Sunday, November 25, 2007

Round-up of best made-for-iPhone web sites/apps

Whilst the iPhone and iPod Touch cope admirably with displaying regular websites, arguably leapfrogging Opera Mini (no mean feat) to provide the best small screen browsing experience to date, there's nevertheless a healthy appetite for sites and apps tailored specially for the iPhone / iPod Touch. Below is a round-up of fifteen of the best.

Remote Buddy AJAX Remote

This kind of has to be seen to be believed, transforming, as it does, your iPhone / iPod Touch into a fully featured virtual remote which which to control a bewildering array of your Mac's functions. Unlike the Roami (see below), the Remote Buddy doesn't just interface with iTunes but over 95 other applications including PowerPoint, Firefox, DVD Player, EyeTV and Joost, enabling you to operate presentations, watch video and live TV and take photos remotely using the iSight camera. Simply awesome. Available as a free 30-day trial. €19.99 to buy.


Nowhere near as sophisticated as the Remote Buddy AJAX Remote, but far simpler to operate as a result, Roami enables you to turn your iPhone/iPod Touch into a remote control for iTunes. A 3.6MB download to your Mac desktop provides you with a URL to type into your iPhone address bar which displays 'now playing' information and enables you to remotely select playlists, skip, pause and restart tracks, adjust the volume and toggle shuffle on and off. Free 14-day trial, $9.95 to buy.

BBC Podcasts

A personal favourite (disclaimer: I work at the BBC), this simple but slick beta app provides almost instantaneous access to the BBC's growing portfolio of podcasts, using progressive download to play the MP3s in Quicktime. The podcasts can be navigated by A-Z, genre or radio station (an option which beautifully showcases the new station logos). More on the BBC Radio Labs blog both here and here - see also below video.

BBC Podcasts (beta) on iPod Touch - demo from Dan Taylor on Vimeo.

JiWire Wi-Fi Finder

Anyone who's spent time wandering the streets of a major conurbation in a fruitless search for wireless internet access will appreciate the potential value of this little app which searches for details of nearby Wi-Fi access points against a city name or postal/zip code. It defaults to searching for free hotspots, although you can broaden the scope to include paid-for if needs be.


Never mind Amazon's Kindle, if you're wanting to read books on a mobile device then you could do a lot worse than TextOnPhone, which provide access to more than 20,000 titles, including classics such as Catcher in the Rye and Animal Farm. 'Turning the page' is as simple as tapping the screen and up to 50 pages can be downloaded for offline reading if you're planning to be without signal. It's also possible to create reading lists and add and share personal notes on any page.

TV Forecast

A neat little app for keeping tabs on when your favourite TV shows are next being broadcast. The transmission times are for the US - frustrating if you're stuck with waiting for the programme to get an airing on UK TV, but a godsend if you're wondering when the torrent is likely to be available for download (I would imagine).


At a glance status information on all the London Underground lines - like a pocket-sized version of those magnetic whiteboards you get by the ticket barriers. Designed by Utku Can - a 20 year old Computer Science student. Great URL too.

iPhit Fitness Tracking

Provides easy access to your Nike+ iPod running data (the main Nike+ website requires Flash, which iPhone Safari doesn't currently support). You will of course need a separate iPod nano to actually capture the data in the first place...

Twitter on Thincloud

Save yourself from the endless SMS messages with this big button app. Covers all the main functionality and nicely mimics the iPhone version of iTunes with four shortcuts along the foot of every page, providing one touch access to Recent Posts, Update Your Status, Direct Replies and Browse Friends.


Another app which appropriates the iTunes-style shortcuts along the foot of the page, although in this instance there are five on them (Conditions, Forecast, Radar, Camera and Weather). Conditions shows a simple thermometer and wind gauge; Forecast provides a six-day outlook; Radar shows an infrared satellite image of the continent; Camera shows a local webcam and Video plays the most recent (US) WeatherBug forecast in Quicktime.

Netvibes Mobile

Slick reversioning of the popular personalised startpage service, providing access to all the same modules, but arranged vertically to enable easy scrolling.

Yeah. No, Totally.

Another great URL and another neat site, 'Yeah. No, Totally.' provides quick access to a bunch of the web's most commonly used sites including Google, Wikipedia, Technorati, Flickr and BBC News (via its RSS feed). The only kicker for UK users is the US/SanFran focus, which renders the Shopping and Webcams section redundant.


A visual bookmarking site with the aspiration (as the name suggests) 0f getting you to your desired destination in just two clicks. The site enables you to arrange your bookmarks by category (the defaults categories are Home, Shop and Social), displaying a cached thumbnail of each site. It's also possible to add search boxes for some of the web's main players.


Stripped down window onto the Rotten Tomatoes movie reviews database, showing you a percentage score and top reviews for individual titles. Unfortunately search is the sole means of navigating the site so its only really useful if you know what film you're looking for.


Displays (half) the front page of six national newspapers (in the UK it's The Times, The Guardian, The Herald, The Telegraph, The Indie and The Current Bun) with a click-through to read the top headlines.


Unknown said...

Thanks for including in the list!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget - the largest database of iPhone related apps.