Well, it’s that time of year again, and chances are some of you are busy drooling over your new iPad or iPhone right now. Well, what better way to celebrate your shiny new iToy than to install some awesome apps on it! As many of you know, I’m sort of an app-o-holic and I’m never shy about my opinions, so I’ve put together a little list of 10 apps that I think are awesome and would be just perfect for your new iOS device.
1. Google Maps
First things first, you have to replace the default maps app on your iOS device. Personally, I don’t think that Apple maps is all that bad, but if people see you using it instead of the new Google Maps for iOS, you’ll be sorry. The Google Maps app is very well done and even has great turn-by-turn directions which sound more human than Apple’s Siri-based voice navigation. There are still some areas that could be improved, but overall it’s a great 1.0 release for the Google team. Get Google Maps for FREE in the App Store.
I’m a pretty busy guy, and I couldn’t make it through my day without a to-do list. Things for iOS is that and so much more. I’ve tried to use Things many times over the past few years and always stopped using it before it could become a part of my daily routine. However, since my job now involves juggling so many projects & appointments, I rely on Things to manage my daily activities non-stop. This is the best app for managing your tasks, in my opinion, and with their new cloud sync you can have all of your to-do’s on every device (iPad, iPhone, Mac, etc.) and that makes life so much easier. Get Things for $9.99 (iPhone), $19.99 (iPad), and $49.99 (Mac).
If you’re a regular Gmail or Google Apps Mail user, you know that there are some features of iOS Mail that simply don’t cut it. Therefore you might be interested in the newly remodeled Gmail app for iOS. Originally the Gmail app for iOS was awful, but Google has completely redesigned it and added some much needed features like multiple accounts and also push notifications. The one thing that is lacking is a unified inbox, but otherwise Gmail is a very suitable replacement for the default mail app. Get Gmail for iOS FREE in the App Store.
4. Google Drive
Let’s continue with our Google-themed app choices and talk about Google Drive. If you’re a heavy Google Docs user then this app is an essential. Google Drive gives you access to all of your Google cloud documents, including presentations and spreadsheets, via your iPhone or iPad and also allows you to edit and share them with other users as well! I love this app and I can’t tell you how often I use it. Get Google Drive for iOS FREE in the App Store.
Twitter has become an essential part of the iOS system. Apple has integrated it into the OS heavily (along with Facebook) and now enables you to share things via Twitter very easily. Twitter is also one of, if not the most popular social networks in existence today. While the Twitter for iOS app isn’t the best Twitter app out there, it is the only “official” app from the company and the only one they’ll support going forward. Get Twitter for iOS FREE in the App Store.
You can’t talk about social networking without talking about Facebook. Recently they released a new iPhone/iPad application which is much faster and more reliable with some awesome features like tagging users in posts, uploading multiple photos, photo album management, and more. This is far and away the best Facebook app out there and if you’re a Facebook addict (and you know you are), this app is a must. Get Facebook for iOS FREE in the App Store.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never really been a fan of Google+. To me it seemed like an awkward social network that just didn’t fit anywhere into my normal routines. However, with the advent of Google+ Hangouts and the new communities feature, I now have renewed faith in this service. Not to mention the fact that their iOS apps are gorgeous and really support the platform (unlike Facebook or Twitter). If you’re a Google+ user you will love the simplicity of these apps and the ease with which you can share photos, interact with others, and even join a Hangout right from your iPhone or iPad. Get Google+ FREE in the App Store.
When Apple released iOS 6, they dropped the YouTube app from their default set of apps. While it wasn’t huge loss, seeing as the app was sub-par at best, folks were still left without a viable alternative. Enter the fine folks at Google, who once again come through in the clutch. The new YouTube app for iOS is awesome. If you’re an avid YouTube watcher or just a content creator looking to track your views, this app delivers in spades. Get YouTube for iOS FREE in the App Store.
9. Pocket Casts
There are a ton of podcast apps out there, and Apple even has their own (half-baked) app. However, no matter how many of these I try, I always come back to Pocket Casts. The app has a great UI, seems pretty snappy, and does a great job of helping me manage all of my audio podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis. If you’re on an iPad you might want to try DownCast which is another great alternative. Get Pocket Casts for $1.99 in the App Store.
I read a ton of RSS feeds. While there are a ton of RSS readers out there for iOS, I think that Newsify is one of the best. The interface is simple, the app is speedy, and the integration with apps like Pocket is awesome as well. The app works by hooking into your Google Reader account and auto-compiling the data into an easy-to-read format. You can also manage your Google Reader subscriptions directly within the app as well. As an alternative, you may also like Reeder. Get Newsify for $0.99 in the App Store.
11. Google Chrome
Safari for iOS is a decent browser, don’t get me wrong. However, I love the Google Chrome app for iOS and it has completely replaced Safari as my default iOS browser these days. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is tabbed browsing, which I believe is much better on Google Chrome than in Safari. The second reason? Well, the UI overall is much better. The keyboard puts keys like “.com” into a more convenient place for instance, and also the unified address/search bar is an essential for me. Get Google Chrome FREE in the App Store.
Camera+ is by far the best camera app for iOS. The app boasts some serious power with image stabilization, timed shots, burst mode, and an array of editing features/filters that is simply unparalleled by any other app in the App Store. I use Camera+ to process almost all of my photos and also to share to multiple services including Facebook and Twitter. Get Camera+ for $0.99 (limited time) in the App Store.
13. Amazon Instant Video
If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you probably already know that your membership includes access to Amazon’s immense instant video library which allows you to stream movies and tv shows for free. Well, Amazon also has an iPhone/iPad app which allows you to do the same on your iOS devices… Awesome! Get Amazon Instant Video FREE in the App Store.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Instagram. This is the go-to app for many mobile photographers and seeing as they recently backtracked on their Terms of Service debacle, I think it’s safe to say they’ll stay that way. Instagram is a great way to edit and share photos quickly and also provides a unique way to see a map of all of your mobile photos as well. Get Instagram FREE in the App Store.
Storing files in the cloud is increasingly becoming the way to go when it comes to accessing your files while you’re on the go. Dropbox allows you to do this quickly and easily with its new iOS app. Dropbox gives you 2GB of free space to store your stuff in the cloud and allows you to have access to those files on your iPhone and iPad using the app. Get Dropbox FREE in the App Store.
16. The Weather Channel
Let’s face it, the default weather app in iOS is unreliable at best and really limited in terms of what info it provides you. The Weather Channel app gives you up-to-the-minute weather updates, including severe weather advisories and forecasts for up to 10 days in the future. The radar feature is also pretty great and gives you a nice view of any inclement weather that might be headed your way. Get Weather Channel FREE in the App Store.
17. Movies by Flixster
I love watching movies and I love being able to search showtimes at several theaters at once. Movies by Flixster is an awesome app for doing just that! In addition to searching your local showtimes you can also watch trailers, view upcoming box office releases, and track DVD release dates as well. Get Movies by Flixster FREE in the App Store.
We can’t always be connected to the internet, so we need a way of viewing online content without a connection. Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is a great way to store things like articles, videos, etc. in a usable offline mode. Add this to the fact that Pocket integrates with other apps like Twitter, Newsify, and many others and you have yourself a great way to store things offline to read at your convenience. Get Pocket FREE in the App Store.
19. Flick Golf
You can’t work all the time, so you’ll need a little something to keep you occupied. Flick Golf is an awesome app that is really fun to play and great way to pass time when you’re in the airport or even just chilling out on the couch. Even if you’re not a golfer, this app is pretty great. Get Flick Golf for FREE in the App Store.
I do most of my shopping online, especially around the holidays. This year I’d say I purchased 99% of my gifts via the internet and probably 75% of those gifts were ordered via Amazon’s iOS app(s). The app allows you to browse the Amazon marketplace, manage your wishlists, add things to your cart and even purchase directly from within the app. Once you’ve made your purchases you can also track your orders/shipments as well. Get Amazon FREE in the App Store.
Flickr, the once-thought-dead photo sharing service from Yahoo! is starting to make a comeback. They’ve just released a beautiful new iOS application that is truly a joy to use. If Instagram keeps on stumbling in the privacy department, Flickr may be a great alternative for you. They’ve even built in Instagram-like filters… Hipsters rejoice! Get Flickr FREE in the App Store.
22. VSCO Cam
VSCO Cam is another one of my favorite iOS camera apps. Not because it’s the best, but because it is one of the most unique and has an awesome interface. This is my go-to app for creating black & white mobile photos and I really enjoy adding grain, adjusting fill light, and adjusting contrast. Get VSCO Cam for $0.99 in the App Store.
23. Pro HDR
Oftentimes we want/need to take photos that capture more of a scene than our cameras are capable of. Pro HDR allows you to take high dynamic range (HDR) photos with your iPhone and even allows you to process them directly within the app and then export them to your camera roll or share them on your favorite social network. Get Pro HDR for $1.99 in the App Store.
24. Nike+ Running
As the new year approaches, chances are some of you are making a resolution to get in shape. Well, one of the best apps to help get you there is the Nike+ Running application. I use this app almost every day and it’s great. The app allows you to track your runs and compete with friends to see who’s running the most/longest. The app also tracks Nike Fuel which is a proprietary metric that Nike developed to track your daily activity level. Get Nike+ Running FREE in the App Store.
I saved the best for last. 1Password is my absolute favorite iOS application because it allows me to store, sync, and manage all of my important passwords on all my devices without having to remember any of them. For years I used the same password for everything. That was until I had some of my important info hacked. From that day forward I was all-in on alpha-numeric “strong” passwords. But I don’t want to take the time to memorize them all. 1Password allows me to keep all of my passwords strong and secure while only having to remember one password to enter the app (hence the name). Get 1Password for $7.99 (limited time) in the App Store.
Well, there you have it… My 25 must-have apps for your new iPad/iPhone this year. As always I’ll be keeping up with all the latest app releases and compiling my list as we go through 2013, so stay tuned. Enjoy your shiny new gadgets!