What’s Good (and Free!) in the iTunes App Store

What’s Good (and Free!) in the iTunes App Store
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More than 550 new applications arrived for the iPhone and iPod touch this morning in iTunes’ brand new App Store and more than 130 of them are available for free. Today we’re taking a look at the best free applications for your iPhone and iPod Touch, available after the 2.0 software update officially arrives (or after you’ve grabbed the unofficial update). Check out our list after the jump.

Note: Most of the apps listed here work with both iPhones and iPod touch models, but we’ve noted where an app requires the iPhone’s voice, SMS, or GPS capabilities to run.

Remote Controls Your iTunes Library

The iTunes App Store’s marquee freebie, the Remote app turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a remote control for your media library. Remote works almost exactly like the iPod application on your device—the main difference being that rather than playing back music on your iPhone or iPod touch, you’ve got access to your entire iTunes library and you’re playing it over your computer’s speakers.

Google Mobile is Quicksilver for the iPhone/iPod touch

iphone_googlemobile1.jpgGoogle already has a fast and slick iPhone version, but this app is hyper-optimised for quick searching. Search-as-you-type results spin up for web pages, click-to-call business and residential phone listings, nearby stores and restaurants, and more—and Google Mobile’s brought to you by the guy who made one of our favourite free launcher desktop apps, Quicksilver.


iphone_evernote1.jpgThe universal stuff-gathering site Evernote gives you all the major tools of its desktop and web software in its iPhone app—add text, snap a phone cam shot, record a memo, or upload a photo, and it’s all available for organizing, tagging, or searching later. New in this interface is a straight-forward voice recorder. Given that even free users of Evernote can have the service scan their pictures and extract visible text, Evernote’s app makes your iPhone a serious universal capture device.


iphone_netnewswire.jpgAs Adam has detailed, users of desktop-based readers like NetNewsWire (Mac) or FeedDemon (Windows) have their reasons for sticking with them. NetNewsWire for iPhone syncs with either of those clients, meaning you won’t read the same items twice. There’s a “Clippings” feature for setting items aside for later (or when you’ll be offline) that also syncs to your desktop, and the interface is straightforward—and that’s about it. If you’re a Google Reader addict, you’re already set up with GReader’s iPhone beta view.

Zenbe Lists

zebelists.pngFree service Zenbe works as a multi-account mail organiser in its web form, but they’ve stuck with to-do-style lists for their iPhone app. Those lists, however, can be edited on any browser and synced back to your Zenbe account, or published on an iGoogle page. The real benefit, though, is sharing with other Zenbe Lists users. Anyone you share with can then edit and update your list and sync them back to you—a kind of nifty no-real-computer-required list wiki.

Talking Phrasebook (French, Italian, German, Spanish)

iphone_phrasebook.jpgTranslation tools and dual-language dictionaries are great, but sometimes, you really just need to ask “How much to park here?” in German. The Talking Phrasebook apps offer phrases you’ll want to know translated from English to Spanish, French, German, and Italian, and you can click to hear them pronounced (or, perhaps, just have your iPhone speak for you).


iphone_midomi1.jpgiPhone only: This one’s not terribly productive—unless you’re the type to spend far too much time trying to name that song you just can’t remember. For those moments, or for proving a friend right/wrong, Midomi is a true gift. You can type in an artist or song name to get more info (and you can write it phonetically), but the true joy is in humming or singing a few bars into your iPhone, waiting a bit, then seeing your song title come back. You can also hold your phone up to the music itself, and Midomi will try to ID it. Seriously neat stuff.

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

aimiphoneapp1.png Send and receive instant messages over Wi-Fi, EDGE, or 3G networks, and manage your AIM buddy list right on your device with the AIM iPhone app.


paypaliphoneapp.png Send money from your iPhone or iPod touch to anyone—like your dinner companion when you’re splitting the bill—with the PayPal app.

Aside: Gedeon Maheux points out that six iTunes Store Apps listed under Productivity use the check mark as their icon. Group-think! [via Daring Fireball]

We’ll be updating this list with more free apps as we download and test ’em out. What should we look at next? Post your favourite free iPhone application in the comments.


  • Isn’t the Screenshot for Talking Phrasebook wrong? It says the translation is from English to German, but the translation is in Spanish. ?? Is that the quality of the free app?

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