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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book for an awesome iPhone...
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...
Published on August 3, 2009 by Jason Frost

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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing title from O'Reilly
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...
Published on August 31, 2009 by GJ


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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing title from O'Reilly, August 31, 2009
By 
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (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. Yes, I love to play with Convertbot too - it's VERY, very cool, and beautifully designed; and it makes futuristic sounds like something right out of Transformers. And it works just fine for many things. But just wait until you have to actually USE IT for converting things such as type. It's obvious the author doesn't realize the apps failings, which only become obvious if you put it through its paces, and actually use it. Try converting 40 points to picas using Convertbot, and if you are a designer, you will know what I mean when I say that the result calculated is 3.333. Yes, there are apps that convert things like that BETTER (3 picas 4 points is more practical to know), but they aren't as pretty as this one.

I am not trying to say that the book is not good simply because I disagree with many of the author's "best in category" choices - that's NOT my point - a good book would tell you that while Convertbot looks pretty, and might be "overall best" it's not recommended for designers who work with type (and it would tell you what is); it would also tell you that the most popular conversion app you will see in the app store (Convert) has serious deficiencies in currency conversions, so it's not a good choice for an overseas trip to Central Europe.

Another example would be time-tracking apps. Once again, we get a recommendation for a nicely designed, attractive-looking app (Jobs), which unfortunately cannot tell you how much time you spent today (overall) on project X, or tell you how many hours (total) you spent working for client Y LAST WEEK. There are apps that can easily do that, including specific ranges of time or other parameters for export, but they aren't even mentioned here. So if you follow the author's recommendation, and buy Jobs, and you need to get daily total of times worked on all projects, you will not be very happy. Postino for E-Post Cards? Yes, sure, if you don't mind the fact that the post cards arrive in your friends' e-mailbox with fairly obnoxious company branding (even though its a paid app), and from an address your friends are likely to direct right to their spam folder. Many descriptions are misleading (although I am sure not intentionally), for example the author doesn't tell you that the "databases" some of them use are sumply "crowdsourced" user submissions, which means that while some metropolitan areas like NY or SF might be well covered, many other areas may not be(e.g., OpenTable, SotOrSquat).

Although it is inevitable, some information is already out of date (of recommended RSS readers NetNewWire has discontinued service, and TweetDeck, one of the most function-rich Twitter apps is not even mentioned in the book, etc.)

The list goes on, and although I do NOT know all the apps listed in the book (but I have at one point tried about 85-90% of the non-game apps mentioned in the book) the point is not that I do not agree with the choices, the point is that the descriptions frequently omit shortcomings that are serious enough to make many apps unusable for many people, and omit choices that are likely to work better.

I am accustomed to expect useful advice from O'Reilly (and Pogue) Press books and I found this book (like many apps it recommends) pretty, readable, and pleasant, but seriously lacking in functionality and substance. It goes back.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book for an awesome iPhone..., August 3, 2009
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (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!!! Dude, not cool!

Look, all jokes aside and taking all of the iPhone books into consideration, this one rocks. It's very descriptive, eye catching, and really fun to read. THIS is the one you should have.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent place to start for new iPhone owners., February 9, 2010
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (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.

I would recommend this book to someone new to the iPhone and someone who would rather flip through a book than scour the various iPhone app review sites on the internet to get started on their iPhone app collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Best iPhone Apps reviewed by The Book Vixen, January 22, 2011
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
Why I Read this Book: I was browsing the selections on NetGalley when I came across this book. I have an iPod Touch so I thought it would be a great book to read. At first, I tried uploading it to my Kindle, however, this is not a Kindle-friendly read. This book is best display on paper or on your computer, either way - in color. So I read the book on my computer. I usually don't read books on my computer but this was a pretty fast read.

What I Liked: I liked the way the book is organized. The book is divided into sections:

-At Work
-On the Town
-At Leisure
-At Play
-At Home
-On the Road
-For Your Health

And then there are categories within each of those sections. For example, in the At Work section you'll find the following categories:

-To-Do Lists
-Tracking Big Goals
-Remembering Stuff
-Tracking Time
-Tracking Packages
-Working the Web
-Brainstorming
-Shutting Out Noise
-Offbeat Inspiration

For each app that is listed, the author gives you the app name, price for the app, version of the app and the app creator. Paid apps as well as free apps are listed. The author picks a Best App for each category, with a few apps getting an honorable mention. There is even a Best App for Elvis Sightings! (Who knew there was even an app for Elvis sightings?!!) Here are a few Best Apps mentioned in the book that I use on my iPod Touch:

Stanza - Best App for reading books. The Kindle App got an honorable mention. Before I got my Kindle 2, I used both of these apps. I haven't used either of these apps lately but I still have them on my iPod Touch.

Twitterrific- Best App for Twitter. Twitterrific has done a very shady tactic by no longer supporting their current version. They have come out with version 3 but have taken away all the perks, which you are now required to pay for. I am now going with Twitter's own app.

Mint.com - Best App for checking your finances. I use this app all the time!

Here's one app that won Best App that I disagree with:

Wikipanion Plus - Best App for browsing Wikipedia. What?!! And it's $4.99! I am not sure when the official Wikipedia app came out but that's the one I use. And it's free - Bonus!

What I Didn't Like: The screen shots of the apps in the PDF copy of the book I had were blurry. I assume (and hope) that this is only a problem with the PDF file and is not a problem with the bound version.

This book was outdated the day it was published. Technology is extremely fast-paced and there are hundreds of new apps that come out each week. To paint you a picture, check out these stats I found on Wikipedia and from Steve Job's 9/1/2010 Keynote:

55,000 - Number of available apps on iTunes on 7/11/2009 (2 days after the book was released) [Wikipedia]

250,000 - Number of available apps as of 9/1/2010 [Keynote]

That's 195,000 new apps that have come out in a little over a year since this book was published!

Overall Impression: I think it would be better to have this type of information available on a website as opposed to a book. Funny thing is, there is a Best iPhone Apps website that discusses newly released apps. And this website has a lot (if not most) of the same information given in the book. Did I just debunk their secret?

I cannot justify spending $9.99+ on this book only to have it be outdated as soon as it hits the shelves. Was this book helpful? Yes, it was. But it's best to get this one from the library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides Focus For iPhone Newbies, December 14, 2009
By 
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
"Best iPhone Apps" is a short, very readable collection of representative iPhone apps for the iPhone newby who, like me, may be overwhelmed by the estimated 100,000 potential apps available (and still coming). It is written in a friendly, easy to read style that will appeal to the non-techies among us who just want some direction and focus in the various types of iPhone applications out there, whether for utility, entertainmaent, travel, or finance.

The book is filled with colorful illustrations, useful descriptions, screen snapshots on how-to-use them, and explanations and user tips for the over 200 applications presented. The book is broken into 7 color coded segments helping to keep things organized--which turns out to be especially useful since the author DID NOT include an index for easy locating and reference.

Section 1--At Work. This section contains utilities for handling documents, editing, databases etc. It also includes apps for phone calling and even one that turns your iPhone into a remote control.
Section 2--On The Town. These apps refer to wining and dining opportunities including a wine pairing selector, top restaurants, how to make cocktails and how to get reservations. Applications to find movies and get tickets are included here.
Section 3--At Leisure. These include apps for Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace interactions as well as news/media resources, and radio/music options.
Section 4--At Play. Here are samples of arcade games, puzzles, sporting games, and strategy games.
Section 5--At Home. This section includes apps on cooking, shopping, finding ATM's, car maintenance, and financial records.
Section 6--On The Road. Here you will find helpful apps for finding taxis, using subways, tracking air flights etc.
Section 7--For Your Health. The concluding section presents apps that deal with dieting/weight control, personal training, stress relief, and running and golfing (among others).

In conclusion, I recommend this effort for those who are new to the iPhone and seek a simple, colorful method to get acquainted with the whole concept of applications. Obvioulsy the author was forced to make choices on presenting only about 225 out of the tens of thousands of apps out there...but the book provides direction and some focus for the new members of the iPhone family.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great as an idea book..., January 31, 2010
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
for aspiring IPhone app writers. This was what I bought this book for and this is the way in which I use it. Thus, you may or may not be frustrated with it if you are looking for good apps to use, but I thought it was truly excellent as a means of prodding my imagination as a programmer, to see what is already out there, and to see how apps might be combined or improved upon. One reviewer said this book does not have an index, and I'm not sure what he/she is talking about, because it does have an index of sorts. The index consists of an alphabetical listing of IPhone apps, and from their names it is pretty easy to tell what most of them do. I can then turn to the page for that app, get an idea of what the interface looks like, and see if maybe a new app can be written that builds upon its capabilities or maybe it gives me inspiration for something completely new and different.

As far as books that give you "the best IPhone apps", I'm not sure why a user would buy such a book and expect the latest information. You're only going to find that with an online search. It rather reminds me of those "Internet Phone Books" that used to be published regularly back in the early web era of the mid 1990's. They were usually outdated as soon as they were published.

Thus, if you are a developer looking for ideas and user interface examples, I think it's great. If you're looking for a timely book for good apps in such a fast-paced environment as the IPhone, I don't think it is possible to write and publish such a book in a conventional fashion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New iPhone User, November 8, 2009
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
REVIEW : Mr. Clark must be given a star for the apps he has chosen to display. There is a handy table of contents that lists more than two hundred apps. The price for apps will run between $5.00 and $20.00, though many are free or under $3.00 and all can be ordered on line. The book is easy to use, it's only 6" X 8" and about three eights of an inch thick, so may be carried as an easy reference. The front edge of each page is colored to serve as an easy topic division. The ideas and suggestions are easily understood so the book is usable for the novice, yet worded cleverly to appeal likewise to the professional. In addition to the list of contents, the short App Index is practical for effortless location of sought after apps. One must know the apps name to find success.

The book is divided into seven classifications and color coded for clarification. m

PRO - The chosen best of some 8000 Apps were described, per page opening. In addition, separated by vertical dotted line, a very similar app is shown with price and version given in both cases.
CON - Some two hundred apps that shine with creative and productive activity are shown but because of growth in numbers, it will be difficult to keep abreast.

MOOSE RATING - 5
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Guide for the iPhone Newbie, August 23, 2009
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
With well over 56,000 apps of this writing, the iTunes app store can be intimidating. There are just so many apps out there one doesn't really know where to begin. Staring with the top 10 or top 25 is a great place to look, but too often the gems are buried in the middle and nearly impossible to find in that stack of 56,000 apps. Even if you just stick to the top apps, you don't get manuals or easy instructions with them, making purchasing apps that much more of a frustrating experience.

"Best iPhone Apps" fixes both problems. Author Clark has a good mix of popular apps such as Yelp and Facebook, but also includes some off-the-wall ones such as What The Font which helps you identify a particular font using your camera. Each app receives one dedicated page of explanation and a screen shot - which is a heck of a lot more than iTunes or many developers provide. Additionally, there have been some more expensive popular apps I've been afraid to purchase because there are no demos in the App store (a fatal flaw in my opinion). An example of this is Jaadu VNC. This $24.99 app sounds great, but does it work? I bought it and couldn't quite figure it out until I read this book.

Unfortunately, while the book is iPhone 3.0 aware, it was published before iPhone 3.0 software and the iPhone 3GS came out, so some of the information is slightly dated. Nonetheless, the apps that are great now will continue to be great. This book is perfect for a non-technical new iPhone or iPod Touch user who isn't quite sure where to begin. A vast majority of the apps listed in the book are free or low-cost so there is little risk in trying and exploring these apps.

Overall this book is perfect for a new iPhone user or a more experienced user who wants to take the time to learn about some new apps

Pros: Covers a wide variety of apps in depth
Cons: Quickly will become outdated
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ONE iPhone book to buy!, October 9, 2009
By 
Eben R. S. Visher (Sacramento, California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
Highly recommended. If you own one iPhone book, let it be this!

This is a wonderful book. I own a copy and have given copies to iPhone-using friends and colleagues. Just browsing through the table of contents gave me ideas about entire categories of apps that I had not even considered. I then went and downloaded apps in several areas.

I have tested 200-300 apps myself and I keep track of the best apps in many categories. I also consistently read what reviewers say. One thing I particularly like about this book is that the author's choice generally agrees very closely with mine. That is, the book's number one choice in a category is generally either my #1 or #2 choice. That fact gives me high confidence in the book, so I can use it to acquire excellent apps in areas where I have not done much research.

Rush out and buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, but a bit dated, January 7, 2010
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This review is from: Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders (Paperback)
This is a great book. It give a good description of the recommended iPhone apps and in most cases refers you to a website for more information. However, some of the material is outdated. It's not that the book is old, it's just that this information changes daily and honestly, it does not lend itself well to a book format. You are probably better off visiting the updated reviews of these kinds of apps on the MacLife or MacWorld websites. Still, if you prefer getting this sort of info from a book, you will find that 90% of the material is still valid and relevant. I don't regret the purchase, I'm just not sure I would do it the same way again.
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Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders
Best iPhone Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders by Josh Clark (Paperback - July 27, 2009)
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