iMore – Best paid iPhone Apps

iMore: “I decided to include apps that you must pay for up front or apps that might be free to download, but a subscription is needed or their functionality is greatly enhanced by making an in-app purchase or by buying the paid version. I also eliminated iOS apps that might be totally awesome, but are better suited to iPad”

I use a few on the list and I’d like to add a few more.

The apps on the list I use:

  • 1Password – This app is a life saver, and it’s cross platform; Mac/iOS, Windows, and Android.
  • Fantastical – Great visual style and it uses natural language to create events. Also available for Mac, iPad and Watch
  • Deliveries – It does one thing and does it well; tracks your deliveries. Also available for Mac.

Here are some I’d like to add:

  • Twitterrific – I’ve been using this for years. It’s a beautifully designed Twitter client for iOS.
  • Evernote – I call this my digital brain. I have all kinds of stuff stored in Evernote. I like their iOS App and it’s also available for Mac, Android, and Windows. The Web Clipper is extremely useful.
  • Reeder – My favorite RSS Reader. Also available for Mac.

Twitter Addiction?

I’d like to pick up a new iPhone, 7 Plus or 6s Plus. I’m still using my iPhone 5C. The screen is fine and the green plastic shell has some minor wear and tear on it but it is getting a little long in the tooth.

While Kim and I were driving around last night, running errands, she asked me what I thought was a strange question. She asked “If you could have a brand new iPhone under the condition you couldn’t have Twitter on it, would you take it?”

Interesting question, isn’t it? If you’re addicted to the social network, as I am, it’s a toughie to answer right away. At first I said “These phones aren’t really phones. They’re computers with a phone app. If I can’t install apps, it not worth having a new phone.”

Have a Cup-o-JoeMy wife laughed at me and said “So you’d rather not have a brand new phone, if you can’t have Twitter.”

Yeah.

I thought about it a bit more and came to the conclusion I could live without Twitter on my phone, especially if it meant having a nice shiny new device. I could still use Twitter from my computer (now, if I could get an update to Twitterrific for the Mac that would be grand.)

I’ve only owned two iPhones; an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 5C. Before that I had Palm Centro, which was a great smartphone, and I carried an iPod Touch around. This worked quite well for me. I didn’t have a data plan for the Centro, just text and voice. I used my iPod Touch for everything else.

iOS 7 Lowers the Bar

iOS 7

A gift for you!If you’re an iPhone or iPad user Apple had a shiny new gift for you this week; iOS 7. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a jolt. I won’t lie. I hated it for a few days, but it’s beginning to grow on me. I’ve heard this time and again “Give it a few days.” I’ve given it a few days and it still seems a bit stark, but overall I’m happy with it. My trusty iPhone 4 seems much faster than it did with iOS 6. Bonus.

Benefit to Developers

I’ve written a few iOS apps over the last few years. Some have been lovingly designed by professional designers, others, like our own RxCalc were kept intentionally simple. Why? Truth be told Jay and I don’t possess the ability to make beautiful imagery for our app, so the design has to be simple. We developed our app using plain old UIKit, it works really well, is fast, and the binary is tiny.

With iOS 7 the bar has been lowered. A generic looking application looked fresh when iOS hit the streets. There were developers that created their own style and look, and, in turn, third party developers began to define the look of the OS, not Apple. Think about developers like Iconfactory, Tapbots, and Path. They all introduced applications that took the look and feel of applications way beyond standard UIKit, and that’s great. They stood on the shoulders of giants and moved the bar higher so the rest of the app ecosystem had something to reach for.

Third party developers created Pull to Refresh, the Hamburger and the Basement, and alternatives to UITabBar. All were very good innovations and gave us beautiful, very functional, applications. But there is a downside.

If you go against the Apple playbook, which isn’t a bad thing, you may end up creating something that doesn’t feel at home on a future release of an OS. Since iOS 7 shipped I’ve seen numerous folks comment about how outdated forward thinking and innovative applications like Tweetbot look.

I’m sure we’ll see an update for Tweetbot soon, but the point is, if your app has a completely custom UI it may take a lot of time and effort to make it look right in iOS 7.

Back to RxCalc and our choice to use UIKit, without custom design elements. Here’s how RxCalc looks on iOS 6 and prior, and it looks this what on iOS 7 before being recompiled:

RxCalc, UIKit for iOS 6 and older.

It’s not flashy, but it looks similar to Apple’s own Settings app, or Mail, on iOS 6.

Making an app new again

If you created a simple UIKit application your road to iOS 7 is simple. Most of the hard work has been done. You can recompile and your application looks new again.

Here’s what RxCalc looks likes when it’s recompiled with the iOS 7 SDK. No additional work, just a simple rebuild.

RxCalc, UIKit for iOS 6 and older.

Can it be spruced up a bet? Sure it can, but I can put this in the store today and it will look like it belongs.

That’s why I tweeted this a few days back:

It is super easy to get a fresh UI if you stuck to generic UIKit.

Reset

The bar has been reset, time for a new generation of user interface innovation.

Thanks, Apple.

Diving into the deep end

Anyone that knows me, knows I love movies. I love to watch them, talk about them, I even quote movies. What in the world do the movies have to do with this post? I’m glad you asked.

In the movie The Sandlot there’s a young man in love with the beautiful older woman. His name is Michael “Squints” Palledorous, her name is Wendy Peppercorn. To make a long story short, one day while swimming with his buddies at the local public pool, Squints, reaches the point where he can no longer stand watching Wendy, a lifeguard, from afar. He decides to take a drastic approach to get Wendy to notice her. He jumps in the deep end of the pool, sinks to the bottom, and waits for Wendy to rescue him. She does.

“Michael Squints Palledorous walked a little taller that day. And we had to tip our hats to him. He was lucky she hadn’t beat the *crap* out of him. We wouldn’t have blamed her. What he’d done was sneaky, rotten, and low… and cool. Not another one among us would have ever in a million years even for a million dollars have the guts to put the move on the lifeguard. He did. He had kissed a woman. And he had kissed her long and good. We got banned from the pool forever that day. But every time we walked by after that, the lifeguard looked down from her tower, right over at Squints, and smiled.”

Squints and Wendy go on to marry and live happily ever after.

Get on with it man!

All that backstory, for what? Three years ago I formed Apple Core Labs to go indie. At the last minute I got cold feet and decided I’d do it on the side. In July of that year my brother, Jay, and I released RxCalc. Later I worked with my friends at Hundred10 to deliver the Fresno Grizzlies app and more recently I’ve done some work for a company in Washington state to help them create their first iOS application.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve loved every minute of it. The thought of going indie has been my Wendy Peppercorn. After three years, I’ve finally decided it’s time to leap into the deep end of the pool.

Beginning May 1, Apple Core Labs will be my full time job.

If you need an iOS developer, get in touch, we’re open for business.

Is this the iPhone 5?

It's just a cute little lady bug.The Unofficial Apple Weblog: “Now that the MacBook Pro refresh has happened and the iPad 2 is out, what’s left for the rumor mill? The iPhone 5 of course. Citing a Chinese source, Japanese site Macotakara claims that Apple is abandoning the current iPhone 4’s exposed antenna/glass backside construction for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 will supposedly have an all-aluminum rear case similar to the iPad 2. Wireless signals will penetrate the case via the Apple logo, which will be made from a plastic resin, presumably similar to the black bar on top of the 3G iPad 2.”

It looks like the new iPod Touch, which isn’t so bad, but this just doesn’t pass the smell test. I’m not buying it.

An Apple Cloud?

Fast Company: “Meanwhile, the WSJ is also reporting Apple’s planning a revamp of MobileMe–its cloud-based ecosystem behind the iPhone and iPad–that will make it free, and more powerful. By pulling off this trick, the WSJ suggests the iDevices won’t need so much on-board memory, as they’ll simply be able to save, share and view content from the cloud (over 3G or Wi-Fi).”

If Apple gets this right I know a lot of people that will be very happy.

No iPhone for you! (Until now)

New York Times: “Well, not all the states. The people of North and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming — as if they needed a reminder that they live off the beaten path — had to watch the rest of the nation fawn over their must-have gadgets.”

I had no idea there were entire states not covered by AT&T.

Universal iPhone?

Tiggers are wonderful things!CNN: “While the new iPhone will only work on Verizon’s network, the Qualcomm chip Apple is using in these new models is capable of connecting to Verizon’s network, as well as to carriers using the GSM standard, which is what AT&T and T-Mobile USA have.”

Yesterday I was goofing around and tweeted the iPhone V was going to be available on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Could it be?

A non-geek view of the iPhone

The Daily Dish: “I guess, lastly, I’m not a geek. I use this technology and marvel at it without having the slightest clue how it really works. And since switching to Apple for everything a few years ago, the only problem I have had with the technology is AT&T and when I dropped my iPod in Cape Cod Bay and when I left my MacBook in a cab.”

Take that however you want.