So you just brought home your shiny new iPhone and plugged it into your computer for the first time. Now what? You’ve heard all about the great apps that are available and you want to get in on the action. Or, maybe you’re a long time iPhone user looking for a link to send friends who keep asking “what apps should I install?” Look no further. This is the perfect place to start.
Some of these apps might seem like a strange choice for the very first apps to install, but trust us, once you start using them you’ll wonder how you would have done without them.
Camera+ ($1.99 – App Store Link) is a great replacement for the stock Camera app that comes with your iPhone. The biggest advantage is speed. Apple’s Camera app has improved since the early days, but it’s still slow. On an iPhone 4, it takes around 4 seconds to go from launch to being ready to take a shot. Camera+ takes 2 seconds from a cold start.
Even better, the shutter lag time between photos with Camera+ is almost imperceptible. I handed my phone to my Father-in-law to take pictures at a wedding, and he had to ask if it was actually taking the pictures because he was used to the iris effect holding forever between shots.
The advantages don’t end there though. Camera+ has fantastic sharing features, allowing you to share pictures directly to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and a host of other social networks. It also has excellent photo editing tools like scene settings, adjustments, cropping, effects and borders. While the effects aren’t as striking as something like Instagram, Camera+ has a great selection.
You can also share shots between Camera+ and the iPhone’s camera roll for maximum flexibility. With Camera+’s advanced tools, you’ll be taking shots that no one will believe were from your smartphone!
If you don’t already use Dropbox, then what the heck is wrong with you?! Just kidding. Seriously though, Dropbox provides some incredibly powerful functionality for sharing files between computers and mobile devices. We could devote a hundred articles just to Dropbox, but suffice it to say that you *need* to use this app (Free – App Store link).
Dropbox syncs any files that you choose across all the devices on the same account. If you save a file on your Mac or PC into your Dropbox folder, it will be immediately available on your iPhone. If you upload a picture from your iPhone camera roll into Dropbox, it will be available on your computer. You can share files with others just by sending a link (no more email attachments) and create really easy photo galleries.
The best part is that Dropbox is free for a 2GB account. You can also earn extra storage space by referring friends. Their paid plans (50GB and 100GB) are also very reasonably priced.
3. Find My iPhone
I don’t understand why Apple doesn’t include this app as one of the factory installed ones alongside Weather and Stocks. This free app (App Store link) allows you to find other iOS devices by using their built in GPS and forcing them to display an alert with a loud sound. This is great for when a friend or family member loses their iPhone behind the couch, or (knock on wood) leaves their phone at a bar.
Find My iPhone will also allow you track a thief who tries to make off with your phone. Obviously, it’s no substitute for calling the police, but it sure is helpful to know where your phone is when it’s gone. You can also push the big red button (not really) and remotely wipe your phone to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Pretty handy stuff.
Instapaper ($4.99 – App Store link) is one of those apps that you didn’t know you needed until you had to live without it.
In a nut, Instapaper allows you to save articles or web pages for later reading. It syncs across all your devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac) giving you instant, beautifully readable access to the content you want. It really shines for commuters who might not have consistent network access. Save articles, sync your device before you leave and you’re all set.
Yes, Apple has announced Reading List in iOS 5 which does some of what Instapaper does. Instapaper is still more fully featured with social and editor functions that allow you to find new and interesting content. Instapaper also gives you an archive of material you’ve read which is really useful when trying to find that article you read a while ago.
5. Twitter or Facebook (or both)
There are a multitude of Twitter clients available for the iPhone. The official Twitter app is really great and unless you’re looking for more advanced features, it’ll probably be fine for you. Once iOS 5 comes out, your iPhone will have even deeper Twitter integration. Also, the improved notifications in iOS 5 will make handling your social stream much more efficient.
==== About the Author ====
This is a guest post by Daniel Scocco, owner of Next iPhone News. Check out his website for the latest iPhone news, rumors and tips!