App Store: My Must-Have Applications
The other day, one of my Twitter followers asked if I could post a list of iPhone applications I have installed that are useful. Right now, there are quite a few (145 icons by my count). I’ll share a gallery of all of them, and post a list with links to the ones I really like or use a lot.
It’s a definite goal to reach the installed application limit, and admittedly the organization of just a bunch of tiles on a grid is already stretched thin. I originally did a better job organizing applications by page such that similar tasks or groups were all consolidated. For example, games are all on one page, utilities are on another, e.t.c., but it’s fallen apart lately.
The irony is that there isn’t an app you can install that will tell you what other apps are installed because of sandboxing reasons and App Store restrictions. Oh, Apple…
Some of my favorite and most used applications are:
- Speedtest.net – This is the iPhone version of Ookla’s speedtest.net. It used to be absolutely positively horrible. I mean not just totally false – but boldfaced staring you in the face wrong. They’ve improved it a ton in recent updates, and it now supports exporting to CSV as I’ve mentioned before, including all the geospatial, test results, and other relevant data. Makes analysis possible for end users, not just them.
- Xtreme Speedtest – Before Ookla got off their collective arses and made the speedtest.net application work, this was my favorite. I’m ashamed to admit I ran it as much as I did. Lately there haven’t been any updates or any love for even the paid “pro” version.
- Jaadu RDP – Hands down the best remote desktop application. It’s also the most expensive at $24.99, which is annoying, but it truly does work the best. Integration is just extremely smooth and well executed. There’s also Jaadu VNC.
- Mark the Spot – This should come preinstalled on every single iPhone. If you’re on AT&T, this is your best friend. It’s both a way to report bad connectivity and vent when coverage sucks too.
- BeeJive IM – All around best IM application. It was one of the first to really leverage push notifications well, and keeps you logged in for as long as you’d like. It’s a brave new world being logged into IM on the phone all the time, but if you want it, this is what’s awesome.
- Gass Cubby – Keeps track of gas mileage. It does an awesome job, and is fast and easy enough that I do it every time. It even syncs back up to the cloud for backups and storage, or if you have multiple drivers on a car. The graphical visualization and ability to correlate fuel economy changes with service is what really makes it stand out.
- iStat – Although the real beauty of this application is that it ties into the dashboard widget and server daemons of its namesake, it also works great as a simple resource monitor and informational view. There’s more info about everything here.
- SpaceTime – This is the absolute best computer algebra system for the iPhone. It’s that simple. There’s 3D plotting, derivatives, integrals, and just about everything else you can get from a Ti-89. I still like my 89, but this is the next best thing.
- Pi Cubed – Another really good mathematical tool, this one finally leverages the full capacitive touch screen of the platform. There isn’t a virtual keyboard or buttons, but rather a more intuitive interface with pretty print that’s better. I really like that it can export to PDF and LaTeX dynamically.
- iSynth and Seadragon - These are both awesome Microsoft Research Labs applications that exist on the iPhone. The former is a photosynth viewer created by a software intern as an independent project, and it works surprisingly well. The Seadragon viewer lacks the photosynth code and just displays images using the same sort of algorithm.
- iRa Pro and IP Vision – If you have a network camera that has MJPEG streaming outputs, these should be on your phone. No excuses. iRa Pro is an $899 application (last I checked, the most expensive in the App Store) but delivers absolutely unparalleled integration with the big enterprise camera setups including PTZ and up to 6 camera streams at a time. If you don’t have a fancy enterprise setup, IP Vision lets you view one MJPEG stream and 2 stills at a time, which is totally adequate for most everything. It’s what I end up using most of the time, and is considerably cheaper at $7.99 – there’s also a more expensive version that works with PTZ cameras.
- Pocket Universe – This was the first augmented reality application, and for its purpose, the implementation is superb. It’s designed to be an aide for amateur astronomers trying to find a particular celestial body of note. It uses compass and accelerometer data to point you in the right direction, toward finding it.
- JotNot – It’s a document scanner using your iPhone’s camera. The beauty here is that it removes the distortion based on edge detection, works for large documents, posters, books, and other rectangular, er, media. The other awesome part is that it tightly integrates for output over email, evernnote, WebDAV/iDisk, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Box.net. Either PDF or JPEG output with optional OCR to boot! I use this one a lot.
There are a ton of others that are installed, but these are the ones that really stick out to me as being relatively undiscovered. If you’ve got others you think are useful or related, I’d love to hear about ‘em in the comments section!