Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My answer to, "What apps should I download?"

I am a techie junkie at heart. People who know me know this. Because they know this, whenever someone buys a new iPhone or iPad I get asked about apps. "Hey, what cool apps should I download?" 

This has happened 3-4 times in just the last couple weeks. The problem is, I have a ton of apps on my devices. It's hard to just rattle a couple off. So I'm writing a post to answer the question.  

Below are my app recommendations for iPhone/iPad (sorry Android people - you're on your own!). This gives me a list I can email to people from here on out, so I'll be updating it periodically. If you know of a cool app that I don't have listed, let me know about it!

I've put things into categories to make it easier. If something is iPad only I've also indicated that. At the very bottom I've listed a bunch of websites I frequent that are really good for: finding out about free apps and sales, learning about new apps, and getting reviews on existing ones. 
ESSENTIALS - Just download and install them!
(I'm putting these here, but will repeat them in the categories as well)
  • Bible+ - Yes, I'm biased, but that's irrelevant. This is still the best Bible app out there.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter - I've used other 3rd party apps before, but the official one is the best as far as I'm concerned.
  • The Weather Channel
  • Pandora - Stream music for free, based on other bands/genres that you listen to
  • Shazam - Don't know who sings a song that you hear on the radio or in a store, this app will listen to the song and then tell you who it is. Amazing! Use it all the time!
  • Kindle - My preferred eReader for books. I also have Nook, iBooks, and Google Books - but to me Kindle is the best. Why have more than one? Because I shop around for the best price. Sometimes that price is on the others, so I buy the book there. But for the most part Kindle/Amazon is cheapest.
  • Dropbox - If you use a USB drive then you MUST use Dropbox. It's a no-brainer.
  • AppStart (iPad) - Good for someone just getting an iPad.
  • Flipboard (iPad) - If you have a Facebook and/or Twitter account, there isn't a cooler way to read them on the iPad then Flipboard.

PRODUCTIVITY - "Get 'er done" stuff
  • Pocket Informant - I had this on my PocketPC for years and was so thankful they developed an iPhone/iPad version. There isn't a native To-Do List on Apple stuff, so this has been way of doing that. One of my top used apps - wouldn't know what to do without it.
  • Documents To Go or Pages & Keynote - Equivalents of Word & PowerPoint
  • Evernote - best way to remember things and get down ideas/concepts. 
  • Dropbox
  • mSecure or 1Password - keeps track of all your password, serial numbers, accts, etc. Been using mSecure mostly, but going to be checking out 1Password because I got the desktop companion
  • NotesPlus (iPad) - It's like having a legal pad on your device. Buy a stylus and it's a great app for meetings to jot down notes.
  • GoodReader (iPad) - A PDF reader, but an amazing one. This is the app that I teach/preach from.
  • ReadItLater - allows you to bookmark websites to check out later, having them all in one spot instead of cluttering up your favorites folder.

PICTURES/VIDEO - take better pictures or edit bad ones
  • Camera+ - I never use the default camera app that came with the phone, I use Camera+. Nothing is better.
  • Hipstamatic - Like an old school novelty camera, takes some sweet images. You can get different filters/lens and mix things up. Rather artsy, but pretty cool.
  • Top Camera -A supposed alternative to Camera+ I'm checking out. will be hard to beat Camera+ in my opinion.
  • QuadCamera - Takes four consecutive pictures and then merges them into one image.
  • Instagram - Social app that a lot of people use. I have it, don't use it that often though. Again, because I just use Camera+
  • Diptic - Creates collages from your pictures. 
  • 8mm - Takes old school looking video.

SOCIAL MEDIA -access all of those distractions on your device

READING/STUDYING - You need to read more, these will help
  • Bible+
  • Vyrso - Logos' new eReader app for trade books. 
  • Goodreads - is how I keep track of all the books I read, and also learn about new books to check out. 
  • Kindle
  • Leatherbound - Compare ebook prices across the different devices.
  • - their website on your device. Another no brainer to download.
  • Comics - Pretty amazing to read comics on the iPhone/iPad.
  • Dark Horse Comics - they have the Star Wars comics =)
  • Simplepedia - access Wikipedia.
  • GreekGrams - flashcard program for Greek grammar
  • GreekFrash - flashcard program for Greek vocab

KIDS STUFF - "Yes Baylee, you can play with my phone"

  • IMDB - app for their website, just as addictive
  • Shazam
  • i.TV - if you watch TV this is a must. Also, if you have a TiVo you can schedule programs from the app.
  • Blockbuster - access your account/queue
  • Netflix - Watch movies/TV on the device (need account)
  • Hulu Plus -Watch TV on the app (need account)
  • Remote - allows you to control iTunes on your computer from the phone
  • Fandango - app for the site

TRAVEL/LOCAL - help in figuring out what's around once you've figured out where you're going
  • TripIt - stores all of your itineraries, gives directions/weather, access to all your travel info. 
  • GateGuru - tells you all of the stores/restaurants available at an airport
  • Southwest - I only fly them, so this gives me access to my account. Being able to check-in to flights from my phone is the best feature.
  • Where? - Gives you info about the area you are in: gas, restaurants, entertainment, etc.
  • Siri - similar app to Where
  • Urbanspoon - Great for figuring out where to eat. Awesome for finding random/new places
  • KeyRing Rewards Cards - Those little reward cards you have to carry on your keyring? This takes a picture of them and creates electronic versions. You don't need to carry the little cards if you have this.

  • Photogene - Best way to edits photos on the iPhone (outside of using Camera+)
  • PS Express - Photoshop's own app. Limited, but some cool features.
  • ArtStudio - Great drawing/painting app
  • WhatTheFont - take a picture of an app on a poster or something and it will ID it for you
  • Flickr - their app for the site
  • ColorSplash - Really cool app that allows you change a picture to black and white, but then you can finger paint color back into whatever parts of the picture you want.

  • CNN - app for their site
  • HuffingtonPost - app for their site
  • NY Times - app for their site
  • Everyblock -Put in your zip code and it tells you all that is going on, sometimes things you didn't want to know
  • Political Cartoons - One of my most frequently used apps when I just want to chill.


WEBSITES - I rarely pay for apps. If I do pay for apps, I never pay full price.  These three websites are how I find out about what's free and what's on-sale:
  • AppAdvice - This is the best site for everything. Articles on everything iPhone/iPad, they tell you what's free each day and what's on-sale. I'd suggest following them on Twitter, and then getting text updates from them.
  • FreeAppADay - Every day they have 1-3 different apps for free. I can't tell you how many of the apps listed above I've gotten for free from their site. Never pay! Be patient and check these sites. The apps on this site are mostly games though.
  • Macstories - They have all things Mac, but on most days they post "MacStoriesDeals" where they list all the apps they know of that are on-sale or free. Another to follow on Twitter.
If a link doesn't take you to the app that I mention, please let me know. Thanks!


David said...

Do Androids Dream of Electric Blog Love?

Good to know some of these have Droid versions.

YAY, World of Goo! I bought this a year or so ago on PC and gave a gift to Kelli for her Mac (Didn't realize there was a Universal version).

bobby moss said...

Androids dream of becoming iPhones.

Yep - love the World of Goo. I first got it on the Wii, so finding it on the devices is sweet!

John Palmieri said...

This is such a great and helpful post! I keep coming back to it over and over. I've downloaded several of your suggestions. Really like the Flipboard App!

Daniel Benjamin said...

Reeder is a great RSS reader that syncs with Google Reader. They have a great iPad and desktop version as well.