My Most Used iPhone & iPad Apps of 2011

I’m often asked by people who have just purchased a new iPhone or iPad what apps they should get for their new device. Right now this is what I’m recommending:

  • Kindle & iBooks – The Kindle and iBooks readers are the only apps you’ll probably need for reading books, and PDF files that people email to you. Both Do are excellent eBook readers, but books typically cost less in the Kindle store. On the other hand, I’ve found it much easier to get PDF files into the iBooks reader, so you’ll want to have both installed on your device. Don’t waste your time on the Kobo reader.
  • Zite & Flipboard – Zite is a free personalized magazine for your iPad that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter every time you use it. Flipboard on the other hand had a little bit slicker interface than Zite, but it does not learn your likes and dislikes as you read over time, but stick with the sites and categories you’ve chosen to read. I’d try both out to see which you like better.
  • Facebook & Path – Almost everyone is on Facebook now, and if you are, you should install the Facebook app. The user experience using the app is much more responsive and polished than the mobile web browser interface. You might also want to try out Path. Path allows you to post through to Facebook if you choose, or limit your posts to other Path users.  If you try it, I suspect you’ll like it.
  • Evernote – An excellent tool for capturing, syncing data between your desktop and cell phone. I love the ability it gives me to take a picture of a white board, and then later do a key word search on the text that Evernote has OCR’ed for me. I like to call it my “external brain”.

  • DropBox – DropBox, combined with Document to Go Premium is a great solution for those who want to be able to edit MS Office documents on their mobile device, and have those files automatically sync back to their desktop or laptop computer.  See my previous Blog post for more details.
  • Documents To Go Premium ($17) – Open & edit Word, Excel & PowerPoint Documents from all the most popular cloud sources: Google Docs, DropBox, & SugarSync.
  • Notability ($1) – An excellent tool for taking notes, that also allows you to record audio and sync it with your notes as you take them, as well as import and annotate PDF files.
  • Gmail – If you use Gmail, you’re punishing yourself by not downloading the Gmail app for your iPhone and/or iPad. The Apple mail app is ok, but you’ll be much more comfortable in the native Gmail app.
  • GoTasks – I use the task manager built into Gmail, so this free app has been very helpful in giving me a elegant app interface into those tasks.  I actually prefer GoTasks to the native Google interface.
  • TripIt – “Tripit turns all your flight, hotel and rental car confirmation emails into simple, mobile travel itineraries just by hitting forward.”  Once you’ve used TripIt, you’ll never go back to managing your travel itineraries any other way.
  • Google Translation & Google App – Google translate let’s you type or speak phrases and give’s you back a translation in the language of your choice. The Google search app allows you to take pictures and traslate the text into another language.  It can also take a picture of a business card and add it to your contacts on your iPhone.
  • Flixster – Want to get quick reviews for movies, or find out what time a show is starting locally, Flixster comes to the rescue. Flixster’s critics and audience ratings are usually very helpful.
  • Photosynth – A great free tool from Microsoft for taking panoramic photos with your iPhone.
  • Downcast ($2) – If you are a podcast listener, I highly recommend you try out Downcast.  Why? 1. you can skip ahead 30 seconds or 2 minutes with a press of a button. 2. You can download your podcasts over the air and not have to plug into your main computer to update your podcasts. 3. You can start listening to a podcast as soon as it starts downloading rather than be forced to wait until it’s finished downloading. 4. Lastly, if you want to seed up your listening experience you have your choice of 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2, 2.5 or 3 times faster than normal.
  • AirVideo ($3) – If you already have a video on your desktop computer, but you don’t want to have to spend the time and effort into converting it into an iPad friendly format, Air Video allows you to simultaneously trans-code and stream the video to your iPad or iPhone over your wifi network.  This works wonderfully when you’re at home, but will not work when you’re on the road.  Even so, Air Video is a app I use on a weekly basis.
  • Navionics ($15) – If you are a sailer or boater with an iPad 3G or iPhone, Navionics Marine software is a must buy! Not only does the software track your cruises, but gives you access to tide and current information.  Once your done on the water, you can upload your cruise track to Facebook, or email it to yourself or to your friends to view in Google Earth.
  • ShipFinder – Ship Finder provides a near real time map show the location of commercial shipping in coastal waters. If you are interested in shipping, cruising or sailing in ports and locations across the world, this is an app that you’ll enjoy.
  • Marine Conditions for Victoria BC – While this is more of a mobile web app than a true iPhone or iPad app, it is something I wrote myself. It allow you to view up to date weather, current and tide information for the Victoria, BC, Canada area on your mobile device. Enjoy!

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