With thousands of free iPhone apps available, it can be daunting to narrow down the ones that are worth your time. Don't let the zero price tag fool you. Some of the best apps available can be downloaded at no charge.
Best of the web on your iPhone
The best invention for the music-challenged is the free Pandora Radio app. Let's say you're a fan of the band Kings of Leon but are not well versed in the alternative music genre. Enter the Pandora app. Just like the website, you can create a Kings of Leon radio station that not only plays the band's songs, but similar alternative songs. Now, not only do you not have to spend hours searching through iTunes, but you can also listen to the stations you create whenever, and wherever you want. Now that is genius!
When Facebook updated its free iPhone app in August, it provided yet another way to send and receive too much information to your friends and contacts. How did I ever get by without knowing that my best friend from junior high went to a Kenny Chesney concert or that the CFO of my company is a fan of "The Tube Sock Promise" band? TMI runs overtime on Facebook. And, with the new free Photoshop.com app, you can spruce up your latest Facebook profile pic!
Free and entertaining
It never ceases to amaze me why people shell out their hard earned cash, especially in this economy, to buy a Kindle device. Why pay hundreds of dollars for the ability to read books on a screen, especially when you can download the free Amazon Kindle app.
Call me lazy, but finding out what is on the tube before I wait for the satellite dish to download the program guide is excellent! The free iTV app, which also turns into a remote control, makes scheduling must-see TV nights even easier. While the iTV app also allows you to look up current movies playing in the theater, the free Fandango app can find and purchase movie tickets. If it's a date night, you can also make dinner reservations using the OpenTable app.
News you can use for free
If you are a sports junkie like me and follow lots of teams at once, you'll love the free ESPN ScoreCenter app. Set it up to show all your favorite teams scores and their upcoming schedules all in one convenient app.
On a more serious note, you can keep track of the latest swine flu outbreak with the free NPR app. The New York Times NYTimes app carries all the news that is fit for print and that can fit in your iPhone. The party will soon be over for anyone who likes to read the Wall Street Journal for free on their iPhone. In the coming days, WSJ - The Wall Street Journal will come equipped with a subscription fee.
Best shopping apps
Pulp or no pulp? Believe it or not, there's an app for that. Check out the free Consumer Reports app for all your tough shopping decisions. I watched a video on how to decipher between the different types of Orange Juice at the grocery store. Nifty Consumer Reports tip: Make OJ last longer and cut calories by adding soda water.
My friend Mike runs an oil painting business in addition to his full-time graphic design gig. The free eBay app allows him to take his business with him wherever he goes. Me, I just use it to find the latest pair of stilettos at a discount while I wait for my pumpkin spice latte. In this economy, everyone can use a little eBay.
Last but not least, if you've ever been stranded in the middle of a Costco with no idea what to make for that night's dinner party, you will fall in love with the free Epicurious app. Find a gourmet recipe at a moment's notice. If you have more time, make a complete week's worth of menus and the app will generate your own shopping list. Good luck getting the groceries for free.