Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Best iPhone & iPod touch apps

It's that time of the year again! It's hard to believe, but this time last year, we only had 5,000 apps to choose from in the App Store – this year there's more than 85,000 apps to choose from.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor

It's that time of the year again! It's hard to believe, but this time last year, we only had 5,000 apps to choose from in the App Store – this year there's more than 85,000 apps to choose from. What a difference a year makes. Whether you're looking for an app for yourself or to give to the iPhone or iPod touch user on your list, look no further.

I've got a couple of recommendations that will help you keep up with Twitter friends, store all your passwords, be more fuel efficient, count calorie and have a little fun in the process! Can't decide? That's ok too, you always give your special someone an iTunes gift certificate, they're great for apps and music.

TweetDeck for iPhone

TweetDeck is best Twitter client on the desktop, so it's not surprising that it's also the best Twitter client on the iPhone (App Store, free) and iPod touch.

It features multiple accounts, growl notifications and a unique column interface that allows you quickly swipe between all friends, mentions, direct messages and saved searches – or any combination thereof. You can even sync your column preferences between the desktop and iPhone apps. TweetDeck for iPhone could use a better trends interface, but it's other

Although there are literally hundreds of Twitter clients on the App Store, TweetDeck is still the top dog. (Don't agree? Tweet me your pick @JasonOGrady)

[Vendor site] [App Store]

Bonus pick: Boxcar is a free app that displays a push notification any time someone mentions you or sends you a DM, and it works for Twitter and Facebook.

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1Password for iPhone

Ever lost a password? Of course you have. 1Password Pro (App Store, $8) is the iPhone equivalent of a safe for all your important personal information.

Use it to store Web site login credentials, personal information (names, addresses and phone numbers), and just about any other information that's important (credit cards, license, SSN, etc.) and free form notes. It's all protected with both a four-digit unlock code and a master password.

Since keychain support hasn't made it into the iPhone, the next best thing is 1Password. Tapping a saved login launches 1Password's built-in Web browser and automatically enters your credentials for you.

Like TweetDeck above, 1Password also includes syncing support for the 1Password desktop application ($40).

[Vendor site] [App Store]

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Road Trip

If you drive regularly and like to track the fuel economy of your vehicle I recommend Darren Stone's RoadTrip (App Store, US$5) . There's a ton of MPG apps on the App Store but Road Trip is the best because of its amazingly dense summary screen (pictured) and its best in class fuel entry screen.

I like the fact that I can glean a ton of information, including MPG (average and last), moving average and cost per gallon on one graph. When adding fuel Road Trip auto populates the date field (this can be changed) and entering the odometer, number of gallons and cost per gallon is a snap.

I use Road Trip mostly for its fuel-related features, but it also includes maintenance and expense tracking with reminders. Want to bulk upload or edit from a computer instead of the iPhone? No problem, thanks to Road Trip's ability to import and export data as a CSV file.

[Vendor site] [App Store]

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Lose It!

My favorite weight loss application is Lose It! (App store, free). The easiest way to lose weight is to track calories consumed and expended. This "calorie budget" allow you to monitor your progress and see where you stand for the day at a glance.

Enter food and exercise easily with a searchable database and easily re-enter foods and meals you've had in the past. Lose It! can track fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar and protein via the Nutrient Preferences screen.

A summary of daily and weekly nutrient consumption is provided on the My Day tab. It's good stuff, and perfect to reign in that runaway holiday eating.

[Vendor page] [App Store]

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At Bat 2009

Major League Baseball's At Bat 2009 (App Store, $10) is a must have for any self-respecting baseball fan and a flat out requirement if your team is in the World Series.

During the regular season At Bat 2009 delivers 1-2 live streaming games a day, including live audio, pitch-by pitch, and in-game video highlights. During the playoffs, At Bat 2009 adds live game video with up to nine discreet camera angles (better than TV) so that you can watch from the camera of your choice. WiFi is recommended for video but you can still receive video over 3G – albeit at a lower quality.

I know it's a little late in the season to spend $10 on an app, but if you're a baseball junkie it's money well spent. If $10 is too hard to justify, At Bat Lite (App Store, free) offers real-time game updates, league standings and the full season schedule.

If you find yourself away from a TV during the World Series, At Bat 2009 is simply the best way to keep up with the live audio and video from the Series - play ball!

[Vendor site] [App Store]

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