TUAW Review: eWallet for iPhone

I recently wrote a post about Ilium Software, developer of longtime mobile apps eWallet and ListPro, and Apple's delays in getting their applications into the App Store.

I don't take any credit (it was pure coincidence), but about 8 hours after my post eWallet showed up in the App Store. I purchased it immediately, since I used the Windows Mobile and Palm OS versions for years and have been hoping for an iPhone version.

In short, eWallet is both attractive and functional. It stores your passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information securely with 256-bit AES encryption, and it does it with iPhone style. At $9.99, eWallet for iPhone is priced at half of the price of its $19.95 siblings for Palm OS and Windows Mobile.

Read after the break for the rest of my review of Ilium Software's eWallet for iPhone (link opens iTunes Store), and check the gallery below for screenshots of eWallet in action.


Wallets, Categories, and Cards

After buying eWallet in the App Store and installing it on your iPhone or iPod touch, launching the app takes you to an initial virtual wallet with a number of pre-defined cards that are already in it. These cards are actually a built-in tutorial leading you through everything you need to know about eWallet.

The structure of eWallet comes down to three things: Wallets, Categories, and Cards. Wallets are the top level of the application, being the location where you store cards that are of different types (categories). You might want to have two wallets, one for personal items and the other for business. I simply set myself up with one wallet, knowing that I could create a hierarchy of categories and card types to store my information.

eWallet comes with a lot of pre-made templates, all of which have a number of extra fields that you can define. In this way, the app is more like a flat-file database system than just a secure personal information manager. Most of the templates are not only highly useful, but have been designed with the iPhone and iPod touch in mind. The templates often use a reflective style much like what you'd see in Cover Flow in your iPhone Photos app.

If there's one downside to this hierarchical structure, it is that it can be slightly confusing at times. On occasion I found myself trying to remember if I had just added a category or a card, since the edit screens for each are similar in appearance.

Security is a big thing for Ilium, so they've secured your information in eWallet with government-level (FIPS) 256-bit AES Encryption. Several of the other information managers in the App Store either use 128-bit encryption or (even worse) cleartext passwords.

Professional Edition: Coming Soon

If there's one current downside to eWallet, it is the lack of a Professional Edition like those that exist for the Palm OS and Windows Mobile versions. The Professional Edition of eWallet ($29.95) adds a desktop application so you can use your computer's keyboard and big screen to enter your personal information, not the virtual keyboard and small screen of the iPhone.

An Ilium spokesperson mentioned that the Professional Edition of eWallet for iPhone will be available for Windows in August, and that they hope to have a Mac version completed by the end of 2008.

Who should buy it?

If you're a previous owner of eWallet for Palm OS or Windows Mobile and you've been waiting for this app to appear on your iPhone screen, you're a perfect candidate for buying eWallet for iPhone. Anyone who is interested in a secure personal information management application with a proven track record should also seriously consider eWallet.