1. Apple iBooks 1.1
Apple Inc., www.apple.com
Apple’s iBooks isn’t just an e-book reader; it’s also an excellent PDF reader. The app uses an attractive bookshelf metaphor to arrange your virtual books and PDFs, and Apple makes quite a few older books available for free through its online store. As with many Apple apps, iBooks becomes more useful if you have more Apple devices; you can sync your bookmarks and notations with your iPhones, iPod Touch, and iPad.

2. AT&T myWireless 1.3.2

2. AT&T myWireless 1.3.2
AT&T Services Inc., www.att.com
AT&T’s myWireless app tells you if you’re coming close to your monthly 200MB or 2GB data limit, how many minutes you’ve used, and when your next bill is due. It also allows you to upgrade your plan if you’re using your iPhone much more than you expected. Checking this app periodically is the best way to protect yourself from unexpected AT&T charges.

 

 

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3. Bing 1.2
Microsoft Corp., www.bing.com
On the desktop I prefer Google, but on the iPhone I prefer Bing. Why? Because Bing offers more than just simple search. This app provides a scrolling photo search, voice search, and local shopping searches; it even has a bar code scanner to look up prices on goods in stores. The Social tool lets you connect to Facebook and Twitter and search your results from friends. Search engines might be a matter of preference but Bing actually makes search look fun.

4. CNBC Real-Time 1.3

4. CNBC Real-Time 1.3
NBC Universal Inc., www.cnbc.com
One of the best business news sites has one of the best free business apps on the iPhone. CNBC’s app starts with business news alerts, but we really like it because of its detailed stock portfolio tracker. Plus, we dig its well-rendered graphics.

5. Cube Runner 1.5

5. Cube Runner 1.5
Andy Qua, andyqua.co.uk/CubeRunner/Welcome.html
This diabolically simple and addictive game lets you control an arrow that flies through rows of digital cubes. The point of the game is to avoid the cubes and fly for as long as you can. In the background, fun electronic music jams along as you pilot your arrow. Sure, the graphics look like a 1983-era arcade game, but that’s what you get for zero dollars, and some older iPhone users might enjoy the resemblance to the Atari games of yesteryear. Another decent free game in a similar vein is Alpha Runner.

6. Dragon Dictation 1.3.4

6. Dragon Dictation 1.3.4
Nuance Communications, Inc., www.nuance.com
Ever wanted to dictate a long series of notes and then e-mail or text them? Dragon Dictation can do that for you. Just load up the app, tap the red button, and dictate for a one minute at a time. One downside: Some users have complained that Nuance goes through your contacts to ensure accuracy when you speak names. It’s a breach of privacy, but is it any worse than Facebook? Probably not. And we’d rather have the names spelled correctly.

7. Dropbox 1.2.2

7. Dropbox 1.2.2
Evenflow, Inc., www.dropbox.com
I assume you have a lot of gadgets and computers. Dropbox lets you access your personal files on any of them. Dropbox gives you 2GB of file storage that can be accessed from any computer. On iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, the app allows you to view documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and some videos and photos that you’ve put into your personal file space. Occasionally, we’ve seen some instances where it simply won’t work, but it’s useful enough that we’re willing to overlook a few glitches.

8. eBay Mobile 1.7.0

8. eBay Mobile 1.7.0
eBay Inc., www.ebay.com
Have you been losing eBay auctions because you weren’t in front of your PC? Pick up eBay Mobile, and you’ll be able to swoop in at the last second from anywhere with an Internet connection. The app lets users search, bid on items, update their info, check bids on items being sold, and much more. Power sellers and frequent bidders should consider this an essential tool for keeping up with auctions.

9. eBuddy Messenger 3.6.0

9. eBuddy Messenger 3.6.0
eBuddy B.V., www.ebuddy.com
Instant messaging may not have the buzz of Twitter and Facebook, but many people (and businesses) rely on it. Nowadays, people use many instant-messaging clients, so it’s important to have a multiplatform solution. eBuddy is the best free app we’ve found on the iPhone. It lets you log in to multiple services at once, including AIM, Yahoo, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, MySpace, and MSN. It will push you notification of new instant messages even when it isn’t running, and you can tell it to log out automatically after a set period of time.

10. Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List 2.1

10. Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List 2.1
Condé Nast, www.epicurious.com
If you’re a foodie, you probably know about Epicurious and its more than 100,000 recipes. The site’s iPhone app lets you turn your favorite recipes into a shopping list that you check off. If you miss flipping through food-stained pages, you can turn your favorite recipes into a paginated cookbook. There are a few ads here that can be annoying, but we’re willing to put up with them for a free app. Epicurious is also a very good iPad app.