Forget the Oscars, we've got the Steves! Okay, so we're not really calling them the Steves -- they're the TiPb Readers' Choice Awards, and while they won't let you watch Wolverine sing and dance, they won't consume 4+ hours of your life either. And hey, who needs best picture when we have best fart app? (No, don't worry, that's not an actual category -- this year!)
Right after New Year, and the TiPb Editors' Choice Awards, we began something far more important -- YOUR choices. We opened the forums up to nomination, and when we had our nominees, we let you have at the voting. And vote you did, rocketing your favorites to the very tops of the charts.
Well now the votes have been counted, the results are in, and TiPb is honored to present our Readers' Choice Awards...
Favorite iPhone OS 2.x Feature
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than even Palm, Nokia, Microsoft, and RIM are complimenting the heck out of TiPb's Readers' Choice Award for favorite iPhone OS 2.x feature. And was there ever really any doubt?
Before the App Store, installing mobile software meant hunting it down on the web, downloading install files, figuring out how to move the files over to to your device, then trying to get them to load and run. The iPhone App Store, introduced on July 11, 2008, changed that forever. Not only did Apple provide a robust SDK that allowed developers to get up to speed quickly, but the iTunes engine meant they could sell their Apps to people in every country Apple had already set up for music. And for users? One button, right there on their iPhone home screen, suddenly became a drop-dead easy way to browse, select, and install apps with almost no fuss and definitely no muss.
Apple still needs to clarify their rejection policies, figure out how to offer demos, and immensely improve discoverability, but niggles aside, our TiPb Editors' Choice for most innovative is also our TiPb Readers' choice for favorite new iPhone feature.
Runner up: 3G radio support
Biggest iPhone FAIL
What's success if it can't be measured against failure? Everyone, even Apple, has finite resources, and every man/hour they devote to greatness like the App Store is another man/hour they can't devote to other features. Even features so commonplace it boggles the brain that Apple hasn't figured out their usual elegant, simple, solution already. And for certain features, their absence is so commonplace now, so brain-boggling still, they have passed beyond grievance and attained the level of running joke. Stale running joke. That brings us to the TiPb Readers' Choice for biggest iPhone FAIL:
Cut/copy and paste is primary editing. Moving text, be it a name, number, note, or URL, is not something everyone will need every day, but something everyone will really need at some point, and the iPhone still doesn't have it. Whether Steve Jobs doesn't think his engineers have nailed it yet, or if they aren't even trying, we don't know -- but we do care. We hear about it, read about it, and talk about it nearly all the time. We just can cut it out and paste it anywhere. That's why cut/copy and paste is TiPb Readers' Choice for biggest iPhone FAIL!
Runner up: Push Notification Services MIA
Biggest iPhone FIGHT
You don't make an omelette without scrambling a few omes. Or something like that. And you certainly don't introduce a widescreen ipod, breakthrough internet device, and revolutionary phone without making some big time enemies, especially if those enemies are established smartphone makers who sat on their profits for years with nothing even remotely innovative in the works. Maybe that's why the iPhone gets into so many fights (or maybe it's just Steve?). And maybe that's what helped TiPb's readers choose their iPhone fight of the year.
Was it RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis saying all he heard from the iPhone was talk? That it sacrificed features for aesthetics? That the iPhone's 3G connectivity problems, and not shoddy firmware from RIM, might have caused a delay in the Bold's release? That he couldn't type on glass and none of his friends could either? (Maybe that explains the Storm?) Was it iCloning not only the phone, not only the App Store, but the entire SDK event? Was it CrackBerry Kevin calling it the "Ah frak" phone during his round robin review?
Yes. For all those reasons, and more, the iPhone vs. BlackBerry is TiPb Readers' Choice for biggest iPhone FIGHT.
Runner up: iPhone vs. Palm Pre patent lawsuit
Favorite iPhone Game App
If the iPod touch is the funnest iPod ever, the iPhone must certainly be the... funnerest? Either way, Apple has poured an uncharacteristic amount of time (and money) into advertising both devices as mobile gaming godsends. From casual puzzlers to first-person shooters to arcade-style action'eers, a huge swathe of the 20,000 apps (and growing!) in the iTunes App Store -- and on the top 25 lists -- are games, and TiPb readers have a favorite even if only by a narrow margin...
Asphalt 4: Elite Racing (iTunes Link) is no stranger to TiPb readers. It out drove and out lasted 5 other racing games to win our inaugural GRAND PRIX review series, becoming our first champion. Combining great multitouch gameplay, accelerometer control, and awesome OpenGL graphics, it was one of the earliest racers available on the iPhone, and is clearly still TiPb Readers' Choice for favorite game!
Favorite iPhone Productivity App
Apple, in their infinitely looped wisdom, chose not to build a to-do or task manager into the iPhone, and while Steve Jobs showed off note-syncing during the iPhone's debut, it has still failed to materialize. Luckily for getting things done'rs, Apple did provide the App Store, which has since given us all manner of 3rd party productivity apps, from the famous and established to the new and novel. Absent a full blown Office-compatible document editor, it was these two titanic categories which battled it out among TiPb readers' for favorite productivity app.
And again, we see a familiar name: our Back to Business task runner-up, and our Forum Review Todo App showdown winner Appigo Todo (iTunes link) pulls the three-peat. With its pro feature set and fair price, it just works for us, helping us keep track of what needs to be done, and letting us customize the way we want to do it. For those reasons above all, it's TiPb's Readers' Choice for favorite productivity app.
Runner up: Evernote (iTunes link)
Favorite iPhone Social Networking App & Favorite WebApp
What are you doing? Sounds like a simple question, doesn't it? And that's the genius of it. Whether it's status in a full blown network, a 140-character micro-blog, or an message sent instantly to someone... anywhere, the beloved series of tubes we've come to call the internet has woven us closer and more connected than ever before. And with the iPhone being the first real breakthrough internet device, it's no surprise TiPb Readers have chosen a favorite social networking app... and chosen the web version as favorite WebApp as well!
If social networking is the latest big thing, the latest big thing in social networking is Facebook (iTunes link). Friendster who? MySpace what? Exactly. What began as a small university network now has more users than their own terms of service has egregious content-swiping clauses. (Sorry, couldn't resist). While some might argue that even version 2.0 of the iPhone Facebook App doesn't quite compare to the Facebook WebApp, no one can argue with how many people are writing on walls, commenting on photos, joining fringe protest groups, and adding enough widgets to crash MobileSafari day in, day out, right from the comfort of their iPhones. That's why Facebook is TiPb Readers' Choice for favorite social networking app AND favorite WebApp.
Runner up: Tweetie (Social network app) (iTunes link).
Favorite Jailbreak App
The iPhone wasn't meant for the crazy ones, the rebels, the pirates. Apple locked it down tighter than Steve Jobs' press department. Fortunately, along came the hackers who broke the root out of Apple's jail, and set loose not only the first application development for the platform, but still the only one that really lets you do almost anything you want with your iPhone -- you know, like cut/copy and paste and run background IM...
Perhaps counter-intuitively, however, it's not either of those, not a carrier-unlock, not even a video recorder that's TiPb's favorite iPhone Jailbreak app. It's something far more simple, and perhaps that's what makes it so important. Choice. Toggle things on and off. Set them higher or lower. Control what's going on, on your phone, with far greater granularity than Apple currently allows. That's all it took to make SBSettings TiPb Readers' Choice for favorite iPhone Jailbreak app.
Runner up: WinterBoard
Favorite iPhone Case
Confession: I rock my iPhone commando style. Nothing gets between me and it -- at the risk of nothing getting between the concrete and it either, if I'm ever extra clumsy. Smarter people than I, therefore, prefer to protect their investments with anything and everything ranging from ultra-thin shrink wrap to silicone bodysuits to leather pouches to pretty much full blown armor. Out of so many choices, how could TiPb Readers choose a favorite iPhone case? Silly questions -- how couldn't they?
Perhaps not surprisingly, TiPb's Editors' choice, was also our Readers' Choice as well. Protection of a hard case with a pull off bottom for easy docking, the Seidio Innocase II (store link) takes honors all around.
Runner up: Griffin Elan Form
Favorite iPhone Bluetooth Headset
More and more cities are passing hands-free phone laws for driver. Touch that dial, and you'll be getting a ticket for your trouble. Any wonder interest in Bluetooth is soaring? In the ear, around the ear, and on-the-dash speakers, there's a type to match any need (well, except for stereo... but this isn't the fail section, is it?) Which one was our TiPb Readers' choice for favorite Bluetooth headset?
Again, our readers' choice matched our editors', and the Jawbone 2 (store link), while not the smallest, is still one of the most distinctive and remains tops for noise reduction. Part function, part fashion, the Jawbone 2 was TiPb Readers' choice for favorite Bluetooth headset.
Runner up: Blueant Z9i
See You Next Year!
That's it for the inaugural TiPb Readers' Choice Award. Thanks to all our readers for voting and making your voices heard. Congratulations to all our favorites, we look forward to seeing what you -- and your competition -- has in store for us next year!
And if your favorite didn't get the most votes, fret not. That's what the comments are for. Light 'em up!