You can’t turn around on the Internet today without bumping into an article give a “Top Best Super Duper Can’t Live Without Them Apps to Install Right Now or Angels Will Cry” list. For example:
OK, so I made that last one up. But my point is that every blogger or tech reporter that covers the mobile space, whether it be Apple, Android, or Windows, have come out their own definitive lists. There is a lot of crossover between lists, and many of the apps are gems. But as the lists get larger and larger, some actually turn out to be lemons. When friends or family ask me what apps they should get, my first question always is “what do you plan to do with your iPad?” My second question is “where do you plan to use it the most? Home, work, or vacation?” How they answer those two questions influences the kinds of apps I recommend.
I have 426 apps on my iPad and 385 apps on my iPhone. (Don’t worry, I’m seeking professional help.) I have my favorites (see below), but what you install on your device, whether it is photography apps, games, of news all depends on what you expect to get out of the device. You may need to download more than one of the same type of app to get the full use of your device, too. I have over a dozen camera apps and five major photo editors. You’ll quickly learn that apps have their own distinct personalities, and one may perform a specific task better than another. Watch for sales for reduced price or free apps to build your library.
Generally, any iPad or iPhone user can’t go wrong with one of the apps listed below. All app links will open in iTunes if you have it installed. A couple are currently on sale (Nightstand Central and Camera+).
- Calculator. Calculator HD ($0.99) and PCalc Lite (Free), are great iPad apps.
- Alarm clock. Nightstand Central is the best clock app. There are free versions, but the (iPad and iPhone) versions at $0.99 are worth the price. The iPad version is regularly $2.99, and is on sale for a short time.
- Weather. WeatherBug, Free (iPhone and Android) or The Weather Channel, Free (iPad/iPhone/Android)
- Find my iPhone. Lose your iPhone or iPad? Track it’s location from any computer with this free app.
- Documents. GoodReader (iPad/$4.99 or iPhone/$0.99) is the best app for viewing documents (PDF, Word, and more).
- News. Flipboard, Free (iPad/iPhone) is a social magazine you build yourself.
- Speech to Text. DragonDictation, Free (iPad/iPhone). The technology behind this app powers Siri on the iPhone 4S. It won’t schedule appointments for you, but is great for dictating short notes.
- Photo editor. Filterstorm ($3.99) or http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snapseed/id439438619. Both are universal apps for both iPad and iPhone. Snapseed was Apple’s iPad App of the Year in 2011 and is now being released for Android. Filterstorm Pro ($14.99) is available for those who need to edit multiple images at once.
- Camera app. The iPhone’s native camera app is vastly improved since the update to iOS 5. But Camera+ ($0.99) and Top Camera ($2.99) are better. Camera+ is regularly $1.99.
- Angry Birds. No list is complete with out this game. Enough said.
Is your favorite not listed? What categories of apps would you like me to review next? Also, you may want to check out Appolicious.com or AppAdvice.com for app news, reviews, and videos. Both websites also have free apps to make your search simpler. Happy hunting.
Update: By popular request on Twitter. Enjoy.