Originally published in The Daily Toreador.
Something I noticed last Spring semester as I carted around the new iPhone 3G that I received for Christmas: Everybody was carting around the new iPhone 3G that they got for Christmas.
Over the summer, I know many of my friends and acquaintances were lighting up their Twitter feeds to inform the world that they just received an iPhone 3GS. I’m starting to wonder if we can start organizing students into groups. People who have iPhones (or at least iPod touches) and people who don’t.
Since Apple’s little black box is becoming such a dominant force on campuses across the nation, I felt it apt to provide a list of essential apps that you may not want to go into class without.
I’m of the mentality that most college students are poor and would rather save money whenever possible, so all of the following apps are free. However, if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks here and there, you can find plenty of good tools, such as RSS readers, homework organizers, and flashcard makers.
But since “a few bucks here and there” means wasting perfectly good beer and Ramen money, these apps cost nothing:
Wikipanion: Never cite Wikipedia as a source. That said, Wikipedia can be a great resource for finding information on necessary topics, or just reading about random crap you find interesting. This app is clean, easy to use, and free.
Dictionary: How many of you actually carry a physical dictionary around? Probably quite a few of you these days, considering how easy it is to use dictionaries online when need-be. But what if you need to look up a word when you’re away from the computer? The Dictionary app is perfect for such occasions.
AP Mobile: You need to keep up with the news. Since The Daily Toreador doesn’t have an app of its own, you unfortunately need to turn to other sources. There are plenty of options from the biggest names in publication, such as the New York Times, but AP Mobile may boast the most news content.
Facebook: This is something of a no-brainer, considering we’re college students, but since I notice so many of you checking your Facebook profiles every five minutes in the library anyway, why not check it every two and a half minutes on your phone?
Twitterific / Tweetdeck: There are a variety of fully capable Twitter apps available for your iDevice, but these are two of the best that come at the ever appealing cost of free. If you’re not sold on the Twitter phenomenon yet, you may be once you can check feeds on the fly.
Stanza: A free eBook reader, Stanza is more amazing than I initially expected it to be. You can do expected things, like transfer books from your computer or purchase books from a built-in store so you can read “Twilight” more discretely. But one thing that makes Stanza special is a large library of free material readily available for download. Old “Sherlock Holmes” and “Conan the Barbarian” stories, “Art of War,” “Dracula” … There’s tons of reading material to keep you busy. Now you can read the “Kama Sutra” between classes!
Pandora Radio: Internet radio at its finest, Pandora has become a best friend for many of us. This app takes everything you love about the Pandora website and puts it on a mobile device. You can even access all of your favorite stations just by logging in.
FML: While you can access “F*** My Life”s mobile Web site on the iPhone just fine, there’s also an app that makes it possible for you to be even more lazy about laughing over others’ misfortunes. Good for killing a few minutes here and there.
AIM and Skype: You need to stay in touch with your friends and classmates, right? What better ways than these programs that most of us probably already use on our PCs?
Mafia Wars: Since you’re all playing it on Facebook anyway (stop requesting that I join your mob, please) why not play “Mafia Wars” while eating lunch in the Student Union Building as well? Relieve some stress by completing some shady jobs.
Aurora Feint: One of the best free games for the iPhone, “Aurora Feint: The Beginning” is more than just a “Lite” version of a good puzzle game. It’s a fully featured (and quite addictive) puzzle game that might be good to have for downtime.