This is a special post; a brief round-up of the apps that I have loved using this year. I also asked The App That followers and likers on Twitter and Facebook to nominate their must have apps for 2012 and some of those have made it into the final cut too. Here goes…
The ones that keep you in the know…
Pulse: Read the latest articles from all your favourite news websites in one place. It has a very intuitive interface, swiping up/down to browse feeds and left/right to browse articles within a particular feed.
Stay in the know with these apps.
Zite: Select different topics you’re interested in (or give Zite access to your Twitter account and let it guess what topics you’re interested in) and let Zite pull in related articles and blog posts from across the web. Tell Zite whether you like an article or not and over time it will get smarter at curating articles you want to read.
Pocket: How often do you see an interesting looking article or link on the web, but don’t have time to read it there and then? Well, this app will save them all in one place and make them available for you to read, offline, later. Connects with Pulse, Zite, mobile Safari and everything else in between. Loveit.
The ones that make your pictures look good…
Snapseed: comprehensive photo editing app. Cropping, sharpening, contrast, brightness, tilt shift, saturation – it’s all easy to fine tune using this app’s gesture-based controls. I love the ‘Drama’ and ‘Centre Focus’ tools in particular. Oh, and it’s now FREE. Go download, quick.
Make people think you can take good photos…
ColorStrokes: I used to consider colour splash photos – ones that are black and white with just a few features picked out in colour – the ultimate in 90s naffness, but since being on Instagram I’ve actually seen some people doing very cool things with this easy to use app. Have a go at creating some dramatic images. It’s worth following ColorStrokes on Instagram to see some great examples of its use.
Typic: They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes you just need some text too. Choose your font, alter the size and opacity and place it where you want on your picture. Done.
PicFrame: Combine multiple photos into one picture by arranging them in a plethora of frame templates. You can also customise the frame colour, pattern, thickness and perform simple edits on individual pictures that you import. Oh and you can add text labels to them too in various style. Nifty.
DeluxeFX: The best thing about this app are the 31 overlays that you can add to your photos. Again, it does have the potential to look a bit naff, but if used in the right way, on the right kind of picture, you can create some magical effects.
Tiny Planet: Quite simply, this app turns your photos of landscapes into spheres to make them look like tiny planets. Granted, you might not want to use this often, but it’s a bit of fun.
The ones that get you from A to B…
Google Maps: the original and the best. It’s back, hurrah. Enough said.
National Rail: this app has had several nominations from people who ‘use it all the time.’ Bear in mind, you have to fork out £4.99 to get rid of the ads.
Glympse: another Twitter nomination, this app allows you to share your location and ETA with pals you’re meeting up with. The fact that nobody needs to sign up for anything is a definite bonus. Share your location privately by text or email or on Facebook and Twitter if you want the world and his wife to know where you are.
Cabwise: admittedly just one for the Londoners amongst us, but you can book licensed cabs in three easy steps through this app. Find mini cabs and black cabs near to your location and stay as safe as possible on your way home.
Dropbox: access all your digital files anywhere you have an internet connection. I have it installed on my iPhone, iPad, iMac, work laptop – everywhere. Whenever I save anything to Dropbox, I know I can get to it anywhere, any time. No more ‘oh God, I’ve left my USB stick in my skirt pocket and it’s just gone through a 40 degree wash” moments. Sadly, that happened to me!
Evernote: I’ve been signed up to Evernote for a long old time and know that lots of folk can’t live without it, but never really ‘got it.’ However, lately I’ve found it invaluable for making notes about ideas for future blog posts. You can create notes, add pictures, record voice reminders and more besides, which then sync across all your devices.
Moleskine: a favourite amongst The App That followers, this is the digital version of a classic Moleskine journal – a place to store all your ideas. It also syncs with Evernote and backs-up to Dropbox. An upgrade that will mean you can export your journals to PDF is on its way…
Pearltrees: collect and save links to things you like on the web in one place. Organise related links into different ‘branches’ of your tree. There are also Pearltrees Chrome and Mobile Safari extensions making saving links a one-click job.
lino: create digital canvases and add digital post-it notes to them. You can grant access to others so they can add post-its to your canvases too. Great for collaborative brain storming.
Google Drive: easy access to all your docs saved in your Google Drive. Wahoo.
RunKeeper: a way for runners to keep track of all their runs in terms of pace, distance, time and map them in order to monitor progress. Post your completed runs to Twitter and Facebook to get motivation… and annoy people.
My Fitness Pal: nominated by followers on Twitter, this in an unbelievably comprehensive calorie counter and food diary app.
The ones that don’t really fit into any other section…
Alien Blue: a Reddit client, but how to describe Reddit? It’s tricky. Essentially people post images, videos and links to things they think others might find interesting. It’s all completely random and disorganised and much of it is rubbish, but there are always some gems hidden in there too. I can easily while away a lot of time browsing Reddit – try it for yourself!
Apps Gone Free: an app that gives you a daily round-up of apps that are currently free to download – what more could you want?