With the release of the iPhone 4S, there’s never been a better time to reevaluate and review the best of the best iPhone applications. Over the years, the number of applications available for the iPhone have increased to well over 300,000. With this many choices, it only stands to reason the average user might feel a tad bit overwhelmed. So without further ado, let’s look at the some the best and most popular applications in each category.
Health – Unless you’ve living in under a rock, you’ve probably heard about RunKeeper, an iPhone app that using GPS technology to track you while running, walking, jogging, or even riding in a vehicle. In addition, data can be entered manually, which allows you to keep track of your fitness stats while on treadmills or at the gym. By using this app, you can avoid the cost of the expensive runner’s watches, plus keep track of your distance, pace, and calorie expenditure. RunKeeper also has its own website, which you can use to upload your data and share your stats with friends.
Extra cool feature: You can take photos on the iPhone while running, and images are automatically geo-tagged to appear on the map where they were taken.
Education – Going by today’s fast-paced program upgrading standards, the Open Culture application is an oldie but a goodie. Never thought you could get an inexpensive education? Good news – with Open Culture, you can. The application itself is free, and this educational media ain’t exactly Hooked on Phonics. You can take real college courses, listen to music and science podcasts, take language lessons, and download audio books. Let’s face it – free knowledge is priceless.
Extra cool feature: Did you read about the part where you can take free college courses? ‘Nuff said.
Entertainment: There’s no question that entertainment apps are among the most popular with users – especially teens and young adults. However, we think the best entertainment applications are the ones that have are a bit more intellectual value than say, making yourself and your friends look fat. And this is why the Amazon Kindle is still among the best applications of its kind. Bridging entertainment with education, the Kindle application allows its users to download free books, free samples of books, highlight text, bookmark pages, and take notes. All this is synchronized within the application, so you never have to lose track of where you were.
Extra cool feature: The Kindle application syncs with an actual Kindle if you have one, so you can pick up where you left off on another device.
Productivity – No surprise here – the Siri application is the Apple’s latest great acquisition – that is, it was snagged up by Apple last year, and after a few tweaks, is the new virtual assistant mastermind of the smartphone industry. It uses voice recognition technology, which is nothing new, but it can use it in ways no one could have foreseen a few years ago. There has been a running joke for years about the inconsistencies and failings of voice recognition software, but this application does a great job of mitigating most of those issues. In fact, it usually knows what you are saying, and even what you mean. When compared to voice recognition software of the past, this is a huge step forward.
Extra cool feature: There are many – but generally speaking, but if you can command your phone to deliver the daily weather forcast for you, or make restaurant reservations, you are just a sliver away from holding true artificial intelligence in the palm of your hand.
Navigation – Believe it or not, there are actually quite a few good GPS applications available for the iPhone, and picking the best is not a decision to be taken lightly. That said, the favorite GPS application of both critics and users seems to TomTom, when you consider and compile both customer and online expert reviews. Mentioned in PC World’s “18 Best iPhone Apps”, the TomTom gives you turn-by-turn directions, updates maps and changes routes, and reports on traffic delays. You can also get your directions read to via a celebrity voice – Homer Simpson is one of the latest co-pilots available.
Extra cool feature: Only application to offer a feature that evaluates routes based on real-life driving experience instead of just posted speed limits. For example, it takes into account heavy daily traffic periods such as rush hour, the number of traffic lights, holiday shopping crowds, etc.
In summary, if you’re new to the iPhone and plan on picking up the newly released 4S, or are a current user who hasn’t road-tested the tried-and-true applications yet, these are among the slickest and most useful applications to check out.