My iPhone journey started before the iPhone was even born, at the time when all we knew about it were rumors and suppositions. That didn’t stop me to imagine what could we have if we’ll combine an iPhone and GTD. Apparently, this is one of the most read articles from my blog, by the way. Several months after the official iPhone launch I managed to get my own iPhone (and learned how to jailbreak it, of course). Weeks after I got used to it, I wrote a description of my top 13 applications for iPhone. Time flies real fast, and now I replaced my first iPhone with an iPhone 3G, a device which, together with AppStore, changed the rules of the game pretty big. So, it’s time to write my new list of top 13 applications. For iPhone 3G, this time.
With the latest 2.1 firmware, the iPhone Calendar is now a mature application. Now you can have all your Mac calendars synced, or you can choose from within iTunes which ones do you want only on your iPhone. You can see events from all calendars if you want, or you can chose only one calendar to focus on. I started to use iPhone Calendar for much more than simple events or reminders. For instance, the second event you see in the screenshot above is in fact an exercise for my personal mission statement. After working several days on my personal mission statement I thought it would be interesting to put a daily reminder early in the morning that will list that personal mission. I’ve been doing this for two weeks now and the results are very interesting. But I plan to write more about this way of using tools in a larger post about the Law Of Attraction.
Surprisingly rising up, Notes is one of the easiest way for me to capture ideas. I use it whenever I don’t have my computer around, because of it’s interface simplicity. Also because of the “email this note” capability, which I found it extremely rare across other similar applications. What you can see in the screenshot above is a typical idea brainstorming. These are barely scaffolds for my posts, or for things I want to do. Usually, a scaffold like this is totally transformed in 6-7 or even more iterations. Some of the ideas are just going to thrash, but most of them are integrated into my daily work routine.
Widely recognized at the most important improvement in the 2.x firmware series, Mail is finally a very robust tool for online communication. I can use it for PUSH email, like the yahoo mail, for POP accounts, like the one on the mirabilis.ro domain, and for IMAP like Gmail. There is another extremely important improvement in the latest iPhone Mail App and that is the ability to select multiple messages for deletion. I get easily over 100 messages / day and deleting them one by one is more than I can accept, in terms of email management. Also, viewing attachments is so much easier now. Really an asset.
With this one we make the step outside the native operating system and start our search for third-party, useful, and preferably free tools to stuff on our precious iPhone. So, the first one goes to OmniFocus, the long awaited and hyped GTD application for the Mac world. A pretty expensive hyped GTD application, if you ask me, but a very useful one. I use it to plan almost everything I have to do when I am on the move. I’m still learning it, OmniFocus being recognized as having a pretty steep learning curve, but I am really satisfied with what I have so far. For the curious, although I have the latest, “bleeding edge” desktop version of OmniFocus, I didn’t feel adventurous enough to try the new sync features, I’ll wait for the official release. OmniFocus for iPhone is a paid application in AppStore and it costs 15,99 USD.
I know, I can use Safari and work on the mobile version of Twitter, but I like more the interface of Twitterrific. I use the light, meaning the free, not the paid version. Basically, the paid version doesn’t have those little ads provided by the Deck. I’m not bothered by those ads, and to be honest, I find them pretty informative. I use Twitterrific several times a day and I never experienced any crash so far. Really. I wish I could say that about Safari, for instance, but I can’t. And that is another reason for using Twitterrific over Safari. Oh, if you want to follow me on Twitter (and possibly appear near those icon bloggers you see on the screenshot above) you can do it right here.
I discovered YouNote before I started to heavily use iPhone Notes for idea capturing. I badly needed something like Moleskinerie for iPhone 1.5 but didn’t want to install Moleskinerie again. So, YouNote seemed a very interesting application. Basically, you can add text, drawings, record audio and take photos, and group all of these into searchable notes. One of the uses I found for it was to do some micro-journaling. The application is pretty stable and it lately features even a desktop client for syncing – one of the major drawbacks of the initial version. The desktop client is usable but still at an alpha level, in my opinion. The developers licensed the code as open source though, and that should speed up the development towards a better piece of software. You can find more about this here. YouNote is a free application at AppStore.
Yes, I do read feeds. Not many, although there were times in my life when my desktop client had constantly over 200 entries daily. Now I have a very short list of feeds that I follow, and that list consists mainly of personal development bloggers, not news or events sites. And for that I use Feeds, a somehow recent application, which I find extremely comfortable and easy to use. It even features an internal browser for accessing the links with the possibility to pass it to Safari (if you want to experience a crash, every once in a while). Not much to say about Feeds, other than the fact that it is a free application at AppStore. It costs 1,59 USD, by the way, but at that price I consider it free.
This is something that was with me constantly in the last 10 years. My business, the one that I sold recently, was making money, so I constantly need to have my eyes on how money are evolving in terms of currencies. I am not a FOREX trader, not even a stock market player, but I want to know how much my money are able to buy me. Currency is a free application at AppStore (now it’s free as in free beer, not as the one above) and it features a very interesting approach: when you click on a currency, you can make it the default one, so every other currency will change accordingly. I will put my bet on EURO so far, as you can see in the screenshot above.
I like to read. I also like to read ebooks. So I installed this free application to be able to read what I have on my eReader.com shelf. Again, not much to say about this one, other than the fact that it works well and it keeps me thinking. Watching money is ok, but reading books is invaluable. eReader is a free application at AppStore.
Although I wrote about how to blog with an iPhone, I do think that is better to micro-blog with an iPhone. It’s still pretty difficult to blog at full capacity only with an iPhone. Its’ true, with patience and a good internet connection, you can do some pretty nice things. But why bother to blog hard when you can micro-blog extremely easily? You saw before that I tweet constantly, and so I tumble. I’ve put my tumblelog at edragonu.tumblr.com, and whenever I find something that falls over a tweet but behind a full featured blog post, I just tumble it. Tumble is a free application at AppStore.
That neat game is a legacy from the first iPhone. I admit I was so attracted by the first version, that I downloaded it from the AppStore too. I don’t feel the need to buy extra levels, so the Light Edition (that’s what LE stands for, by the way) is ok for me. This version includes sound for the moving ball, and a very nice effect of vibration when the ball falls. Cute. Labyrinth LE is a free application at AppStore.
I admit I don’t use instant messaging very often. But I do use it from time to time, and not having an instant messaging application on my iPhone was really frustrating. Palringo is a free application that lets you connect with all the major instant messaging platforms. They also have their own private messaging platform – and they require you to first become a member there before you set up your other accounts – a platform in which you can send sounds and photos, but I didn’t check it out. Feel free to do it, if you want, after all, it’s a free application.
That required a little bit of research. I read the user comments on several SSH applications at AppStore, and finally decide to go with a commercial package. It costs 3,99 USD and it does exactly what it says: allows you to remotely connect to other servers via the SSH protocols. Since I still manage my own server, I like to be able to have instant access to it whenever I have to. One neat thing about iSSH is the fact that it supports the landscape keyboard, making it easier to type. Overall, it’s an app that really lets you work remotely in a comfortable way.
Paid versus free iPhone applications
Out of the 13 applications presented in this post (which are pretty much the applications I use on a daily basis) 3 are paid applications, and the rest of 10 are free, or are parts of the operating system. The total amount of money spent on iPhone applications is: 15,99 (OmniFocus) + 1,59 (Feeds) + 3,99 (iSSH) = 21,57 USD. Not that much.
Out of my initial list of top 13 applications for iPhone, I still use Calendar and Mail. I also use Safari, but until it will learn how to not crash on every other site, I won’t call that usage. The rest are brand new iPhone 3G applications.
So, if you think to upgrade for the new iPhone 3G, prepare for some changes in your application list. It might not be exactly what I have, but I hope you were able to make an idea about what you can expect.