Why all those Flashlight apps do have a value...
A while ago, the lights in the stairwell of the house I live in broke. So, I returned one evening, and had to go up to my apartment in darkness. So, I did what every sensible Mac geek would do: I took out my iPhone, pushed the 'unlock' button and used the display to light my way.
I quickly realized why I should have bought a flashlight app: The display automatically re-locked after a few seconds. So, I had to constantly push the button on my iPhone. And at the door, it became really awkward, because the light kept on going out while I was busy trying to get the key in.
So, you see, they might be mostly nibware, but a good flashlight app pretends it was busy and thus keeps your iPhone from re-locking and annoying you. It actually is useful, at least to me. So, this has turned from a case where I'm arguing for a principle into a case where I realized I just wasn't familiar enough with the problem domain to see the obvious advantage of these flashlight apps. Not only are they not doing me any harm, they actually scratch an itch I just developed.
Also, it means I don't have to buy a physical flashlight, and I'll always have it with me. It's the same reason that I got an iPhone, although I already had an iPod and a Nokia. Less stuff to lug around with me.
before i had an iPhone i used my camera as a flashlight by taking photos from very low distance with flash activated. the resulting picture was pretty much white and displaying this picture made the camera a nice flashlight. however, i don't always have my cam with me which is why i downloaded a flashlight app for my iphone as well...