So I have this friend. He is pretty wrapped up in Apps. iPhone apps to be specific. Since I have an iPhone and I trust that at least one of you folks out there do too, I asked him to chime in on some of the best apps out there.
Josh has been pretty instrumental in many of the apps I have downloaded and tried since I first got my iPhone. So sip some coffee from your BaldFatGuy coffee mug, grab your iPhone, and let’s get started!
As another year comes to an end it’s time to look back on the year that was in apps. As designers and developers continue to push the envelope the apps they create seem to only get better and better. Everyone knows about the popular apps, in this article I hope to shine some light on the apps you may have missed but definitely should have!
Everyone has the official Facebook app and many others are still using the official Twitter app. In my opinion their isn’t a viable replacement (yet) for Facebook but when it comes to Twitter there are many apps that blow the socks off of Twitters official offering.
The first is Tweetbot. Let me start by saying I am extremely biased when it comes to Tweetbot. I love every app Tapbots makes and even after a year of waiting for the launch of Tweetbot they didn’t disappoint. The first thing to know about Tweetbot is it is beautiful. As someone who doesn’t usually go for dark themed apps this one broke the mold. The app is full of useful goodies like swiping left to right on a tweet to reply and also swiping right to left to see others replies to that tweet. Built in push notifications mean you never miss a tweet and in stroke of genius that Twitter seems to have missed Tweetbot’s push notifications have a sleep setting allowing you to choose when to receive and not receive notifications. Tweetbot allows for multiple timelines for “power” users like me who maintain five separate accounts. The last two buttons in the dock are also customizable allowing you to choose what you want quick access too. Personally I have my profile page and search ready for quick access. Tweetbot also allows for services like Instapaper, Cloudapp and a variety of picture loading services to meat your preference.
Tweetbot is available here for $2.99
Another dark horse in the Twitter section is a new and upcoming app called Twittelator Neue. The original Twittelator was one of the most thorough Twitter apps ever made but also one of the ugliest in my opinion. There newest offering is stunning though! (if you can’t tell I love pretty apps). Neue takes the idea of a Twitter app and than pushes it in a new direction. The first thing you will notice is that as you scroll through your timeline you actually get previews to pictures built in to the tweet. Clicking the picture brings the full picture up and the speed it does it in is lightning fast. Another nice feature is the ability to add the current song you are listening too including album art work. The one thing that is lacking is push notification support which is remedied with a third party app like Boxcar which is free here.
Twittelator Neue is available here for $1.99.
The last app in the Social Networking category that I really think everyone needs is Path. Path launched as a private picture sharing service limited to fifty of your closest friends. As you can probably guess, the app failed miserably. Than Path took some design steroids and released Path 2.0. Let me put it like this, WOW! Path is one of the best looking apps ever released and takes social networking to a place it has never been, just between you and your close friends. Path only allows for 150 friends and trust me, nobody has more than 150 “close” friends. Everything is contained in one simple to navigate timeline and sharing picture and movies is quick and easy and shared movies don’t open a new page but rather play right in the timeline. Path also ties into iTunes allowing you to share what song you are currently listening to and also allowing your friends to listen to a 30 second preview.
Path is free and available here.
-Photography and Video
It is often said that the best camera is the one you have with you. As the proud owner of an iPhone 4 I love the camera that it provides. Apple has done a incredible job with where they have taken the iPhone’s camera but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for competition. In a sea of Camera apps it can be overwhelming to find a good replacement without breaking the bank. Let me help by pointing you towards Camera+. Simply put, Camera+ is the camera app done right. The app allows you to set focus and exposure separately opening an almost unlimited amount of photo possibilities. Camera+ also has a stabilizer built in which makes blurry pics a thing of the past. Another nice touch is built in photo editing that is done as simple as possible. Choose a filter, push the slider until you are happy and enjoy. Camera+ also has a wide variety of frames, some include the ability to add text and the ability to crop and rotate your pictures. Last but not least, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr is built in for quick and easy sharing.
Camera+ is currently on sale for $.99 here.
Here is one from the “outside the box” department. Hipstamatic, the originators of the original toy camera app on the iPhone have recently released the Hipstamatic Disposable. Taking a page from the disposable cameras made popular at weddings and parties, Hipstamatic has taken it to the social level. Hipstamatic Disposable allows the user to take 24 pictures in the style of a disposable camera, you can’t see them until you finish the roll and let the app develop them. This may not sound like the most appealing idea but, when you take into account Hipstamatic’s beautiful filter system which in this incarnation are used as different types of cameras, you will be pleasantly surprised. The real kicker though is that you can use one camera socially by adding current Hipstamatic users or Facebook friends and share the joy of seeing all your pictures at the same time when the roll is up.
Hipstamatic Disposable is free and can be found here.
Last but not least in the Photography/Video section is an app near and dear to my heart. I actually know one of the employees behind this app and even though that is the how I heard about the app, the ease of use and awesome features are what keep me coming back. That app is Viddy and it is awesome. Viddy allows users to take quick 15 second video clips, toss on a filter or maybe throw a Muppet character in the background and than share till their hearts content. Viddy allows for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Youtube and also allows you to tag a location and friends. The idea of 15 seconds may seem limiting but the truth is it forces creativity and is sure to keep your audiences attention.
Viddy is also free and can be found here.(I mention Viddy here – but will also be posting some other Viddy news soon)
If you are anything like me you love music and really love always having music with you. I really enjoy the stock iPod app on my iPhone but sometimes, well, I just want to have a random mix and not have to worry about it. Yes, the iPod app does this but it tends to repeat the same songs multiple times and that is just plain annoying. Enter Reprise. Reprise is the music app for people who love design. Reprise has what I like to call the “perfect shuffle”. The app will never repeat a song in shuffle mode until every other song has been played. Another nice feature is the ability to queue on the fly making you your own personal dj. With the ability to use Apple’s AirPlay you can dj a whole party in a way much more effective than the standard iPod app.
Reprise is $1.99 and can be found here.
Prepare to have your mind blown. Dimensions – Adventures in the Multiverse is maybe the app of the year. It’s a augmented reality game that turns ordinary sounds into stunning soundscapes. Dimensions is something you simply must try. Once you launch the app and toss your headphones in you are wisked away to a new world where the goal is to solve the puzzle of “The Multiverse” by letting the sounds you normally take for granted guide you. Depending on what you are doing you get a different style of music. If you are active, the music is active. If you are silent, well, your soundtrack is going to be very chilled and relaxed. Dimensions is an experience and that is rare to achieve with an app.
Dimensions will run you $2.99 and can be found here.
-The Best of the Rest
Have you ever started to read a long article on your iPhone and realized that you don’t have or want to take the time to finish it? Previously you could just save it to Instapaper or Read It Later but that still requires you finding time to read the whole article. Summly changes all that. Summly is a new and fresh way to get your information. Using a complex algorithm the app scans the article, which must be 500 words or more, and pulls out the points and ideas you really need to know. I have been using Summly for about a week now and can vouch for how good the app works. Breaking down long and drawn out articles and turning them into well presented bullet points that are easy to understand is one of the most “magical” things any app has ever done. Researchers at the MIT have tested Summly’s patent pending technology, demonstrating that it outperforms the highest academically published results by a factor of up to 30%. Oh, and it’s FREE!
Grab Summly here.
HQ: To Do
Life is busy. I find myself making lists and trying to remember tasks everyday. The iPhone has some really nice reminder apps. It also has some really nice list making apps. I want both combined though and I want them easy to use. If you can relate to any of those ideas then HQ: To Do may just be for you. The problem with a lot of iPhone designed productivity apps is they keep you from being productive. Lots of these apps are overloaded with buttons and settings that keep you from doing what you want to do or keep you having to correct your mistakes from hitting the wrong button. HQ is different. It is beautiful (seriously, I like pretty apps). It is made for people like me, you know, guys with fat thumbs! The tap spots are bigger than any other app I have used and I really appreciate that. All the controls are a thumb swipe away which really helps with keeping someone like me on track and the app is fast. HQ isn’t for everyone and it does take a little time to get used too but once you do, you won’t turn back.
HQ: To Do is $1.99 and is available here.
So there you have it. This list is in no way complete but if you are new to the iPhone or are tired of hearing about all the “trendy” new apps that get blasted out each week I hope you enjoyed it. I live on my iPhone and I can personally attest to using each of these apps Have a great New Year!
- The Bald Fat Guy