A quick Google Search on ‘Total number of applications on iOS’ revealed to me numbers that are only considered real when you tried to measure distances between two celestial bodies. Yes, a total of 875,000+ apps are currently active and available on the App Store for iOS devices. A recent stat I came across warned me though that only about 37% of these apps are free, indicating majority of the applications in the hugely populated App Store are paid.
The Above stats were taken via 148apps.biz
Most of us like to sit tight on our money especially when it comes to purchasing applications. You see literally hundreds of people carrying a $500 plus smart device but would fret for life if they had to purchase a $.99 app. Yes, there are exceptions but that is the general rule, everybody loves a free lunch. But, there are a few apps out there in the app store that deserve your hard earned money. Here is a list of six apps that are highly recommended, the sorts that you cannot or rather should not miss out on. Let’s jump in look at them one after the other.
I am not a huge fan of taking images using a mobile device. Not slating the quality of the shooter that some of the modern day devices come well equipped with, especially the likes of N8 or the 808 Pureview, I just like a proper Camera in hand when it comes to capturing those precious moments. The camera on iPhone whatever the version has always delivered very decent results, especially if you are not big photography expert and like to keep things simple and just share images across social networks, the likes of Facebook, Tumblr Twitter etc. But what if you want more?
The Camera application on the iPhone was designed keeping an average user in mind, and that is probably the reason the only setting you can tweak in there is whether to keep the flash on, off or on manual or take the image in HDR mode. That is incredibly basic set of options. To solve this issue, one of the very first apps I purchased when I picked my iPhone 5 was Camera+.
Comparison of same image after and before applying the clarity effect
The rule of thumb is, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it. This is true for the Camera on iPhone 5. It takes some terrific pictures on a seemingly auto mode default application, but Camera+ lets me do so much more. If you are the one to experiment with your images until you hit the sweet spot right out of the stadium, then you will love Camera+. The application is incredibly simple to use but packs a very solid punch when it comes to delivering features and customizations.
All the features of the default Camera app such as doubling the volume button as the shutter button, grids and digital zoom are present in Camera+ too. Add to it you have horizontal level indicator that lets you make sure your device is perfectly horizontal or vertical when taking shots. You can also turn live exposure on for those who are big on ISO numbers, which in a nutshell determines how sensitive your lens is to light. You also get useful information like the f number or the measure of aperture and the lens focal length. Though, needless to say these values stay constant depending upon your device.
The application gives you an option of saving the images in a special place called the Lightbox or straight in the Camera Roll. When selected, in Lightbox, you have a wonderful editor in built in the application that lets you not only do basic editing such as cropping the image or turning it around, but also allows you to add effects and filters in a way very similar to Instagram, only a lot more comprehensively.
There is also a neat option of putting borders in your images, both simple ones and stylish ones. Sharing of the application is directly possible right from Camera+ app as you can configure your Facebook, Twitter or Flickr credentials. The application is a complete package and totally worth the money. It actually transforms the image taking experience on an iPhone.
Download: Camera+ for Rs. 55
Twitter is a wonderful medium for sharing your thoughts, having quick access to breaking news and occasionally engaging in a meaningful debate or discussion . If you are big into using the micro blogging site, then you will find that the default Twitter application, although works, lacks features. The default twitter app is made for those select few who are happy reading their Timelines and occasionally writing a tweet or two and don’t really mind a rather boring UI.
Although there are not too many alternatives to the default Twitter app unlike Android where you have some feature packed clients like Carbon, Falcon or Tweetings, one application that stood out for me on iOS that could compete shoulder to shoulder with some of the Android big guns was Tweetbot.
Tweetbot makes sure that you do not miss out on any tweets and in my couple of months of usage it has not skipped my timeline. This was a major complaint with the default Twitter app as it conveniently skipped over some tweets. Tweetbot gives you options such as Muting a user or a topic or certain Hashtags that the default Twitter client does not. These are indeed very handy when you have had enough of IPL and the fixing saga and would like to block away the tweets which have certain words in them or simply do not want to read tweets by the person you are courteous enough to follow.
The UI of the application is extremely easy and simple swipe gestures work a treat. You will need a little getting used to period, to fully utilize the broad spectrum of features Tweetbot comes bundled with. For example a simple tap on the tweet brings a small row of options from where you can directly reply or Retweet with or without quotes. Services such as Pocket or Instapaper are well integrated.
Reading a conversation on Tweetbot is a breeze and all you have to do is a little swipe to right gesture and you have the entire conversation right there. It is possible though if the conversation is very long, that Tweetbot misses half way through. The bottom bar of the application has the search and ability to view your ‘favorited’ Tweets. You can long tap on them to change them according to your preference.
There is support for multiple accounts and you can also view the Media Timeline which is a very handy feature as it allows you to see those tweets only where an image or Video is attached to the Tweet. Simple layout, easy gestures and really quick response time makes Tweetbot one of my favorite apps on my iPhone and one you must try out. It’s definitely worth the money.
Download: Tweetbot for Rs. 170
Long gone are the days when you were restricted to using your desktop to browse E-Mails. Smartphones have made sure that your E-Mail accounts are right in your palms. The default iPhone Mail App has not really seen too many changes over the years. Also, it does struggle in case you want to attach images from the client. The alternatives are few and far but one that gets the job done in the simplest way is Sparrow.
Mailbox is an alternate to Sparrow and default mailbox and available for free. You can check out our review here.
One of the major drawbacks with Sparrow is that the application does not support push mail as of now. not sure if there are any plans to add the feature, but if push mails are important for you, then you can try mailbox or stick to the default mail client. It is not much of a miss for me personally because I anyway would rather keep the push mails off due to large number of mails from advertisers and such, and it is a lot more convenient to check the mail only when you feel like. Where Sparrow succeeds though, is in incredible simplicity and neatness in interface.
You can attach images to the mails while you are composing it, though you have to do it one by one, you can definitely attach more than 5 images which is the limit in the default mail client. The sync on Sparrow is quick and you have support for multiple accounts. You can switch from having previews of 1 line to 5 lines and connect the app to Facebook to download the avatar of your contacts.
You can set up your signature and also set the maximum number of mails you wish to download which is pretty handy in case you want to save on the data down limit on your iPhone. Sparrow shows all your labels like you expect it to and you can edit by adding or deleting labels right from within the application. When you open a mail in the app, you can access a small menu from the bottom which lets you directly reply, forward, star or delete a mail. A simple swipe to the left gesture from the inbox gives you the same options.
If you are looking for a mail client that is a little more intuitive than the default mail client but retains the ease of use and simple clean interface, then Sparrow would be a worthy download for your iPhone.
Download: Sparrow for Rs. 170
Someone rightly said, the simplest things are often the hardest to do. It was true until came across Clear. Clear is probably my favorite application when it comes to taking notes or writing small snippets for myself. The default Notes app is good on iOS and the sync with iCloud is great. But it is mainly for those moments when you have to write down big elaborate things.
Make sure you have edge swipes on from settings so you can swipe across the home screen to quickly access your lists
What if you just want to write in one line quickly, and delete that away just as quickly when you are done. This is when Clear is such a winner. The app provides a nice colorful interface and you just have to pull the list down to create a new note. Once that note becomes obsolete you simply swipe it away and it’s gone. Really simple and easy way to take down a quick note like a telephone number or a mail address.
You can pinch in twice to get to the settings of the application where you can play with your options or change the theme to suit your liking
You can also create a new list of reminders for movies you would like to watch or a list of groceries to buy. A simple pinch in gesture is used to navigate around the app as it gives you a quick access to all your lists you have created in Clear. And before you are worried about losing your data, the app automatically makes a backup in iCloud so that all your reminders and notes are kept safe and secure as long as you have it enabled in settings. Clear definitely falls into the category of apps where things work and simply does what it is made for rather than being so filled with features that you would rather find a way around the Amazon forest than use the application.
Download: Clear for Rs. 110
Launch Center Pro
‘Launch Actions, not just Apps’, that’s the way the developers of Launch Center Pro describe it and there is no better short and sweet description of the application than that.
“Launch Center Pro is an app of verbs. Search. Shoot. Call. Text. Add… With a simple tap-and-slide, you can launch apps, perform actions and more… It’s so simple and fast that before long your muscle memory takes over and you don’t even have to look. ” —Dave Caolo – TUAW
If you have used a Macbook, then one distinctive feature that you grow onto love is the apps dock at the bottom that lets you quick launch your apps. Launch Center Pro is somewhat like that, only difference being it’s not really a dock and does a lot more than dock does. Sounds confusing? Not really. The app basically aggregates a bunch of shortcuts such as speed dialing a contact, quick composing a Tweet or Quick uploading a pic on Instagram and some shortcuts such as toggling on the flashlight.
Sometimes, we complain that unlike in Android there are way too many steps involved in doing a simple job on iOS. For example, if I want to quickly dial to my brother, i have to go to the phone app search his number and then make a call, a bout three to four steps, this is where Launcher Center Pro is such a match winner. It lets you have all your activities which you feel are important in one place. All you have to really do is fire up Launch Center Pro and from there you can trigger these actions in one shot.
It is an app that saves time and makes cumbersome tasks simple. The launch actions from the app are instantaneous and never did it felt that a third party app was being used to trigger them. One of the recent updates also added the ability to either Tweet or Mail the last picture you have taken, which is handy if you are really big into sharing pictures. The possibilities with the apps solely depend on how well can you customize it and use it.
Download: Launch Center Pro for Rs. 220
It is the cry of every single tech enthusiast that Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st. There have been alternates galore to the popular RSS aggregator, and you can expect plenty more such apps to come out in the near future. Although there are some free alternatives such as Feedly and Flipboard etc, if you are looking for something a lot more simple and an app that looks like a feed aggregator than a collection of pictures from all the posts then Reeder is pretty much the perfect replacement for Google Reader, to a point that they even share the same name, spellings are different though.
In case you missed out, you can check out our list of five free alternatives to Google Reader here
Not just Google Reader, Reeder comes with capable Feedbin, Fever and Readability syncing. You also have support for multiple accounts in the app in case you have more than one accounts. You can share your articles right from the app either via Twitter or Mail or even save it for reading them later via services such as Pocket or Instapaper. There are various other sharing services too such as Pinboard, Delicious, Facebook, Evernote, Readability etc. You can also set if you want the app to sync when you open it or you want to do it manually. This option is very useful when you are in the middle of reading something and had to switch apps. It makes sure things are as it is and new feeds are not added next time you open the app if you have ‘Sync on Start’ set to off.
The app has a few basic gestures such as a two finger swipe down marks all the feeds below as read. When you select a feed, you can swipe from right to left to open the original article in the in built browser of the app. You can also subscribe to a new feed or a site right from within the application which is a useful feature.
On the whole, the application is easy to use and comes with features that makes sure you do not miss your native Google Reader account from desktop. Pretty much the best alternative to Google Reader given how neat the app looks. Simple tasks such as marking the articles read, starring them or even refreshing the feed work flawlessly and if you really love reading your RSS feeds on Google Reader, we can vouch for the fact that you will love Reeder.
Download: Reeder for Rs. 170
So those were our pick of six applications that your money deserves. They are all utility applications to make sure you handle everyday tasks of your life in a more efficient and simple manner. Do let us know if you liked our suggestions and feel free to ask any queries if you might have in the comments section below.