by Tom Kaneshige

15 Best iPhone Apps for Newbies

Jan 13, 2011
Enterprise ApplicationsiPhoneMobile

For years, many have longed to own an iPhone, only to be turned off by AT&T's dodgy network. The wait is over: A Verizon iPhone 4 will hit the market Feb. 10. So what will you download first? Here are 15 can't-miss iPhone apps.


Take it from experienced iPhone owners, don’t underestimate the power of a handy flashlight. Many flashlight apps quickly illuminate the iPhone’s screen, but the LED Flashlight (free) also taps the iPhone 4’s built-in flash for a tighter light beam.


For many iPhone owners, the most heavily used app is Facebook (free). The iPhone and Facebook app make it super easy to check status updates throughout the day. If you’re a Facebook user, this app will likely take a coveted spot on the first home screen (if not the lock screen).

Facebook Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Facebook


AIM ($2.99) keeps you in touch with your friends, letting you know when they’re available and managing conversations easily and clearly. You can also post your status on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Lifestream over the app.


Imagine telling a personal assistant to remind you to call your mom, book a taxi, find out what’s playing at a movie theatre. That virtual assistant is an iPhone search app called Siri Assistant (free). The app is so good that Apple spent millions to acquire Siri last year.


Find out what’s around you, such as stores, gas stations, bars and other places of interest with AroundMe (free). See places on a map dotted with flags, or use the augmented reality feature that shows places and distances via the iPhone camera.


The iPhone is a “lean forward” mobile device where you get the latest news, videos, photos and alerts. No major media app has captured this experience better than CNN for iPhone (free).


As you run across articles, blogs and news, save those Web pages for offline reading on the iPhone with Instapaper ($4.99). This app turns Web pages into a great reading experience.


Reading a book on the iPhone isn’t as bad as it sounds, especially if you have a good reader app like Kindle (free). You may have heard of the big bookstore for Kindle, too, called Amazon.

E-Reader Roundup: 8 Devices Compete for the Crown


Take text, audio and photo notes with Evernote (free). Notes are dated and searchable and tagged with geolocation information for mapping. Now when inspiration strikes, you can just whip out your iPhone and capture the moment via Evernote.

Banking App

Did you pay the electricity bill? Need to transfer funds to pick up the dinner tab? Where’s the nearest ATM? Download a bank’s official iPhone app from the App Store, and you’ll feel a lot safer with mobile banking. iPhones and banks go together like deposits and withdrawals.


Before you buy anything, make sure you scan the barcode with RedLaser (free). The app uses the iPhone camera to capture a barcode image, then identifies the product and provides competitive pricing among various retailers.


If you’re a penny pincher (who isn’t these days?), then get Groupon. Yes, it’s a free app. Groupon serves up a daily deal on a product or service near you. Of course, you’ll have to be in one of 130 applicable cities in the United States.


One of the first “wow” apps on the iPhone, Shazam (free) listens to music and identifies the artist and song. In the past, Shazam provided unlimited song tagging; today, the limit is five per month or unlimited with Shazam Encore ($4.99).


If you’re a Netflix fan, this Netflix iPhone app (free) is a no-brainer. Watch TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix on your iPhone. While not quite the big screen, the iPhone still delivers a pretty good viewing experience.

Angry Birds

Yes, this is a must-have game app. Those dastardly pigs have stolen the angry birds’ eggs. Oh, the horror! You’ll come to know soon enough why you must be part of this epic war. Snickering pigs will haunt your dreams.