iPhone App Store roundup

The iPhone 3G and the Apple App Store has been out for a few weeks now so I figured it would be a good time to talk about what I’ve got on my iPhone and hopefully show you a few things you might want to check out yourself.

First though, an annoyance I have about the App Store and it’s downloads: the icons keep moving around!

I prefer to organize my iPhone’s homescreen(s) around either tasks or app type. So I have a couple of pages reserved for web shortcuts/favorites, one just for social media stuff (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and one for games. Unfortunately, every time you download a new app or upgrade an existing one, it shuffles the deck which I find really annoying. Scrolling through six pages of apps just isn’t the kind of experience we’re used to getting from Apple so I’m hopeful they will tweak this in an upcoming firmware release.

Anyways, on to the apps! There are simply too many to cover them all off so here’s three apps that I actually seem to be using:

Urban Spoon
This is an app based on a restaurant review website. It has a couple of clever features that really benefit from the iPhone. Unfortunately, at least right now, it’s also probably the crashiest app I have and seems to cause a full reboot one out of every three launches. Hopefully this will be addressed soon.

First thing that happens when you launch it, it checks to see where you are using the GPS function or you can simply choose your city from the list. They have a fairly comprehensive list of cities supported. In the case below, I chose Vancouver. It then gives you a more localized list of areas within that city, type of food and cost of food using multiple dollar signs. This is presented just like a slot machine. You can choose to lock in a specific ‘reel’ like I did with Gastown and then if you shake the iPhone (or press the shake button) it will actually choose a random location, food type or cost and then display the resulting restaurant below. The slot machine reel spinning animation is a nice touch.
photo.jpgUrban Spoon

If you click on that chosen restaurant, it will give you more information about the place including a clickable phone number that will actually dial the restaurant for you, a clickable address that will launch Google Maps and a ‘More Info’ button with reviews for that place from the website.

Urban SpoonUrban Spoon

A decent app for directly viewing you and your friend’s Flickr photos. I just have the free one so I get ads and they don’t bother me. It can be a little slow but that could just be the 3G network and not the app.

You can view all your photos, comments and details just like you can on Flickr. Sometimes I want to see things at the source so I use Mobile Flickr as it’s very fast on the iPhone.

You can view images at full screen and it also works nicely in landscape mode too which not all apps do.


There is also a somewhat cool/creepy ‘nearby’ option that will find photos taken near your current location.

Solitaire Top 3
Solitaire Top 3
Everybody needs a decent Solitaire game and there are a bunch on the App Store. This one is a game you have to buy (for only $3.99) but is one of the few worth paying for. It’s an updated version to one I used on Installer before and is a very solid version not unlike what ships with Windows – except you can use your fingers to move the cards around.

It features three different games: Klondike, Freecell and Spider. I’m an old school Klondike player so can’t really speak to the other games…I’ll try them at some point but I keep going back to Klondike when I’ve got some time to kill.
Solitaire Top 3

Apps I’m waiting for:

  • a decent Flickr uploader (maybe even one from Flickr themselves!): I really miss SendPics from Erica Sudan. I haven’t come across any app that properly sends iPhone images to Flickr with the EXIF data intact and the image size correct – GPS location data would be great too. Hopefully Erica already has an official version in the App Store approval queue
  • a video app that lets you record video with the iPhone. A number of these were available on Installer before…where are they now?
  • PhotoBooth – Apple should port this to the iPhone

There are probably more but I can’t think of any at the moment….post in the comments what you’d like to see on the App Store.

Bonus Video review: Shazam
Shazam is similar to an app that was on Installer before that was kind of cool called Listen but takes it to the next level with the built in iTunes purchase links. Very slick. Here’s Buzz showing how Shazam works:

One last annoyance
I wish the App Store application on the iPhone had a better mechanism for browsing/sorting through the apps. Sure there is a RSS feed of new releases (although not officially from Apple), but I prefer to browse and grab in the same place while on the go. I go through the store at least every other day looking for new apps to check out and it’s a pain to do it on the phone itself since they keep ‘featuring’ the same apps and there isn’t a ‘sort by release date’ option like in iTunes. Again – this is an inconsistent experience from Apple that I’m hopeful they will rectify.


  1. Erica Sadun says:

    SendPics (as well as SendFile and a few other apps) is now part of iPocket, currently waiting on App Store approval from Apple

  2. John says:

    Great news Erica! I can’t wait for it!

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