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HC’s Guide to iPhone Applications: The Good, The Bad & The Random

Though the world is frankly disappointed in Apple’s latest gadget, it is a universally acknowledged truth that a single lady in possession of good taste must be in want of an iPhone (also, Colin Firth). So sleek, so shiny, so black, so mod, so matching with my patent leather heels! And – oops! – I forgot one…dearest iPhone, you are oh-so-functional too, you pretty thing. Am I gushing a little too much? Probably. So now it’s time to turn from opinion to fact.

There’s an App for That

Fact. There are a ridiculous number of iPhone/iPod Touch apps. Something like over 170,000.

With that many apps to choose from, you can pretty much get anything you want out of your iPhone. (It’s kind of like if there were a Personality Store for picking out the perfect traits in a boyfriend. Not that Personality Store:App Store::Boyfriend:iPhone…). So without any further ado, here are some highlights from the App Store: apps to download immediately, apps to entertain you endlessly, apps to reinforce whichever superlative you got when you graduated from high school, and – best of all – apps to hide on the last page of your iPhone home screen because they are incredibly dorky but secretly provide you with great enjoyment (seriously…don’t miss this section).
The iPhone and its apps are HC Chief Technical Officer-approved. Need we say more? We think not.

The Must-Haves

Facebook (Free)

Basically, now you can Facebook stalk on the go (just think: you could friend that cute guy you see as you’re crossing the street. Actually, we don’t recommend that. But technically you could…). Plus, this app can give you push notifications when certain actions happen on your Facebook page…i.e., you can find out IMMEDIATELY when he accepts your friend request (crucial).

Bump (Free)

This app is magical. There’s got to be a wizard involved or something. I was skeptical at first at the seemingly unbelievable/hilarious nature of this app: how in the world would literally physically bumping two phones together transmit data from one to the other? I still don’t know, but I have the app to prove it works! This is really useful for swapping contacts or photos with other iPhone-wielders. Go forth and share in joyful solidarity, O iPhone User!

Lose It! (Free)

Seriously amazing. This popular app helps you set a personal goal for your weight, log your daily calorie intake, record your calories burned in exercise, and keep track of your progress in achieving your goal! A must-have for the calorie-conscious chick.

Fandango (Free)

Ever want to see a movie on a whim? This is the app for you! Search movie times and buy tickets straight from your iPhone. No need to scramble to a computer or risk showing up at a sold-out show. You can even convince your friends to join in your spontaneity by playing the trailer right then and there.

Urbanspoon (Free)

Endorsed by several members of the HC Team, this app is the answer to the age-old question: what’s for dinner? Urbanspoon suggests nearby restaurants you might like based on neighborhood, cuisine, and price range. The best part: give it a shake and it will pick a place randomly!

Honorable Mentions

Pandora, Shazam, Camera Genius, New York Times, iPeriod, Ocarina, Drinks Pro, DropBox, Tweetie 2

The Hilarious, the Random, and the Absurd

I Am T-Pain ($2.99)

Bernadette, our Campus Correspondent at USC says: “This app allows you to sing along to T-Pain songs and record your voice — on autotune. It provides scrolling lyrics for you and when you’re done, you can upload it to Facebook. Many, many, many hours of fun for me and my roommates!” We’re sold!

Bubble Wrap (Free)

Very simple. Basically, you get a sheet/screen of virtual bubble wrap (yes, those plastic things that make receiving packages in the mail even more enjoyable!). You pop the bubble wrap. You enjoy the sound of the bubbles popping. You squeal (possibly silently). You try to do this quickly. Ta-da! The ultimate time-killing app!

Hello Cow ($0.99)

This review says it best: “Possibly one of the most pointless iPhone apps to date. Basically it is a picture of a cow that appears on your screen and when you touch it, it “moos”. Good for people with a very short attention span.” I LOL’ed for a while and then went to the App Store to check out this absurdity (which, for some reason, costs cash monies!)…whereupon I felt slightly ashamed because the app is targeted for young children who actually find Hello Cow very fun and exciting.

The Sims 3 ($6.99)

All I have to say is: The Sims already crashes your computer with its memory-draining qualities (not unlike a vampire). Why in the world would an iPhone represent an appropriate dwelling place for this battery-sucking beast?
So awkward…

An app made just for you…

The Gym Rat

Nike Training Club (Free) When I first found this gem, I knew I had struck app gold. Made by Nike, this app churns out personalized workouts for you, complete with video demonstrations. The ladies showing you their moves are so lean and greased up, you’ll be inspired to buy some new kicks, possibly some body oil, and of course complete the whole workout! The weather outside is frightful, so stay indoors and join the Nike Training Club (the equipment you’ll need is minimal)!

Bookworm

Classics (Free), The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales (Free) and many more ebook apps! Not to bash the iPad even further, but your trusty iPhone delivers ebooks too! Bernadette loves the Classics application, “a free app that gives you a little library of popular books (full versions!), such as Alice in Wonderland, Robinson Crusoe, Huck Finn, Pride & Prejudice, etc. A fantastic time killer that doesn’t feel like it’s melting your brain cells.” Word. I personally love the Hans Christian Andersen collection – he’s my favorite author!

Most Likely to Change the World

The Extraordinaires (Free) It’s an amazing story: thousands of “micro-volunteer” users of BeExtra.org and the accompanying iPhone app are together tagging a massive collection of news photos in an attempt to identify missing persons in Haiti. Using this app, you can browse and engage with an extensive collection of missions with the same heart for meaningful causes. Who says you can’t procrastinate meaningfully?

The Hidden Gems

We’ll forgive you if you put these dorky apps on the last page of your home screen, but we also believe they’ll get promoted to the front page when you inevitably get hooked.

Words With Friends (Free, or $2.99 without ads)

Scrabble for your iPhone! Play with friends, find a random opponent to crush, or search for user “mireias” for the most intense game you’ll ever play (yeah, that’s me). You can even trash talk your opponent using the chat feature…if that’s your thing.

Foursquare (Free)

The newly hottest, geekiest app of them all (is that an oxymoron?) – it’s all the rage among the 31337. You go around “checking in” at places you visit (your dorm, the mall, CVS…) and receive points along the way. UNLOCK SECRET BADGES (!!!!!) when you accrue enough points from visiting either a variety of different places or frequenting a place so much you get crowned MAYOR (dude, that’s awesome). Like, you could be the mayor of the nearest Chipotle if you wanted. Is this not totally badass in the dorkiest way imaginable in your weird virtual world? You betcha.

Bejeweled ($2.99)

Strangely addicting, this game involves lining up pieces of bling and blowing them up. (It’s actually a lot more graceful than that, though, I swear.) Perfect for combating subway-ride boredom.

Finger Physics (Free or full version, $0.99)

This wins the prize for nerdiest app name of all time. This game of careful maneuvering is highly addicting and actually quite adorable! For example, some levels require you to guide a vulnerable and cute egg into a basket while protecting it from the fiery abyss below. All in all, whimsical and challenging at the same time.

Doodle Jump ($0.99)

Staff writer Jess Goldstein swears by this game, attributing her obsession to – potentially – video game deprivation from parents. I feel ya. This game of dodging, trampolining, and shooting snowballs is packed with the greatest hits of the dorkchives: monsters, UFOs, black holes, propeller hats, and jet packs. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

Pets LIVE (Free)

If you were obsessed with Pokémon at some point in your childhood, you’ll be happy to revisit your quest to catch ‘em all in this popular game, ranked highly in the App Store. (Pssssst…we can’t deny we are mystified, as one can simply pull out one’s Game Boy Color for the real deal. But we do feel it is only proper to introduce this apparently best game ever). I’m sure I’ve missed an app or two, so shout out your faves in the comments!

Sources

http://appshopper.com/ http://mashable.com/2010/01/20/social-media-lessons-haiti/?utm_source=fe…

Bernadette, HC Campus Correspondent

Jess Goldstein, HC contributing writer

The Her Campus Team

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