Seven new iPhone apps for business and fun

Scott Lowe lists seven new iPhone apps that caught his attention. Find out which apps he thinks are worth checking out and which apps he recommends skipping.

Apple's App Store currently has more than 250,000 apps. Since most IT pros are too busy to keep up with the latest apps, I compiled a list of seven new iPhone apps that caught my attention. I think several of the apps are worth checking out, and the other apps, in my opinion, aren't worth your time. See if you agree.

Business ready

1: Supervisor's Helper 1.0 helps you track employee absences, excuses for absences, individual employee notes, and employee contact information.

At an introductory price of $0.99, this app could be useful for managers who are constantly on the run, or who manage people in multiple locations, or who are always on their mobile devices. The upside is that most managers probably carry their phones with them wherever they go, so the app will always be available. The downside is that the app may end up being just another place where information is stored and ignored.

The app is compatible with the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It requires iOS 4.1 or later.

2: MailTimer 1.0 allows you to schedule the sending of emails on particular dates and at particular times. For instance, perhaps you want to thank a particularly significant customer via email on a specific date and want to make sure you don't forget to do it.

This is a pretty cool app, but I'm not sure if a mobile device is the place where this kind of business communication should originate. It seems like there would be something a little more robust in place if the communication is truly important. That said, this $0.99 app allows people a little more flexibility than might otherwise be possible. The tool also allows automatic annual repeating of a message so it gets sent once a year. I can certainly see a lot of room for improvement in the repetition component, but this seems like an interesting first step. This productivity app could quickly degrade into a "just for fun" app.

The app is compatible with the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. It requires iOS 3.2 or later.

3: When you need a robust calculator, PCalc RPN Calculator version 2.3 is at your fingertips. The app's overview page indicates that the calculator is useful for programmers, engineers, scientists, and pretty much anyone else. The calculator includes paper tape functionality (which makes it really useful for accountants), changeable button layouts to make customization a breeze, and a plethora of other customization options.

I'm a sucker for a good calculator. PCalc for Mac has always been useful, but making it an app really helps it shine and can give it a whole lot more exposure. At $9.99, it's not a bad price, either. If you don't want to spring for the 10 bucks, you can use the PCalc Lite version for free, but you'll miss out on some of the features.

The app is compatible with the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. It requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Just for fun

4: Hulu Plus version 1.2 is free, but you do need a Hulu Plus account to use the app.

On the surface, Hulu Plus is a great idea. You pay $9.99 per month for unlimited access to content on Hulu and even get access to full season shows. Hulu Plus is still in its infancy, and there isn't a ton of value-add yet. That said, I sprung for Hulu Plus, and I'm enjoying it. I watch very little on an actual TV anymore (with the notable exception being Phineas & Ferb, which I watch with my kids); I usually watch some of the shows I like on my iPad or on my computer at work when I'm working late (honest — it's never during the actual workday!) and multitasking (Fringe is one of my favorites). My biggest gripe is that, even on Hulu Plus, I still have to sit through commercials.

The app is getting horrible reviews in the App Store, but I suggest checking back in a couple of months. When Hulu releases more content to its Plus service, the app just might be worth your while.

The app is compatible with the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. It requires iOS 3.2 or later.

5: Golfscape GPS Rangefinder 1.1 has layouts for more than 35,000 golf courses; also, the app tells you which club to use to get that perfect layup. At $19.99, the price might seem a bit steep for some, but when you consider just how much money people spend on golf, what's another 20 bucks, especially when the app uses ultra-cool augmented reality shots to give you a real-time look at your options.

The app is compatible with the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. It requires iOS 3.1 or later.

What were they thinking?

6: Bedbugs 'n Things 1.1 is a portable bedbug database that helps you identify bedbugs (there are even close-up photos of bedbugs). The app also shows you photos of what bedbug bites, and the associated rashes, look like. All of this for $0.99.

I really shouldn't be that surprised to find an app like this, especially since a bedbug epidemic is in full swing. Enjoy.

The app is compatible with the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad. It requires iOS 3.0 or later.

7: Ugly Meter version 1.4, which is self-explanatory, is among those really stupid apps that somehow keep making their way into the App Store. This particular 99 cent app is beginning to raise cyberbullying concerns. If you really want cheap laughs, I suggest you rent MacGruber instead of purchasing this throwaway of an app.

The app is compatible with the iPhone and the iPod Touch (4th generation). It requires iOS 3.0 or later.

iPhone app recommendations on TechRepublic

By Scott Lowe

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...