My favourite free iPhone apps | Useful, News & Sport

iPhone appsLast week I did something I didn’t think I would do – and it didn’t involve any radical Christian denominations or East Fife Football Club.

Something far more unprecedented (at least given my commenting track record on Milo’s blog) . I ordered an iPhone.

Spur of the moment, jumping on the bandwagon… however it happened doesn’t really matter. I had long made a stance against iTunes out of a dislike for its controlling diktats, and I’ve only ever heard bad news about the iPod, so always bought less fashionable alternatives.

But it’s different with their mobile phone. It may not quite be a case of iPhone, therefore I am, but it’s already proving itself an addictive über-toy .

Like anyone else who gets their grubby mits on one of these shiny slabs of techie gold, for a few days I was an intrepid app hunter, downloading and installing anything I thought was even half-relevant.

Having sifted through my first batch, here are the results of my swift analysis, a sort of shopping list for anyone looking to expand their app portfolio.

These are all free, as I’m still wary that the micro-payment road leads down a treacherous slope to macro-payment woe.

The genuinely (and I mean genuinely) useful apps

I actually started typing this post out on the WordPress app and saved it as a draft before continuing on my more typing-friendly laptop. If I did more commuting (I walk to work) then perhaps this handy little app would spell more updates to

Absolute genius, and so simple. By hooking up to MyBusTracker, this app logs you into any bus stop you want in Edinburgh and tells you when the next buses are due. I’ve already used it to time the point I leave my front door to perfection. Check if your city has its own version. If it doesn’t, make it NOW.

This one requires you to have an account, but Dropbox is such a good idea that if you don’t then you should. Save files to their webspace and access them anywhere, including your iPhone. It even plays audio and video files, so if your iPod is rapidly filling up space, this might be the solution.

I always use Tweetdeck on my laptop and at work, but so far Twitterific wins on the handheld for me. It’ a clean, simple design with full functionality and nice birdie sound effects. What more d’you need?

One for the masochists. If you go out running this will measure your progress by GPS and give you a live report as you go. I ran twice round my local park the other night and found to my dismay I’d only managed 4.86 kilometres. Technology eh?

The news and sport apps

TIME Mobile
The American magazine presents a selection of its magazine content in slick, easy-to-navigate slideshow tabs. Their photography specials are especially good, but there’s also the kind of quality writing you’d expect.

Like its magazine cousin, the Yank’s newspaper of record got its hooks on the iPhone early. This is another app that gives the lie to those that say that reading long-form journalism on a screen will never catch on.

As I’ve yet to stump up the £2.39 for The Guardian’s much hyped app (and frankly, there’s something sanctimonious about the Guardian brand that puts me off any of their latest triumphs), this will have to do instead for British broadsheet coverage.

SkySports Score Centre
OK, it’s evil Sky, but this is the best app I’ve found for keeping bang up-to-date with live football. You can easily check what’s on by league or tournament, and save the matches you give a damn about to My Scores. Handy that. Only downside is having to see the grinning presenter’s mugshot the whole time.

NB: I’ve installed Mobile RSS Reader too, but still find that my Google Reader is more suited to a bigger screen, although that could be down to the fact that I mostly refer to it at work. Also, I couldn’t find a single Scottish news app. I realise that, in my line of work, that’s pretty unforgiveable, so it’s something I may have to set right.

I’ll post another round-up of discoveries next week: fun, games and music. I’ll probably add to the news & sport categories later too.

Was your favourite app in the above categories missing? Put that right by leaving a comment…

2 thoughts on “My favourite free iPhone apps | Useful, News & Sport

  1. Hi Nick,

    I’m the author of EdinBus – thanks for this very positive review, I’m glad you’re finding EdinBus useful!

    It may lead to woe (I spend rather a lot on new apps these days!) , but if you’re willing to pay a couple of quid you should try Byline – it’s an extremely good Google Reader front-end app for iPhone. It’s not free, but it’s well worth the asking price.

  2. Thanks Gordon I’ll give it a spin.

    And let me know if you have any other useful localiszed apps in development. Would be interested to hear, as it looks to me like Scotland’s a bit lacking in the app department so far.

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