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The Top 10 iPhone Applications from 2009

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Hello, and welcome to the the first yearly wrap-up of iWant, iNeed, iRecommend. To make this list, I looked at all of my previous lists, and chose the 10 best applications from the year. If you want to see my previous lists, please visit them here. While this list is subjective (as are all top 10 lists), I did my best to base this on actual use, not my own opinion. Enjoy.

10) Nano

“Nano is a very interesting application. I am not sure if it is a game or a meditation device, but I liked it either way. Basically, you direct streams of ions to receivers, trying to get only the good ones (cool colors) in, while keeping the bad ones (hot colors) out. In the background, a random music plays; it is created by how you play and what is streaming into the receivers at any given moment. To me, this was a really relaxing game, and I think that you will all enjoy it. You can get Nano for $0.99 in the app store.” — from the February 2009 Top 10 list.

As I said in my full review of Nano, this game is amazing. I still play it while heading to work, and I will play it at night when trying to sleep. The simplicity of the game, along with the soothing music, still make it a great meditation toy. While this game might not be for everybody, my weekly use indicates that it should be in the top 10.

9) Kindle for iPhone

“Kindle for the iPhone was launched at the beginning of March with much fanfare. Finally, people could read the e-books that they bought from Amazon on the iPhone. While most public domain books were already covered…now they could read new novels. You can adjust text size, sync with your actual Kindle, and also leave bookmarks. Simply put, this application is everything you would expect from the real deal except with a smaller screen. Though you can get Kindle for the iPhone for free, most books will cost you $9.99.” — from the March 2009 Top 10 list.

I am going to tell you this right off of the bat: I do not use Kindle. Personally, I like reading books, smelling the musty pages, and flipping through those very pages. The Kindle, along with other e-readers, do not let me do this, so I really can not stand them. That said, however, the Kindle for the iPhone is an important application, as it opened the door for iPhone users to the vast library of Amazon. I believe that this contribution merits placement in the top 10.

8) MLB at Bat 2009

“MLB At Bat 2009 is a collection of baseball information gathered from MLB’s official Web site. You can see batting information, game scores, and even the normal game-cast. Additionally, the newest feature…is the ability to watch live streaming games. That's right, you are able to watch live baseball games from your iPhone. Frankly, I believe that this addition makes the application essential for fans, coaches, players, and sports writers alike. At $9.99, all fans of the sport should grab MLB At Bat 2009 today.” — from the July 2009 Top 10 list.

Frankly, MLB at Bat was probably one of the best applications of the year. I would sit at live baseball games, and be able to stay up-to-date with other games from around the league. Sure, I could have gone to ESPN and checked the stats and scores there, but MLB at Bat kept me in tune with all of the games, and had everything easy to access. I believe that this application was one of the most user friendly, cleanest, and best apps made this year.

7) Sirius XM

“The iPhone application from Sirius XM was one of the most anticipated applications of the year. The application basically gives you access to Sirius Satellite Radio on your iPhone. This allows you to listen to sports, new music, or talk shows while wandering around your city. It also means that you no longer need to buy a dedicated device to get access. Though the Sirius XM application is free, you need to pay the monthly fee of $13 for service.” — from the June 2009 Top 10 list.

I no longer use Sirius as my main iPhone radio, as Pandora (see below) has replaced it. That said, however, the quality of talk shows, sporting events, and other interesting features (Bob Dylan, I am looking at you) still make Sirius XM for the iPhone a fun and exciting application. I would still recommend using it, and still believe that it is one of the best apps of the year.

6) Smack Me

“I cannot say enough about Smack Me. This is one of the best games I have ever played on my iPhone and is quickly becoming my favorite application of the year (sorry PRO series). The game is just like bob-it, but on the phone. Utilizing multi-touch, the accelerator, and just simple touch (one finger) the game uses anything you can do to your phone. Pinch it, smack it, freeze it, lift it; the game has everything possible. This is easily one of the most addictive games out there, on any platform, and one that you will love immensely. When I first got it, I didn’t put it down for an hour or two. The $1.99 that you will be spending on Smack Me is well worth it, and I recommend that you get it today.” — from the February 2009 Top 10 list.

As I said in my full review of Smack Me, this game easily deserves 5 out of 5 stars. Having amazing gameplay, addicting elements, and just being fun is what makes this game so great. While I have gotten tired of it (several months of playing while on bus trips does that to you), my friends still enjoy it, and I still stand by its rating.

5) Pandora Radio

Pandora was the only application that had not previously been on a top 10 list.
When I walk around campus, ride on the bus to work, or go jogging, I like to listen to music. Sometimes I listen to my own songs, but other times I want to hear new and entertaining creations. Pandora — which recommends songs, creates custom playlists, and generally is a kick-ass DJ — allows me to do this. I simply start the program, pick a song, and my entire activity is taken care of. I love this application, and use it daily. Try Pandora out yourself for free.

4) Bento

“At the end of April I was contacted by a company called FileMaker about a new product they were going to release for the iPhone. Though I could not see it in practice until its May 1 launch, the demo that they showed me was absolutely amazing. Ever since that point, I have been enamored with Bento. Bento is a database system that I use almost every single day on my phone. I keep recipes, shopping lists, exercise logs, and even my checkbook on it. I use it so much that my class notes are organized on it and my Blogcritics review list is stored on it. Think of a list, or really anything that you need organized, and Bento can do it for you. Plus, it has a great user interface, a good look, and feels truly natural to the iPhone. At only $4.99, this simple application will make your life easier, and I strongly urge you to buy it.” — from the May 2009 Top 10 list.

As I said in my full review of Bento, this is one of my favorite applications ever on the iPhone. I still use Bento everyday, and it makes my life so much easier. All of my law school data is currently stored in a Bento database, and everything else that I do in life is in there as well. Bento is essential to my sanity, and still is a good buy.

3) The Avalinx Pro Collection

One company has only made six iPhone applications, and yet they have been in my list six times. Avalinx, a Dublin, Ohio-based company, is a maker of fine iPhone games. Most of their apps have to do with gambling, and all of them are fun. They contain stunning graphics, smooth gameplay, and actually teach you some nifty games. While each individual application does not merit placement as the third best app from 2009 (though some do merit placement in this top 10 list), the overall contribution of Avalinx merits such a grand placement. I strongly suggest trying some of their products today. For reviews of their products, as well as an interview with their founder, check out my writer page.

2) Quickoffice Mobile

“One of the things that has been keeping the iPhone from reaching a wide business audience is the lack of any real Microsoft Office support. Sure, you could read and view documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs, but you really couldn’t alter them if you wanted to. That is where Quickoffice steps in. The application allows you to open all sorts of documents, edit them, save them, and send them. The UI is extremely easy to use, and it feels native to your fingers. I often thought that I would never find a good office suite on the iPhone until Microsoft released one, but Quickoffice surprised me. Though it seems expensive at $19.99 a pop, it is essential for any business person.” — from the June 2009 Top 10 list.

While various other companies have released office applications lately, Quickoffice still reigns supreme in my book. Nothing is easier to use, quicker to learn, or as fully featured. I still stand by my contention that no suite can be better until Microsoft releases one, and then it will be a close call. Quickoffice is, and will always be, my office suite of choice.

And the #1 iPhone application from 2009 is

1) Tap Tap

In 2008, one of the top apps of the year was the original Tap Tap game. Several of this year's top 10 monthly lists feature a variation of this game. Frankly, Tap Tap is the best iPhone series created, and easily dwarfs every other game. While I do not play it often, nobody can deny the ease, fun, or endless gameplay that these games have. To the makers of these games, keep up the good work: you have a golden game on your hands.

Well, folks, there you have it, the top 10 iPhone and iPod Touch applications from 2009. If you have any suggestions for next year's list, or want to tell me what I missed, please let me know in the comments. This is part of the 2009 in review group writing project.

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About Robert M. Barga

  • The MLB At Bat app was great, especially when they figured out that people actually wanted to watch live games on their iPhone. I’m also partial to the Amazon Kindle app. In my opinion it’s easier on the eyes than most of the other e-reader apps.

  • I still think that the real kindle trumps anything else (gray shading rocks) but the app on the iphone kicks butt

    as for MLB at bat, that is why it wasn’t on the list when the app first came out, but made it after they added the live watching

  • Ellie Lansing

    Great article; I personally use several of these apps (and was absolutely enthralled when Kindle for iPhones came out).
    BTW- be careful how you use “Frankly”; frankly, you use it too much- twice for the MLB app alone. Overall though, I really enjoyed your iPhone article.

  • thanks for the advice