During November, iPhone app downloads surged 83% over last year.
App downloads are expected to climb even higher as more consumers purchase the iPhone. Analysts predict as many as 30 million iPhones could be shipped in the first quarter of 2012.
Here are three new or recently updated programs to check out.
Wenzani is a new mobile travel guide that makes suggestions for places to eat, shop and bar-hop based on recommendations from friends, experts and other guide brands like Frommers and Lonely Planet.
Besides having access to expert recommendations, the app also has a social component. Through Wenzani, you can ask friends for real-time travel recommendations via Facebook or Twitter. Answers are then pushed instantly to your phone.
In the future, Wenzani’s developers say that you’ll be able to tailor your recommendations depending on the weather, time of year, etc. — for example, the app will eventually know not to suggest visiting a particular park if it’s raining in the area.
Stamped is a new recommendation app — founded by former Google(GOOG) employees — designed to cut down on the clutter found through services like Yelp. Stamped’s founders believe that users are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know rather than complete strangers.
Once you sign up for Stamped, you received 100 virtual stamps that you use to mark your approval on restaurants, books, music and TV shows. You can then find friends on the app to follow by connecting through Facebook and scanning through your address book. Users earn more points when their friends “like” what you recommend.
Stamped also lets you make reservations through OpenTable(OPEN), buy movie tickets through Fandango and purchase books via Amazon(AMZN).
Flipboard is one of the most downloaded iPad apps since its launch last year, and its new iPhone app has been quickly gaining traction, too. Demand for the app was so high that it reportedly crashed the company’s servers as more than 1 million users downloaded Flipboard in its first week.
Flipboard is a digital magazine personalized to your tastes and interests. In an asethetically-pleasing layout similar to what you see in a printed magazine, the app displays relevant links from your social networks (Twitter and Facebook) as well as other content you might like based on your categories of choice (i.e. business, style, travel, etc.). Flipboard gradually learns what you might be interested in viewing based on your reading history, tailoring the articles you see.
Once the app populates with links, you can “flip” to the next piece of content by swiping upwards.
Flipboard is one of the best content viewing and sharing apps, though the app’s focus on design lends itself better to the iPad’s larger screen.