Best iPhone Apps: The Must-Have Downloads

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These slides accompanied a webcast by Josh Clark, author of the book "Best iPhone Apps" from O'Reilly Media.

With over 70,000 apps in the iPhone App Store, there's a mind-boggling (and frankly paralyzing) number of ways to make your glossy gadget do just about anything you can imagine. This webcast cuts through the clutter with a survey of the must-have apps to unlock your iPhone's potential. Along the way, you'll explore how the iPhone is changing our personal relationships to information and computing, as well as the qualities that make a great app.

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  • Hi everyone, thanks for joining in. I’m thinking of this a state of the App Store talk. What I’m going to do today is survey the must-have downloads for the iPhone and iPod Touch, taking a look at what I consider to be the best apps out there. The must-haves.

    Along the way, I’d like to highlight how I think the iPhone, along with other smart gadgets, is changing the way that we all individually relate to information and computing.

    Quickly say what this isn’t: Not a talk for developers. Some comments in the registration suggested some of you are looking for tips about building or coding apps; that’s not what this is. This is really aimed at mainstream iPhone owners, including newcomers, who just want to know the apps that will best unlock their iPhones’ potential.
  • Because it’s really hard to find apps. In the 15 months since the App Store opened, somewhere around 80,000 apps have appeared in the app store. About half of them are exclusively designed to belch out a variety of bodily noises.

    So finding apps, finding the best apps, can be daunting, and I know lots of people who love their iPhone but find the prospect of spelunking in the App Store completely paralyzing. My book, Best iPhone Apps, picks over 200 apps and says, these are good. These are the best apps for a range of tasks: Managing to-do lists, finding recipes, following the market, using a flight simulator, you name it. And we’re going to go through a bunch of them today.

    Before doing that, though, let me just mention a few things that I think make for a great app.

    Simple, focused on very specific task. Whether playing a game or jotting a note, you’re on the go when you’re using the iPhone, and you need an efficient interface and an efficient mission, if you will, for the software. Less is more here: The more features the more razzle dazzle, the more you feel like an app is getting in your way instead of helping you do what you want to do. So: The best apps keep it simple and do less to help you do more.

    At the same time, there has to be a certain amount of design and, dare I say it, adorability. I think we’ve perhaps all been a little surprised by the personal attachment we’ve developed to our iPhones. And somehow the apps you put on your iPhone say something about you, like the stuff you carry in your bag or what you put on your walls. There’s a certain style that’s required.
  • Most important of all, the best apps satisfy one of three states of mind. The iPhone is really uniquely able to scratch an itch when:
    * I’m bored, and I’ve got some down time to kill.
    * I’m local. I need some info specific to right here and right now.
    * I’m tasking. By that I really mean I’m working, but it’s really micro-work, dashes of individual tasks. More on that in a bit.

    First...
  • Here’s the cool thing about the iPhone. It's always with you. You've got a computer in your pocket all the time. That means that you're able to use it to reclaim downtime and bring a bit of life to otherwise lifeless moments. In line at the Post Office. Waiting for a plane. At the grocery store. There are lots of great iPhone apps for filling those lost moments. It's a terrific device for making good use of stray minutes.

    I'm not going to talk about games today, although they're of course a fun way to fill time, and my book recommends lots of them. I'm going to angle for a few more productive and creative ways to use your downtime. Starting with reading.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • I’ve always been a paper guy and never thought I’d go for ebooks. But the iPhone changed that for me. Stanza is the king of the book readers, and it offers a really good reading experience.

    It wont’ replace your paperback, you probably won’t want to spend hours and hours on end reading it. But again, it’s great to fill in 10 minutes of downtime with the pages of your current novel. Keep the paper version on your bedside table and read the ebook when you’re out and about.

    Adjust the font and the font size, the page color, you can customize just about everything. Nice page turn, just tap or swipe the page. When you quit it remembers what page you’re on. Tap the top right corner to turn the page to add a bookmark. Tap and press a word to look up its definition or make a note.

    To get books, Stanza has a built-in catalog, and you can purchase ebooks from online stores, including the O’Reilly store, or you can download free public-domain books, mostly classics, or you can copy ebook files and pdfs from your computer.

    You can’t get Amazon ebooks, though.
  • For that, you need Kindle for the iPhone. It’s not as good a reading experience as Stanza, but it’s fine and it gives you access to all of Amazon’s kindle library of ebooks, typically $10 a pop.

    Eucalyptus on the other hand is a cadillac reading experience. If you’re sensitive to typography and graceful presentation of text, Eucalyptus is what you’re looking for. Two downsides: It’s pricier at $10, and it offers access only to books from the Gutenberg Project, an archive of thousands of public domain books, generally classics. But it’s worth visiting the Eucalyptus website to see a video of the app in action. Gorgeous.
  • Another great way to fill time is to read those web pages and online articles you didn’t have time to read earlier. Instapaper is a great app for that, and may just be my very favorite app out there.

    Works with the online service at instapaper.com, and you go there to get a free account. From there, whenever you’re using your browser, either on your iphone or on your desktop computer, you click a bookmark link to add a page to your instapaper account. If you don’t have the time or attention to read the page, just click and Instapaper hangs onto it for you.

    The next time you launch the app, your articles are there waiting for you to read. After the app downloads the pages, it hangs onto them, so you can still read without an internet connection -- on the plane, the subway, the Matterhorn, whatever.

    It also strips out all the ads and design and gobbledygook from the page so you just get the text. Great.
  • Another great way to fill time is to read those web pages and online articles you didn’t have time to read earlier. Instapaper is a great app for that, and may just be my very favorite app out there.

    Works with the online service at instapaper.com, and you go there to get a free account. From there, whenever you’re using your browser, either on your iphone or on your desktop computer, you click a bookmark link to add a page to your instapaper account. If you don’t have the time or attention to read the page, just click and Instapaper hangs onto it for you.

    The next time you launch the app, your articles are there waiting for you to read. After the app downloads the pages, it hangs onto them, so you can still read without an internet connection -- on the plane, the subway, the Matterhorn, whatever.

    It also strips out all the ads and design and gobbledygook from the page so you just get the text. Great.
  • Great for sports scores

    $1.99 pro version plucks out ads and gives you push notifications when there’s news about your favorite teams or updates on a game you want to follow.

    So the apps that we’ve seen so far are my picks for getting the story, whether that’s books or news. But another great way to fill your downtime is to tell your story, or soak up the stories of your online pals.
  • Great for sports scores

    $1.99 pro version plucks out ads and gives you push notifications when there’s news about your favorite teams or updates on a game you want to follow.

    So the apps that we’ve seen so far are my picks for getting the story, whether that’s books or news. But another great way to fill your downtime is to tell your story, or soak up the stories of your online pals.
  • Great for sports scores

    $1.99 pro version plucks out ads and gives you push notifications when there’s news about your favorite teams or updates on a game you want to follow.

    So the apps that we’ve seen so far are my picks for getting the story, whether that’s books or news. But another great way to fill your downtime is to tell your story, or soak up the stories of your online pals.
  • Great for sports scores

    $1.99 pro version plucks out ads and gives you push notifications when there’s news about your favorite teams or updates on a game you want to follow.

    So the apps that we’ve seen so far are my picks for getting the story, whether that’s books or news. But another great way to fill your downtime is to tell your story, or soak up the stories of your online pals.
  • Best iPhone Apps: The Must-Have Downloads

    1. Best iPhone Apps The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders Josh Clark
    2. 80,000
    3. 3
    4. I’m Bored photo: thomashawk at ickr
    5. FRE E Stanza Best App for Reading Books
    6. FRE E Stanza Best App for Reading Books
    7. FRE E Stanza Best App for Reading Books
    8. FRE E Stanza Best App for Reading Books
    9. FRE E Stanza Best App for Reading Books
    10. FRE E Stanza Best App for Reading Books
    11. FRE E Kindle for iPhone $9.9 Honorable 9 Mentions Eucalyptus Best App for Reading Books
    12. $4.9 9 Instapaper Pro Best App for Reading It Later
    13. $4.9 9 Instapaper Pro Best App for Reading It Later
    14. FRE E USA Today Best App for News
    15. FRE E USA Today Best App for News
    16. FRE E Wall Street Journal Honorable FRE E Mentions AP Mobile FRE E Best App for News Fluent News
    17. Free Sportacular Best App for Sports Scores and News
    18. Free Sportacular Best App for Sports Scores and News
    19. Free Sportacular Best App for Sports Scores and News
    20. FRE E Facebook Best App for Facebook
    21. FRE E Facebook Best App for Facebook
    22. FRE E Facebook Best App for Facebook
    23. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    24. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    25. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    26. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    27. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    28. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    29. FRE E Twitterrific Best App for Twitter
    30. FRE E Whrrl Best App for Sharing Your Adventures
    31. FRE E Whrrl Best App for Sharing Your Adventures
    32. FRE E Whrrl Best App for Sharing Your Adventures
    33. FRE E Whrrl Best App for Sharing Your Adventures
    34. FRE E Whrrl Best App for Sharing Your Adventures
    35. $1.9 Bebot 9 Best App for Robot Crooners
    36. $1.9 Bebot 9 Best App for Robot Crooners
    37. $4.9 9 Brushes Best App for Sketching or Painting
    38. $4.9 9 Brushes Best App for Sketching or Painting
    39. $4.9 9 Brushes Best App for Sketching or Painting
    40. $4.9 9 Brushes Best App for Sketching or Painting
    41. $0.9 9 Camera Zoom $2.9 Camera 9 Apps Pano FRE E Best Apps for Taking Photos Postino
    42. I’m Local photo: quasimondo at ickr
    43. FRE E SitOrSquat Best App for When You Can’t Hold It
    44. FRE E SitOrSquat Best App for When You Can’t Hold It
    45. FRE E ATM Hunter Best App for Finding a Bank Machine
    46. FRE E WhatTheFont Best App for Font Fanatics
    47. FRE E WhatTheFont Best App for Font Fanatics
    48. FRE E Yelp Best App for Local Recommendations
    49. FRE E Yelp Best App for Local Recommendations
    50. FRE E Yelp Best App for Local Recommendations
    51. FRE E Yelp Best App for Local Recommendations
    52. FRE E Urbanspoon Best App for Picking a Restaurant
    53. FRE E Urbanspoon Best App for Picking a Restaurant
    54. FRE E Urbanspoon Best App for Picking a Restaurant
    55. FRE E Urbanspoon Best App for Picking a Restaurant
    56. $9.9 9 Zagat To go $2.9 Honorable 9 Mentions VegOut Best App for Picking a Restaurant
    57. FRE E Now Playing Best App for Movie Lovers
    58. FRE E Now Playing Best App for Movie Lovers
    59. FRE E Now Playing Best App for Movie Lovers
    60. FRE E Local Concerts Best App for Finding Live Music
    61. FRE E Local Concerts Best App for Finding Live Music
    62. I’m Tasking photo: envisionpublicidad at ickr
    63. $8.9 9 Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite Best App for Editing Office Documents
    64. $8.9 9 Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite Best App for Editing Office Documents
    65. $8.9 9 Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite Best App for Editing Office Documents
    66. $8.9 9 Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite Best App for Editing Office Documents
    67. $8.9 9 Quickoffice Mobile Office Suite Best App for Editing Office Documents
    68. $9.9 9 Things Best App for To-Do Lists
    69. $9.9 9 Things Best App for To-Do Lists
    70. $9.9 9 Things Best App for To-Do Lists
    71. $9.9 9 Things Best App for To-Do Lists
    72. $0.9 9 Shopper $0.9 Specific 9 Tasks Next Read FRE E Best App for To-Do Lists NoteWorthy
    73. FRE E Lose It! Best App for Dieting and Weight Loss
    74. FRE E Lose It! Best App for Dieting and Weight Loss
    75. $9.9 9 RunKeeper Pro Best App for Running
    76. $9.9 9 RunKeeper Pro Best App for Running
    77. FRE E Evernote Best App for Taking Notes
    78. FRE E Evernote Best App for Taking Notes
    79. FRE E Evernote Best App for Taking Notes
    80. $4.9 9 WriteRoom Honorable Mention Best App for Taking Notes
    81. FRE E Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List Best App for Finding Recipes
    82. FRE E Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List Best App for Finding Recipes
    83. FRE E Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List Best App for Finding Recipes
    84. FRE E Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List Best App for Finding Recipes
    85. FRE E TripIt Best App for Travel Itineraries
    86. FRE E TripIt Best App for Travel Itineraries
    87. $9.9 9 FlightTrack Pro Best App for Tracking Flights
    88. $9.9 9 FlightTrack Pro Best App for Tracking Flights
    89. $9.9 9 FlightTrack Pro Best App for Tracking Flights
    90. $9.9 9 FlightTrack Pro Best App for Tracking Flights
    91. $4.9 9 HearPlanet Best App for Instant Audio Guides
    92. $4.9 9 HearPlanet Best App for Instant Audio Guides
    93. FRE E Last.fm Best App for Personalized Radio
    94. FRE E Last.fm Best App for Personalized Radio
    95. FRE E Last.fm Best App for Personalized Radio
    96. FRE E Last.fm Best App for Personalized Radio
    97. $5.9 9 Simplify Music 2 Best App for Sharing Music
    98. $5.9 9 Simplify Music 2 Best App for Sharing Music
    99. $5.9 9 Simplify Music 2 Best App for Sharing Music
    100. $3.9 9 SoundCurtain Best App for Shutting Out Noise
    101. FRE E Skype Best App for Free and Cheap Calls
    102. FRE E Call Global App Best App for Cheap International Calls
    103. FRE E Call Global App Best App for Cheap International Calls
    104. FRE E Dial Zero Best App for Reaching a Human Being
    105. Instapaper Stanza Twitterri c Yelp Quickoffice Things ATM Hunter RunKeeper Pro My Top Ten Now Playing Epicurious
    106. iphoneapps.oreilly.com http:// @oreillyiphone

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