iPhone First Impressions: The Wonderful World of Apps

As promised a few weeks ago, here’s my take on the initial round of apps I’ve loaded onto my iPhone:

Lists: I finally have digital lists back in my life! It’s been years since I had my Handspring Visor, which I loved. I kept lists on it like crazy and looked forward to being able to keep all my lists with me on the iPhone. I considered using the Notes program that comes on the iPhone, but prefer my 2Do lists to have checkboxes and the ability to prioritize and sort. A friend pointed me toward Simplist, a free list app that I really like. I keep a running 2Do list on it as well as lists for blog ideas, books to read, ideas of fun stuff to do in the area, home projects, photography projects, and, of course, shopping lists.

flickr: Snapping photos on my phone and uploading them to my flickr site has never been easier (especially considering the machinations I used to go through with the old cellphone!) I also like how the flickr app presents my contacts photos as a screensaver type slide show and groups their recent uploads by day, a nice way to scroll through everyone’s recent images.

ShakeItPhoto: Allows you to take iPhone photos that look like they came out of Polaroid camera. Click, whrrr, shake. I really like the effect and the quality of the colors. Hello 1970s.

Google Reader: By far the app I use most frequently. I’ve been using Google Reader for a while now, to follow my favorite websites and blogs. The problem was, I rarely had time to keep up on all the postings and found myself deleting the backlog of “reading material” that would invariably pile up. Now, I take the reader with me wherever I go, using downtime to catchup up and keep informed. I’m finally able to read those pieces I’d habitually mark for later (and never get to–delete!) and I can keep in touch with my favorite fellow bloggers in a more timely manner.

TweetDeck: I’ve been using TweetDeck to follow and participate on Twitter on my laptop so it was a no-brainer to load this app first thing to my iPhone. The interface is quick and easy to use and, like the desktop version, it makes following my favorites and grouping them accordingly easy. It’s nice to have the ability to tweet on the go and the iPhone version of TweetDeck has become my preferred way to contribute.

Weather: I have yet to find a weather app I really love which explains why I have a ridiculous number of weather programs currently on my phone. The weather app preloaded on the iPhone is far too dumbed down to be of any use other than answering “what’s the current temp?” (In my book, a weather app without a radar map is worthless.) Currently I have the Chicago Trib weather page (my source for weather on the laptop), the Weather Channel app (which requires too many screen taps to get the info I want), and a link to Weather Underground (a great website, giving me everything in one shot. Unfortunately, it’s hard to read without zooming in and shifting the page all around. Not ideal.) So, the jury’s still out on this one.

This brings me to a nifty item about the iPhone that I learned a couple of weeks ago: You can save a bookmarked website as an icon on the iPhone Home Screen, a direct link that saves you the steps of getting to it via the Safari internet browser. Nice. I’ve got links to the aforementioned weather sites, as wells as The Daily Beast (a quick hit source for news headlines), The Chicago Trib website (because their iPhone app is one of the worst I’ve come across so far,) and dooce (one of the few blogs I prefer to visit in person, rather than via the Google Reader.)

And that, my friend, just covers the first home screen on my iPod. More to come.


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