This guest post was written by Alex Ahlund, founder of AppVee.
We are just past of a year since the App Store launched and there are more than 60,000 applications released for the iPhone and iPod Touch. When we wrote our 2008 year-end app wrap-up, we had just surpassed the 10,000 app milestone. In early June 2009, the store reached 50,000 apps. At present, we are looking at a staggering 300 new applications being released every single day. How does the average iPhone user find the gems in this deluge?
Unfortunately, the process is entirely overwhelming for the average iPhone user. The bulk of consumers use iTunes’ Top and front page listings. Since placement on the top lists is derived entirely from unit sales, there is a disturbing skew towards the $.99 applications. This not only discourages big developers from putting high budgets and serious resources towards development of really useful applications and games, but also does a disservice to us, as iPhone users. If all we see are ninety-nine cent gimmicks and toys, how will we realize the true potential of our device? Apple attempts to offset this with editor’s picks, but this simply isn’t enough to make sense of the App Store.
There are new third party services and tools coming onto the scene to help show how to best navigate the App Store. AppVee has been doing in-depth reviews of applications since the launch of the App Store and will soon celebrate our one-year anniversary with nearly 1,000 video reviews of the top applications. We’re often asked if we are overwhelmed with the number of applications currently released and the number we are capable of covering. The answer is no. 90% of apps currently out there are of no use to anyone. There are a massive number of clones, one-off gimmicks, volumes of books and reference material, and a never-ending supply of uninteresting games. So, we try to act as a filter for consumers, directing them to what is worth their time and money.
The following is a round-up of our top picks so far this year:
A fantastic alternative to Pandora, which carries a larger catalog and offers Premium accounts that offers something we’ve always loathed about Pandora – unlimited song skips. (Similar: Pandora, WunderRadio, Last.fm)
3. Textfree Unlimited
Currently the best alternative to high SMS plan costs, offering free text messaging using Push Notification.
Create simple databases to store information about every aspect of your life.
Our new, favorite Twitter client that takes advantage of the same layout as its desktop counterpart – multiple columns, separation of user groups, and more. (Similar: Tweetie, Twinkle, TwitterFON)
6. Print and Share
Print files, emails, web pages, contacts, images and even snapshots direct from your camera, straight to your home printer. Simple setup and works perfectly.
7. Flight Tracker
Watch flights in real-time and get up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times. This has saved me countless delayed pick-ups from the airport.
8. Read It Later
Store any web page for offline reading or to mark as a reminder to read. A bit tricky to setup at first, but it will quickly replace bookmarking for articles.
Activate emoticons in your keyboard to include in emails and text messages. Works only for iPhones, but the end reader does not need the app to see emoticons in your texts.
10. Birthday Reminder
Rarely check Facebook to see upcoming birthdays? This app downloads all of that information so you can access and easily see upcoming bdays offline.
Swap contacts and photos with other iPhones in an easy way. Requires both users to have the application, but it is free and quick to download. (Similar: Bump)
12. Simplify Music 2
Listen to your entire music library from your home computer, streamed quickly and without any lag. (Similar: Simply Music, imeem)
13. Cell Minute Tracker
We prefer Cell Minute Tracker to AT&T’s minute tracker any day. Much simpler, easy to navigate and much faster.
Edit Word and Excel documents on the go.
There are a multitude of photo editing apps out there, but you really only need one. Crop, rotate, adjust colors, and add filters with Photogene. (Similar: Camera Bag)
Superb quality Skype-to-Skype over WiFi using the Skype application. Finally be free of your computer and microphone to make those long distance calls. (Similar: Truphone)
Skeptical at first, but found eBook reader surprisingly easy on the eyes and good for taking in a quick chapter. Offers plenty of free content, but won’t be replacing your physical Kindle.
18. Beejive IM 3.0
We mentioned this on last year’s roundup, but it deems reiteration. So far, the best multi-IM service client on the iPhone, now with Push Notification. AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, and more.
Extremely reluctant to include this on the list, but it does deserve a bottom slot. Scan UPC codes for price comparisons on the go, but wait for an update for improved scanning and database.
20. Real Racing
Standard track based racing game, but has the best graphics on an iPhone game to-date. Worth it alone to see what the iPhone is capable of.
21. Sims 3
Slightly watered down Sims 3, but still an excellent version on the go. Fantastic graphics and runs well.
22. My Brute
Create a fighter and compete in daily arena matches. Very simplistic, but highly addicting and will bring you back daily.
23. Mecho Wars
Advanced Wars for your iPhone and iPod Touch, enough said. Interesting art style and background story.
The first fully featured traditional 2D action RPG for your iPhone and iPod Touch.
The time sucking, simple Pachinko style casual PC game from PopCap ported to your device.
Do we even need to explain this one?
28. Merlin’s Legacy
An original IP based around two dueling wizards, battling for control across a 2D side-scrolling field. Interesting game mechanic based on spells and timing.
29. Assassin’s Creed
A smaller version of Assassin’s Creed on your iPhone and iPod Touch. Plays rather smoothly and provides solid entertainment.
30. Oregon Trail
The classic Oregon Trail, updated with fantastic graphics and animation. Will keep you entertained just like when you were in school. Try not to die of dysentery.
31. Rolando 2
The sequel to the popular game of rolling little Rolandos around to save the kingdom. Your hands may cramp from hours of play.
32. Doodle Jump
Dominated the Top 25 list for quite a while. Accelerometer based movement—you guide your Doodle to bounce off platforms, jumping to the highest point possible as you avoid getting hit.
33. Mouth Off
Cover your mouth with your device and show off an assortment of crazy mouths that animate to the input sound of your voice. I’ve annoyed dining mates with this one more than once.
34. Pocket God
Well done, episodic content based on a simple toy of dealing with your islanders. Fun to show off to friends and receive new updates.
35. Flight Control
Elegantly simple and highly addictive game. You direct various planes to different landing strips, all the while trying to avoid collisions. Updated with Bluetooth device co-op.