If you have been paying attention, you surely know by now that the competition between the major mobile players will be won by the player who offers the best software experience. I have written about this on many occasions, so I will not go into it again, but let’s just say that razer thin does not matter anymore, what matters is user experience, operating system, and most importantly quantity and quality of available apps.
As I was looking through my iPod for another good app to review, I quickly realized that the vast majority of my apps are useless apps that only give you another way to show off your new iPhone or iPod Touch. They can be split up into one category of apps that only the iPhone’s screen and interface can handle (Google Earth), and another category of apps so dumb, no one would bother creating them for any other platform, but somehow they make money in the App store. Go figure!
Here are some examples:
I could go on with a lot more, as the majority of my four home screens are comprised of these totally useless apps, but I figured I would stop here. If you come away with anything from this post, it should be a list of 6 apps that you must download immediately.
Apple recently passed the 10,000 apps downloaded from the App Store, which led them to the decision that releasing the stats about the most downloaded apps is a good idea. The apps are split up into categories including Top Paid Apps, Top Free Apps, Top Games (free and paid), Top Social Networking Apps, and many more. You can read the full breakdown here.
I was not really surprised by any of the apps on the list, I already had most of them, which leads me to the topic I want to write about, my apps.
I am not going to write about the useless and ridiculous apps that are on my iPod like Bubble Snap or istethescope, not to in any way detract from the huge amount of entertainment they provide, but I will focus more on the great utilities and games that I think you will enjoy. So let’s get started.
Scramboni: I just found this game last night and I have to say this game is almost as addictive as Labyrinth. It is definitely more sophisticated. It basically presents you with scrambled words that you need to unscramble in 30 seconds. Your contenders are people from all around the globe so you need Web access (Wifi, Edge, or 3G) to play. Based on the level you choose, you are presented with words of different levels of difficulty and receive points accordingly. Great game. I give it a 4/5.
AppVee: A very useful app that gives you information on new and popular apps in the app store. Its added value is that it provides a video presentation of each app. I am actually surprised Apple did not implement this in the App Store. I actually found Scramboni using AppVee, so just for that, it deserves a 5/5.
Google Mobile App: I am very disappointed in this app. It generated lots of hype and it just does not do it for me. It might have if the voice search feature was implemented in the iPod Touch, but Google disabled it for some odd reason. Other than that, I would appreciate it if anyone would tell me why one would use this app as opposed to using the built in Google search bar in Safari. I would say 2/5, unless I am missing something.
cooliris: I am not sure what I think of this app yet. I mean it is a very cool concept to display news items as a 3D wall of thumbnails. I have yet to find a use for this app, I guess if you are a news enthusiast, you can just scroll through the wall and read news items. OK, I guess it is pretty cool. There is also a search function that allows you to search various sites and the app displays the results as thumbnails on the wall. For me this app gets a 3/5.
Joost: Joost was one of those companies that when it came out, people thought was going to be the next huge thing. Then came Hulu, which outdid Joost in every category and really did become the next big thing. Until now, that is. Joost’s iPhone app basically gives you TV service and access to many many channels, categories, and specific videos on your iPhone and iPod Touch. There are 46,000 videos on Joost now and the inventory is only getting bigger. The app is a great idea, no question about that, the only problem is, there are still a few quirks that need to be worked out. I give it a 4/5.
Remote: A very cool app made by this small company called Apple inc. This app allows you to control your iTunes library and Apple TV from your iPhone or iPod Touch. Yea, that is pretty much it, but I have to admit, it does it really well, and really impressed me. I give it a 4/5, after all, I cannot really think why someone would need to do this. OK the Apple TV I get, but who has an Apple TV?
I am going to conclude this post with one app that really blew my mind, and I would very much appreciate if someone explained to me how this app works.
midomi: This app is simply amazing. You can search for any song by typing the name of a song, at which point you are presented with a few options. After you choose the desired song, you can hear a preview of the song, and then quickly download it from iTunes. No big deal, right? Wait! You can also say the name of the song and the same thing happens, but here is the cool part. Hum a part of the song into your mic and it will detect the melody and give you the results. Gets even cooler, simply put your mic near a radio or any audio output of the desired song and it will tell you the song details. Every search, whether typed, hummed, spoken, or grabbed gives you all the information about the song and allows you to quickly download it to iTunes. The app works flawlessly and is one of the most innovative apps I have used so far. This is the kinda app that I would pay for, if it wasn’t free that is. I give this app a 5/5, and if I could, I would give it a 6/5. Check out the video below, it is amazing.
Just thought I would share a rundown of the current apps installed on my iPod Touch. The list is always changing as new apps come out that are more useful.
- EasyWriter: Great app that provides a landscape keyboard to type on. I find it much easier to type in landscape mode. After you type the text, you can click on the Mail icon and export the text to an email. Very useful app. I give it a 4/5 just because it is not embedded in the mail client, that would be amazing.
- Facebook: Very useful app that, after comparing it to the iPhone Facebook website, is a lot more user friendly. I was a little disappointed you could not edit your profile, but all in all, a great app. I give it a 4/5 because it is pretty much read-only.
- Fring: No question Fring is one of my all time favorites. You can Skype, AIM, MSN, GTalk,Twitter, Yahoo, and ICQ from your iPhone and iPod. Very user friendly interface and a great app. Nothing beats being able to call someone from your iPod via Skype. However, it also gets a 4/5 because of the lack of Facebook chat and landscape keyboard. That would make it the perfect app.
- Google Earth: Probably the app that blew my mind the most. The graphics on this app just emphasize how truly revolutionary the iPhone’s display really is. Nothing more to say about this app, you know what Google Earth is, I think the iPhone version does everything the desktop version does. Amazing! However, and this is a big however, Apple left out Street View for the iPod Touch, so out of protest, I am giving this app a 3/5. TAKE THAT, APPLE!
- IM+LITE: Another IM app that allows you to chat in AIM, MSN, GTalk, Yahoo, ICQ, Jabber, and MySpace IM. Why do I need this if I have Fring you ask? One huge advantage in this app is the ability to type in landscape mode. Huge plus for me. However, no Skype and no Facebook chat. 3/5 sounds fair to me.
- iTalk: Cute little voice recorder app made by Griffin. I have used this on numerous occasions, like when you are on the road or in bed with no pen and you need to jot something down, just record a voice note. Useful app with a great interface including a huge record and stop button. I guess 3/5 as it does not do very much.
- Palringo: Yet another IM app that includes iChat in it’s list of IM services. So why do I need this if I have Fring and IM+Lite? Good question, maybe I will delete it. No, I’m kidding, what this app brings that no others have, is the ability to send pictures to your contacts as well as a voice recording, kinda like a walkie talkie feature. It is actually kinda cool, the thing is, I found that when I send these audio clips to contacts, they get it as a link and 99% of the time, they are afraid to open it because of the common issue of IM spam. I give this app a 3/5, no Facebook, no Skype, and no landscape mode, but still a nice app.
- RTM: I know Aryeh loves this app, but after a few days of use, I do not share his excitement. Yes, it is probably the best task manager (by the way, I have yet to find a task manager in the traditional sense of the word, you know like the Windows one that shows which processes are running etc.), and it syncs nicely with the Web, but I just do not love the interface, nor do I love the fact that it has a limited license, and after the trial period, you need to pay for it. It’s big advantage as opposed to the other task managers is the ability to write in landscape mode. I give RTM a 3/5.
OK I am going to wrap things up with two great games:
- Labyrinth Lite Edition: This game is without a doubt the number 1 most addictive game on the iPod/iPhone. Using the accelerometer, you need to get the silver ball into the hole at the end of the maze. The graphics are awesome and it blows my mind how it picks up on your every move with great sensitivity. Disclaimer: Play this thing at your own risk, there is a major risk of wasted time and addiction. This game gets a 5/5.
- Mini Piano: A great app that simply puts a piano on your screen and lets you play. Very cute and simple. Nothing else to say about it, watch a demo in the video below. I guess 4/5 due to lack of sophistication.
OK, that sums up my first home screen. I try to keep no more than 4 home screens worth of apps so generally when I download a new app, I delete something from the previous screen. I will post again about the other 3 home screens, but the above apps are most definitely my favorites, hence the fact that they are on the first home screen.
It is also important to point out that I have yet to pay for an app. I simply have not come across an app that was worth paying for or alternatively one that did not have an almost identical free app. When I do, you will be the first to know.