Apple's new App Store for iPhone stuff is addictive

Some are useful. Many frivolous. A bunch will waste your time. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

My Seinfeldian statement has to do with the scores of programs available free or for sale at the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch. It is the killer app many of us expected, even if the same cannot be said for every program in the joint.

Some programs address the iPhone's deficiencies — there are several audio recorders, for example. But I still haven't stumbled upon a program to let you shoot video via the iPhone's digital camera.

Bottom line: The App Store turns the iPhone into an important new computing platform. While the results are mostly good for consumers, there are things that will drive you a little batty.

It takes way longer (several minutes) to sync up your iPhone through iTunes. And in last week's iPhone review, I mentioned that I'd receive low-battery warnings toward the end of the workday. Because of the time I've spent on apps, those battery warnings come way too quickly.

Other drawbacks: You cannot listen to streaming music from Pandora or AOL Radio while browsing the Web or doing something else on the iPhone. And you cannot receive instant-message notifications unless you are inside an IM application such as AIM. Apple says "push" notification that would permit such background capabilities is coming in September.

Some apps remain buggy or slow. For example, Jott promises to turn your voice instructions into text to-do notes. But I couldn't set up the service on two iPhones. The silly iBeer application, which makes your device suds up like an overflowing cold one, takes so long to load you'd think the beer first had to be brewed inside the device.

Still, you can't help but have a good time bellying up to the bar at the App Store. Here's a look at 10 apps I like, with a bias toward entertainment:

•Pandora. You type a song or artist name, and Pandora creates an instant radio station inspired by your selection. The free iPhone version works the same as it does on PCs and Macs, right down to letting you fine-tune stations by indicating whether you like the music being played.

You can also buy songs you hear on Pandora through iTunes, if available. I especially enjoyed Pandora in my car, after hooking up the iPhone through an auxiliary jack in the vehicle. A power adapter to preserve the battery is recommended.

Imperfections: It takes a long time to go from one track to another. And I experienced hiccups and dropouts in service when network coverage was iffy.

•AOL Radio. The same good news/bad news scenarios apply to AOL Radio: It's great with coverage, frustrating otherwise. AOL's own Internet radio stations are currently available only via Wi-Fi. But you can access more than 150 CBS Radio stations across the USA and India, letting a New Yorker, say, listen to a station in Chicago. You can also take advantage of the iPhone's location-based capabilities to find stations in your neck of the woods.

•Super Monkey Ball Sega's $9.99 game was among the first to be featured by Apple and with good reason. It makes fine use of the iPhone's "accelerometer" motion sensor. The object is to steer a little monkey trapped in a clear ball across a series of obstacle courses. It's not easy: The accelerometer is really sensitive.

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