Apps I currently like
One of the main reasons why I’m sticking to my iPhone even when Android Phones would be cheaper is the quality of the apps. For many people apps aren’t really very important because they only care about free apps like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These services have apps on all the major platform and they basically have similar features on every platform.
However in my opinion most higher quality apps from smaller indie-developers are still developed first or only for the iPhone. These are the ones that really keep me enthusiastic about mobile apps and what follows is a small selection of apps that I wouldn’t want to live without.
One of my most used apps is a 3rd Party Twitter client from the small team at tapbots. The quality of their apps was always very high but tweetbot has been by far their best. For me the most important part of Twitter is following recent news and being able to easily see conversations between different people. Especially the second feature is much better handled than in the original Twitter App, and so that’s one big plus.
Another important feature is the possibility to sync your current reading position between devices using Tweet Marker or iCloud. The second one hasn’t really worked for me, but the Integration of Tweet Marker even makes it possible to switch to other Twitter Clients like Twitterific. I can pick up my iPad and continue my Twitter Stream exactly where I left it on my iPhone, so I never miss any Tweets because I’m confused what I read already
But the most important part is the design and the interactions in the app. After the iOS7 Introduction Tapbots shipped a whole new app and all the little animations and interactions are fun and feel right at home in the new design language. For example closing images is done by flicking the image away. Even after a year this little detail is still fun and set’s the app apart.
I’ve listened to podcasts for the past several years and have always switched between different clients. Before the release of Overcast I really liked Castro as my main Podcast Client. However the release of Marco Arment’s new app made me switch immediately.
The coolest feature, that still no other podcast client incorporated as far as I know, is the possibility to have automatic playlists. This alone wouldn’t be a very new feature, however what really makes this shine, is that you can mark podcasts as priorities so that they are always the first ones that get played.
The rest of the app is also excellently designed. Recently my girlfriend tried Overcast for the first time and was immediately able to find interesting podcasts through the manually selected recommendations.
I was always a fan of Marco Arment’s apps and Overcast didn’t disappoint me in that regard.
In recent years news of popular services getting hacked have increased dramatically. Reusing the same password on multiple sites is one of the stupidest things you can do but remembering complex and lengthy passwords isn’t something humans are really wired to do.
That’s where 1Password comes into play. This handy app helps you generate secure passwords easily and stores them in one location. As soon as you start using the app, you’re prompted to generate one Master Password and this is the only one that you need from here on out. This Master Password unlocks all your other logins, so that using different passwords for different sites becomes easy to do.
But of course, just having this passwords stored in one place wouldn’t be very easy as you would still need to copy them into your browser all the time. However 1Password also brings browser plugins to all popular browsers and since iOS8 and it’s introduction of extensions it is now also possible to use it on your iPhones default web browser.
1Password has been a helpful companion of mine for years and regular updates keep making the app better and better.
One of the most criticised arguments against skeumorphisms has been, that apps that immitate a “real-world” object handycap themeselves because they need to look and behave exactly as a user would expect this.
This becomes especially clear, when you look at the default calculator on most devices. They can be used as your usual calculator just fine, but besides that don’t really add any useful functionality.
Soulver however, changes everything I expect in a calculator. The app is seperated into three views. The main view is a large textfield, where each line represents one calculation. Right of the main view is a second view that shows the results of each line. At the bottom is the custom keyboard that displays all kinds of possible calculation methods. It can even store variables and is both easy to use and very powerful.
The cool thing, is that you can save each calculation you make with Soulver and use the result in another calculation. You can even go so far as giving variable names to a line so that reusing them later get’s even easier.
I always feel like I just use a tiny bit of Soulver true functionality and even that makes it more than a useful addition to my homescreen.
The last app in this list that I want to mention is Fantastical. Fantastical is a custom calendar that has a very clean UI and is also very powerful. My favorite feature is the possibility to use Natural Language to create calendar events. For example if I write “Dining with my Parents on Friday, 18:30 at Home”, Fantastical does it’s best to create a standard calendar event that has a start date, a location and a description.
Recently Fantastical also got the iOS 8 treatment and now features a today view extension as well as action extensions, so that it is now possible to replace the default iOS Calendar completely.
I’ve been using Fantastical since it’s release and have never looked back. Some of it’s design even inspired parts of my own App, Tick Track, especially in it’s own calendar view.
Using my iPhone without all these apps just wouldn’t be the same. They replace many of the default apps on iOS and they are the real reason, why I keep being enthusiastic about iOS and Mobile Apps in General. If you just want a phone that has browser and has popular apps like Facebook, WhatsApp or Twitter you have many devices to choose from. But if you want to have the latest and greates apps that really enhance your device in unforseen ways the iPhone remains the only choice as far as I’m concerned.