We don’t have the iPhone 3G yet (we are counting down the hours until Apple hands one off to us tomorrow), but we do have access to the Apple App Store via our first-generation iPhone. We spent the day testing some of the hundreds available applications from the new App Store—ones that start at free and go all the way up to $15 apiece. So which are our favorites? We chose 10 that we found worth the download. Check it out and then let us know which ones you like or think is missing from the list.
Super Monkey Ball ($9.99) Ever since seeing this application demoed at WWDC, we knew it was going to be a hit. The fun starts with choosing one of the four monkeys: AiAi, MeeMee, Baby, and Gongon. Each monkey is trapped in a transparent ball and you can tilt the device to roll your monkey through the different stages. Our monkey was very responsive and we didn’t have to overextend ourselves when tilting the screen to get the little guy moving. Watching people play this game in public is going to be a hoot!
CroMag Rally ($9.99) Any game that turns the iPhone into a steering wheel is downright awesome, but CroMag Rally isn’t just any racing game. A caveman named Brog is the driver, and maneuvering through the courses with your primitive vehicles requires a simple tilt of the screen to the right or left. We would have liked to speed ahead by tilting the phone forward, but instead you hit the forward arrow on the screen. This is a must-have game (even if we do suck at it). Ms. PacMan ($11.99) Ms. PacMan doesn’t sport awesome 3D graphics like CroMag and Monkey Ball do, but playing this retro classic on an iPhone is surreal. When you start the game, you are given three choices to control Ms. PacMan: an on-screen D-pad, Swipe gestures, or Accelerometer. We preferred using the accelerometer and tilting the phone in different directions to move PacMan around the maze. But the Swipe option is also pretty sweet and requires the use of only one finger to play the game. Pandora (Free) Pandora on the iPhone is the best mobile implementation of the service we have seen. Just log into your account (if you already have one), and your stations are ready to go. The interface takes up the whole screen, you get full-size album art, and all the familiar controls from the Web site, including a forward button and thumbs up/down ratings. You can also buy songs right from the iTunes button and download it from the iTunes Store. Unfortunately, you cannot multitask when Pandora is running; as soon as you try and jump to the phone’s main menu, the music turns off and Pandora shuts down. When you get an incoming call, the music will stop, but Pandora won’t resume playback of the song when you end the call. Remote (Free) Installing this slick application turns the iPhone into a wireless remote for iTunes on your PC and for the Apple TV. The only setup required is plugging a wireless connection PIN into your PC’s iTunes. Right from your phone you can play, pause, and skip tracks on your computer. You can see all the music from the iTunes app on your phone—even the album art. It will depend on the wireless network, but we were able to control our PC with our iPhone from 30 feet away.
Facebook (Free) We’ve seen a lot of mobile implementations of Facebook in the past few months. The application for the BlackBerry is pretty cool, but it doesn’t let you log into Facebook Chat like the iPhone’s client does. The ability to IM through Facebook Chat right from the client is impressive, and we loved talking to a few buddies, even some other geeks that were logged into the new Facebook app on their iPhones. The application displays pretty complete profiles of your friends, but we wish you could see and write on their Wall. Where To? ($2.99) Granted, we didn’t try this location-based service on the iPhone 3G with GPS, but the original iPhone uses Wi-Fi positioning and cellular triangulation to pinpoint your location. The Where To? application combines a seriously sleek interface with local search. Around a carousel are categories of types of places that you may want to find near you, including food and entertainment. When you tap the category, it gives you more subcategories than you can imagine. We checked out the Coffee Shops subcategory and then just tapped the brand Dunkin’ Donuts (you can type in any coffee shop). Over Wi-Fi, it found the Dunkin’ Donuts right around the corner from our office. Google Mobile (Free) We were a little hesitant about a standalone Google search application, because what can a search application do that the browser can’t? Turns out, a lot. Once you start typing in the search field, your contacts and Web history immediately pop up. The intelligent Google query completion also brings up related search words before you actually hit the search button. When you hit the search command, the results appear like a normal Google page. There you have it—all our top iPhone application picks for the time being. Of course, the crazy guys at Gizmodo have gone hands-on with lots more, so check out their picks.