I’ve had my iPhone for a couple of months now (really 2 1/2) and over that time I’ve found several iPhone apps that I really like and regularly use. I’m going to first discuss the replacements for the Palm apps I was worried about losing and then others I was either less concerned about or hadn’t even considered.
- Pocket Quicken
- No change here and this is probably what I miss the most. There are lots of financial apps for the iPhone, but I’m still married to Quicken for Windows (under VMware Fusion). I don’t expect this situation to change any time soon, so I have resigned myself to entering receipts at home and not being able to look up historic items on-the-go.
- TeeShot (version 1.6) is serving me pretty well for this, though it does tend to crash quite a few times during a round of golf. Luckily, it is very good about saving state such that when I re-launch it, it is pretty much right where I left off. Usually the crash completes very quickly and the re-launch is also quick, so it isn’t that big an inconvenience, though occasionally, that isn’t the case and it takes a while to recover. The usability has improved with each new version and the next version (1.7) should be coming out soon.
- I went ahead and purchased SplashShopper (version 2.5), but I find that I am only using it for checklists. For shopping, I am using ShoppingList (version 1.2). It has a nice feature to dynamically order the items based on the order that they have previously been bought. Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite work well enough for me as it only applies if the items are filtered to only show the items previously purchased at the current store or not at any store. Just because I purchased an item at a different store in the past and not at this store doesn’t mean I don’t want to get it here. I emailed the author about this and his response was positive, but the app hasn’t been updated in nearly two months. The other thing I used to use HandyShopper for was to track when I last watched each of my DVDs. I use this as a guideline for things like which DVDs to take on trips without having to think about what I might want to watch — if I own it and haven’t watched it in a while, I’ll probably enjoy watching it again. SplashShopper does not have a built-in date field for items, and using one of the custom fields for that doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve ended up using iProcrastinate Mobile (see below) and it is working quite well for this.
- In addition to the fundamental functionality of tracking fuel efficiency, I also wanted maintenance reminders and a graph of fuel price. Car Care (version 1.15) provides everything I wanted and the interface is pretty nice. I do wish startup were a bit quicker and that I could configure it to startup on the fill-up entry page.
- iCal on the iPhone isn’t anywhere near as functional as DateBk6, but I’m surviving OK. For ToDo items I’ve settled on iProcrastinate Mobile (version 1.1, icon name “Tasks”). It does not support repeating items, which is mainly what I have, but I’ve found that rather than marking an item as done I can simply reset the date to the new due date (I store the repeat pattern as text in the Note field to remind me of what to do). As I mentioned above, I am also using this app to track when I last watched each of the DVDs that I own. This app would be greatly improved if Apple would add the ability for an app to update it’s badge (number shown on the icon in the app launcher) at some regular interval without the user having to launch the app, along with allowing for alarms from 3rd party apps.
Other iPhone apps I am using as replacements for Palm apps:
- Separate Checks
- This is by far the best iPhone app I have found for dividing up a check as it lets you actually assign the items to individual people rather than simply splitting the total evenly. Other than a couple of usability issues, and the fact that it doesn’t save any data between invocations (so if you leave the app for some reason before you’re finished, you have to start over — ugh), the main design of the app is, I think, superior to the Palm app I was using, Tipsy.
- Expense Sharer (web site under constructon)
- I’ve been waiting for an app like this since I got my iPhone (in fact, I seriously considered writing it myself, but the learning curve seems fairly steep if you haven’t done any Mac/Cocoa programming before) and it finally came out last week. Yeah! Based on at least one review in iTunes, some people simply do not understand the point of this app. The ideal use is for sharing expenses when going on a group vacation (as the name of Palm app I used, Holiday Debts, indicates). While I do use the app for this purpose, I also use it to track daily lunch debts between my regular lunch group — whomever is behind pays for that day’s lunch and the expense is divided appropriately (possibly with the help of Separate Checks) and entered. The app then shows how much is owed to and from each person which tells us whose turn to pay it is next. I like this app a lot, particularly the nicely formatted email summary that can be sent.
- Simple body weight tracking app, but the first one I found that is both free (as this is not really something I care enough about to pay for) and shows a graph. In truth, this isn’t really a replacement for the Palm app I was using, CK Diet Diary, as that app did much more (tracked meals and exercise, including a database for both), but for the last few years I had only used the weight tracking aspect of that app.
And, of course, there are a number of iPhone apps I use that fill an entirely new niche for me:
- Nice iPhone interface to Wikipedia — better than accessing via Safari as it is formatted better for the iPhone and includes a table of contents view that can be handy.
- I like this for finding nearby restaurants. There are lots of apps for this, but this is the one I have liked best so far. I also like that it lets me post a Twitter update with a link to the restaurant’s Urban Spoon page.
- This app is for finding all sorts of nearby stuff, but the only thing I use it for is for looking at nearby gas prices. There may be a better app for this.
- This is a very cool app that interfaces with either Netflix or Blockbuster Online and lets you manage your queue. I’m only using the free version at this point, which doesn’t let you add DVDs to your queue, but still lets you reorder and delete items.