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August 27, 2009

Techies share favorite iPhone apps

Posted: 07:15 PM ET

Curious to know which iPhone apps are considered worthiest by the world’s leading bloggers and tech enthusiasts?  I had a chance to eavesdrop on an all-things-cool session at the Gnomedex technology conference in Seattle last week.  Here are a few apps that people mentioned.

These changed my life – at least for a minute!

AudioBoo lets you record and share mp3 audio files up to three minutes in length.  You can add text, titles, photos as well as geolocation info. (Free)

PocketMeter allows you to measure any room or distance using sound to bounce off objects.  You just point the iPhone’s microphone at the floor or wall and tap on the screen.  The app emits sound and measures the time it takes for the echo to return.  It can calculate distances between 8 inches and 13 feet within 0.4 inches of accuracy. ($0.99)

Sonar Ruler similarly uses echoes to measure distances up to 60 feet. ($0.99)

AppSniper is an app about apps.  It allows you to track apps when they go on sale and it tells you when they are within your price range. ($0.99)

Boxcar conveniently sends you push notifications anytime you receive a mention or a direct message on your Twitter account.  It conveniently works with most Twitter clients, so you can view a message once you receive a push. ($2.99)

Pocket Universe, an augmented reality app, is a planetarium in your pocket.  Just point your phone up to the sky, and it simulates the exact night sky above you, complete with the names of all the constellations.  The app works best on the iPhone 3GS, which has a digital compass and an accelerometer. ($2.99)

AutoStitch lets you create panoramas out of multiple pictures you snap with your iPhone’s camera. ($1.99)

Geocaching is a global treasure-hunting game where players can locate hidden containers or ‘geocaches.'  The app uses the iPhone’s GPS capability to provide a list of real-time information about geocaches near your location. It’s available in English, Dutch, French, German and Japanese.  ($9.99)

So what are your favorite iPhone apps right now?  Mine is Bump, which lets you exchange contact information with other iPhone users simply by bumping phones.  It certainly came in handy when I ran out of business cards at Gnomedex!

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Filed under: Apple • iPhone • smartphones • technology

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Wes Finley-Price   August 28th, 2009 1:54 pm ET

The new Facebook 3.0 app was released today. It is a bit snappier and has some new features... other than that I just use Twitterific and The Weather Channel.

So far I have refused to spend any money at the app store.

Matt Whiting   August 28th, 2009 2:21 pm ET

Great write-up, Val. I really enjoyed that section of the conference as well. In addition to seeing all of the cool apps, thought it was interesting to see one Android app demoed (the Star Trek tricorder app) and nothing else from any other platforms..

Will be interesting to see if iPhone will continue to dominate in future show-and-tells, or whether G, MS, Palm, etc can start to compete...

Aaron   August 28th, 2009 2:34 pm ET

I love playing "Pest Poke". It looks pretty simple, but is very addictive. Definitely recommend it to all my friends.

Justin L   August 28th, 2009 2:58 pm ET

Pandora Radio's App (Radio programmed with music you want to hear), Urban Spoon (Picks restaurants in your area or area of your choosing by type and price range, with a random pick feature), MovieFone Movie Finder (of Internet fame), Shazam (Identifies songs played near the iPhone), BBCReader (BBC News), NYTimes (New York TImes News), and Mighty Mighty Good Games Sudoku (Sudoku, Free edition). All free and all great apps.

Kudos on Bump, my cousin introduced me to that one. And that one is free too!

Thanks for expanding my app universe, I've only had my 3gs phone 2 weeks, but I'm loving the Pocket Universe tons already.

Bill   August 29th, 2009 9:55 am ET

Bloomberg's app is great for tracking various financial markets and prices.
Apple's Remote app for controlling your iTunes wirelessly is great for around the house and out in the yard.
Dog Whistler is a good one – not only to bother the neighbor's barking dogs with, but it's a good audio test of your hearing range too.
BeamItDown's app "The Federalist Papers" is a great one for studying our Constitution and the founding father's intentions – a must read for any American in these times.

cynik   August 30th, 2009 8:30 am ET

I didn't know about the sonar thing. That is cool. Not accurate enough to be of much use, but still cool.

I write apps for the iPhone and mac, within a firm. Not for the app store. Recently I got a bit sick of Apple being precious with their code (you cannot access the calendar database on the iPhone: great for businesses!!!) so i tried developing on Android.

And that .... sucked. Sucked hard. I was very disappointed. It wasn't the language. C derivatives are much the same. And it wasn't the SDK GUI (software development kit graphical user interface). The "Event" software provides a neat mobile phone simulator just like Xcode from Apple does.

What really sucked.... and it REALLY SUCKED.... was the physical limitations of the non-iPhones themselves. That sounds odd, nuh? There I was, developing code in a virtual environment, and i am complaining about the physical aspect of the phone! Crazy.

But the fact is, without the touch screen and the scrolling and the swiping and the rotating and all the other stuff I've become used to.... there was nothing left! My user could type in characters and press "delete", "save" or some other basic command. And that was it!

This fact dawned on me all of a sudden, and my feeling of rebellion against mother Apple evaporated like truth in war. As i began to fully comprehend just how much sucking fail was attached to Android, I began to understand the full horror: Android will die. The hardware AND the software are just too many years behind the standard set by Apple.

Other big computing firms must look at Apple and weep in awe. This firm brought the mouse, the GUI, and just about every feature on your computer you like using. They are rolling their competition in the smart phone market up and smoking them, because they understand that fundamental of business: what the user thinks matters. The customer is always right.

Except when he is bitching about the Calendar API, evidently.

Valerie Streit   August 30th, 2009 9:24 am ET

Wes – I'm really digging the Facebook app update - especially the fact that you can update fan pages from your phone now.

Matt – I was surprised so much of the sharing was iPhone apps – so perhaps the others still have their work cut out for them.

Srikar   August 30th, 2009 9:01 pm ET

I think even the AOL Radio app is pretty good too, its different from pandora and slacker radio in the sense that u get to listen to real radio and moreover there is lots of variety to pick from....

Ree   August 31st, 2009 12:42 am ET

I love the free news aps – BBC Reader, AP, NY Times, Star Tribune, Huffington etc.. I don't mind paying 99 cents for fun aps like (the upgraded) Sudoku, Falling gems or for helpful aps like Beepmycell. No way I'll pay $99 though for the Tom Tom ap – that seems overpriced since they aren't providing the hardware. I'm excited to see companies like USAA and AAA putting out their own aps.

mikeinrichmond   August 31st, 2009 6:29 am ET

My favorites include Wee Spider (spider solitaire), MLB for all the stats and even live games, Pandora radio, Wootwatch (easy to keep up with deals on, Stanza (book reading), Rolando game (how cute!), and Photogene (nice photo editing program if you can't get to your computer)..

Geo   August 31st, 2009 5:24 pm ET

I like airshare. its $9.99 but it rocks as a wireless thumb drive for my pc.

Erick   August 31st, 2009 5:50 pm ET

Well, a major problem is the iphone does not have insurance if the customers lost it or damage it. They have to buy another new iphone. It is not worthy.

BooBooBoing   August 31st, 2009 7:44 pm ET

Hands down my favorite is PortfolioLive. More stock market data than most web sites in the palm of your hand. I can stand around a grocery store and know the exact value of all my portfolios with up to the minute pricing. This could be the most powerful app in the whole AppStore.

JNS Global   September 1st, 2009 8:38 am ET

iTrackVacaTime is the first iPhone and iTouch application developed exclusively to provide employees an easy and efficient way to track paid time off. Users are easily able to see how much vacation, sick and other time off they have available during the year by inputting past and upcoming events.

You can find additional information and screen shots at

What Happened at Gnomedex 9.0? | Chris Pirillo   September 2nd, 2009 6:45 am ET

[...] Techie's share favorite Iphone Apps by Val Streit [...]

Bill Pattison   September 3rd, 2009 12:06 pm ET

I love these applications. Recently had to drive from Florida to Asheville, NC and did not have to bring the Ipod nor my Tom Tom.
In addition, thanks to the applications, I was able to track any storms in the area (seems to rain from St. Peter up to Asheville the whole trip), find a hotel room and call them to make a reservation, figure the time for me to drive, and, my personal favorite (my wife hates it) find any barbque restaurants along my route.
Thanks Apple for these app's. I do use the Star Walk for my astronomy hobby, along with the skies forecaster to set up my star gazing nights.

Barb R   September 3rd, 2009 5:00 pm ET

My FAVORITE app (today) is Yellow Pages. Not only can I find the phone number and address of a business but also how to get there using the map feature. It also allows me to add the business to my contacts.

Blake   September 6th, 2009 5:35 am ET

Lose It, Remote, Translator, Pool Calculator, ShopShop, The Weather Channel, Wikipanion, Dictionary, Units, Shazam. These are all extremely useful and free (other than Pool Calculator, but that's only useful if you have a pool). The most money I've spent on an app is around $35 for the Formula One Timing & Scoring App. It is well worth it if you're a fan of F1.

Dana   September 10th, 2009 12:57 pm ET

I've had my iPhone now since February and now I don't know what I ever did without it! My favorite apps are:

FlightTracker (great if you pick people up at the airport)
Mover (like bump but you can share pictures as well as other people's contacts)
Facebook and FriendSync for Facebook
Shazam (of course)
Flixster (gives movie locations and times in your area)
Remote – which controls your iTunes on your computer
and if you live in Denver and use the Light Rail, the Denver Rail app is awesome.

For games, Flags Fun is a fun matching game, Blocked, Ragdoll Blast, Lucky 11's, Paper toss....

What Happened at Gnomedex 9.0? » Happenings » Gnomedex   July 18th, 2010 3:03 am ET

[...] Techie's share favorite Iphone Apps by Val Streit [...]

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Some nice articles. I really enjoyed the Sounds of Africa. Simple but fun app, just got back from safari 🙂

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Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

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