4 Apps Everyone Should Have for Their iPhone

Updated from 12:38 p.m. to include information about Simpsons in-app purchases.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Valentine's Day usually means giving gifts. Sometimes those gifts are on the cheaper side, be it chocolates, flowers or teddy bears. Other times, they're on the more expensive side, a piece of jewlery or perhaps even a new phone.

If you've just gotten an Apple (AAPL) iPhone for Valentine's Day, a birthday or whatever the occasion, you'll want to check out and download some apps to make the experience even better.

Here are four apps to make your iPhone better, ranging from games, to reading, to watching movies and TV shows.


While watching movies and TV shows is really popular on tablets, it's also popular on your phone too.

A good chunk (around 30%) of all Internet traffic at night comes from Netflix (NFLX), due in large part to shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Netflix's tons of movies.

The first season of House of Cards ran 13 episodes, and was nominated for four Golden Globe awards, with actress Robin Wright winning for Best Actress in a Television Series Drama. That award was the first major acting award for an online-only Web television series, vindicating Netflix's decision to spend exceptional amounts of money on original content.

The second season of House of Cards just hit Netflix at 3 a.m. EST this morning, so you'll have plenty of time over the long weekend (remember, Monday is President's Day) to binge watch the second set of 13 episodes.

Amazon Kindle

If you're not watching a movie, maybe you're shopping. With Amazon (AMZN) being the world's largest online retailer, there's a good chance you've bought something from the Seattle-based company, be it a knickknack or a doodad. If you don't feel like buying anything physical, or you need a new book to read, download the free Amazon Kindle App.

The Kindle app is optimized for the iPhone, and "allows users the ability to read Kindle books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs on a beautiful interface," according to the description on the App Store. There's over 1 million books in the Kindle Store, plus a ton of newspapers and magazines.

Also included in the app are the X-Ray feature, which allows you to learn more about the characters, places and phrases in the book, with help from Shelfari and Wikipedia. If you don't know the meaning of a word, you look up it's definition in the dictionary, just by tapping and holding the world. If for some reason the word isn't in the stock dictionary, you can use others you've bought to look up the meaning.

Simpsons Tapped Out

If you're not watching a movie or buying something, using your iPhone to play games is a fun way to pass the time. One of my personal favorites is Simpsons Tapped Out, from Electronic Arts (EA).

The app is free, but you can spend money on in-app purchases, such as buying money to build your town, or donuts to get premium characters and buildings. Conservatively speaking, I've probably spent $100 on the game. Now you all know what I do with my free time.

The creators of the game recently updated the game to reflect the fact Valentine's, love (and *cough* spending money *cough*) is in the air, with a slew of new adventures for Homer, Marge and the rest of the gang.

It's basically the Simpsons version of Farmville, the popular game from Zynga (ZNGA), where you build a town. It's simple, like most smartphone games, but hell if it isn't entertaining. The writing in the game is snappy, topical and actually brings you to a time when The Simpsons were still funny and relevant.


Aside from Simpsons Tapped Out, which has done over $100 million in revenue, EA also makes Tetris. Who doesn't love Tetris?

The game, which used to cost 99 cents on the App Store, is now free when users download the game using the promotion inside the Apple App Store. The idea is to get people to use the Apple Store app, and this gives them an incentive to do so, to help drive sales of products Apple sells at its Apple Stores, including iPhones, iPads, and accessories.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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