Even as a "techie", I still find it daunting to navigate the 140,000 apps in the iTunes store. So I love getting recommendations from others on their favorite apps. And if I like the app, it stays on the phone. If not, it's time for the delete button.
Over time, I can't count how many apps I've gone through. Yet there is always a core group that I find myself using again and again. They are not the newest apps out there, or the sexiest, they just embody that perfect combination of practicality and fun.
So here are my favorite apps. Try them out and let me know what you think. And if you have some favorites, pass them on!
- Slacker Radio (free)
Pick a station by music type and the app will do the rest . I choose whether I want a DJ or not. Love or hate a song or artist? I can tag as a favorite or ban it from the station. Just not in the mood for a particular track? I can skip the song. For the free version you’re limited to 6 skips per hour and you get commercials–though nothing like broadcast radio. (I chose to pay $48 per year for unlimited skips and no commercials.) I can also purchase any track I hear through the iTunes store. One drawback is that unlike the iPhone's pre-loaded music app, it won't play in the background while I perform other tasks.
- Kindle for iPhone (free)
I actually read more books on my iPhone than I do on my Kindle, since my phone is always with me. The font size is adjustable and I can swap the text to a white on a black background in dimly light environments to cut down on eyestrain. When I'm done reading, I can sync the app with my Kindle reader so I'm always current with the last page read.
- Dropbox (free)
I keep my important files backed up online at Dropbox and, with the Dropbox app, I can view them anytime on my iPhone. Dropbox gives you 2GB of online backup for free or pay $10 a month (like I do) for 50GB. Dropbox automatically syncs all of my devices, so if you have mutliple computers around the house it is a godsend. And, it keeps backup copies in case I accidently delete a file or want to retrieve a previous version.
- TweetDeck for iPhone (free)
For Twitter lovers, this app is the best! I can easily set up and scroll through columns that provide views of my friends, direct messages, mentions or any customized search term I want. This is one app I would gladly pay for even if it weren't free!
- HopStop (free)
If I need to get from point A to point B using public transportation, HopStop is my savior. Enter the staring and ending address, and in no time HopStop gives me detailed directions and estimated times using a combination of subways, buses and walking. It can even help me determine whether public transit or a taxi is the better option. I use it for New York City, and the app also covers Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, London, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington.
- I Hear Ewe (free)
My 20-month-old loves this one! It's a simple app with 24 animal pictures. When he presses one, it makes a realistic animal sound. So easy, even an almost two-year-old can do it!
- SoundHound ($4.99)
I hate it when I hear a song that I recognize from high school but just can't remember who wrote it. Or they're playing a great track on the radio and I want to download it from iTunes but I don't know the name. The SoundHound app solved those problems for me. Launch the app, hold my phone in a direction where it can best “hear” the music and the app will determine what song it is. It doesn’t well work in environments where there’s a lot of other ambient noise. It lets me view the lyrics, takes me to the music videos on YouTube and I can purchase the track through the iTunes store.