The First 25 iPhone Apps You Must Download

Steve Jobs Santa

So you got a new iPhone or iPad touch for Christmas.

That’s cool, but you’re going to want to load it up with apps as quickly as possible.

We’ve put together a starter kit of great games and utilities, including a couple apps that will blow your mind, and make you think we’re living in the future.

Angry Birds

'Angry Birds' has been the top-selling iPhone game for a long time, for good reason: It's easy to learn but impossible to stop playing. In a sense, it's the new Pac-Man.

iTunes Link


With more than 55 million people using this app in the last month, it's one of the most popular iPhone apps in the world. (If not THE most popular.)

You can do many of the things in the app that you can do on, plus you can 'check in' to locations using the new Facebook Places feature, and upload photos that you take with your iPhone's camera.

iTunes Link


If you already use Twitter, this will be one of the first apps you'll want to download. (Twitter's official app, previously known as 'Tweetie,' is the best of the bunch. And it's free.)

If you don't use Twitter, what are you waiting for? Even if you just follow a few Hollywood-type celebrities, it's a great way to waste time.

iTunes Link


Instagram lets you take photos, add neat-looking filters to them, and upload them to a variety of places at the same time, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Foursquare.

It also lets you browse photos from your friends who use Instagram, and comment on them.

Best of all, it's free.

iTunes Link


This is one app we wouldn't want to live without. It lets you save articles and websites from your web browser to 'read later' on your iPhone or iPad, and then strips out all the ugly stuff to make it a great reading experience.

$4.99, but also available in a limited free version

iTunes Link

The Incident

Bored with Angry Birds? 'The Incident' was one of our favourite new iPhone games of the year.

It's a sort-of Super Mario-looking 8-bit game where you use the iPhone's touchscreen and motion sensor to jump up a pile of falling items. It's cute, fun, and addictive. (And there's also a very cool feature that lets you play on your iPad, using your iPhone as the remote control, if you have an iPad.)

$1.99; iTunes Link

Kindle and iBooks

You probably don't want to read a whole book on your iPhone on Christmas -- there's plenty of other stuff to do -- but you might as well download these two e-book apps from Amazon and Apple.

Amazon's Kindle app has a bigger selection and lets you read the same books on other devices, like Android phones or, of course, Kindles. Apple's iBooks app works on the iPod touch and iPad, and is a little prettier. Each has a slightly different selection and may have different pricing.

Both free; iTunes Links for Kindle and iBooks.

Word Lens

This is one of those apps that will seriously impress your friends and family. It uses your iPhone's camera and looks for words on things you're looking at, such as signs. Then it translates the words, and displays them translated on your screen.

The app is free, and includes some basic filters. You can also buy English-to-Spanish or Spanish-to-English translation dictionaries for $5 each.

iTunes Link


Electronic Arts is having a big sale right now on its iPhone and iPad games, meaning you can get well-known apps like Scrabble, Tetris, SimCity, and Madden football for 99 cents each.

Scrabble is a great time killer, and lets you play against friends on their iPhones. It also lets you use the iPad edition of the Scrabble app as a 'board' -- and your iPhones as letter tile racks -- for party play.

$0.99; iTunes Link


Your iPhone 4 takes great HD video for a mobile phone. iMovie will let you edit it, add cool graphics and titles, and upload it to YouTube, right from your phone.

$4.99; iTunes Link


What's that song playing at the mall, in the car, or at the bar? Launch the Shazam app, let your phone listen to the song for a few seconds, and Shazam will tell you what it is. It works in most cases, though background noise or obscure music can get tricky.

Free, with a $5.99 'pro' version.

iTunes Link

SeamlessWeb and OpenTable

Plenty of apps like Yelp and MenuPages and Foodspotting will help you find a good place to eat lunch or get a cup of coffee. But these are even more useful once you know where you want to go.

SeamlessWeb lets you actually order food for takeout or delivery if you're in one of their supported cities.

And OpenTable lets you book a table at restaurants, much easier than calling the reservation hotline.

Both free; iTunes Link for SeamlessWeb and OpenTable.

360 Panorama

Take a panorama photo just by panning your phone around. You can even see the panorama being captured in real-time. Currently on sale for 99 cents.

iTunes Link


Apple's Remote app lets you use your iPhone as a remote control for iTunes on your computers or your Apple TV.

iTunes Link

Nike+ GPS

Map your run, track your progress, and brag to your friends when you have a good run. $1.99.

iTunes Link


Who needs a radio or CDs anymore? Pandora's free app will let you listen to all the music you want, streaming over the iPhone's 3G or wi-fi connections. And now, thanks to Apple's latest iPhone software, you can listen to Pandora while using other apps.

iTunes Link

Starbucks Card

If you're a Starbucks regular, you'll appreciate the Starbucks Card app: See how much money is on your registered Starbucks card, track your rewards points, and at participating locations, you can even use the app to pay for your drink.

There's also the myStarbucks app, which helps you find nearby locations.

iTunes Link

Chase Mobile and other bank apps

Most big U.S. banks have iPhone apps, which let you check your account balances, make payments, etc.

We happen to be Chase customers, and Chase has a cool feature that has really impressed us: The ability to deposit a check from your iPhone, just by photographing the front and back of the check. It's one of those cool things that really makes you feel like you're living in the future.

iTunes Link


Use your iPhone 4's LED flash bulb as a flashlight. Very handy when you're looking for keyholes, telling ghost stories, scouring the floor of a bar, etc. Free.

iTunes Link


Yahoo Sports app includes sports headlines and live scores, and lets you sign up for customised game notifications.

ESPN loyalists may enjoy the ESPN ScoreCenter app. And during baseball season, you'll definitely want to check out MLB At Bat, which includes live game video streaming.

iTunes Link


A very cool shopping app: RedLaser lets you scan barcodes on pretty much everything, and see where it's cheapest.

iTunes Link


The iPhone's built-in Notes app is OK, but SimpleNote takes it to the next level. Sync your notes to SimpleNote's website and to other devices, like an iPad. And it looks cleaner.

iTunes Link

I Am T-Pain

Want to sound like T-Pain? Or the 'Autotune the News' guys? Or the guys from SNL who rap about boats? 'I Am T-Pain' records your voice and adds autotune effects. Drive your friends and family nuts for 99 cents.

iTunes Link

Dragon Dictation

Who needs an assistant? Just talk to your phone, and it transcribes what you're saying. Works surprisingly well.

iTunes Link

AT&T Mark The Spot

Depending on where you live, AT&T's lousy 3G network could be a major downer in your iPhone experience. Let AT&T know where its network is junk by using this app, designed by AT&T, to report shoddy service areas. We assume they are actually using this information for good.

There's also an AT&T myWireless app so you can see your iPhone bill and add/modify services from your phone.

iTunes Link

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