21. Instapaper Free
Set up an Instapaper account, create a bookmark in Safari on your device, and you can then send articles to Instapaper Free, for a superior and focussed offline reading experience. The app also acts as a superb taster for the paid version, which adds alternate themes and iPad support.
22. PCalc Lite
“But I’ve already got a calculator on my device,” you might argue. True, but now you can stash default Apple apps in a folder, it’s easier to justify replacing them with something better – and PCalc Lite is without doubt the finest free calculator for iOS, with a great interface and plenty of options. You can also bolt-on features from the paid version via in-app purchases.
Having made a big splash on the iPad, iBooks has now arrived for Apple’s smaller devices. Effectively iTunes for books, the app combines a reader and store, in Apple’s typically usable and integrated fashion. Usefully, iBooks includes PDF support and bookmarks automatically sync across devices.
24. Red Laser
Now free, due to being snapped up by eBay, the Red Laser bar-code scanner is pretty accurate, even if you’re still saddled with an iPhone 3G. It’s great for checking prices while shopping, and also enables you to get your media collections into Delicious Library if you make use of AppleScript.
25. eBay Selling
And the reason for eBay buying Red Laser? This app, which makes it astonishingly easy to sell your unwanted stuff. Use eBay Selling to scan items; you can then research prices on eBay or import items for sale far more quickly than you can using a PC.
26. eBay Mobile
Unsurprisingly, eBay also has the buying side of its operation covered with eBay Mobile. The app supports iOS 4 multitasking, and, like eBay Selling, it’s fast and efficient, to the point that it’s preferable to using eBay’s website on a PC.
27. Google Earth
“Hold the world in the palm of your hand,” says Google about Google Earth, which enables you to fly across the planet by swiping your finger. More integration with content and features from Maps would be good, but Google Earth’s Wikipedia articles and a Panoramio layer at least ensure it’s a great app for seeing the world from your living room.
28. XE Currency
XE Currency is a fine example of an app that does what it needs to, without fuss. You configure a list of currencies, and it shows current conversion rates. Double-tap a currency to set its base rate or to define values for custom conversions.
Shazam is an app that feels like magic when you first use it. It’s deceptively simple—hold your iPhone near to a music source, and wait while the app listens and tells you what track is playing. But the sheer technology behind this simplicity is mind-boggling, and while Shazam doesn’t always guess right (and only allows five ‘tags’ per month for new users, unless you upgrade to the paid version), it’s worth a download.
Another contender for the ‘surely, that’s witchcraft?’ award, Bump enables you to select up to four contacts, then ‘bump’ your device into another iOS device running Bump to transfer details, or to compare contacts. And, yeah, we know there’s an email-based ‘share contact’ option in Contacts, but where’s the fun in that?
As you might expect, Yell.com enables you to find local stuff. Select from a bunch of built-in categories or type in your own term for a list of local amenities, and use the map to navigate. Avoid the clunky augmented reality view, though.
32. BBC News
BBC News has a mobile website that works very nicely in Safari. However, when using it you’ll find video isn’t accessible. The BBC News app has some slightly quirky navigation (and occasionally questionable stability), but provides quick access to breaking stories, complete with playable videos and zoomable text.
33. Find My iPhone
For the paranoid souls out there (or the unlucky ones who’ve had their devices pilfered), Find My iPhone has now been freed from the paid version of MobileMe. Assuming you’ve a 2010 or later iOS device, you can set up a free account and locate your devices within seconds. (Note that older devices can also be added to Find My iPhone – you just need a recent one to get things going.)
34. Dragon Dictation
Fed up of typing on the tiny iPhone keyboard? Use Dragon Dictation instead, which happily converts your speech into text (with slightly spooky levels of accuracy for a freebie app). You can even punctuate (“Comma! Full-stop!”), and when you’re done the app enables you to fire your thoughts at Facebook, Twitter, Mail or the iOS clipboard.
35. iHandy Torch Free
It’s a torch! It’s a cheesy neon light! It’s a hypnotic spiral effect! With slightly annoying ads! (In reality, iHandy Torch Free is a mostly a handy app to have installed in case you get up for a midnight snack or toilet visit, don’t turn on the light and want to avoid smashing your toe annoyingly hard into an unruly cupboard.)
36. TVGuide.co.uk TV Guide
TV Guide is an app that’s come a long way. At one time, this was a disappointing UK TV listings app. Today, it boasts now-and-next and scrollable listings views, reminders, and calendar, Twitter and Facebook integration. Only avoid if you hate TV or don’t live in the UK.
37. Zoopla Property Search
There are loads of property search apps on the App Store, but Zoopla is the best of them. Its listings are comprehensive and there’s also local market data, including local sale prices and estimates on market value. The location button is a bit rubbish, but the app soon finds properties when you manually type a location.
If you’re an instant messaging fiend, IM+ gives you access to GTalk, Yahoo, MSN/Live Messenger, AIM/iChat, ICQ, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Jabber. With multitasking and push notifications in iOS 4, IM+ has been transformed from a curiosity into a must-have freebie app.
39. Atomic Web Browser Lite
The lite version of Atomic is missing quite a few features that are found in its paid-for version, including even basic multitasking support and content resumption on reopening the app. However, for times where you need a single-session browser that automatically dumps everything on exit, such as when buying gifts, this is a handy app to have installed.
40. Virtuoso Piano Free 3
Virtuoso Piano Free 3 won’t turn you into a virtuoso, but it’s a perfectly serviceable mini piano. You can amend the number of keys shown on screen, and buttons enable you to rapidly navigate the full keyboard. You get two built-in voices for playback, to which you can add variable levels of sustain.