One of the strange rituals of life in 2010 is what I call the “Shootout at iPhone Corral.” It’s the moment in a conversation when two people who aren’t normally given to gun-slinging unholster their iPhones for a showdown over who has the coolest apps.

To spare you that encounter, herewith are 5 apps that I find myself using all the time and that I recommend to every dueling partner.

1. Flight Status. If you travel much, you need this app. It’s usually more up-to-date than the status boards in the airport. It also gives you info like arrival gates and flight times.

2. The app formerly known as Tweetie. I love Twitter. And Twitter loves Tweetie, so much that it recently bought the company that produced this app, which is the perfect way to get your TwitFix even when you’re mobile.

3. ESPN ScoreCenter. Sometimes a man (and his son!) need to know the Nats score. Now.

4. NPR News. This app allows me to listen to the NPR stories I find interesting — and avoid those I don’t. (Hooray, no more 7-minute pieces about ladies who whittle Civil War figurines from rutabagas!) This might also be the best designed app around.

5. Faces iMake. I’ve actually begged magazine editors to commission Hanoch Piven to illustrate my articles. (If you don’t know Piven’s work, check it out here.) Now he’s got an app that allows civilians to create Pivenesque portraits on their phones. It’s fun and addicting — if you can get it away from your kids.

Any apps you want to add to this (virtual) shootout?

13 Responses to “My 5 favorite iPhone apps”

  1. Thanks Dan, I just added two of those, and now realize why the ‘Twitter’ app reminds me so much of my Tweetie!

  2. Brian Kling says:

    Sketchbook from Autodesk also feeds the creative urge!

  3. Ben Knight says:

    Yes, Brian, SketchBook is essential. Other great apps: iNapkin, Pocket MBA, Flip it!, ONN (Onion News Network), iStylophone, 90.7 WWOZ, Bloom, Fantastic Contraption (the only game I endorse here), Vuvuzela (contextual), AppSniper…

  4. I concur on Scorecenter. Go Cardinals 🙂

  5. Thanks for mentioning NPR, didn’t have it on my iPhone – downloaded the iPad version – it’s beautiful! Hope you got one for Father’s Day. Don’t forget to check out Tom’s The Little BIG Things Vooks. Fresh off the electrical presses.

  6. Rachel Evans says:

    iZenGarden, in order to chillax after playing with all your other apps!

  7. Thanks Daniel for the NPR app ! Much like you there are GREAT stories and then others I am not as fascinated with. Love the option to pick and choose and create playlists.

  8. Peter Olguin says:

    JotNot Pro and Evernote. The former allows me to quickly capture written material (recipes, wine labels, magazine articles, even handwritten notes) using my iPhone camera, crop out all the irrelevant bits, and tweak the contrast so it’s readable; the latter allows me to store the stuff I capture with JotNot on the cloud so I can find it using a keyword search later on.

  9. We’re glad you enjoy the NRP News app!

  10. Thank you Dan for mentioning Faces iMake-Creative Craziness!!!
    It is great to a part of your top 5 apps

  11. MightyLibrarian says:

    Voice Memos and iTalk (lite or pro) to record thoughts/tasks, TED conference, and Weather Channel, BBC News, WorldCat (find books in libraries based on zipcode.

  12. Ben Joven says:

    I love NPR but their iPhone app is very buggy, I guess I’ll have to stick to analog technology to get my Public Radio fix =/

  13. Mark says:

    Whenever I travel (for business or pleasure) I find these apps VERY handy:

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trip-journal/id341585937?mt=8 ($3)
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flight-status-live-flight/id288760989?mt=8 ($5)
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vacationsplit/id381435511?mt=8 ($1)

    There are a few others, but some are buggy or just don’t do what I need: Namely, clear and easy to use. No nonsense.

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