2011 - Apps, Apps, Apps!

Wed, Dec. 22 2010

No doubt 2010 was the year of the app and with the tablet market exploding, 2011 promises more of the same.

My iPhone 3G is easily my favorite machine by a long stretch but me and my iPad  have endured a rocky period since the honeymoon phase of our relationship hit the fade.

But I'm happy to report a recent breakthrough has me feeling all warm and fuzzy again. It turns out I was carrying expectations from a previous relationship and putting unreasonable demands on my device, instead of starting with a clean slate. So, as part of my renewed commitment to my sleek, sexy tablet, I've been spending more time in apps because that is after all, what makes the iPad special.

So what apps am I packing and how do I rate them?I'll pick five from my collection that go beyond the standards:

  • Hipstamatic - Best $1.99 ever spent. I love this camera app. It's not perfect - I often have to take several shots before actually developing one, but the retro effects, edges and filters make virtually every shot a keeper. And you can upgrade to different filter packs to expand your photographic arsenal. Snapped above of Jim and Steve at Union Square yesterday in between meetings. 
  • Dragon Dictation - This free transcription app is almost perfect but I'll forgive it, because it's free. I use DD almost daily to capture my thoughts and daily prep on my morning drive. Part of the fun is trying to figure out what the hell I was saying in the first place, but that's what you get for free. Did I mention that it's free? Here's my transcript from this morning straight out of the app: 
    Alright new blog post adds adds adds to try this again Dragon dictation keeps breaking up is that shot of Jim and Steve crossing the street in between meetings at Union Square yesterday to talk up my apple beer for tonight is by its inconsistency it still gives you great shots virtually every time with the various filters check it would be Dragon dictation hello jacking up today it's a lot of fun and very easy-to-use on the go to jot down quick notes send text e-mails etc. on third Avenue

  • Twitter for iPhone/Twitterific for iPad - Need my tweets. Both are free. Both are good.
  • Cor.kz - I've been using this wine inventory/database app quite a bit lately. I'm no wine snob, I just happen to know some enthusiasts who leave behind bottles at my house and I figured it would be useful to get better acquainted with my collection and keep stock of inventory. The app acts as a tidy front-end for the online Cellartracker database with info on over 750,000 bottles of wine. The integration is a little clunky because you need to toggle between Cor.kz and CellarTracker in order to get the full range of features and functions, but I'm finding I can do the basic inventory and find out what bottles are up for drinking without leaving the app. I did send a question to Cor.kz and received a speedy response, which counts for a lot in my book. Cor.kz will set you back $3.99.
  • Trucks and Skulls/X2 Football 2010 - What app list would be complete without some mention of games? If you ask me, Trucks and Skulls for .99 is a great way to kill 10 or 15 minutes. From the site: "This is the physics puzzler you've been waiting for! Smash NITRO-BURNING MONSTER TRUCKS into piles of GIANT SKULLS!" Need I say more? But If you ask my five-year-old son, he'd probably say X2 Football takes the prize because he's becoming more of a soccer nut than I am. I can't tell you how many times this free lite version of the game has come to the rescue in impatient waiting circumstances.

And some others worth mention:

The new CNN app is gorgeous, Atomic Lite browser is better than Safari, Speak it! is a text-to-speech app I purchased by accident but it actually does a pretty good job of reading - and, you can do it with a British accent, Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin - 3D Interactive Pop-up Book is awesome, Kids Jokes for $1.99 is a total rip-off.

And stay tuned - we've got some apps of our own in the works for release in early 2011. That's right - Artgig makes apps.

Happy Holidays.