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Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders Paperback – July 27, 2009

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596804275 ISBN-10: 059680427X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews Review

This catalog of iPhone gems is an authoritative guide to the best, most useful, and most entertaining iPhone apps. Full of colorful and helpful illustrations, Best iPhone Apps gives you the lowdown on each app, with brief tips on how to use it.

Best App for Sharing Your Adventures
by Josh Clark

Whrrl v2.0
Free; Version: 2.0.0; Pelago

Turn your outing—or anything you do—into a slideshow to share with others. Whrrl bundles photos and text messages into “stories.” Friends can add to the tale from their phones, too. Anything’s fair game: Your kid’s birthday, a paintball match, a night out, a conference, whatever. Take photos, post messages, and when you’re done, sign into to edit your story into a slideshow to share on the Web, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Storytellers: Whrrl’s main screen shows a rundown of “featured stories”: a mix of slideshows posted by you and your friends, along with publicly shared slideshows selected for greatness by the Whrrl staff. Tap a story to see the slideshow, or start your own by tapping “Say where you are.” Announcing your location creates a new story where you post photos and messages.

Location, location, location: Stories are pegged to places. If other Whrrl-toting friends are in the same place, they can join the story and add their own photos and messages. You control who can see the story as it’s happening, changing the privacy settings anytime. You might share the story with more people, for example, after you get home and edit it into shape. The story ends when everyone leaves the location.

Feed me: Stories have two layouts, “feed view” and “story view.” Feed view shows the blow-by-blow events that construct the story, listing the messages, photos, arrivals, departures, and comments that float through the location as the story happens. In either view, visitors can add a comment by tapping the speech-bubble icon next to messages and photos. Tap a profile photo to see more about a person, including their stories.

Story view: This is the slideshow of the event. Photos and messages are each individual slides; the effect is like a silent movie where images and dialogue weave together. The front “card” shows who was there as well as visitor comments. When you’re done making the story, the slideshow remains on the Web, and you can edit it, share it, keep it private, or toss it out. (You have to sign into to edit or delete your stories).

Share with anyone: Friends, family, and coworkers don’t have to use Whrrl in order to see your adventures. Post stories on Facebook or Twitter while they’re in progress. (After a story is finished, you can still share it, but you have to do it from the website.) You can also have Whrrl create a photo album on Facebook for every story you create, copying your story photos automatically to your Facebook account.


I had a blast browsing through this full-color, 228-page book about the very best iPhone applications.

-- Mark Frauenfelder,

(Mark Frauenfelder)

...a good guide to a new iPhone user or one who hasn’t yet jumped into the App Store with both feet.

-- Ross Rojek,

(Ross Rojek)

A great help to sort through this iPhone app phenomena...

-- Gregg Ellman,

(Gregg Ellman)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (July 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059680427X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596804275
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,354,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Clark is a designer specializing in mobile design strategy and user experience. He's author of "Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps" (O'Reilly, 2010) and "Best iPhone Apps" (O'Reilly, 2009). Josh's outfit Global Moxie offers consulting services and workshops to help media companies, design agencies, and creative organizations build tapworthy mobile apps and effective websites, with clients including eBay and Nokia.

Josh is a regular speaker at international technology conferences, regularly educating designers, managers, and developers about mobile strategy and designing for phones and tablets.

Before the internet swallowed him up, Josh was a management consultant at Monitor Group in Cambridge, Mass, and before that, a producer of national PBS programs at Boston's WGBH. He shared his three words of Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev, strolled the ranch with Nancy Reagan, hobnobbed with Rockefellers, and wrote trivia questions for a primetime game show. In 1996, he created the uberpopular "Couch-to-5K" (C25K) running program, which has helped millions of skeptical would-be exercisers take up jogging. (His motto is the same for fitness as it is for software user experience: no pain, no pain.)

Josh holds a B.A. from Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By GJ on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am accustomed to good books from O'Reilly/Pogue Press, so I just bought this one, without checking it out first. BIG mistake. The book no doubt will please some users (as other reviews attest). This is most likely due to the fact that it is admittedly very pretty, and its small, pleasant format that fits snugly in your hand is very "user friendly" and cute. Although I think there are some legibility issues (compact, grayish font next to some pictures IS hard to read), if I were to rate the book's graphic design, it would be a well-deserved 4 stars.

However, as a software book, and especially one published by O'Reilly, this title has two rather serious, unforgivable flaws:

1 - NO INDEX: This is the only O'Reilly-published book I own that has NO INDEX. So, if you are trying to find out if there is a n app to TRACK your PACKAGES sent though UPS or FEDEX (all caps would be potential index entries), you are out of luck: you will have to flip back and forth through this small, but still 200+ pages long book and try to find the answer (the answer is: there is). I do understand this is not "Photoshop Bible" or "Real World InDesign," and I did NOT expect a similar degree of index detail, but no index at all makes this pretty useless, especially if its declared aim is to let you find apps you need for a specific purpose.

2 - Arbitrary selections, which make me think the author simply didn't do his homework very diligently, are the book's real, core problem. Take something as simple as UNIT CONVERSION apps. The author chooses Convertbot as "best" in this category. But what he really does, is choosing the PRETTIEST conversion app.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frost VINE VOICE on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
As an iPhone junkie, anything that has the word "iPhone" on it makes me giddy. When I saw this extremely glossy and colorful book entitled `Best iPhone Apps' in my bookstore, I started to salivate. This book is exactly what it says: a resource for those who want to get the best of the best. I will say that this is a pretty bold book in that it picks the best iPhone apps when, according to one website, there are at least 400 apps added PER DAY! Holy crap!! That's 1,600 per week!!

Josh Clark certainly put a lot of work in this book to come up with the "winners". Suuuuuure. Getting to test out numerous iPhone apps as a job... oh the horror!! :-) Anyway, Josh test a number of useful apps, IE; best app (b.a. from now on) for tracking packages, b.a. for to-do lists, and b.a. for editing office documents. He also tests fun apps: b.a. for sharing your adventures, b.a. for Twitter, and b.a. for when you can't hold it. Guy apps: b.a. for poker games and b.a. for sport scores. Girl apps: b.a for emotional manipulation (oh shut up it's a joke!) and b.a. for dieting and weight loss (OK so I'm pushing it).

This book is 228 pages with *about* 1 app per page, so this is a pretty informational tome. Josh covers a pretty wide gambit of interests so you'll always have something to look for. A few times he actually puts a runner up to the best app as well. He does this with Twitter, apps for reading books, and for finding movies. Nice. I didn't count to see what the ratio was between paid apps and free apps because 1. I have a life and 2... I have a life. In my opinion, the apps were picked based how freaking sweet they were and that's it. There is only one complaint I have about this book. Josh left out the app that helps us find jobs like the one he has!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. L McGuire on February 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
When a box of O'Reilly books descended upon my desk, the book that caught my eye because of it's full color contents and beautiful cover was "Best iPhone Apps" by Josh Clark. From the front cover alone, I recognized about half of the apps that were going to be reviewed. I have to admit, I am iPhone app junky. I have pages upon pages of apps installed on my first generation iPhone, and am always reading the internet for reviews and suggestions for more and more apps to try.

Truthfully, I didn't think that a book on iPhone apps was such a great idea. Apps come and go at a rather quick rate on the iTunes store. What's in today could be out tomorrow. But with all things, those of substance have a way of sticking around. I am online enough that I get my recommendations for apps so I didn't think that a book would help me much.

Then I loaned the book for the weekend to a new iPhone user. A coworker had just gotten his government issued iPhone a week before, and he was looking for suggestions on apps to try out. After going through the book, he came back to work on Monday having filled out five pages on his iPhone with new apps as suggested in this book. He couldn't say enough nice things about being able to sit on the couch, flip through the book, then go to the app store on his iPhone and download app after app.

The book is organized by into seven major categories of apps. Each of those categories is further subdivided the best 8 or 9 apps in that category. Each app gets a full-page description including screen captures, summary, pricing and app developer contact information. For most of the best of apps, the picks are apps that I currently already use, so it would seem that I agree with Mr. Clark's best of selection process.
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