(This is a repost of something I just wrote at Naturally Selected, because I thought it might interest you folks too.)
It is no secret I love my iPhone. As a telephony device (in which I include text messages as well as voice) it is very nice indeed, but its real strength, for me, lies in its internet connectivity. Oh, and location services: the most used apps on my iPhone are Mail, Safari and Maps. I have downloaded a few applications, and even bought a couple. I make reasonably heavy use of the Facebook app (it’s pretty poor but it works most of the time) and Echofon (for Twitter); the bought apps I use most are Tube Deluxe (super for getting around London) and MotionX’s GPS (which scores over the inbuilt Maps function because you can download maps before going somewhere that has no internet connection). There are a few other bits and bobs, but notably lacking is anything to do with science or publishing.
I’m not sure whether that’s because I tend to keep the day job off my iPhone, or whether I’ve simply not managed to find anything useful. I suspect I’m not alone in this, so I thought Walter Jessen’s review of iPhone apps for biomedical research might be of interest:
Even though I think that apps are a big step backwards in the evolution of the computer desktop — very few take advantage of the “always connected” nature of the iPhone and exist in isolation — mobile Safari only allows you to have 8 pages open at once. Apps that can handle Web page display increase that number. This is a lifesaver for me, since I routinely have all eight pages in Safari open at any given time.
He talks about apps that cover everything from Nature to the entire human genome project, but rather than recapitulate what Walter says, I invite you to read the original article: there are only 12 apps, each with a descriptive paragraph and a one-liner ‘verdict’. One notable exception to his list is the excellent Papers from mekentosj.com–although he does have the Mendeley Lite instead. (Word of warning: ‘BioGPS’ is not for locating biologists. Just sayin’.)
It remains to be seen whether I will use any of these (I thought, for example, that I already had Papers, but now I can’t find it–which shows you how much I’m using it), but I’m interested in finding out if other people would find any of these apps useful. What do you think is missing from Walter’s list? Would you use a The Scientist and/or and F1000 app? Or, perhaps a Nature Network one?!