It’s only one more sleep until Annual Present Day, and a lot of people out there will be opening up new Apple devices – be it an iPhone, iPad or iPod. I’m sure many people will also be opening up Android devices, only to return them on Boxing Day to exchange for an iDevice.
Now you’ve got that new shiny in your hand, which apps should you install? I’ve cobbled together a list of my favourites.
Find My iPhone
This should be the first app installed on any new iOS-based device. If you’re already running such a device, stop reading and go install it – now.
Once installed and configured, Find My iPhone allows users to track the location of their phone, something that is particularly handy if it’s been lost or stolen. If the phone has been misplaced, this app allows you to remotely disable or wipe the handset, or simply send a message asking the finder to return it.
Despite the title, Find My iPhone is a universal app for any iOS 7-enabled device and is available free.
It should be noted that this functionality is not restricted to the app – logging into iCloud allows for devices connected to the Apple ID to be tracked via the web interface.
If you’re a Twitter user, Tweetbot is the must-have app for tweeting. Supporting unlimited multiple accounts and a ton of wonderful features not found elsewhere. By far the most useful feature is the ability to mute other users, keywords or hashtags – great if you don’t care about #auspol or #EssvsCol. If Tweetbot is installed across multiple devices, mute filters and other settings are synced across devices making it simple to keep a standard configuration across the board. Syncing also remembers the last read position, so no matter which device you’re using you can keep browsing Twitter where you left off.
Tweetbot is available for $5.49 on the App Store, but is currently on sale at $1.99 for the iPhone/iPod version. The iPad version is $2.99, but I should point out that at the time of writing has not yet been updated for iOS 7 (but will work).
Personally I prefer turn-by-turn games as opposed to ones that require my attention non-stop. Words With Friends has become too boring (and unreliable!) so I turned my attention to Letterpress. It’s hard to describe Letterpress, but it’s a cross between multiple word games: playing against friends, create a word using the letters in the 5×5 grid and claim them as your own. This goes back and forth until either all possible words have been made or someone claims the entirety of the grid.
Letterpress works through Game Center only, and is free to play. However only two games can be played simultaneously unless a $1.99 in-app upgrade is purchased. From there on in it’s unlimited games!
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a foreign language, Duolingo is definitely the way to go. Selected as 2013’s Best iPhone App by Apple, this great tool teaches English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian. The self-paced lessons are presented in different ways to keep the the learning fun, fresh and interesting. Just open the app when you’ve got a few minutes to spare and off you go.
Duolingo is available free on the App Store and has no advertising or other charges.
Pocket Weather AU
The standard weather app that comes with iOS 7 is good, but only provides basic information: temperature, weather conditions and forecast. Shifty Jelly’s Pocket Weather AU goes beyond that, offering a complete weather solution featuring radars, extended forecast outlooks, tide information and much more. The app icon badge can also be configured to preference, such as displaying the current temperature, forecasted temperature or even the chance of rain. Additionally push notifications can be configured up to 3 times a day with weather forecast information.
The universal version of Pocket Weather AU is available for $1.99 on the App store. Shifty Jelly is an Adelaide-based company, so buying this app means you’re supporting local developers. A OS X desktop version is also available for $4.49.
I’ve left Evil Apples until last, and with good reason. Not because it’s my favourite, but because it’s one of the more adult-oriented apps and definitely not suitable for the kids. If you’re familiar with Cards Against Humanity (and you should be, it’s a great game), Evil Apples is a direct clone of that. If you’re not familiar with CAH, it works like this: someone reads out a question card that either asks a direct question or has a fill-in-the-blank answer. Other players choose one of their answer cards and anonymously plays it – the catch being that it should be the most inappropriate or offensive answer possible. The question asker then selects the funniest answer, and whoever played that card wins the round. The game continues around the table until all the question cards are played or until everyone is too bored and/or drunk to continue.
As I said before, Evil Apples is a clone of CAH, but with some minor differences: firstly, players can write their own cards, and games are limited to the first person to get 7 points. Two playing modes are possible, the first being against random players from across the globe or an organised game amongst friends. The latter allows unlimited games, while random games can only be played if game credit (cake) is available. Cake is obtained in several ways: win a game and get cake, have it randomly given by the app once a day or purchase unlimited cake for $5 through an in-app purchase.
Again I point out that Evil Apples is not for kids and is an adults-only game. It’s still a heap of fun though.
Remember before buying anything through iTunes it’s a great idea to grab iTunes credit when it’s on sale. Gift Cards On Sale details which retailers are offering discounted iTunes cards currently and in the future.