Maybe you missed it, but Apple released a bunch of new iPhone stuff last week. Who knew?
The 7.7 release of iTunes added the App Store, and the 2.0 firmware now allows me to run the first apps on my iPhone, w00t!
Reviews have begun to arrive, and apparently, the most popular price point has risen from free to $0.99. Not a big surprise there, since that’s what songs cost on iTunes. I agree with the sentiment that some app developers have way overpriced their offerings.
Personally, I’m sticking to free (as in freedom, at least from my perspective) until something really kickass comes along.
I’ve tested out quite a few apps, and now, gentle reader, I’ll share some thoughts. First off, the top of the heap so far has to be Pandora. I’m not alone in this opinion, although crowing it the killer app is a bit odd to me this early in the game.
I’ve been roadtesting Last.fm and Pandora this week because I’m getting a little tired of my library of songs, and one of the cool things about these apps is they recommend new music based on your listing. This is a plus for me, i.e. back to boredom aspect.
I started with Last.fm, but it’s bit clunky and slow. Plus, it took me a long time to “scrobble” my main playlist. Its client is pretty, but its iPhone app is full of fail. I couldn’t get it to load on the Edge network. I’m hoping this was a launch glitch and not a 3G or no-G issue.
Paul recommended Pandora as a better alternative and so did Rich. So I tried it out and so far, I agree. It’s easier to get started and their iPhone app is great. It works well over Edge, and the more you listen, the better it gets at recommending music. As with the web version, it has an instant gratification button, i.e. “Buy this Song on iTunes”. Very cool stuff.
I downloaded and played my first game tonight, Tap Tap Revenge, a Guitar Hero style app for three fingers. Lots of fun, but there aren’t many songs. And they’re all techo beats.
I’ve tried Twitterific and Twittelator as clients for Twitter. Neither is very compelling. Frankly, I prefer Hahlo, which has been the top Twitter iPhone app for me for ages.
I do still enjoy the Remote app. It works over wi-fi, so I’m planning to upgrade my wife’s iTunes, add her library and freak her out from downstairs, playing random songs. That should be a laugh.
Jott and Evernote have nice apps, but I still haven’t been able to commit to using either service. However, I think if I ever get there, their iPhone apps will be very useful.
The Google and Facebook apps seem redundant to me, since they are very similar to the iPhone web apps these companies already released.
Finally, I have WeatherBug and Where. I haven’t really used either very much yet, but both are very slow over the Edge network.
Most of the apps ask if they can use your location data, even if there’s no obvious reason why, e.g. why does the Camera app care about my location? TechCrunch suggests that MySpace and Facebook have missed the boat so far because their apps do not use location.
Location and cell phones was one of the promises of Bluetooth back in the day; remember the killer app of broadcast ads to Bluetooth compatible cell phones nearby? I can’t imagine the outcry if that had gone into production. So, while I agree it has potential, I think people may have a paranoid barrier that prevents mass adoption.
Overall, apps seem pretty average, but the one big complaint I have is they can’t run in the background, which we’ve known since the SDK and license terms were announced. This is critical, and it may drive me to an unlock eventually.
Take Pandora for example. While writing this post, I took some screen captures (still a kickass new feature) and wanted to bounce over to mail them to myself from the Photos app. Pandora has to exit, which means no music. Of course, not so with the iPod app, which happily plays in the background while you move around the iPhone O/S.
This is a huge loss for users and app developers alike. Without background processing, computing fails.
Aside from apps and the screen capture nugget, I have noticed some cool stuff in the 2.0 update compared to 1.1.4. First of all, it doesn’t crash as much. 1.1.4 had become seriously unstable for me, crashing frequently in a lot of useful apps.
Mail also has multiple deletes, which saves time and iterations.
Still no copy/paste, another major gap.
What do you think of apps? The 2.0 firmware? Are you a newly-minted iPhone geek? Do you love it? Tell us all in comments.