Modern mobile platforms have changed the way many look at mobile computing. Your social interaction, finances, planning, time management, and entertainment can travel with you in your pocket instead of forcing you to use a bulkier notebook computer. To date, the iOS platform has brought millions of users to this environment previously dominated by pricey PDAs and business-class smartphones.
Below is a quick list of five apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) that have become a big part of my daily routine.
Everyone has their own taste in music, and in the past we used to rely on local radio stations to hear something new. With the growing popularity of the Internet, music took on a new form and online radio stations began bringing new sounds to people all over the world. Even with this fantastic leap forward, the music you heard was typically limited by the disk jockey’s selection and personal preferences. This is where streaming music services like Pandora come in.
Pandora uses an algorithm to match your personal musical taste to a specific style. It learns what you like and what you don’t through a Digg-like up or down system allowing you to tell it when you like a particular song or don’t care much for it. You can also tell it the name of an artist or song and it will find similar matches and work from there.
With their iOS app, you’re able to take this customized music stream on the road with you and enjoy it wherever you are as if you were listening to a purchased song collection of your very own. If you really like a particular track, you can purchase it with a click.
Being able to manage one social network account is easy, two is more difficult, three is a big hassle. TweetDeck allows its users to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts in a format that’s a little easier than having to switch between multiple programs.
While TweetDeck, in my opinion, certainly isn’t the best Facebook client, it does a good job of keeping the news feed in order. Being able to post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously without having to use apps that can send updates meant for a single network to both accidentally is another big plus of the program.
Managing your blog from the road can be a real pain if you have to drag the notebook out, find a Wi-Fi signal, and make sure you have an outlet nearby because your notebook is constantly running low on power. One solid solution to this for me has been the WordPress app. It allows me to moderate comments, edit old posts, create new ones, change publishing options, and view articles on the fly.
In some ways, this app on the iPad is easier to manage and use than the WordPress administrative dashboard you log in to from a desktop or notebook PC.
Out of all the reference apps currently installed on my iPad, none has had more impact on how I do quick checks than Wikipanion. Wikipedia is a giant source of information and having an app optimized to present its information on a mobile platform is incredibly useful.
This app is a quick way to get to your files from the road when you’re away from your system and need to check something on the go. The free 2GB of storage Dropbox offers customers allows you to sync your photos, documents, and other important files in the cloud as well as on your local drive. Using this app, you are able to access all of these files from your iOS device without having to open a laptop, remote in to your home machine, or bother with maintaining a home server.
I’ve used this app on numerous occasions to transfer a file from a private folder on Dropbox to a public one allowing me to download the file from a machine I didn’t trust with the password to the entire account. Once the file was downloaded to the machine, I got back on my iPad and moved the file back to its original place secured on the Dropbox server.
While these are my top 5 free iOS apps, they may not be everyone’s favorite. It comes down to the individual and what they want to get out of their mobile experience. Comments are more than welcome.
What are your favorite free iOS apps?