Tuesday, March 9, 2010

iPhone Applications I Love

One of the bewildering aspects of iPhone ownership is choosing applications from the App Store that we find useful to us. Usually one finds themselves browsing aimlessly through the Apple App Store, attempting to locate the perfect app for their phone without even knowing WHAT they're looking for. A conundrum for any iPhone user. While traveling from California back to Texas, I realized that friends recommendations, simply reading online articles and speaking to others over that last few months had eased my own confusion and led to increased iPhone use efficiency in my own experience. So here's a few suggestions. Some are recommendations from my friends, some I found on my own. Feel free to use the comment section to suggest any Apps you feel I've overlooked (there's over 100K to choose from).

Utility Apps
This category is my personal favorite due to the resulting increased efficiency. They also make me feel smarter for having downloaded them.

1. Google Voice Search ~ This App is handy when you're driving and need to access information quickly. It does just what you think it will. Open the App, touch the mic icon on top right, say to Google what you'd like to search for. Touch the result you're seeking. It's THAT easy. Google conveniently saves your past search items on the home page for a quick review of recent search results. Magical & intuitive.

2. The Weather Channel ~ For an App that will quickly become indispensable for the business traveler, head to the App Store and download this FREE (actually ALL the Apps listed here are FREE because I'm about as thrifty as they come). What's nice about The Weather Channel App is it's full-featured. You can view current weather, hourly forecasts, 10-day, traffic cam shots, video and more. Each time I use this program on the iPhone, I'm amazed at how much it can do.

3. Bump ~ Are you a networker? Sales? Lazy? All of the above? Then get Bump.
Download the FREE App, input your contact information and you're ready to trade contact info with the next Bump user you meet at your neighborhood Tweet up. You literally knock fists while the app is open and ready Can be a little buggy at times, but the idea is golden. Such a time saver. It's fun too!

4. Dragon Naturally Speaking ~ Have you ever been stopped at a red light and suddenly remembered you had to send someone a text message? I have. Dragon is the most efficient way of sending a text message quickly. Just tap open the App, say into the iPhone what you'd like to text and click the send icon on bottom right and choose send email or SMS. Select or enter contact you'd like to message and paste your words into the message bar. Then click send. It's “naturally” accurate most of the time. Works best without ambient noise like the radio blasting.

5. Google Calendar ~ (quick note about Google Apps. If you open a Google App in Safari, the App will automatically pop up a tab and prompt you to make it into an iPhone App. Press the plus symbol and choose save to home page. Ta-daa! App created). There are many reasons why I love Google Calendar on my iPhone. It's easy to share it with others, simple to use, convenient to access, integrates with other Google tools and keeps me organized. Any questions? Ask Google. LOL!

6. Touch Mouse ~ This App is a great one to impress yourself and your friends simultaneously. It turns your iPhone touch pad into a wireless mouse. Set-up is simple. And the thing works great for those times you wish you “just had a regular mouse” Because it uses wireless technology to connect to your Notebook, Laptop or Desktop computer, it also doubles as a great pointer and teaching tool if you're in the coffee shop helping a client through a tutorial. Neato.

7. Photoshop Mobile ~ We all know about the limitations of the iPhone camera. What we all did NOT know was Adobe has created a simple application to assist you in adjusting the contrast, brightness and cropping of pics taken while snapping shots of your favorite band while you're out. I recommend installing Adobe's native application on your desktop or Notebook if you're not familiar with this product.

8. Skype ~ Voice over IP technology has improved a lot in recent years rendering services that once were quite buggy like Skype useful. When our friend was in Canada it was easy to download Skype and set up an account (FREE). Once that's done, you can speak to your friends on their computers or mobiles running Skype. Just like roaming data networks, the service can be great or inconsistent depending on how easy it is to access your local network. Again, the convenience factor plays heavily here.

Next post will focus on iPhone Apps for New Media freaks like me. See y'all next time. Oh! Please remember to leave any other great App suggestions in the comments below. Cheers!