It’s that time, again; Christmas just around the corner, and the year about to close. Perfect opportunity to get that last-minute gift idea – and for the industry and media to reflect on the highlights and low points of the 12 months just gone by.
In that vein, here’s our round-up up some of the best iPhone apps of 2015. There are tons of great products (and an equal number of bad ones), so we’ll do this top 5 a little differently, by suggesting a brief selection of the top apps in 5 major categories.
Invoice2go is a finance-based organiser which allows you to sign documents, generate financial statements, save payment receipts, maintain a calendar, record location information, and scan in data. It includes a reporting tool with real-time generation of graphical performance charts. There’s even an Android version.
All for the princely sum of nothing – though you’re limited to creating three invoice templates, unless you upgrade to the Pro version.
AirWatch Agent is also free, and can be used alongside the AirWatch Console to monitor your company’s BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) activity. The app keeps track of all the devices within a company, and assists in the collaborative work of teams.
2. Imaging, Photography and Video
Google Snapseed is a free photo editor for touchscreen devices. As well as a standard array of tools, there are specialist filters to add cool or fun effects to your snapshots.
As an alternative, Adobe Post includes a selection of professionally designed templates, with text and photo filters compatible with the flagship PhotoShop product. There’s support for 3D Touch on iPhone 6S devices, and designs are saved automatically to the Creative Cloud account, which is created free with the software.
An outlay of £3.99 will get you Pixelmator, a PhotoShop clone with layer-based picture editing and all the features of its desktop version. There’s a multitude of features and filters, and the app synchronises with iCloud so you can port your images to other iOS or OS X devices.
For video, TIPIT lets users capture their own short clips or use video editing, artistic, or animation tools to jazz up existing ones. The latest version ships with a tracking tool to add animations to a video sequence automatically, as well as soundtrack capabilities and export to online libraries or social media.
Any.do is a free To-Do list app that lets you segregate tasks into different areas of your life, and keep work and personal items separate. There’s also synchronisation between your mobile device, Web browser, tablet, and desktop.
Evernote is also free (not to mention hugely popular), and also synchronises notes, check-lists, copied text and Web page content across a range of devices, storing content in a single workspace. Collaboration can take place within the app, with tools to share files and discuss content.
INTSIG (£3.99) converts your iPhone into a portable scanner, for taking and saving images of documents as PDF or image files. The scans are high quality, and may be organised on your device, emailed to friends and colleagues, or stored online in any of the major cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive.
4. Social Networking
WhatsApp is free, and lets you conserve your iPhone account’s SMS text messaging resources by sending messages over any available mobile data or Wi-Fi connection. Photographs may be transmitted or received with no size restrictions, and free of cost if you’re using Wi-Fi or have an unlimited data allowance.
Tale is a free app for finding out what topics are trending on social media using hashtags. It can save your favourites, and store up to 10 hashtag topics in your profile.
HERE Maps is an alternative to the much-maligned Apple Maps, for those who equate social networking with actually getting out there and seeing people. It’s free, and has the advantage of giving you access to the maps offline, letting you save on data. There are detailed driving instructions, real-time traffic updates for over 40 countries, and information on public transport in over 900 cities across the globe.
And for those who also equate social networking with person-to-person communication, there’s iTranslate Voice (£4.99), a dictionary and translator with an archive of 42 languages. There’s voice input, with facilities to translate whatever’s spoken into the language of your choosing.
5. Sport and Fitness
Strava is a free fitness app which lets you set performance targets, track your progress, and get daily updates. The app includes a social / competitive element with challenges and leaderboards, plus a selection of cycling or jogging routes created by fellow users.
The paid Premium version includes a fuller set of these, and more tools.
Streaming video lessons in indoor cycling are the focus of Peloton Cycle, with live or on-demand feeds of group rides conducted by top indoor cycling coaches. Classes range from 10 minutes in length to 90, and cover a range of difficulty and levels of experience. There are 10 live rides each day, and an on-demand library of over 3,000 rides – although the free app only gives a 14-day unlimited trial. Upgrading to the paid version via in-app purchases yields weekly or monthly passes.
In-app purchases are also a feature of Runkeeper, a free fitness-tracking app with GPS functionality that has a host of features to monitor your calorie consumption, pace, speed, tempo, and route. The app ships with a pre-set selection of training regimens and routes, and it synchronises with Bluetooth-enabled heart monitors, music streams from Spotify, and your library on iTunes.
The Perfect Gift?
So hopefully we’ve given you a little something for every aspect of your life and managing it with your iPhone – check them out and start the new year as you mean to go on, as a productive, fit, creative and well-rounded individual