December 31st, 2009
03:41 AM GMT
The irony of Apple’s wildly successful App Store is that the company resisted the idea of them in the first place. At the iPhone’s unveiling, CEO Steve Jobs spoke of the importance of Apple controlling everything on the device. “The last thing you want is to have loaded three apps on your phone and then you go to make a call and it doesn’t work,” Jobs told the New York Times.
Almost three years later, over two billion apps have been downloaded by iPhone and iPod touch users. Apps are now the focal point of Apple’s advertising for iPhones. And competitors are following suit: Palm, Nokia and Research in Motion all opened their own mobile software stores this year.
But it’s the App Store that dwarfs them all. With over 100,000 different applications available, we had a hard time coming up with a shortlist of good ones for World Report (though harder still was singling out the bad apps; the bad vastly outnumber the good on the App Store). Thanks to input from experts across the web, here’s what Kristie Lu Stout and I came up with:
Those are expert picks — so since everyone’s having their say, here are my favorite apps from 2009.
Tweetie 2 ($2.99): There’s a reason this app is on everyone’s list. The iPhone’s best Twitter app is fast, powerful, and incredibly easy to use. The only downside? It doesn’t support Push notifications.
Instapaper (Free; Pro edition is $4.99): I’m the sort of person who finds more stories I want to read on the Web than I actually have time for. This is where Instapaper helps: Mark links you’d like to read and Instapaper will download and save the webpage for you to read whenever you want wherever you want.
Ping! ($0.99): The App Store does have great fully-featured IM apps that do AIM and MSN (like BeejiveIM). So why do I use an app that’s limited to iPhone-to-iPhone messaging? Because that simplicity is what makes Ping work for everyone from the tech-savvy (me) to the not-so-tech-savvy (my aunt).
Pocket Universe ($2.99): This astronomy app probably has more information than you’d ever want to know about the skies. But it has one killer feature exclusive to iPhone 3GS users: It knows what direction you’re looking in, so it can tell you exactly what stars and constellations you should be seeing in the skies.
Canabalt ($2.99): I’m a sucker for simple games, and you can’t get much simpler than this: Tap the screen to make your running man leap from rooftop to rooftop. It’s a game that proves the value of simplicity: It’s so easy to learn that anyone can pick it up. The hard part? Resisting the urge to try and top your high score just one more time.
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition ($3.99): This scene-for-scene remake of a classic is just as clever, inventive and genuinely funny as it was in the 90s. They literally don’t make ‘em like this anymore: LucasArts stopped making new graphic adventures a decade ago.
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