17 Free iPhone Apps You Need Right Now


Thanks to the iPhone version of Pandora's free music Web site, you may never need to use the iTunes Music Store again...just as long as you like your music to play randomly. Just enter an artist's name, press the Create button, and listen as your selected artist and similar-sounding acts play in no particular order. If you already have a Pandora account, the Pandora iPhone app lets you access your preexisting stations and even sends your listening data to your Facebook profile automatically. One fun use for this app: Put your iPhone on your bedside table and have it play your custom stations through the phone's on-board speakers--it sounds like a clock radio playing all your favorite acts. Surprisingly, this music-streaming app works without a hitch even at EDGE speeds.


Maybe this is why Apple didn't include a remote with the latest MacBooks--the company wants you to buy a new iPhone instead. The free Remote app lets you control your iTunes library or on-screen Apple TV action directly with your iPhone via a Wi-Fi connection. Once your iPhone establishes a Wi-Fi connection, you simply select your iPhone from iTunes' 'Devices' list, enter the four-digit passcode on your iPhone's screen, and use it as a touch-screen clicker. It worked seamlessly in my tests with iTunes.


If you need MLB, NFL, NBA, international soccer, NHL, car racing, NCAA, PGA, tennis, and other sports results fast, SportsTap covers them all--it's a nice free app that will put them at your fingertips. The interface is clean and intuitive, and the scores load fast, even on EDGE. SportsTap doesn't allow you to select a favorite team or teams to keep an eye on, but even so, the score you're looking for is always a couple of taps away.


If you're a heavy-duty Twitter user or you want a better way to sort and manage all of your friends' tweets, you'll want to download this app pronto. Designed beautifully, it's a very useful front end for the popular messaging application that auto-refreshes your incoming tweet feed, allows you to reply to tweets with one touch, and lets you consolidate all your Twitter accounts on one page. There's no "Fail Whale" in sight, either, though the app has crashed a few times in my testing.


This innovative app puts a new spin--literally--on restaurant recommendations. You can elect to have the iPhone use your current location or you can input a city manually, and then the fun begins. Either physically shake the phone or tap the 'Shake' button on the touch screen, and the slot-machine-like interface spins wheels bearing the names of neighborhoods, food types, and price ranges. When the wheels stop spinning, Urbanspoon's app recommends restaurants based on the variables that come up ('Mission / Seafood / $$', for example). If random results aren't your thing, you can "lock" neighborhoods, cuisine types, and price ranges to get recommendations based on your defined parameters.

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