I know what your thinking. This subject has been done, and done well, by so many others. In fact, when I Google ‘best iPhone apps blog post’ I end up with a return of 189,000,000 posts. So what can I add that’s a bit different here. Well, this post is not going to dwell on the standard apps that, in my opinion, everyone with an iPhone (or iPad) should have. Dropbox, Twitter, Evernote, Reeder, Skype, LinkedIn, Flipboard FaceBook, IM Pro, Hootsuite and Buffer are key productivity and social apps that most readers will have already installed. Lets talk about some that are a bit off the beaten track.
So, considering that an app is really a tool (hence the photo above) to do something, what are four that I recommend?
- SONGZA – I love this app and use it daily while running, working, or just relaxing with a book before bed. As you open the app and use its Concierge service you are presented with six general options for activities you may be doing at that time. On a Monday morning, for example, you may choose from selections such as ‘Singing in the Shower’ or ‘Drinking Gourmet Coffee’. Choose one, in my case the latter, and you are again given six options including ‘Coffee Shop Indie’ and ‘Earthy Rock’. Choose one of those, Indie in my example, and three playlists are presented with a short description of each. I choose ‘Mellow Indie’ and have a playlist of 122 songs instantly streaming. Not loving the playlist you selected? Similar playlists are listed for you. FREE
- NEST – This app works with the Nest learning thermostat. Do yourself a favour and change the old thermostats in your home and install NEST. I have four in my home. It is incredible the way they increase awareness of the power your home is consuming in climate control. Best of all, the thermostats empower you to do something about it. Initially they spend about a week to 10 days learning your habits. When do you turn one down or up a bit? When is no one around? With this info they start to automatically adjust the time and temperature without any intervention from the user. Of course you can always adjust it yourself at any time, but they save you money by better managing the cycle times and automatically adjusting the ‘away’ times when the system is shut down. The app interfaces with installed thermostats allowing you to remotely control the system and review energy graphs showing how often the systems were running daily. FREE
- POMODORO – This app is a little gem for studying, or gaining focus on work. It is based on the Pomodoro Technique and is a iPhone version of the old manual tomato kitchen timer. The concept here is that you set your timer to the recommended time block of 25 minutes and click to start. The app then does a countdown to zero at which time you take a five-minute break. Every four of these sessions you take a 30 minute long break. The linked app is the one I use in a paid version that removes the ads, but there are several others out there that all do essentially the same thing. FREE / PAID
- SNAPSEED – This app is my go-to app for photo editing on the fly. How often do you take a photo and upload it to FaceBook or Twitter and it just lacks the feeling that you saw in taking it? Well, spend a minute or two editing the brightness, contrast, ambiance, saturation, adding some tilt focus or precision blurring and suddenly you have a photo that really pops. It was recently acquired by Google so unfortunately Flickr uploads have been eliminated, but it is still a wonderful and simple app to use. I love this story linked here or a photographer at the last Summer Olympics that shot everything using and iPhone, Snapseed and a binoculars. FREE
I have an app buying problem so have over the years ended up with almost 200. The ones in the opening paragraph and the four others listed above are the ones that I keep coming back to daily.
What are your non-typical or specialty iPhone (or iPad) app discoveries? Share them with me in a comment if you have a moment.
PS – I just checked, there are now 189,000,001 results to my Google search.