Crowdsourcing: Top iPhone apps

I got an iPhone recently (no, not one of the fancy new ones) and so I asked people on Twitter and at work to tell me their absolute must-have favourite apps (I got an iPhone in part because the paper I work for has its own shiny new iPhone app, which was kind of my idea). So I thought I would pull together a list of the most suggested apps:

Social Media: Tweetie, Twitterfon, Tumblr, Facebook, Reportage

Food: Urbanspoon, Epicurious, TimmyMe (Canadian)

Radio: NPR Public Radio Tuner, Wunderradio, Last.fm

Tools: Google Earth, WeatherEye, Shazam. Red Rocket (Canadian)

Saving: Evernote, Instapaper

Reading: Stanza, Shortcovers, Kindle

RSS: NetNewsWire, Byline

Productivity: eWallet, Things, Simplify, iPassword

Pictures: QuadCamera, CameraBag, DarkSlide

Games: FlightControl, Labyrinth, Super Monkey Ball, Tetris, Scrabble, Wolfenstein, Tap Tap Revenge

Feel free to leave your favourites or any other thoughts in a comment.

MSFT to Apple: Yes, your phone is better

As a number of people have already noted, Microsoft’s release of Seadragon for the iPhone — an image-viewing app based on the deep-zoom technology behind the software giant’s Photosynth project — doesn’t just seem like an admission that the iPhone is better than any other mobile out there: Microsoft product manager Alex Daley comes right out and says as much in an interview with Todd Bishop of the blog Tech Flash:

“The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit),” Daley explained. “Most phones out today don’t have accelerated graphics in them The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do. I couldn’t just pick up a Blackberry or a Nokia off the shelf and build Seadragon for it.”

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Obama campaign: Now on your iPhone

No matter which side of the political fence you’re on, there’s no question that the Obama campaign has been light-years ahead of the competition when it comes to taking advantage of social-media tools, whether that means blogs or YouTube or Twitter or pretty much anything that comes along. Now it’s the iPhone: users of the Apple device can download a free app through the App Store that turns their phone into an Obama campaign office, including sorting friends into the states they live in, to make it easier to call people and get out the vote when election day comes around.

This is a slick little app, even if it could have used some other features, as TechPresident notes (more GPS integration would have been cool, for example). At the same time, however, it’s even more impressive that this app was put together not by a company hired by the Obama campaign, but by a handful of passionate supporters who put their own time and resources into doing it. The campaign was then smart enough to recognize it as being a great opportunity, and gave it the official blessing. Smart.

Idee does visual search, iPhone-style

Jevon has already beaten me to it with a post at Startup North, but I wanted to mention Idee Inc.’s new iPhone app, which I got a sneak peek at earlier tonight — it is seriously cool. It doesn’t take a lot to explain it: you take a photo of a CD cover (or record album cover, if you still have any of those) with your phone, and then click a single button to submit it to TinEye, the image-recognition engine that Idee recently released into the wild. Within seconds, you are taken to the listing for that album at iTunes, where you can listen to and/or buy tracks. Pretty slick.

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iPhone: Just sit there and take it

Someone named Dan Kimerling, writing at TechCrunch, has some simple advice for developers who are upset about Apple’s opaque approval process for the iPhone app store: Quit yer whining, or as he puts it “don’t complain, just keep coding.” Dan — who, at least according to his LinkedIn profile, doesn’t appear to have any development experience, either with the iPhone or any other device — argues that a) it’s Apple’s store, and therefore the company can do whatever it wants, and b) given the popularity of the iPhone, you have to develop for it whether you like it or not.

Both of those statements are undoubtedly true, at least to a certain extent. Apple is well known for its attention to detail and its firm control over the design and use of its devices, software, platforms, etc., so it’s hardly surprising that it would take the same attitude towards the app store. And there’s no question that it is the hot mobile platform at the moment, and so most developers — those who don’t decide to quit Apple and develop for the Google Phone — will grit their teeth and develop apps for it regardless of how the company behaves. Fair enough, I suppose.

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