Lars Bergstrom's WiFinder is one of those things you don't know you need until you start using it.
When I'm out and about, I constantly search for open Wi-Fi networks like Beauregard the bloodhound on the scent of an escaped con in stripes. It doesn't matter if I actually want to connect to a network. I just like to see what's out there — just in case.
WiFinder does one thing and only one thing: It helps you find open, but not redirected, wireless networks. Launch the app and if there are any wireless networks within range, they'll appear on a list. The networks are grouped by whether or not they're open.
Tap a network name and a screen opens with details: MAC address, channel, strength, noise, authentication and whether it's hidden. Tap the Connect button at the bottom of the same screen and you're in, assuming it's not a secured network, of course.
You have the option to scan for networks automatically and at defined intervals. You can also set an alarm to alert you when a network is within range. There's no way to tell for sure, but let's assume you'll consume more battery life than you might otherwise.
WiFinder is free for now, but Bergstrom says in his product description that he's having trouble getting an update through the App Store review process and until he does, he has decided to make the app free.
What updates are in the works or what price the app will sell for, he doesn't say. Some iPhone users might find this lack of transparency bothersome.
Meanwhile, it serves the purpose.