Last week we showed you how to install third party apps on your iPhone or iPod touch, and since then a new firmware preview has leaked its way to the 'nets with saucy new features that—once released—may tempt you to abandon your jailbreak for the newly introduced features. Fact is, until the 1.1.3 firmware is successfully hacked by the resourceful iPhone hackers, you can still enjoy all of the features the update is bringing and more with your jailbroken iPhone. Today I'm taking a look at my 20 favorite (that's right, 20) third-party iPhone and iPod touch apps.
NOTE: Apologies for the gallery format on the screenshots, but I wanted to provide full-size screenshots (sometimes more than one) for every app. All of the applications below are available through Installer.app, which can be installed by jailbreaking your iPhone. For more details on each app, click through to the gallery page (again, sorry). Some of the apps will work perfectly on both the iPhone and iPod touch, while others are obviously a bit more iPhone-oriented. I've only tested these apps on the iPhone. Want to learn more about all things iPhone? Check out How to Do Everything with your iPhone, written by me and my pal Jason Chen from Gizmodo.
Apps that Cover Rumored 1.1.3 Features
In case you haven't seen it, here's a video highlighting the upcoming features in the 1.1.3 firmware release.
First let's tackle the hot apps of the moment—those apps that can already bring you the features rumored to be in the 1.1.3 update. The major new features appear to be the faux-GPS in Google Maps, multi-recipient SMS, and re-ordering apps on the home screen. Two of the apps above have been covering those features for quite some time (Navizon for GPS and Customize for re-ordering apps), and the third, iSMS for mutli-recipient SMS, is a bit newer, but in addition to multi-recipient SMS, it offers quick-reply templates, emoticons, and a much more robust SMS management system. It does not currently offer MMS messaging, though there is an iPhone app (called SwirlyMMS) that is attempting the MMS road, though it's still a bit bumpy. MMS messages can be sent (though it requires a bit of setup), but so far not received.
The only major new feature that's been discovered in the 1.1.3 update that isn't easily available through Installer is the new web clip feature that allows the user to bookmark a web page directly on the home screen. There are hacks around that accomplish this, but they're not the kind of no-brainer installations as the above three apps. The WebSearch app described below, however, is arguably a good deal more useful for what I need than the web clips, so I can happily do without for the time being.
Now that I've covered the 1.1.3 features (I'll include in these apps in the sections below by category as well), lets move onto my twenty favorite iPhone apps.
The multimedia list is a big one, so I'll just highlight a few. You've got a Last.fm client and scrobbler for your iPod, a feature-rich camera app, and a real-time lyrics app that automagically sucks lyrics for your music from the cloud.
There are obviously quite a few great iPhone utilities, so to highlight just a few: OpenSSH is what I used to tether my iPhone data plan to my laptop; DropCopy is great for sharing files between your phone or iPod and your desktop; Installer, obviously, is the app that makes all of this third-party app business so easy; Navizon does the faux-GPS for Google Maps; and Customize covers app re-ordering and just about any other customization you'd want to make to your little iPod or iPhone.
There are actually tonnes of games available on the iPhone at this point, but these three stand out as favorites because of their impressive use of the iPhone's animation engine or for just being plain addictive.
For honorable mention purposes (I realize I already fudged a bit with 21 above), I wanted to point out FireflyMediaServer, an app that streams your iPod library to any iTunes library on a local network as a shared library (and which we showed you how to set up here). Dictionary is what it sounds like, a dictionary application that can search tons of installable dictionary databases (also available in Installer). Finally, for the students out there, iStudy is a simple flashcard app that also features downloadable content from Installer.
The obvious argument remains, though, that the 1.1.3 update provides a much better integration of the features listed in the 1.1.3, and that's valid. Keep in mind, though, that you also sacrifice the wealth of great third-party apps, like push email for your IMAP account. That said, kudos to Apple for continuing to innovate the iPhone and iTouch, and I think we're all eager to find out what kind of system they're planning to work out once the SDK is official in February (as well as what other announcements regarding these two devices might pop up at MacWorld).
Got a favorite iPhone or iPod touch app I missed? Let's hear it in the comments.