Top “Ten” iPhone Apps… part two of three

So, as I implied in Part One of this series, there are a lot of good apps out there. I tried to pretend I could only keep ten apps and had to get rid of the rest so I could see which ones were really the vital apps. The problem with that, though, is the apps that I really NEED are not necessarily the same ones that I really LOVE. For example, one of the apps I use every single day is the Alarm Clock; I got rid of my alarm clock on my nightstand and just wake to music from the Alarm Clock app on my iPhone. So, although I need that app and think it’s a really good app and like it, I don’t LOVE it. On the other hand, one of the apps that I really don’t need at all made it on my first top ten list (part one of this series)- Soundhound. I use it infrequently, but it provides a service I really can’t get any other way and it’s just simply really cool the way it all does it.

 

That being said, it makes top ten lists a bit of a conundrum as to what should be included. Really what I probably should have done is just relabeled my posts to something like… “A Bunch of Apps I Like & Use Sometimes” or “Here’s What I Downloaded on my iPhone” or just simply “The List” so it’s vague enough that there’s nothing implied at all. But I didn’t; I’m going with the Top Ten approach and just scrunching the apps together as needed and stretching it out over multiple posts. I just need to hurry up and finish because I keep adding more to my Part Three as I write Part One and Part Two! So, here you have it- “A Bunch of Apps I Like & Use Sometimes” (ten of them, roughly):

 

11. Skype: (Free)- Skype is a VOIP service that allows you to place calls over the Internet. The nice thing, though, is that you really don’t have to know what that means or understand it in order to use it and like it. The Skype app requires that you have a skype account, but that’s about it. Once you have an account, you can call (or video call) anyone else who has a skype account. It’s similar to FaceTime on the iPhone, etc, but not quite as clear. The benefit to Skype, though, is that it will work without an Internet connection, making it so you can do a video call when you’re out and about too (hence, the lower clarity, I expect). Skype works internationally and has chat/message capabilities as well. 
 

12. Vogue Knitting: ($3.99)- Okay, I like to knit and I don’t always finish my projects, but I would like it to be organized somehow so that I can someday come back to those unfinished projects and have a clue… so, I splurged and paid for the Vogue Knitting app. I like the ability to catalogue all my yarns, needles, and projects in one place. Vogue Knitting is well organized and simple to use. In addition to the organizational sections, it also has a small section of “how to’s,” books, stitches, terms & abbreviations, and yarn substitutions. Until Ravelry.com comes up with its own app, the VogueKnitting app will be my knitting app of choice. Even then, I don’t see me totally dropping the Vogue app. 
 

13. Epicurious/AllRecipes: (2.99)- I still tend to prefer paper versions of cookbooks to e-versions, but I love it that I can be away from my house and look up recipes easily with the Epicurious and AllRecipes apps. Both apps make it very easy to search for recipes based on ingredients, course, etc. They also have a built-in option to add the recipe to your recipe box or favorites and, even better, it will create a shopping list for you (I love that!). Also, if you really want others to know what recipe you’re making or be able to easily share it, you can post it on Facebook or Twitter.  
 

14. Starbucks: (Free)- I like coffee and Starbucks’ coffee is consistently good. I like knowing that I will get good coffee that always tastes the same no matter which Starbucks I go into in any city. I like the Starbucks app because I can use it to find that Starbucks in any town and to pay for it. I can reload my balance on my card and then just have the barista scan my phone to pay. Pretty slick. I know the app does more than that, but that’s all I use it for and it does it well. 
 

15. Movies-  
Redbox: (Free)- Redbox, for those of you living in a cave who have no idea, is a kiosk-based movie rental business that allows you to rent a movie for a dollar a day; a good deal if you’re good at getting your movie back to the kiosk in a day (or even a couple days and it’s still a good idea). If you are someone who tends to hang on to your DVD for a week or more, it becomes less of a good deal, costing you a dollar for every one of those additional days. Anyway, now that we’ve covered the Redbox basics, the reason the app is awesome is it’s ability to locate a kiosk with the movie you’re after and then reserve it for you until you get there. I really like this because I know the movie I want will be waiting for me… for a dollar! The other cool thing about Redbox (and a reason the location aspect of the app is good), is that you can return your movie to ANY Redbox location. My family likes this because we live in the middle of nowhere, so we often are in the car for many hours on our way to somewhere else and Redbox makes it so we can rent a movie here or somewhere else, then turn it in when we get to another city with a Redbox. Nice. 
Hulu Plus: (Free)- Hulu is a cool app for viewing shows (both TV and movie). It’s free for a basic membership, but I decided it was worth the $7.99 a month to me to have my shows (Raising Hope, Glee, The Office, 30 Rock, Psych, etc) available. I have yet to watch a movie on Hulu Plus, but when I run on the treadmill I watch a show, thus making it more likely that I will go for more than 15 minutes. That alone makes it worth $7.99 a month! Also, it supports AirPlay so you can watch it on the big screen.  
 

16. Capture: (.99)- Capture is a video camera. That’s it. As far as I can tell, it does nothing else, but it does one thing that your native iPhone video camera does not… it begins recording right away. As soon as you tap the Capture icon on your iPhone screen, it opens and starts recording. This is invaluable to me. As a person with kids and pets, I usually am not doing staged/orchestrated recordings and I often need my recording to start with no warm up time. Actually I probably need it to start about 5 seconds before I realize I should be recording, but I don’t know of an app that can take it quite that far! Once you’re done recording, you tap the time button and it will stop recording and send the finished product to your camera roll. My son had a great suggestion to place the app itself in the “toolbar” (?- the spot at the bottom of your phone where you can have 4 icons), so it’s always available no matter what screen your phone is on. Anyway, like I said, it doesn’t do anything fancy, but it makes it so you can catch the beginning of your child jumping into the pool instead of just the splash at the end.  
 

17. Photography- There are a TON of cool photography apps out there. These are the ones that I use on a regular basis. 
Instagram: (Free)- Instagram is well known for it’s cool filters and the ability to share them on the Instagram stream (kind of like Flickr, but trendier?). Once you have applied your filter (or not), you can choose to share your photo via Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, Posterous, or email; so, if your goal is to get your picture out there, you certainly have options. Instagram is nice because it’s simple and straightforward.  
FlickStackr: (1.99)- If you have a Flickr account and want to be able to manage your photos or if you don’t have a Flickr account, but want to be able to easily browse and collect other peoples’ photos, FlickStackr is a great universal app for you. I have been impressed with the ability to access all my Flickr sets and collections, making it so I don’t need to keep so many pictures on my phone (saving lots of precious space). I can explore Flickr by entering a keyword, making it easy to find a new “snowy” background for my phone, for example. I can then save any of those pictures to a local “stack” on my phone or iPad.  
Web Albums: (2.99)- I got Web Albums so that I could manage my Picasa pictures from my phone. What I want to be able to do with all of my pictures, is get them off of my gadgets and computer and out to the clouds where I can then access and share them at will. Web Albums is how I do this with Picasa. I can upload pictures (en masse) from my phone or I can download pictures to my camera from albums in the cloud. I really like the ability to quickly add captions to the pictures in the upload. All in all, it’s a really easy app to use and I’m impressed with the speed of downloading/uploading lots of pictures at once and the fact that it can do it all in the background when you leave the app. 
Photogene: (1.99)- Photogene (and now Photogene2 -also 1.99) is my go to app for major editing (although primarily I do this on my iPad, where Photogene is really awesome- see my review here). With Photogene (& Photogene 2)you can rotate your images, crop them, adjust color balances, add filters, retouch images, add text, and generally enhance them in a huge variety of ways. Once you have altered your photo to your heart’s content, you can then save it to your photo library or upload it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Instagram, Dropbox, FTP, or your clipboard; or you can email or print it. Wow, that’s a lot of options! The real reason I loved Photogene to begin with, though, was that it has an option to resize my pictures within the app; this is huge for me for those times that I take a high resolution picture but need it to be resized for posting in certain situations. There is also a watermark option if you need that. It’s an amazing photo editing app.  
 

18. BlogPress: (2.99)- BlogPress is a wonderful universal app for blogging on the go. I especially love the option to save an online or local version of the post I’m working on. The local save option is nice for when I don’t have wifi access (like on a plane or the subway or…), but the online draft is really useful for times when I begin a blog on my phone, then work on it from my iPad or laptop later. I can modify or post it from any of my devices- it’s so great, especially when I’m traveling. Unfortunately, BlogPress is currently awaiting approval of an update to make it stop crashing with iOS5, so right now isn’t a great time to try it; however, when it’s working BlogPress is great for blogging.  
 

19. Bump: (Free)- First off, Bump is one of those apps that’s just cool because of how it works. You simply smack your two phones, or phone and iPad or whatever, together and it will transfer your chosen info (pictures, contact information, app or music link, calendar date, etc) from one gadget to the other. Both people have to have Bump installed for it to work, but then the transfer is simple; you feel your phone make this pleasant little buzz and know that the transfer occurred.  
 

20. iMovie: (4.99)- iMovie is pretty much the only app to have if you want to edit your videos on your phone. However, despite what the Apple commercials show, I don’t think fine tuning your video creation on a tiny little screen is very easy. That said, though, this is about as good as it gets. With iMovie you are actually able to do quite a bit. You can choose a theme (which makes it look much more polished by just doing that), trim your videos, add music and/or sound effects, and record audio of your own. Once you have your video how you like it, you can share it to your camera roll, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CNN iReport or send it to iTunes. All in all, iMovie does a pretty good job of making movie editing possible on a less than ideal screen size. And, it’s universal (making the 4.99 price a little easier to take) and supports AirPlay.

 
 
 
 
So, there you have it… Part Two of the “Top (roughly) Ten iPhone Apps.” Now you can look forward to the final installment (aptly named “Part Three”) later this month. App on.
 

One thought on “Top “Ten” iPhone Apps… part two of three

  1. Pingback: Which apps are best? 50 Free iPhone Apps for 2012 « Twyste

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