Every week a few of us from team TiPb will bring you our current favorite, most fun and useful App Store apps, WebApps, jailbreak apps, even the occasional accessory, web site, or desktop app if the mood strikes us. As long as they’re iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch related, they’re fair game.
To see what we picked, and to tell us your pick, follow on after the break!
I thought about what I wanted to talk about for this week's pick, and I decided to take a step back and look more at the bigger picture than a single application. I thought about how profoundly my day-to-day life has changed and about influences in the past few years at Nickelfish, and no week seemed more appropriate than this one to recognize the massive change the iPhone brought to users.
I've been a fan of mobile devices for a long, long time. I've forgotten more about the inner workings of Windows Mobile (PPC) and the BlackBerry OS than most people will likely know. Through the time I spent hacking and playing with all my devices, one thought kept running through my head: "this is really cool, but it just doesn't work the way I want it to". I had to do far too much to get the devices to meet my lofty expectations as a power user. Until the iPhone came along.
Admittedly, I skipped the first one, preferring to keep my Treo 700wx on Sprint. No apps? Pssh. Right there I shut down and talked trash about it. I'm a lifelong Apple fan, but I was not about to give up the "flexibility" my hacks and apps afforded me. But that was because I was unwilling to even try to understand where we were all headed. There was a plan, and I wasn't a part of it yet. It wasn't until later when I had both a BlackBerry Curve and a first-gen iPod touch that it started to come into focus.
And once it did, it became clear. Using a device shouldn't be a struggle. I shouldn't have to pull my battery multiple times a day when my phone locked up, because it shouldn't be locking up at all. These devices should be a pleasure to use, with great design, great build quality, and should do what I want, when I want, without having to hack it to make it barely usable. That was the promise of the iPhone, and that was what Steve and all the talented people at Apple delivered on. Since that time, I've purchased and played with other phones, but never have I fully given up my iPhone for any length of time. Its simple premise and elegant functionality has shown me that there is a better way, and that way is for everyone, not just people with the time to tweak.
I still remember the day I gave up my BlackBerry for the iPhone 3G vividly. I'll always remember that day, because that was the day that the first inklings of the promises we'd been made our whole lives started to come to pass. Our world will never be the same, and that is just the way Steve would have wanted it.
[price varies - Apple]
Tweet Speaker for iPhone is an ingenious gem of an app from App Cubby that does nothing more or less than the name implies -- it speaks your tweets. And it does it brilliantly. Now I'm a sucker for highly focused, special purpose Twitter apps. I loved BirdHouse. I loved Reportage. And I love Tweet Speaker.
I had a chance to try out Tweet Speaker for a couple weeks before release, and during that time I was routinely commuting to work through one to one-and-a-half hours of traffic each way. With iOS 5 Notification Center, I could see new tweets coming in during that time, but I couldn't really take my eyes off the vicious, predatory Montreal motorists to read them. So Tweet Speaker read them for me.
Rewind. There are certain developers that when you hear they're working on a new app you know they're going to put the passion and polish into it to make it truly spectacular. It's not always an app you might use, maybe not even the type of app you really like, but the care and quality transcend personal taste and need and you can appreciate them for the sheer skill and effort they signify. App Cubby is one of those developers, and everything from the user interface and experience to the icon to the voice to the way it parses out and speaks tweets just exudes that level of craftsmanship and commitment. And this is just exactly the type of app I use and like. Lucky me.
What's truly remarkable is that iOS platform enables and empowers these kinds of apps, and iOS developers encourage and extol this type of precision and polish. There's pride of platform.
Back again. If you're a big Twitter user and you like to walk or jog, if you drive or bike, if you work out or work outside, if you do anything where your life would be made easier by having your tweets spoken to you, and richer by having an amazing app do the speaking, then check out Tweet Speaker.
Then tell me what you think of it @reneritchie. I look forward to hearing it.
]$2.99 - App Store link]
Quick disclaimer. I'm biased. But you have to understand the timeline - I liked the product so much, I went to work for the company. I love DataVault. I love having all my passwords right on my iPhone. I can search for anything: Labels, Values, Memos - it doesn't matter how much or how little I remember about what I'm looking for. (And in my crazy world, I don't always remember the easy part, so I search a lot.)
I use DataVault constantly throughout the day as I go to work on someone else's computer and need to look up their passwords. I no longer worry about my colleagues forgetting their passwords - I just save them in DataVault so that I can remind them when they forget.
Did you ever get to the bank to deposit a check, only to discover you don't have any deposit slips and without that you have no clue what your account number is? Not a problem if you have that information stored. Of course, being able to sync with the desktop (separate purchase) is great, especially if you do any online shopping. I can just copy/paste my credit card number.
DataVault is also really handy for those times you go to the doctor's office and they inform you that since it's been a year, you need to update all your insurance information (even though it hasn't changed in 10 years!). So instead of fumbling through your wallet for all your health insurance cards, you just copy the numbers out of your iPhone...which was probably in your hand anyway.
So yes, I'm biased, but I came by it honestly, and I love this app!
[$9.99 - App Store link]
Well what else could I choose after iPhone 4S pre-order day. Let's set the scene, I get up early on Friday morning, alright, I am in the UK so it was actually 8am when pre-orders were supposed to start; so not that early. Nothing happens for 30 minutes, Apple Store down and everyone is complaining on twitter. Eventually it comes online but errors out all the time.
I had a moment of inspiration, pulled out my iPad, fired up the Apple Store app, chose my iPhone 4S spec and color then boom, done! It took like 45 seconds from start to finish, no hanging around on the web. Delivery to my home on the 14th October; gotta love the Apple Store app.
[Free - App Store link]
I live in Northwest Indiana and the weather here can vary greatly from day to day. They say the Midwest is the only place you could use your heat and air conditioning in the same day. And let me tell you, it's true.
I always make a habit of checking the weather each morning to see what to prepare for. A lot of weather apps I've come across are just ugly in general. This isn't the case with Weather HD. It provides the basic information I need to prepare for the day in a unique and rather beautiful way. The images change given the weather conditions and all of them are stunning. It may not provide warnings and statements but I can always toggle between Accuweather and others for that information. On a regular day to day basis, I've found Weather HD to be the app I use. If you're looking for a new and interesting way to check the weather, Weather HD is definitely it. And it's available as a universal binary for both iPhone and iPad.
[$0.99 - App Store Link]
Once again, I am late to the game when it comes to a popular app. This time it's with Hanging with Friends. What a fun little game! It's very similar to Hangman. You take turns creating words for your opponent to guess. If you guess wrong, you lose a balloon, and whoever looses all their balloons first, looses the game. I'm not very good at word games, so if anyone is looking for an easy opponent, look me up!
[$1.99 - App Store link]
Spy Mouse is a wonderful game with many challenges. I just love all of the characters in the game. My favorite part of the game is trying to get the cheese before the cats even know it! Most of the world in this game are very hard to beat!
[$0.99 - App Store link]
You’re part of the team as well, so we will be choosing one reader to make a submission each week! Just look for the announcement on twitter or our Facebook page each weekend for a chance to be picked! In the meantime, jump into the comments and let us know your pick of the week!