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Best paid iPhone apps of all time

by Phil Hornshaw

While we all like to get things for free, some iPhone apps are simply worth paying for. Many premium apps for photography, productivity and entertainment can be downloaded for just a few bucks or even 99 cents. So which are the best paid iPhone apps you should download right away?

Hipstamatic ($1.99)

There’s a reason Apple chose Hipstamatic as the Best iPhone App of 2010: it creates some really interesting vintage-style images out of your digital photos. Instead of making crisp, clear and somewhat sterile digital images, Hipstamatic creates an old-style look by mixing and matching different effects. The app emulates an old Instamatic toy camera, allowing users to match “lenses,” “film” and “flashes” -- each alters the picture slightly to give you all kinds of customization options. Hipstamatic includes the ability to grab additional packs of flashes, film and lenses through in-app purchases as well, expanding your options. The pictures that come out of it look great, and using the app feels a lot like the experience of using a real camera, making it both a novelty and a great way to get the most out of iPhone photography.

Camera+ ($1.99)

Hipstamatic is nice, but it’s really only good for making your photos look old. And that leaves out a lot of other great effects that the iPhone camera is capable of producing. Enter Camera+, an app for dealing with “regular” digital photos of the non-vintage variety. You’ll find a lot of filters and effects within Camera+, along with many features for making your photos better, like a stabilizer, a 6x zoom feature and the ability of using your iPhone 4’s flash as a continuous fill light. Just about everything you could need to execute some quality iPhone photography is on-hand in Camera+, making it an indispensable addition to your app lineup.

iMovie ($4.99)

Apple’s movie editing suite is a powerful tool for anyone interested in creating films and videos, putting all kinds of power to manipulate film in the palm of your hand. It makes manipulating film exceptionally easy -- tap to add a clip to your reel, then drag and hold to adjust its length, add transitions, drop in background music and any number of other additions and effects. It’s kind of crazy just how much is possible with iMovie, and you don’t need to be a film director or a tech wizard to make some really compelling videos.

TuneIn Radio Pro ($0.99)

TuneIn is like having a radio in your pocket at all times, but instead of just tuning in local stations, it can tune in radio stations from all over the country and the world. In fact, TuneIn Radio can access more than 40,000 radio stations from around the world, which you can search through using the app’s simple interface to bring them up by geography, genre or show. The app will even use an iPhone’s GPS capabilities to tap into local radio stations. Awash with features and allowing its users to listen to just about anything they could ever want to, TuneIn Radio is the best radio app you can get on your iPhone.

Things ($9.99)

A must-have app for anybody tapping into their iPhones to get things done, Things is worth every cent of its expensive download cost. Great for business travel and staying organized closer to home, Things excels because of its flexibility and simplicity. Color-coded checklists make managing tasks via Things a breeze, while the ability to synchronize data with the app’s desktop counterpart makes Things stand apart from the hundreds of other GTD apps available.

MLB.com At Bat 11 (currently $0.99)

A grand slam of an iPhone app -- which is now also available for the iPad and Android-based devices -- MLB.com At Bat broadcasts live video and audio feeds of every Major League Baseball game (blackout restrictions permitted.) You have to subscribe to MLB.TV for full access to the videos, but even without paying extra, fans who download this app get multiple camera angles, deep statistics, and the ability to choose between home and away feeds. Even in the offseason, this app hits it out of the park and next year's version is sure to be a winner.

Save My Place ($0.99)

Save My Place is another of those simple, must-have apps that really changes how useful the iPhone can be. It allows you to use the iPhone’s GPS to tag a location on a map. Rather like a “Where the heck did I park?” app, you tag a spot on a Google map and Save My Place gives you directions back to it. It’s great for helping to remember a key location for later, especially in an unfamiliar area. It also allows destination sharing via email, making it easy for groups to coordinate a meet-up on the fly.

Mobile Mouse Pro ($1.99)

Here’s a simple premise: Mobile Mouse turns your iPhone’s touch screen into a mouse touch pad. It’s a great idea, it works pretty well, and using a Wi-Fi network, it gives you fairly elaborate control over your computer from anywhere in the area. Mobile Mouse requires a software download on your computer, but once you’ve done that, the touch pad is almost as responsive as one hardwired to your computer. Mobile Mouse also brings up contextual controls for each program you’re using. People who hook computers up to bigger television monitors could find this app indispensable.

NewsRack ($4.99)

Reading things on the go is one of the best uses of the iPhone. NewsRack is an RSS feed aggregator that can sync with other services, like Google Reader, to streamline everything that you find interesting in one place. It’s a cool system if you use a lot of RSS feeds, or if you like to keep up on breaking news. By subscribing to feeds from NewsRack, you get a constant flow of info, and the app lets you share articles with other people through Twitter and Facebook as well.

FlightTrack Pro ($9.99)

This is must-have travel app for anyone who flies frequently. With live flight status information, you'll be the first to know if your upcoming journey is going to be delayed and even at what gate your plane is waiting. By automatically importing your various flight itineries, they'll be updated in real time so you can always stay on top of your trip. FlightTrack also integrates nicely with the popular TripIt app and offers beautiful zoombable maps complete with weather radars. These maps are even available offline so you can view them when you're away from a connection or stuck at the gate. Push alerts keep you readily informed and the app will even help you find an alternative flight if necessary. Seriously, FlightTrack has it all and is a must for travelers everywhere.

Others in this series:

1. Best free iPhone apps of all time

2. Best free iPhone games of all time

3. Best paid iPhone games of all time