In advance of tomorrow's release of the new 3G iPhone, Apple has launched its new App Store on iTunes, which features new tools that will immediately make the iPhone (and iPod Touch) a more versatile -- and, in some cases, enlightening -- device. Below, we have highlighted ten apps worth exploring if you're hungry for enriching information. 9 of the 10 are free. (Please note: To access the App Store, you will need to download the latest version of iTunes (here) and also the new iPhone 2.0 firmware, which has yet to be officially released -- although you can find an unofficial release and directions on how to install it here. The official release should be coming any time now.)
1.) The New York Times: Thanks to this app, you can read "All the News That's Fit to Print" on your iPhone. It lets you customize the news you read, and also read articles offline.
2.) AOL Radio: One downside to the first generation iPhone is that it didn't allow you to access internet radio. This app helps to change some of that. It gives you access to 150 CBS radio stations across the US, including some key news stations.
3.) Mandarin Audio Phrasebook: Lonely Planet, the publisher of fine travel guides, has produced a free Mandarin audio phrasebook, which includes 630 commonly used phrases. Via the iPhone you can hear how the phrases are spoken (and also see how they are phonetically written). For $9.99, you can purchase phrasebooks in nine other languages, including Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese and Czech. See full collection here.
4.) Truveo Video Search: The Wall Street Journal calls Truveo the "best web-wide video-search engine." And now, with this Truveo app, you can use the iPhone to find videos from across the web, and, regardless of their format, play them all in one application. This sounds like a great addition, especially since many videos weren't playable on 1st generation iPhones.
5.) NetNewsWire: With this app, you can add an RSS reader to the iPhone, allowing you to read RSS feeds in a neat and clean way. It also lets you "clip" articles that you like and read them later. Don't forget to sign up for our feed, and you can always add more cultural feeds by perusing our list of 100 Culture Blogs.
6.) Google Mobile App: Let's face it. In today's information world, Google is a must-have. And so it's nice to have an app that makes Google and its many functionalities completely iPhone friendly.
7.) AppEngines E-Books: For 99 cents, you can download a classic e-book to your iPhone, and read it in a quite legible format. In this collection, you will find Crime and Punishment, Pride and Prejudice, Dickens' Great Expectations, and about 40 other e-books.
8.) Talking Spanish Phrasebook: Too busy to learn a new language? Then you're in luck. This app will do the talking for you. It takes basic phrases in English and then converts them into spoken Spanish. There are also free versions in French, German, and Italian.
9.) Epocrates: This free app turns your iPhone into a comprehensive drug database. Very handy for the medical community.
10.) NearPics: If you're traveling, and if you want to discover great places nearby, this app lets you discover pictures that have been taken in the vicinity. The app offers a way to discover intriguing places (or things) that normally fly below the radar. Also, this other app lets you put Flickr on your iPhone. More ways to satisfy your inner photographer.