I must confess that I had an iPhone for about a year and a half without ever downloading a single App. I was traveling a lot and just never had the time to investigate the App store. Then I got sick – I was down for the count for two days in a row. I didn’t even have the brain power to sit on the couch and watch TV or a movie. So, I crawled into bed with my magazine reading stack. I started reading through one of my indulgent magazines (Lucky) and I got to maybe page 10 of the magazine before spotting an ad for a shoe finder app. I thought, “Oh, I need to check this out. I love shoes…”
And it was hook, line, and sinker… all the way. I spent the next two days glued to my computer, exploring the App store, and downloading (free) apps, starting with the Shoe Finder App from Lucky. Turns out, after I was back on my feet, that I had downloaded 96 apps and I had made a list of 20 or more apps that I wanted but couldn’t find. Turns out some of the apps I wanted didn’t exist yet and had to be written (too bad I don’t know how to write code for these kind of apps). I then spent a lot of time organizing my apps into categorized pages on my iPhone putting like Apps with others that were similar – games, financial, news, fun stuff, food/exercise (I’m still not sure how those two topics ended up together), utility/organization, things to explore, etc. In the intervening three years, I have used many apps, forgotten about others, never opened some, and best of all, I have developed a list of time tested favorites.
My Favorite Apps:
- Starbucks Mobile Card – I typed in my Starbucks Card #s and can connect to my online account; with a press of a button, I can charge my Starbucks purchases to this card – I don’t have to carry around the cards any longer… and Starbuck’s just installed scanners to read these mobile card versions. No card, no cash needed. This App was the most used app when I drove across country last summer from San Carlos to Prince Edward Island because the App has a store finder built in it too! The only thing I haven’t gotten to work perfectly is the reload $ automatically feature.
- Scrabble – I actually paid for this App. We play Scrabble (and Sudoku, Tap Tap, and Dodge Dot) while waiting in lines, in the car when the kids just can’t stand each other any more, at boring meetings, etc. We like to play the live version at home too!
- Facebook – I use this Facebook App a lot (and Twitter) when waiting for other things to happen. It is a good way to catch up with friends, see what others are doing you haven’t seen in awhile, and most entertainingly, see what incredible (or sometimes inane) postings people make sometimes! (Related Note – I haven’t made as much use of the Twitterrific one – it is flaky on the iPhone.)
- Yelp – I use this to find restaurants (with Urban Spoon as a close second) or stores or other things. I have had the most luck with food related stores and establishments. For, example, I did not have good luck trying to find an orthodontist for a minor emergency while traveling – lots of info was old or out of date. But for restaurants, it works great!
- CardStar – I use this App so I don’t have to carry any cards – no hotel affinity cards, no grocery store cards, nothing. You type in your number and up pops a bar code. You can link to the proper website for each card (it is pre-populated with a lot of info for each merchant already). You can also link to your account online for some of the cards. They recently added a coupon feature which can be really helpful if you are looking for a hotel room and there is a hotel coupon waiting for you!
- Call a Cab – I used this all over. It uses your location and lists a bunch of cab companies with distances from your current location. Choose one and call it. They will send a cab for you within minutes. Awesome when you are in a strange/foreign place and need to get back to your hotel in a hurry. Worked great the first time I used it, which was in Honolulu, Hawaii, and every time thereafter. (This one doesn’t seem to be in the App Store at the moment. The developer is Bitfire.)
- ShopShop – This App is a virtual grocery list. I no longer carry sticky notes around, stuck to me or my car in various places. You put in the item and it stays there until you cross it off. You can email or text the list to your husband while he is out shopping and can’t remember what you asked him to get 🙂
- OmniFocus – this App synchs with my desktop version of my projects, ToDos, and other items of note. I don’t know what I would do without it. Some people like GTD – Getting Things Done, but I found that OmniFocus suits me better. Another possibility is Things, which I am thinking of buying to try out.
- Mint.com – I love this App for its simplicity and alerts. I worked at Intuit for 5 years and they were working on Quicken Online at the time, but when it launched, it was a dumbed down version of the desktop version and never quite worked as robustly as I wanted for an online version. I really just wanted something I (and my husband) could see from anywhere and know that we weren’t going to bounce anything. Intuit has since bought Mint.com and souped it up a little.
- GoBears – I know this one seems like an outlier at first, but I really use it a lot – it has the latest schedule times for Cal Sports (football and basketball) and is great when they make last minute schedule changes. Go Bears! (This one’s for Cal Grad Aaron Rodgers!)
- xfinity mobile – this is Comcast’s newest App that allows me to control my voicemail, TV, cable, and internet from my phone of iPad. It’s totally cool! I just forwarded my home phone to my mobile phone and got our home voicemail on my mobile phone. I could go on. If you are a Comcast customer, I highly recommend trying it out. If you aren’t a Comcast customer, try finding one for your own internet/home phone/cable provider.
Please let me know what Apps you totally love (or don’t love so much)…