What’s on my iPhone: my vital apps

Following on from my recent post attacking my iPad, I thought I would write a post on my iPhone – and how/why it is the single most important weapon in my tech arsenal.

I rely on my iPhone 3GS daily for pretty much everything. It is invaluable daily and essential when traveling. The iOS 4 update a few months ago suddenly made it even more compelling.

I thought it would be interesting to share with readers what sits on my number 1 screen and why.

1) The folders

There’s no way I can go into detail about each individual folder, but logically each folder is labeled according to function. All the folders lucky enough to sit on screen 1 are there for a reason. I’ll start with highlighting a few apps that sit in the folders which I depend on. First up ‘SlingPlayer’. My client software into the world of SlingBox. Secondly , within my productivity folder  is a scanning app known as Jot Note Scanner . Essentially, a tool that enables me to scan in any document (via the camera and the clever software) and upload to a number of cloud services. I have found this a vital workflow app and I use it daily to throw documents into my Evernote account. It pretty much handles all documents from images to receipts.

2) Apps (outside the folders)

Basically, all the apps that sit outside my folders are there for a reason. I depend on them constantly. Mail, email – obviously. Messages, SMS messages – obviously.

What’sApp is an incredible app. It enables you to SMS/picture message friends using the application. It’s also cross platform, working on Blackberry and at beta stage on Symbian. This also completely eliminated the need to send out pricey SMS messages to friends and family overseas.

Next up is Evernote . I upgraded to the premium service – so I can access my notes offline (great when traveling or without access to the web). The evernote concept is basically cloud computing. However, through its multi-platform applications it means you are never far away from your data. So for example, stuff I throw into it from my iPhone syncs up with their cloud service and is available on my other computers instantly.

3) The dock

Moving further down into the dock you will see the phone app (although these days I hardly use it). I pretty much use Twitter exclusively as my social network of choice – so the Twitter app was a no brainer. Skype is there too. I have posted a number of times concerning Skype. So no need to say anymore. However, I will add that iOS4 has really transformed my use of Skype. Essentially, I leave it on 24/7 (battery permitting). A critical app for me – given I am overseas. Not only does it eliminate the need to use the landline for calls – but I have the SkypeIn package. I still cannot believe that for around £4 per month, I get a London telephone number and can make unlimited calls to UK landlines.

4) Other contenders

Multi-tasking has also helped in quickly accessing other apps which I frequently use. One of those apps I use daily is TuneIn Radio .  I love radio, and have tested most of the radio apps in the Apps Store. However, this is the one I always return to. Not only does it have an elegant user interface – but accessing global radio stations is simple. The ability to schedule alarms and record shows also make this a killer app for me.

It also goes without saying that I still use the default iPod app. I consume all my podcasts, music and  AudioBooks via the app. However, I still maintain that Apple need to improve this key app. When traveling (without a laptop) keeping up to speed with my favourite podcasts is not easy. What Apple need to do is provide a simple way of automating podcast updates through this app. This is a big frustration for me – and I think Apple need to do something major to move us away from the tethered sync and go approach.

Also worth plugging the Kindle App too. I don’t read as much as I should. But being able to purchase Kindle books via Amazon and have them auto-sync to my iPhone and iPad is amazing. Sure, Apples’ iBook store can do something similar. But I feel much more comfortable with buying books through Amazon. It gives me more flexibility should I ever decide to ditch the iPad and get a Kindle 3 .

Last up I wanted to mention the travel folder I have. I don’t use this folder daily, but some of the apps in there are worth mentioning. First up is the Tripit app. When traveling I simply forward on travel reservations etc.. to my tripit account and they appear in this application in an elegant itinerary format. Second up, is Navigon . In my view this sat-nav app has the edge over  Tomtom. I use it when I’m back in the UK.

As much as I am frustrated with Apple these days, I have to give them full credit for the iPhone. I have been a user since the second generation, 3G and still enjoying it as much as I did when I first got it.  I have toyed with ditching the platform for a decent Android phone. But, until Android scales up the quality of its Market Place apps, I cannot see myself going anywhere else (except the iPhone 4 of course).