iPhone Apps

What to Look for in an iPhone App

Thirty-plus years ago when personal computing was in its infancy, the science fiction movies and television shows featured technology that seemed too advanced to be believed. Remember watching Dr. McCoy wave his tricorder over an injury and miraculously healing it or Captain Kirk flipping open his communicator and uttering the legendary  Beam me up Scotty ? While we haven t quite attained Bones  miraculous healing ability, we do have much of the other technology available today in the form of iPhone apps.

When Apple announced the App Store on iTunes there was great excitement over the enormous potential it would offer both the developers of the apps and the end-users. As a result, when the store officially opened, the iPhone apps that were available ran the gamut in quality, price, and topic. It is understandable that choosing reliable apps that are easy to use and actually do what they say they do can be an overwhelming dilemma. It s important to keep a few key requirements in mind as you choose apps for your iPhone or iPod touch. Here you will find articles and objective reviews of iPhone apps to help you sift through the enormous number of options available and choose those that best meet your needs.

A quality app will have a full feature-set, whether it s a game or a complex navigational GPS program. From customizable elements to using the iPhone s built-in accelerometer and touch screen, to sounds and volume, the features of the application are the first sign of a developer s commitment to his or her product.

While features are important, an easy-to-use interface is just as crucial. Many a developer has seen his or her hard work being all for naught because the interface of their programs are too confusing or difficult. The controls for an application should be easy to understand and simple to use without requiring a lot of additional direction. It really doesn t matter how neat the idea behind the app is: if you struggle with the interface, you re not going to use it.

Graphics are the eye-candy of the mobile app. A visually appealing program increases its value as well as shows off the beautiful touchscreen of the iPhone. Style of the graphics is different than quality. If the app is advertised as a retro-style game, the graphics should represent a retro style throughout the program, but if an app is supposed to be an elegant Zen garden, the comic style of a retro game would be inappropriate. The images should be well thought out and professionally rendered throughout the app. Amateurish graphics will become annoying and quickly cause you to lose interest in the app.

All of the previously mentioned pieces are important and desirable in a quality app, but stability is the key to the whole operation. If the program continually locks up your iPhone or iPod touch and causes it to freeze or restart, it s certain to be discarded rapidly. And if the app wasn t free, the pain of its instability is compounded.

Program size:
The final app element to consider is program size. Since you can t add additional memory to your iPhone, it s important to manage the amount of memory an application requires. Generally, most of the apps are relatively small but there are a few that are sizeable and will gobble up your storage space quickly. If you decide that there is a large app you absolutely can t live without, by all means download it, but be aware of the memory limitations this will impose upon your iPhone.