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The Top 10 iPhone Applications From April 2009

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Hello, and welcome to the fourth installment of iWant, iNeed, iRecommend. This is a monthly series that will, simply put, talk briefly and present the top ten iPhone and iPod Touch applications from that month. At the end of the year, the 120 mentioned applications will then go head to head to see which apps become the top ten for the year. If you would like to read my previous top ten lists, as well as all my other iPhone and iPod Touch application reviews, you can see them here. While this list is subjective (as are all top ten lists), I did my best to base this on actual use, not my own opinion. Enjoy.

10: Mathhammer 40K
There is a certain tabletop war game. One that millions of people around the world play, and one that I play almost every weekend. This game is called Warhammer 40K, and it is a game of odds, dice, and strategy. There is a style of the game where you calculate odds before you attack, to make sure that you have a good chance of winning. To do this, people created Mathhammer, a system where you enter all variables and the odds are calculated for you. While you can look at this on a computer, or do it by hand, most players were never able to do it at tournaments or on the road. Enter Mathhammer 40K, an application that will do it all for you. As I have been able to use it in many games, I know for a fact that my $4.99 investment has been well spent.

9: iRentMovie

Ahh Netflix, the company that changed how video renting would be done. Furthermore, this company even caused me to break up with my longtime rental place, Blockbuster. Until April, however, the service had never fully embraced the changing way people access their information and movies – their phones. You had to log onto a computer, log into the site, and then access all of your movies, add to queues, and even alter the queues themselves. No longer do you have to do that, as iRentMovie allows you to access, alter, and add to any of your Netflix choices with your iPhone or iPod Touch. The application even will show you the top ten lists and many of the best-classics lists. iRentMovie is a $2.99 app that goes perfect with your Xbox360, TiVo, or anything else you use to watch movies.

8: Carminder
Do you have multiple cars, each with a different oil change and tire rotation mileage? Or, are you just sick of remembering all of the maintenance that you need to do? Well, Carminder is the perfect application for you. Carminder remembers everything, for every car that you own. Tire rotations, radiator flushing, brake pads, and even windshield wipers – all of these, and even more, are kept on your iPhone or iPod Touch to help you remember. This is the perfect application for anybody who has too many cars to keep track of, or simply too much information to remember. And, at only $1.99, Carminder will not break your bank.

7: Rest Area
There is something about road trips that just makes you have to go to the bathroom way too often. This, of course, is most noticeable when you have children in the car with you. This is where Rest Area comes in, an application that uses the iPhone's GPS chip and will tell you where, and more importantly, how to get to the closest rest area. Even further, Rest Area will provide you with all the information that you want, from what food they have to the picnic area size. At just $.99, Rest Area is a perfect add-on for your road trip.

6: Congress, Congress Pro, and various State Pro
The applications from the Cohen Research Group are interesting and very informative. Congress and Congress Pro will give you all sorts of information about various congressional leaders, members, and the laws they pass. Georgia Pro, California Pro, Name-Your-State Pro will give you information about the members of the state government and their laws. All of these applications are informational, useful, and great for, well, anybody. Though they are intended originally for Blackberry devices, the port to the iPhone and iPod Touch is flawless and well done. The price, however, might hold you back, as the applications range from $.99 to $19.99, depending on which you want.

5: Tap Tap Coldplay
Continuing their placement on my top 10 lists, Tap Tap came out with yet another iteration: Tap Tap Coldplay. Just like with all of their previous games, Tapulous has created an amazing rhythmic music game where all you do is tap your iPhone screen in time with the music. While this might sound stupid and boring, it actually is quite entertaining and enjoyable. This time, however, instead of featuring various bands, Tap Tap Coldplay only plays Coldplay music, which is something I love. Take it from me, a Coldplay fan, all other fans of the band will love this application. At $4.99, Tap Tap Coldplay will give you plenty of playtime and amusement.

4: CIA World Factbook
Do you want to know what the flag of Scotland really looks like? What about the size of the military of Israel (remember, they 'don't have nukes')? No matter what you want to find out, if it is public record, then the CIA World Factbook will have it. The Factbook has been published since 1962, but it didn't go online until the early 2000s. Now, finally, the Factbook has made yet another leap — it has made it to the portable phone market. Using your iPhone or iPod Touch, you can explore the entire world, learn thousands of new things, and answer all of your quiz questions. At only $.99, there is no reason not to grab a copy of CIA World Factbook today.

3: Doc Scanner
For most months, Doc Scanner would probably be the best application of that month; for April, however, it was beaten by two better applications. Don't get me wrong, this application is still amazing and highly usable. Grab your iPhone, take a picture, and you can scan it into a PDF document. It is really that simple, and really that useful. You can use Doc Scanner to scan anything, send it into work, or use it to 'fax' a contract to your partner. Even more, the application will crop and isolate the image for you, so you have no work to do. At $9.99, Doc Scanner might be a bit expensive, but it is worth it.

2: Camera Zoom
The biggest thing missing on the iPhone is the ability to zoom in with your camera. Even the cheapest camera phones on the market can zoom, yet the iPhone can not. Finally, there is an application that fixes this issue. Camera Zoom will apply standard antilogarithms to digitally zoom up to 4 times. The application will adjust automatically, display the zoom in real time, and lets you tap anywhere on the screen to get a picture off. In all, this is the most complete and, probably the best camera application currently out there. And, for only $.99, there is absolutely no reason not to get Camera Zoom.

And the #1 iPhone application(s) from April 2009 is…

1: The Travelto and Travel Guide Applications

For the first time ever, I have picked two apps to share the first place prize. Both of these apps do similar things, and both are extremely well made. Travelto focuses more on countries, and gives you details on where you want to go, what you want to do, and what to say. The Travel Guides are more along the lines of a city guide book, and they inform you about all of the non-famous but locally loved scenic spots in each city. Both applications are well designed, implement the iPhone controls well, and look perfect. You can get a Travelto guide for $.99 per country and a Travel Guide for $.99 per city.

Well, folks, there you have it, the top 10 iPhone and iPod Touch applications from April 2009. If you have any suggestions for next month's list, or want to tell me what I missed, please let me know in the comment field.

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About Robert M. Barga

  • Tom Johnson

    CarMinder looks interesting if you have to be “on the cheap,” but I’d also suggest users look at Car Care, which is what I used after doing a lot of research. I find it has a LOT more detailed information, doing everything Car Minder does plus displaying graphs of both gas price and gas mileage, plus a breakdown of stats such as total cost per mile, carbon footprint, best/worst/average fuel economy, etc. It’s a great app – I haven’t been disappointed yet.

    On the “Iphone zoom” issue, this is almost a moot point. Given Apple’s general attitude, I can see why they chose to leave it out. Digital zoom is a lossy process. Despite what people want to have us believe about the Iphone camera, it is actually surprising good for what it is. It takes very nice, colorful, sharp pictures for such a tiny little camera. I get consistently decent images from it, to the point that I use it all the time. Adding digital zoom would sully the quality of the camera – zooming simply means cropping the image, then enlarging it, which significantly lowers the quality of the image. When we’re talking about 2 megapixel images to begin with, that’s not a real good idea. The best results are going to be done on a computer in Photoshop or something equivalent. That said, I can see the use of something in camera for those moments when you just have to have it.

    I just wish I could get all my camera apps in ONE app, as I now have several, the most used being Mobile Fotos (for Flickr upload,) Darkroom Pro (utilizes the Iphone’s accelerometers to take a shot when the Iphone is perfectly still – great for dark places,) and iFlashReady (which applies one of three different sets of levels to add contrast to images – it really works great as long as the image isn’t already too light.) If Adobe could come out with an iPhotoshop, I would happily pay a premium as a long, long time user of PS. I haven’t found one that does it all, unfortunately. Hmm, maybe I need to learn to program for the Iphone . . .

  • Tom Johnson

    I have to rescind my support for iFlashReady based on the update that the developer put out, and that’s based on one big problem: IFR now overwrites the original image rather than making a copy with the changes. A HUGE no-no. Incredibly stupid change. Until this functionality is reinstated, I suggest everyone look elsewhere, unfortunately.

  • Adam

    For self-learners, I’ve come across an extension list of 100 iPhone apps that can be used by self-learners.

  • Robert M. Barga

    please don’t link to something that really isnt that useful in my article

  • Robert M. Barga

    the thing is that the phone should have had a physical zoom. The digital works well, as it simply blows up using less megapixels, and it actually results in good image

    i will check out car care, that one missed me.

  • iFlashReady developer

    Hello, Tom,

    iFlashReady is not, and is not authorized to overwrite any source images. The only thing IFR can do is create new images in “Saved Photos” folder.

    iPhone OS forbids any application to overwrite the source image. If you load a photo from another folder, say, “Photo Library”, the result after IFR is written to “Saved Photo” folder.

  • Christina

    I’ve been hearing some buzz around this lately – StealthCam

    I can guarantee you stealthcam is going to start showing up on these lists when it comes out – the crowd is chomping at the bit for this