By: Hillel Fuld
It has been a few months now since I replaced my beloved BlackBerry Bold with a shiny new iPhone 4 (Read about the experience here). All in all, despite its shortcomings (yes, Apple is not perfect), I am extremely satisfied with the iPhone and despite what I would have said about the first 3 generations of the Apple device, I now recommend the iPhone 4 to anyone who asks me.
Having said that, and due to the nature of what I do, both here and at inneractive, I come across a lot of new apps on a daily basis. Some developers I work with have done such a fantastic job on creating apps for iOS, that it shows me how much better the actual phone could have been. Whether it is the notification system, the camera, note taking capabilities, or the lack of a task manager, the iPhone is far from perfect.
I have over 200 apps installed on my iPhone, but I can count on one (or two) hands the number of apps I use regularly, which is sometimes weekly and even daily. Some of these apps are well known, others are less, and some were just released on the App Store, so I figured I would give you a heads up.
The following are 8 iOS apps that Apple should have built into the operating system, but since they did not, they should now go out and buy:
- Boxcar (Free): It is no secret that one of the fronts on which Android kicks Apple’s butt is notifications. Here is a mockup of what an ideal solution for iOS notifications would look like, but meanwhile, Boxcar does a pretty good job. Boxcar is an all in one notification solution for your iOS apps. It pushes notifications for services including Facebook, Twitter, email, Google Voice and Buzz, and a whole lot more. I have experienced some bugs in Boxcar where there are days that I do not get any notifications, but 95% of the time, I love it.
- QuickCam ($0.99): This app was made by the same developer as another one of my favorite photography apps for iOS, ClearCam. As of last week when I started testing QuickCam, it has officially replaced my iPhone’s Camera app, which was made by Apple. Why? It is faster and has tons of features Apple did not include, but most importantly, it is a whole lot faster than the iPhone’s built in camera app. Just to name two of my favorite QuickCam features, its burst mode is faster than anything I have ever seen before and the app also enables you to snap a photo while you are in the middle of taking a video. I have not seen that anywhere else.
- FX Photo Studio ($1.99): I bet you never heard of this app, but for any person who takes pictures with your iPhone or iPad 2, this is a must have. With two versions, one for iPhone and one for iPad, this app provides extremely advanced photo editing capabilities, the likes of which I have only seen in Photoshop. FX Photo Studio has a whopping 181 photo effects and filters built in, extensive sharing abilities across the Web, and many other awesome possibilities. The thing I love about it most by far, is that as opposed to Photoshop, which requires courses in order to master, this app is intuitive and everything about it is obvious.
- Bump (Free): This is one those apps that makes you say “Wow, how did no one think of this before?” If you have not heard of Bump yet (you have been living under a rock), the company developed a technology that enables file transfer, and most recently the ability to transfer your favorite apps by simply bumping two devices together. No, I am not kidding. Just watch the video below. This, given the iPhone’s limited file transfer abilities, should definitely be integrated into iOS and if Apple does not buy this company, something tells me Google will. Fight!
- Kik (Free): Whether it is Kik, WhatsApp, or any of the other free messaging apps on the iPhone, Apple needs its own BBM-like service. If iPhone users were able to text each other for free the way BlackBerry users can, that would pretty much be the nail in the coffin of RIM. After all, their new devices run Android apps, and almost all smartphone OSes now support push mail, so what would RIM have left?
- Evernote (Free): Another widely accepted flaw of the iOS platform is its note-taking ability or lack thereof. Yes, you can jot down a note with the iPhone Notes app, but that is pretty much all you can do. No voice notes, no accompanying photos, and pretty much no organization options. Evernote is probably the most popular note taking app on iOS, and rightfully so. For one, it is free. Secondly, it pretty much covers all your note-taking needs. It also syncs with a client on Mac. PC, or Web. There are a lot more slick features to Evernote and no reason I can think of that this should not have been built into iOS.
- RedLaser/Quick Input (Free): There are many QR code scanners on the App Store, I found these to be the best and quickest, with the slight advantage going to Quick Input due to its speed. Whatever QR scanning app you prefer, there should have been one built into the OS. Yes, I know NFC is the next big thing (or not), but meanwhile QR codes are relatively big and Apple should have included the functionality in its masterpiece.
- Flipboard (Free): I was seriously considering leaving this part blank since chances are by now, you have heard of Flipboard, you have probably played around with Flipboard, and you most likely loved Flipboard, especially after the latest update. Flipboard is a true work of art, and Mike McCue is the artistic genius behind it. I know this is a little different than the other apps I mentioned since Flipboard does not provide a basic functionality like notifications, free messaging, or note taking, but I still believe it belongs on this list. I can only imagine Steve Jobs in his original keynote introducing the iPhone or iPad giving the crowd one of his famous “One more thing” moments and introducing the world to a flipboard-like magazine built into the OS. The crowd would have gone nuts. Don’t worry Steve, all hope is not lost, but it is time to open up your wallet and acquire the best digital social reading experience the world has ever known. Right now, we all use and love it on iPad, but rumor has it Flipboard is making its way to iPhone soon, so now would be a good time to make it a native part of iOS.
There have been many other apps I used and loved on iOS, but these are some of the best out there, and the ones I believe should be an integral part of the already superior experience that the Apple operating system provides.
Did I miss any? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter. I am @hilzfuld.