all the contents that you get from the Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com right at connivance of your IPhone. Good part is that dictionary and thesaurus contents are accessible offline without any Internet connection required. Also supports pronunciations – very useful for the foreign speakers of the language (it requires an active Internet connection). A more complete set of the features is as follows:
• Dictionary and Thesaurus
• English and Spanish Word of the Day
• Nearly 1,000,000 words and definitions in our Dictionary
• More than 90,000 synonyms and antonyms in our Thesaurus
• Alphabetical indexing
• Similarly spelled words
• Phonetic and audio pronunciation
• Example sentences
• Non-standard uses
• Word origin and history
• Editable recent word look-up
• Shake device to see a randomly-selected word
• No Internet connection required for Dictionary and Thesaurus
• Internet connection required for Word of the Day, audio pronunciations and similarly spelled words
0. (Bonus!) Dropbox
Ok you saw it coming right? This is the IPhone version of now extremely well known and versatile online data syncing application. It allows you to view photos, videos, documents on the go. I had some issues with the earlier version of this application but recent version is very stable and Dropbox team continues to include new features in the new versions of this application. In more recent version of the application when you favorite an item it is cached offline, in addition newer versions also support sharing HD video on the IPhone4! It can be used to quickly capture photos and videos from the IPhone camera and share them with the rest of the world. For example if you have Dropbox installed on your desktop machine linked to this same account as on the IPhone than these photos & videos will magically appear on your computer Dropbox almost immediately as you capture them on your IPhone! There are many other cool possibilities that I will discuss in a future article.
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