O'Grady's Best iOS apps of 2012

O'Grady's Best iOS apps of 2012

Summary: A lot of great iOS apps were released this year. Here's a list of my favorite apps of 2012.

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TOPICS: Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Reviews
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  • Google Maps - The best get better - Free

    It's so easy that it's almost unfair. It's also such an obvious pick that I almost didn't include it, but here it is anyway. Google Maps for iOS (free, App Store) further solidifies the big G's position as the king of big data. Apple made a huge tactical mistake when it replaced Google Maps with its own inferior Maps app and it's still feeling the pain from the gaffe. Google Maps has over 7 years of map, street view, local and public transit data and is the undisputed champion in the space. Google Maps for iOS also includes voice guided turn-by-turn directions on the iPhone 4 -- a device that Apple has abandoned in a shameless act of planned obsolescence. Google Maps even turned up the notch in the UI department making most of Apple's first-party apps seem antiquated and lame in comparison. Google's Maps, Search, Chrome and Sparrow apps have now replaced the Apple equivalents on my home screen and Apple's going to need a major turnaround to reverse a very bad trend.

    Runners Up

    • Waze (free, App Store) Still my favorite social driving app. Fun but not enough to replace an app like Google Maps.
    • Grokr (free, App Store) Bills itself as a discovery app that learns from your searches and delivers personalized results based on your interests and location. Cool predictive traffic, but 1.0 version kills your battery.
  • Flickr - The former photo king makes a comeback - Free

    I used to use Flickr religiously - before photo sharing was even a thing. Unfortunately, like many things at Yahoo!, Flickr was left to whither and die. The new Flickr for iPhone (free, App Store) is a complete rewrite that's nothing short of amazing. The new iOS app features better-than-Instagram filters, editing tools and a copious amount of sharing options. Plus it's great to just browse photos. The new Flickr is so good that I renewed my Flickr Pro account and I'm seriously reconsidering my Picasa Web Albums renewal. I can't wait for the universal version of Flickr for iOS so that I can use it on my iPad.

  • Addappt - Automatic contact management - Free

    This year when we mailed out our Christmas cards I had to email, text or telephone at least a dozen people to confirm that they were still at their same address as last year. If they were using Addappt for iOS (free, App Store) their new contact information would have been sent to me automatically when it changed. It's an up-to-date address book that's maintained by your friends. Addappt is a bootstrapped operation founded by former LinkedIn employee Mrinal Desai and some ex-Microsoftees. They haven't accept outside financing so Addappt's not completely polished yet, but there's also no corporate strings attached or pressure to "monetize" your contacts. After you install Addappt, you need to request an invitation, but mine arrived via email within 24 hours. From there it imports your iOS address book, and looks for other users on Addappt. Then you request a link to your contacts and (if they approve) you're done. Whenever a linked contact updates their address, phone number or email, it's automatically updated in your contacts. Addappt has a strong privacy policy and promises not to sell, rent or share your contacts, and I trust them a lot more than Facebook with my contact data.

    Further Reading

    • Jason Hiner's review for ZDNET's Between The Lines
    • Walt Mossberg's video review on WSJ.com
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Topics: Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, iPad, Reviews

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9 comments
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  • Remote

    "What did I miss? What are your favorite iOS apps?"

    Perhaps the most useful for me has been Jump Desktop for remote connection to PC's either by VNC or RDP. So well written, stable, smooth, cleverly laid out on iPad (but especially on the small iPhone display) that you wish all apps were done by these guys.

    Support/responsiveness from developers top-notch.
    JohnrC
    • look at the next page link

      look at the next page link above. The site gives you a very small amount of text with many opportunities to click on an advertisement to the point of annoyance.
      Ken_SF
  • Jump Desktop - Remote Desktop Control

    "What did I miss? What are your favorite iOS apps?"

    Perhaps the most useful for me has been Jump Desktop for remote connection to PC's either by VNC or RDP. So well written, stable, smooth, cleverly laid out on iPad (but especially on the small iPhone display) that you wish all apps were done by these guys.

    Support/responsiveness from developers top-notch.
    JohnrC
  • Wow one man's best an other's worst

    Why anyone would use Chrome when you could use Safari is one click search so you can go to a page and give google info about where you go instead of a click? And most of the rest have already been delated off my phone.
    kpbpsw
  • MyBoxOffice

    If you're like me and have lots of movies try MyBoxOffice.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/myboxoffice/id317039484?mt=8

    It's saved me a few times from buying the same movie again.
    Arm A. Geddon
  • Really,fantastical

    Not being able to invite attendees ruins it for me. It may have a fancy interface but can't do the basics.
    elvisfan0108
  • Top New Years Countdown App is free today

    Top New Years Countdown App is free today, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/new-years-countdown-2013-hd/id485460856
    Mary Rogers
  • Sparrow? An e-mail app?

    My BB has native MSActiveSync, and POP3/HTML mail. I use it for outlook.com, att.net, and corporate email. All native. No apps to buy.
    bb_apptix
  • Calendar

    Considering that the iPhone native calendar hosed MS Echange servers, I'm not surprised that you find a need to buy a calendar.
    bb_apptix