How do I love thee, iPhone (and iPod Touch)? Let me count the ways. Hmmm. Well, space doesn't permit me to list all 12,503, so I'll settle for six. As in, six free apps you absolutely positively gotta get. (Note: as with my, all links go straight to iTunes.)
- Mancala FS5 I love the Mancala board game, and this iPhone edition is even better. It teaches beginners the basics, automatically moves your beads, and supports Internet multiplayer! (You can even play against your AIM buddies.) Consider splurging on the $1.99 full version to enjoy ad-free play.
- NPR Mobile Though not an official NPR app, it lets you browse broadcasts by topic, series, and even commentator, then stream to your heart's content. It can also do a location search, great for when you're traveling and want to tune the car radio to the nearest NPR station.
- Slacker Radio Best. Streaming music app. Ever. I know some folks prefer Pandora, but I've always loved the Web-based Slacker and its robust custom-station building. The new iPhone app (pictured) is just plain fantastic. Read my full review here.
- Sportacular At the risk of ruining my geek cred, I do follow (and even play) some sports. Sportacular gives you scores, standings, schedules, stats, and more. It also lets you designate favorite teams so you can track them more easily.
- Stanza Remember the I wrote about awhile back? Turns out you can download them directly from Stanza, arguably the iPhone's best e-book reader. The latest version can also tap your eReader and Fictionwise libraries. Right now I'm devouring Charles Huston's exceptional crime novel Caught Stealing.
- Topple Part Tetris, part Jenga, Topple challenges you to stack amusingly animated blocks as high as you can before the tower topples over. Great fun for kids and grown-ups alike. Again, here's my review.
OK, you've got my picks. Now tell me what freebies are rocking your iPhone/iPod Touch boat these days. Try to stick with new stuff--everybody knows about Shazam by now. (And speaking of older freebies, here's.)