16 totally pointless apps that shame the iPhone

Wouldn't it be great if, instead of a contacts book, you had an individual app to call each person you know? Why stop there? Why not have a different iPhone for each person?

Some iPhone apps are beautifully designed, a joy to use and a positive force in every iPhone owner's life. Others aren't. Come with us as we discover the iPhone apps whose best features are their icons.

And, in case you really want to look, the links in this article will take you to the app in iTunes.

1. Amuck Plumb-bob

If you've ever wished your £159-plus-£30-per-month iPhone could emulate a weighted bit of string, today is your lucky day. Only a churl would point out that a bit of string does an even better impression of a bit of string, or that string costs quite a bit less than an iPhone.

2. Cold Beer

There are two kinds of people in the world: normal people, and people who like to calculate how long it'll take to get their beer to a specific temperature in the fridge. Only the first group get invited to parties.

3. Flashlight

Flashlight turns your iPhone into a handy torch, but you can get the same effect by launching any iPhone app with a white background – Mail, Contacts…

4. Geek Binary Clock

Clocks: useful. Binary clocks: not so much.

5. Grandma

This app phones your gran. That's it. Grandpa, Dad, Mom and My Girl are also available.

6. Green Light

Like Flashlight, but with an energy saving bulb. Somewhere a polar bear is crying.

7. Halloween Party

It's Halloween. The party's going with a swing. She looks at you. You look at her. She smiles. You whip out your iPhone and start randomly playing spooky sound effects. You go home alone, weeping.

8. iLunch Picker

"Aren't you tired of thinking of today's lunch menu?" asks the blurb. "Er, no," we reply.

9. Mood Glow

Look! The screen has gone a nice colour! Look! It's gone another colour! Look! You're wasting your life!

10. MyLighter

All the fun of a Zippo lighter without the actual lighter – great for concerts! Concerts for simpletons, that is.

11. Parking Meter

If you really can't remember where you parked or when the meter runs out, you've probably forgotten how to drive too. Get off the road!

12. Seismometer

You're in the middle of an earthquake. Do you (a) run like hell, praying to the deity of your choice? Or do you (b) download, install and run an iPhone app to find out just how big the earthquake is?

13. Split Bill

Is it really that hard to split a restaurant bill? And do you really need a dedicated app when every iPhone packs a calculator?

14. The Big Red Button

"Ever wanted a careful way to stop your wife from talking a mile a minute? Use the big red button to send her a nice dog barking sound note that you need a break!" Or hit her with a spade!*

15. Thief Alert

Despite a brilliant video on YouTube, we reckon this is pointless. If you're scared someone might nick your phone, why not take it with you? We know! We're crazy!

16. UK Payphone

You're carrying a phone. So why on earth would you pay money to find out where the nearest payphone is? This is either a surrealist prank or The Worst iPhone App Ever.

* Don't hit her with a spade.

Now read 16 free iPhone apps you can't live without and 8 ways the BlackBerry Storm trumps the iPhone and G1

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.