Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Apps for Multimedia Junkies

Here are the best apps for turning your iPhone into a time-killing hub. Whether you want to stream your music collection to your iPhone or take great pictures in low light, we have just the right app.

Charge Up Your iPhone With These Entertainment Apps

Bored? You won't be after you download a few of these entertaining gems for the iPhone. In the following slides, you'll see multimedia apps that let you get the most out of your digital vault of MP3s, videos, and photos. We also have apps that can help with other media, too. Want to manage your Netflix queue on your iPhone, or even place-shift your TV through your iPhone? You can.

The Apple App Store has a dizzying array of media-related apps to choose from. Here are some must-have iPhone apps for multimedia junkies--all guaranteed to keep you well entertained.

When you're tired of watching movies, listening to tunes, and jazzing up images, see the slide shows below to learn about iPhone apps that can get work done, challenge your gaming skills, and accompany you on the road. And to read descriptions and reviews of thousands of iPhone apps, be sure to visit PC World's brand-new App Guide.

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Publisher: Steve Sprang

Price: $4.99

Whenever and wherever inspiration strikes you, Brushes can come in handy. With this app you can go beyond doodling, using realistic brushes and virtually any color you want. Better than paper, Brushes offers deep undo and redo.

Amazingly, artist Jorge Colombo used Brushes to draw the June 1, 2009, cover of The New Yorker while standing for an hour outside Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Times Square.

A companion for this app, Brushes Viewer (Mac only, free), allows you to replay your Brushes painting stroke by stroke.


Publisher: Shazam Entertainment

Price: Free

You might have heard about this app before, but there's simply no substitute for Shazam. This free app is indispensable for identifying music tracks, whether they're on the radio or TV or you merely hum a little ditty (in tune, of course).

Just put the phone close to an audio source, and Shazam will return--within seconds--the track name, artist, and album. The award-winning Shazam also lets you buy from the iTunes Store songs that it identifies, and it gives you a quick and easy way to share your findings with your friends.


Publisher: Brent Jensen

Price: $2.99

For anyone who rents DVDs, iPhlix offers a neat way to manage a Netflix queue. Unlike some free movie apps, iPhlix doesn’t just display a list of movie posters; it also presents a label stating whether the video is on DVD or Blu-ray.

iPhlix has some great interface touches as well. If you flip the phone upside down, for instance, the app will scroll automatically to the bottom of your movies list. A detailed view shows information about the movie and ratings. And folks with larger movie queues can use the quick-scroll view, which works similarly to the contacts app.


Publisher: Jeffrey Grossman

Price: Free

Where is the nearest movie theater? And what are the showtimes? With Movies for iPhone you can find that information and more. In case mainstream movie critics aren't in sync with your tastes, this app also integrates with IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes for user reviews and ratings.

And if you can’t decide which movie you want to watch, Movies determines your location, shows trailers of all the latest releases, and grabs ticket info for most theaters. (I actually found a couple of great theaters very close to me that I never knew about, thanks to this app.) After you watch the movie, you can rate it and share your experience with friends via your Facebook account.


Price: Free

Lots of people know--and have grown to, which has over 5 million music tracks available to listen to for free online. The mobile client lets you take all of those songs with you (wherever you have 3G coverage) and enjoy them, commercial-free, for hours.

The more you listen, the more the app can learn about your tastes in music and deliver appropriately personalized recommendations. While listening, you can check artist bios and concert information, and you can even let your buddies know if you’re attending a show. for iPhone also syncs your playlist with its Web site so that you can keep track of your listening habits.

If you like, you might also want to take Pandora Radio for a spin. Pandora does a similar job, but the main difference lies in the music recommendation engine: Pandora uses the inherent qualities of the music while is mainly a social recommender, as Steve Krause explains in depth on his blog.

Night Camera

Publisher: Sudobility

Price: $0.99

Let’s face it: The iPhone's camera is not even to close to being perfect, especially in low-light conditions. Luckily, the Night Camera app can help you take better shots. Using the iPhone’s accelerometer, Night Camera detects the ideal moment to capture a picture, based on how steady you are as you hold the phone. This comes in handy when you're taking photos in dark environments.

What’s great about Night Camera is that the whole screen acts as your shutter button. After you've stabilized your picture, you don't need to fiddle with your fingertip on the small shutter button--instead you just tap anywhere on the screen. Another nice touch in Night Camera is the ability to add film-style effects such as sepia and black and white (applied after you take the shot), as well as on-photo time stamps.

Now that your pictures are clearer, you might want to try Camera Bag ($1.99), which can improve your photos by applying any of ten classic camera and film effects.

Simplify Music 2

Publisher: Simplify Media

Price: $5.99

Not even the largest-capacity iPhone can store the huge music libraries of some audiophiles. If that's the case for you, or if you're in the habit of forgetting to sync the new playlists you make to your iPhone, you might want to look into Simplify Music 2.

Simplify Music 2 streams your music library from your computer straight to your iPhone via Wi-Fi or EDGE/3G. After you install a companion app on your computer (PC, Mac, or Linux), your entire music collection will be available wirelessly on your iPhone, along with search functions and playlists--it's that easy. You can also enable the app to stream music from up to 30 of your friends on your iPhone, given that they use the app as well.

One note: If you own a lot of DRM-protected files that you've bought from the iTunes Music Store, you should make sure to sync those files with your iPhone the classic way, because Simplify Music 2 can't stream those files.

SlingPlayer Mobile

Publisher: Sling Media

Price: $29.99

Ever wanted to take the whole TV-viewing experience with you? If you own one of Sling Media’s recent place-shifting products, you can now enjoy TV shows on your iPhone, anywhere a Wi-Fi access point is available.

You can watch on your iPhone anything you can see on your TV at home, and you can control your cable or satellite set-top box and DVR, or even your Apple TV. Since the SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone uses only the Wi-Fi connection to display content, the picture quality is great.

Though this program is quite pricey, nothing else around comes close to the features and quality of a SlingBox device matched with the mobile app. You won’t have to miss watching your favorite baseball or football team ever again.


Publisher: Lexcycle

Price: Free

You might think that the iPhone’s smallish screen is unsuitable for reading books. But if you haven’t yet decided to invest in an Amazon Kindle, your iPhone can do the same job with the help of Stanza.

In addition to a selection of over 50,000 free e-book classics from the Gutenberg Project, Stanza gives you access to a paid bookstore that features, among other titles, books from the New York Times Best Seller list.

But Stanza sets itself apart from the Kindle iPhone app in its reading interface. In Stanza you can choose the font, text alignment, paragraph formatting, and line distance to improve your reading experience. It even has a night mode, in which the background is black and the text and images are white.

And since Stanza is free, there’s really no reason for you not to give this fine app a go.


Publisher: Cooliris

Price: Free

With the Cooliris app, you have a more interesting way to browse news, sort through videos, and search for pictures. Via a nifty 3D wall, this app lets you visualize the news in pictures just by flicking your finger across the iPhone’s screen. Browsing through Cooliris really is cool, since you can use pinching gestures to zoom in or out and tilt your iPhone left or right to scroll around the wall.

Cooliris is great for catching up on the latest news in a nonlinear way, but it’s also ideal for killing time and battling those inevitable moments of boredom. Through Cooliris you can explore “best of” content from across the Web, including Flickr, Google, Yahoo, and YouTube. The app also integrates with Twitter and other social media services, and it lets you share your discoveries with pals by e-mail. And if you have RSS feeds you want to check regularly, Cooliris is an interesting alternative to the traditional RSS reader application.

When you're tired of watching movies, listening to tunes, and jazzing up images, see the slide shows below to learn about iPhone apps that can get work done, challenge your gaming skills, and accompany you on the road. And to read descriptions and reviews of thousands of iPhone apps, be sure to visit PC World's brand-new App Guide.

Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Apps for Summer Travel

Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Apps for Gamers

Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Business Apps

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