So said Pete in an SMS after I announced my purchase of an iPhone 3G. He's right, of course. It's the apps, stupid!
While the iPhone comes loaded with some very useful standards, including phone, e-mail, browser, iPod, calendar, photo album, camera, Google maps, iTunes, etc., etc., the real world has a whole range of add on applications (now called apps) that "enhance the iPhone experience".
What surprises me is that most of the apps I have actually bought have cost either nothing or no more than $5. These are the apps I have found the most useful so far:
Newstand ($4.99): a very useful and tweakable RSS reader which easily opens up those teaser RSS summaries into Safari.
Traffic UK ($1.99): I used to wonder whether the notorious M5 had traffic problems. Now I don't have to!
Flashlight (free): Great for finding the bathroom in strange hotels in the middle of the night!
There are plenty more but so far I am not ready to evaluate and report on them. Grocery Gadget Shopping Lists ($2.99) looks to be useful while Light Table ($0.99) also has promise.
The disappointments include London A-Z ($9.99, the most expensive app I've bought) and Apple's own Remote (free), designed to help operate the Apple TV but it cannot do anything about the volume control.
Web-based apps using Safari include accuweather.com and just recently the Birmingham Post which is excellent (tip of the hat to BiNS).