Apple showed us a new iTunes section this week where the most downloaded applications in the App Store were revealed. Pandora Radio was the top application of the year with over 2 million downloads as of yesterday. It is personally the most used application on my original iPhone because I rarely use it any more as a phone while it sits in a dock connected to my stereo receiver serving up Pandora music to my entire household. We used it all last weekend to stream Christmas tunes as we put up the tree and decorations. IMHO, Pandora deserves the top rating and is a fantastic application for the iPhone. VentureBeat has a good discussion on Pandora for the iPhone.
In other iPhone news, those of us who review applications will no longer have to shell out our own money for applications to evaluate for a few days or use the special provisioning process to get applications on our iPhones. Apple now gives developers the ability to issue free promotional copies (up to 50 per application) to reviewers or for contest prizes, etc. Some developers have offered to send me an iTunes gift card for the value of the application, but since the majority of applications are less than $5 I have just been buying most of the ones I wanted to evaluate and check out for myself since it seemed like way too much trouble. I have worked with a couple of developers to use the special provisioning process where you give the developer your iPhone device ID and you get two files that have to be manually dragged onto iTunes to get the application onto your iPhone. This new capability now matches the type of system that other mobile operating system developers use to send out evaluation only copies of software for reviews. I imagine this may increase the number of application reviews you see posted on the internet.
For consumers, there are some applications that have Lite versions that let you try out an application before purchasing. However, unlike applications for Windows Mobile and S60 there still is not a trial period capability in the App Store across the board. Hopefully trial versions will be available in the future since I often use them before paying for applications on my Windows Mobile devices.