The iPhone is the most popular mobile phone in the US, and with good reason. Despite occasionally awful choices by Apple, it still has the most — and best — applications around. Here are the most popular free iPhone apps (and posts) of 2009.
As with our most popular Windows downloads and Mac downloads of 2009, this collection of applications is based solely on the popularity of the associated post here on Lifehacker. We always prefer free applications that offer a little productivity boosting, so this is by no means a complete look at the most popular apps of the 80 billion in the App Store.
First, the downloads...
RunKeeper (available in free and pro versions) uses your iPhone's GPS to do some seriously cool tracking for your running, walking or biking routine. Apple was extremely slow in bringing Nike+ to the iPhone (once they did, it only supported 3GS), and even then it doesn't take advantage of the fact that the iPhone has a built in GPS and excellent mapping capabilities. RunKeeper is an excellent alternative to people who don't want to pay for the Nike+ dongle, want advanced GPS and mapping capabilities, or don't have an iPhone 3GS. Still, if we could marry these two apps, we happily would.
We get it. You are seriously busy, and you don't have time to make sure you don't walk into traffic while you're composing that email. Email n' Walk overlays an email composition window on top of the view from your iPhone's camera, so you can type out an email and watch where you're going. It was free when we first covered it; now it'll set you back a buck.
Dropbox is far and away our favourite file syncing tool, so we were thrilled this September when Dropbox for iPhone (iTunes link) finally made its way to the iPhone. Users can access any of their synced files, view files supported by the iPhone (including documents, photos, music, and video), upload photos and video to Dropbox, and save files for offline viewing. Handy.
Skype is far and away the most popular VoIP service, so it's understandable that people were pretty excited when it finally made its official plunge onto the iPhone with Skype for iPhone (iTunes link).
By default, the iPhone lock screen shows you the time, date and possibly a pretty picture. With gCalWall Lite, your home screen also displays your upcoming Google calendar appointments. Handy.
And now, the popular iPhone-specific posts/how-tos:
When push notifications finally rolled out to iPhone 3.0 this year, lots of applications started using them — but not everything we wanted. In this guide, we demonstrate how to use Growl (for Mac and Windows) in conjunction with Prowl (iTunes link), a $4 iPhone app, to set up push notifications for virtually anything. Our guide focused on Gmail push (which wasn't available at the time, and still isn't available with message previews), but anything that sends an alert with Growl can also work with Prowl, so your options are only limited by your creativity.
Got a favourite iPhone app we covered (or didn't) in 2009 that you love? Let's hear more about it in the comments.