iPhone Apps for Academic Types

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

So, I got this email the other day. You know the type, one from a not all together legitimate website, saying “Hey Link to My Post” your readers might want the information. The post purported to be a list of the top 50 iPhone applications for educators. The only problem is that some of the things listed were not iPhone apps, a few were just mobile websites, and at least one listed doesn’t even exist. Nevertheless I did pick up one useful bit of information, World Cat has a mobile optimized website. If you want to read the original post you can access it here, or you can read my list below (inspired by said email).

  • NetNewsWire: Clearly I have an RSS addiction. This is the way I track what is going on in the field, in academia, and the world at large. While there are several RSS reader options, I prefer NetNewsWire. The ability to sync across multiple computers, plus read while offline, and save clippings (which also sync) are crucial for my work flow. I would like the ability to share items (i.e. GoogleReader) but the other features make NNW my choice.
  • Twittelator: Again no secret but I use twitter for a range of academic and personal functions. There are many iPhone twitter apps, but this is my favorite (I actually purchased the pro version). Others I know use Twitterific, or Tweetsville, but the copy and past feature for retweeting got me hooked on this one early, and just haven’t found a reason to change.
  • TextGuru: I tried several “mini-word processor” apps for the iPhone and this one ended up winning the prize. Not that I intend to compose a chapter or article on the iPhone or anything, but having a way to type or edit a document does come in handy. This one handles a wide range of formats, and most importantly allows input in landscape mode, which makes typing a whole heck of a lot easier. You can also transfer files wirelessly between your computer and the iPhone.
  • Snatch: Simple and exactly what I wanted. When the iPhone apps first came out I was disappointed to learn that Remote only worked for iTunes and FrontRow (stupid). Seriously, all I wanted was a replacement for that stupid IR remote that meant I had to stand behind my computer when presenting. Snatch allows you to use the iPhone as remote control for the mouse/trackpad, or just a clicker. I also gave StageHand a shot, and it has the added feature of providing your presenting notes to you on the iPhone, but really all I wanted was a clicker.
  • Wikiamo: Of course I want access to Wikipedia anywhere. Again, I tried out several applications, and while I wish Wikiamo had collapsable sections like iPedia+, it is simply much faster, and remembers past searches.
  • OmniFocus: Expensive, but syncs with OmniFocus on my computer and provides location aware contexts. GTD FTW.
  • Evernote: I haven’t fully leveraged the power of this app yet, but I still use it to record, take quick pictures, and generally preserve things in the short term that I might want to access later.
  • WordPress: Again not like I am going to be doing any long blogging from the iPhone, but since I use blogs to organize/run my classes, this app lets me update them from anywhere.
  • SnapTell: This is one of those “magic” how does that possibly work apps. Take a picture of a book (DVDs and Video Games also work), the application accesses the internet, looks-up said book and tells you where it is for sale on the internet. Seriously, from just a picture it can “read” the title and look it up. I use this less for online shopping and more to take pictures of books I want to order later, check out from the library etc. Forget having to write down or type the title, just snap the picture.

What did I miss? Leave it in the comments.