One thing about the iPhone. After nearly a month on the planet, there are already hundreds — thousands! millions! — of aggregators, blogs, critic and user reviews, tips and tricks, hacks, applications, podcasts and video podcasts about the little phone that could.
I’m overwhelmed. I’ve been on safari, hunting resources on the iPhone, and I’ve collected a few links and applications of interest along the way.
This list, like others I’ve seen, is far from complete as new sites and applications are added daily. Please feel free to jump in and add your own favorites to the comment section.
Phone Topsites: one stop shopping, the site aggregates seemingly any site having anything to do with the iPhone; but it’s butt ugly and hard to read.
Indie Blogs (not affiliated with traditional media or big-time blogs)
everythingiPhone: just as the name implies, you can shop here, read news and reviews, visit the forum, download iPhone wallpapers, check out applications, read an iPhone FAQ, and contribute to a wiki; it’s thorough. The wiki is interesting to read.
Any iPhone: news about the iPhone.
The iPhone Blog: Kent Pribbernow keeps up with iPhone news just for you; and he does a pretty good job.
iPhone Freak: the usual reviews, accessories, news, and hacks; lots of advertising; ugly presentation.
iPhonic: the latest news, what rivals say, iPhone basics, iPhone killers, rumors.
Big-Time Blogs or Websites (affiliated with traditional media or blogs with lots of resources)
iPhone (ZDNet): iPhone offerings from Jason D. O’Grady; aggregates news items on the iPhone on ZDNet.
Wired: Articles on iPhone often appear in Cult of Macintosh by Leander Kahney.
CNET: news, blogs, applications, tips and tricks, reviews.
Want to see what others are saying about the iPhone? Check out these thorough reviews from Gizmodo, Engadget, Ars Technica, and Cool Hunting. They include positive and negative remarks, but all were written within days of the iPhone’s release. And then there’s the Big Two: Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal and David Pogue of The New York Times.
For other perspectives, especially ones written nearly four weeks after the iPhone’s release, check out these: last100 (here and here), blogger extraordinaire Dave Winer, someone who really hates the iPhone, someone else who doesn’t care for the phone; and you can read all sorts of comments about the iPhone on Technorati.
When Apple announced there would be no third-party applications (at least in version 1) for the iPhone, it drew the ire of the developer community and the curiosity of future users. Instead, Apple chose to allow development of small Web 2.0 applications, which resemble easy-to-use widgets found on desktop and laptop computers.
The rub is these “mini apps” do not run natively on the iPhone and require the Internet to work, which is fine when using a Wi-Fi connection but a bit dodgy on AT&T’s Edge Network.
Even so, they can come in handy when checking movie times, who’s leading the Tour de France, or what’s the cheapest gasoline prices in your town.
One of the best ways to find “mini apps” is at iPhone Widget List. It categorizes widgets as applications, bookmarking, commerce, entertainment, feed readers, games, launchers, reference, social/sharing, specialized searching, and web content.
Launchers is a good place to start. Launchers organize “mini apps” onto a page that looks like the iPhone home interface; it’s a convenient place to, well, launch the “mini apps” you frequently use. I really like: Mock Dock (example), Gridgets, and Leaflets.
As I am a Twitter-aholic, there are two “mini apps” dedicated to the social “What am I doing?” network site: PocketTweets, followed closely by Hahlo. I just wish either of these programs would let me view more than one screen of recent Tweets from friends.
Because Apple did not include any third-party applications, that means chat clients for AIM, Google Chat, MSN, Yahoo and ICQ, are not included, which, truthfully, sucks. The way around this is to use chat “mini apps” like BeeJive, FlickIM, iPhone Chat (also providers of iPhoneDigg and Google Reader), and heysan. When I turn off the iPhone, BeeJive logs me out, but all I need to do is tap on login and I’m back in chat as it remembers my login name and password.
Already the wife and kid have asked about movie times. I use Showtimes more than I do goMovies, but both work well. Enter a zip code and receive back a list of movies, theater, and start times in your area. I like the fact that Showtimes includes additional information, like movie length, so I know when to pick up the kids and friends at the theater. Both are available through Mock Dock, Gridgets, and Leaflets.
Something else I do frequently with the iPhone is check RSS feeds. This can be done a number of ways, including using iPhone readers for Google Reader (available through launchers), but there are limitations that frustrate me. For the most part, all I can do is read a list of links and go to the articles. I do a lot of web research, and I’d like to have the ability to at least save for future review something I read. NewsGator, maker of NetNewsWire for the Mac and FeedDemon for the PC, has just released a reader that allows me to “clip” an article for review later at Newsgator.com.
The iPhone does have a watered-down Notes program, but you can keep lists using “mini apps” such as listingly, One Trip, and Ta-da List from 37 Signals. One Trip provides a predetermined grocery list (food, fruit, veggies); Ta-da and listingly tie in nicely with lists I’ve made on my desktop. I like these for store or going-on vacation lists, but I find them a bit disappointing for managing tasks.
Another “mini app” of note is iPhlickr, an interface to your photos on flickr. It provides a quick gallery and seemingly downloads much faster than going to your flickr web address. iActu allows me to skim headlines from The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Sun-Times, and The Wall Street Journal. And if I need online access to documents or spreadsheets, iZoho is available.
And if all of this is hard to keep up with, there’s always the iPhone Apps Manager.
Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Bugs
Applehound bugs list.
iCali (of GeekBrief.tv fame).
Next up, we’ll look at wish lists and the future of the iPhone.