Window shopping at the App Store

So those of us in the USA can now see—as long as we’ve installed iTunes 7.7—iPhone applications in the App Store. We can’t, however, do anything with them as of yet, because we can’t yet buy iPhone 3Gs, nor can we install iPhone 2.0 software on our first generation iPhones. (Anyone besides me think Apple should go to a unified global time for product rollouts? If so, please raise your hand!)

So that pretty much leaves window shopping as the main activity we in the United States can do, at least for some unknown number of hours.

So that’s what I’ve been doing—browsing through the app store, alphabetically, looking at all 187 programs that are (as of now) listed on the App Store. So what’s caught my eye and wound up on my birthday shopping list? (Hey, it was only two days ago, so I’m still in the grace period for presents, right?).

Before I start with my list of interesting-looking apps, I noticed there are 10 e-books in the store—all based on older novels (A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, etc.) that (I believe) are clear of copyright, and each for sale for $0.99. Given I don’t commute, none of these made it onto my must-have list. However, if you enjoy reading while commuting on a train or bus, these are bargains.

So if e-books don’t do it for me, what did I find interesting? Presented in alphabetical order, here are the programs I intend to take a closer look at once I can actually buy and install them:

  • 4 in a Row [$4.99]—An iPhone version of a classic game from my youth. Simple to play, addicting, and requires some strategy to do well.
  • 5 Card Touch [$1.99]—When I visit Vegas, video poker is my usual diversion. Now I can carry it around with me! (Also need to check out Video Poker [$1.99] from MobilityWare and Video Poker [$4.99] from Glenn Seamann.)
  • AIM [Free]—While it won’t have the always-connected background operation of my modified iPhone’s Apollo application, this is a big step in the right direction for iChat on the iPhone.
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    Favorater [$2.99] or Friends [$4.99]—While the iPhone 2.0 software still lacks voice dialing, these apps go a long way to making dialing easier. Store pictures of often-called friends, and then just tap a large icon showing their picture on a screen to dial their number. Favorater is shown at right.
  • FizzWeather [$4.99]—The iPhone’s weather widget on steroids. Multi-day forecasts, radar maps, and weather that might cause delays at certain airports.
  • Frisbee Golf [$2.99]—From the description, it sounds like this game may use the tilt sensors in the iPhone to help you control your frisbee as you throw it at distant targets.
  • Jott for iPhone [Free]—Record voice memos for to dos (or whatever) and organize them into lists. When done, swipe your finger across them to mark them as completed.
  • OneTap Movies [$1.99]—OneTap Movies knows where you and your iPhone are, and displays the nearest theaters, what’s playing there, show times, critics’ ratings, and much more. You can also watch trailers, all with the tap of a finger.
  • PCalc [$9.99]—One of my favorite Mac OS X calculator applications comes to the iPhone. Powerful and easy on the eyes, this is great to see on the iPhone.

I’m sure there are many more programs I’ll want to check out, including any number of “radio on the iPhone” programs…but the above list is my current starting point. (Note that you can easily save an application for future review by dragging the name of the app from the program’s info page to your Desktop—this will create a shortcut URL that you can then click to open the app in the store.)

How about you? What’s caught your eye in the newly-opened store?

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