Ten Awesome Free iPhone Apps - dummies

By Bob LeVitus

The iTunes App Store offers lots of free apps among its ever-growing inventory of entertaining and informative mobile applications. Make the most of your iPhone or iPod touch experience with these fantastic freebies:

  • Comics is actually three different apps rolled into one.

    • It’s a fantastic way of reading comic books on a 3.5-inch touch screen.

    • It’s also a comic book store with hundreds of individual comics from dozens of different publishers, including Arcana Comics, Devil’s Due, Digital Webbing, Red 5, Zenescope, and many others.

    • It’s a great way to organize the comics you own on your iPhone, so you can find the one you want quickly and easily.

  • Wolfgang’s Concert Vault is an app that connects you to the largest collection of concert recordings in the world. Popular concerts include The Who, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvis Costello, and David Bowie. You can find concert recordings by hundreds of other artists, in addition to exclusive recordings you probably haven’t heard before and probably won’t hear elsewhere.

  • Eliminate Pro, a first-person shooter game, offers two modes of play: offline practice games and multiplayer online games. Offline practice games, which pit you against computer-controlled (actually iPhone-controlled) robots, are challenging and a lot of fun.

    The multiplayer online games let you compete against other living people in real time. These games earn you credits based on your performance, and you can use your credits to buy better weapons or armor or additional energy. When you run out of energy, you can either use some of your credits to buy more energy, wait a couple of hours for your free recharge, or purchase additional energy using real money (actually, iTunes Store credits).

  • Just launch Google Mobile App and hold your iPhone next to your ear. When you hear the tone, say what you want to search for. The super-smart app uses your iPhone microphone to determine when you’re speaking, what you said, and when you’re finished. Finally, it translates your speech into a Google search query and performs the search.

    Google Mobile App is available in English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and at least half a dozen other languages.

    When you type your query rather than speaking it, Google Mobile offers suggestions as you type.

  • Instapaper Free enables you to scan a dozen or more Web sites for articles of interest. You can use the handy Instapaper Read Later bookmark to add the page to my unread items list in Instapaper.

    Then, when you have down time, just launch Instapaper Free and catch up on your reading. You can read one or all of the articles even when there’s no network access whatsoever, such as on an airplane or in a boat or submarine.

  • Lose It! lets you track the calories you swallow (eat) and burn (exercise). You’re able to see at a glance how many calories you could still eat today without going over your dietary budget.

    Being able to see that info with just a couple of taps may motivate you to stick to the plan much better than anything else you’ve tried.

  • Now Playing has everything you need to help you decide on a movie, theatre, and show time. You can browse the movies playing in your area by title, release date, or rating. When you find a movie you’re interested in, with a single tap you can

    • Watch its trailer

    • Read reviews of it from a variety of print and online sources

    • Have the theatres and show-time listings e-mailed to you

    • View in Safari the Amazon, IMDb, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, or Wikipedia Web page for the movie

    If you tap the Theatres button at the bottom of the screen, you can see movie theatres (instead of movie titles) sorted by your choice of the theatre name or distance from your current location. Maps and driving directions are available for all theatres, or you can see an overview map that shows all nearby theatres at once.

  • The reason Pandora Radio works so well is something called the Music Genome Project, which performs the Pandora magic behind the scenes. It consists of hundreds of musical attributes, or genes, that together capture the unique and magical essence of a song — its melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, singing, and vocal harmony.

  • reQall remembers things for you with the least possible effort on your part. Say the words and tap the screen a couple of times, and your reminder magically shows up in your e-mail box a few minutes later.

    reQall is awesome for jotting down quick thoughts at a red light or standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.

  • Skype offers free voice calls and text messages to tens of millions of Skype users. There’s no charge for your Skype account or for the Skype software, which is available for the iPhone and iPod touch as well as Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, Windows Mobile, Nokia N800/810, and even the Sony PSP.

    After you’ve set up your free account, you can make free Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any other Skype user anywhere on earth for free. You can also chat with other Skype users for free.

    For a few dollars a month you can even get an inbound Skype phone number (known as a SkypeIn number), so anyone can call you on Skype from any landline or mobile phone anywhere in the world. Other low-cost Skype options include voicemail, SMS messaging, call forwarding, and caller ID.