Lonely Planet for iPhone San Francisco Guide Free for a Few Days (normally $15.99)

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I’ve heard (but not actually read) the paper version of the various Lonely Planet city guides. So, their iPhone apps have always interested me. However, the $15.99 price tag for each city guide seemed a bit high for an app I’ve never seen up close. Fortunately, Lonely Planet decided to offer their San Francisco city guide for free this week to help out attendees of Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) next week. You can find it here in the iTunes App Store…

Lonely Planet San Francisco City Guide

I downloaded to see if it would convince me to pay $15.99 for other city guides. I can say definitely say I would not buy any of their other guides based on what I’ve seen in the San Francisco City Guide. Here’s a couple of things that really bothered me:

1. The vast majority of Internet/web resources are just linked “www” strings. There’s no way to tell where the link will send you before clicking it.

2. The included photos are completely separate from the guide’s descriptive text. So, you don’t see a photo of, for example, Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf with the book text. All the photos are in a separate image gallery.

3. All distances are given in kilometers. This is fine if you are in a country/city that is on the metric standard (pretty much everywhere except the U.S.). But, if you are in a U.S. city, distances should be given in miles. I didn’t see any option to switch between the two.

4. Descriptions of places and, especially, attractions seemed a bit to short and terse. And, of course, there aren’t any photos in these descriptions.

That said, the San Francisco City Guide has an average rating of 4 (out of 5) stars with 37 reviews in the App Store. 33 of the 37 ratings give it 3 to 5 stars. So, most purchasers seem satisfied with the guide. And, it is free for the next couple of days. So, if you are heading to San Francisco anytime soon, now is the time to grab a copy of this guide.

Thanks to the TUAW blog for picking up on the limited free price news.