I’ve had my iphone for a week now, and so far I’ve managed not to spend any money on apps. I did have a heart stopping moment when I got a “bill” for my “purchases” but it turns out that itunes sends you a tally of all your downloads even if they’re free. This doesn’t seem to be true for podcasts, so I’m not sure why they do it for apps. Anyway.
1. My favorite discovery, even though so far I haven’t used it much, is Stanza. Stanza essentially turns my iphone into a slightly smaller (but still perfectly readable) Kindle. I can download tons of free post-copyright books (and a few that I’m not sure why they’re free) from various sites and, if I feel the need, I can go into Fictionwise and buy more popular/recent stuff. I don’t see this replacing books for me because I love books, (and anyone who loves books doesn’t need an explanation here) but it’s good to know that the next time I’m stuck at an airport without a book, I can sit down and find something with Stanza. Also? My iphone was cheaper than a Kindle. Naner naner naner!
2. Next is the iChing. I should warn you this is a bit silly, but fun. Someone digitized the I Ching, which is, as far as I can tell, a Chinese version of Tarot. It uses either coins or yarrow stalks or both (not entirely clear) to sort of clarify a question. As with Tarot, it can be used as a form of divination, or simply as a way to organize the user’s mind. I did a shot in the dark search for this after reading Man in the High Castle and was happily surprised to find something. Lest I offend anyone, I want to clarify here, I use the word silly not in reference to the Chinese text, but to the electronic, super-simplified version.
3. One of my pet peeves is when people talk about their “constitutional right” to multitudes of things that are not in fact constitutionally protected. For this reason, I actually carry a pocket constitution at all times (I’m not kidding). Now, I have the Constitution app on my iphone, and I no longer need to do that. Though I have to wonder if an iphone might carry less authority than even a miniature version of a paper constitution.
4. Knowhow (lite) is the only game that makes my list, though I have several other free games on my iphone that I play often. This is essentially an electronic version of the game Rush Hour. It’s got some issues, it’s not as sensitive say as Marble Mash, but it’s a good tricky game that I haven’t seen mentioned much. Other games of note: Mazefinger, Topple, Trace and the afore mentioned Marble Mash. I also enjoy Dots Free, mainly for nostalgic reasons.
5. Of these top five, Public Radio is probably the app I’ve used most so far. One of my reservations about buying an iphone was that I didn’t want to have to pay a hundred dollars (or whatever ridiculous amount they’re charging these days) to add a radio tuner to my music player. I welcome with open arms the flight of the much lighter weight mp3s over CDs, but I miss being able to tune into 90.3 when I’m in the middle of a good story. I didn’t know about Public Radio when I bought my iphone, but it pretty much satisfied one of my largest concerns.
So that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll have more favorites in the future but if you’ve got an iphone, be sure to check out these at least. After all, they’re free, so what’s the harm? Note: I accept no responsibility for any opposing effects new iphone apps may have contrary to the ADHD box.