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Digging the iPhone Apps

Update: Gus and David pointed out that the notification service -- important for apps like AIM and Twitterific -- won't be launching until later

Exposure AppI installed a bunch of iPhone apps -- basically anything free that looked good. I've been really impressed with how polished these apps are, even if I've had a crash or two. The integration with the iPhone framework, from contacts to camera to location-awareness, is quite deep in many of the apps. I wasn't expecting the first generation crop to be this well thought out. So neener neener iPhone 3Gers, we get the same great stuff that you do. I can find WiFi when I need speed ;)

Awesome:

  • Facebook: this little app gives a glimpse of what a future iPhone contact manager could be. You can scroll through your friends just like your phone contacts and easily call them, e-mail them, IM them (via Facebook chat), lookup their address, check their status messages, etc... They've hinted that they'll be adding location services in the near future, which would be a good move as all previous social network sites that have attempted this have lacked critical mass to do so (e.g. Loopt, Fire Eagle, etc...). Facebook already users, many of whom own iPhones, so at the very least I'll be able to track my friends with iPhones ;).
  • Exposure: this app is a much better way of browsing Flickr on your iPhone. Besides MonkeyBall it will probably be the first app that I pay for (there's both a free, ad-supported version and a premium version). I often have to spend time syncing certain portfolio photos onto my iPhone so that I can show them to clients. This app is good enough that I wouldn't need to. The "Near Me" feature needs a bit of work -- it just showed me a bunch 25 photos of some guy's baby.
  • Pandora: I like listening to Pandora Radio online and was surprised to see that the iPhone app is actually superior to the online Web site. It looks just like iTunes on the iPhone, with nice big album art that gracefully peels in (to hide load time).

Good:

  • Google Mobile: it searches both your contacts and the Web simultaneously and offers search suggestions to speed typing. Searching Notes would be nice, even if Notes is a degenerate app.
  • Twitterific: a solid iPhone client for Twitter. You can even post photos from your camera. I wish I could get notification of new messages without having to open the app, though -- it could circumvent the need to use SMS with Twitter entirely.
  • Monkey Ball: I haven't fine-tuned my reflexes for this one, yet, but its a great game to have on the iPhone.
  • PhoneSaber: your iPhone is a lightsaber, what more do you need? (yes, I'm aware jailbreakers have had this app for awhile)

Not sure yet:

  • AIM: very slick, though when I tried it this afternoon, I had to be in the AIM application to get notification of new IMs. I thought that apps were going to be able to get notification events so this wouldn't be necessary.
  • Loopt: this could be great, but there's no way I can imagine getting my friends to sign up for this. Other than that, it's basically a different app for browsing Yelp reviews -- I actually find it easier to use than Yelp's klunky offering.
  • Eventful: it's cool to be able to browse events at Kepler's bookstore alongside concerts at Shoreline Amphitheater, but its calendar only goes one month out -- not a good way to purchase tickets.

Nope:

  • Yelp: This would be a good app, except that Loopt actually did a better job with the same information. You get better search options, but it feels like it was designed by someone who hasn't used an iPhone much and thus laid out all the buttons wrong.

Comments (3)

The notification stuff is coming in a later software update. Apps will be able to push updates down to your phone like instant messages or tweets. I'm curious how that will affect battery life. Also, it might be neat to get IMs when I'm away from my computer, but I'll never remember to sign in/out of the mobile app when I leave my computer if that's necessary.

Gus:

The notification infrastructure isn't launching until September, I think.

kwc Author Profile Page:

I guess they're testing the notification service, then, as it seems that it's used by the new Mail app -- it's pretty cool to finally get push e-mail for all e-mail accounts

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