Its hard not to fall in love with the devices and apps that surround this mobile ecosystem. We have the pleasure of being able to help companies articulate and deploy their app ideas, but we also get inspiration ourselves. We constantly use the best apps in our own personal and work lives. Many of Tiny Mission’s connections and capabilities come from the apps we use on a daily basis. Its cliche to say how much mobile technology allows us to transcend time and borders by making us more connected, but these tools have transformed our lives in ways that we could not have imagined.
I wanted to share our favorite apps for work and play. Apps that we use everyday and simplify our lives. If you are thinking about developing an application, think about how your favorite apps enhance what you do and are almost a subconscious part of your day. Also think about what our favorite apps aren’t. We don’t believe that using apps to market a company is appealing. Apps should never be just a glorified website or contact card. Apps should solve a need or create a solution to a problem. Let us know your favorites in the comments.
I use Evernote to take notes every time I walk into a meeting. I use it to log any interaction I have with a client or an employee. I can look back at that library of notes on any platform and any device, as everything is synced quickly. I have found referring to notes by location with the geotagging makes tracking my conversations so much easier. The search functions are fantastic, as I can put in a keyword and find relevant notes. It does not have a fancy pen function or the ability to annotate photos, but it keeps images, voice notes, and text in one place. Indispensable and best of all – free.
This photo and web annotation app was just launched by Evernote. They go hand and hand with a shared login to keep what you “skitch” accessible in your notebooks. Skitch lets you easily annotate photos, maps, and web pages. Grab a quick url, write some notes, and share it. Working, I have used it to highlight and note design ideas from certain webpages. Cribbing what I liked and then sharing it with the team. I have also used it to shoot a quick photo and add some notes on changes. Its easy to be inspired by something but if you don’t take a moment to capture the “why” behind the inspiration you won’t know why you took the reminder.
Not just a great e-reader, I use iBooks as a repository for all the pdfs I receive. The syncing is easy and the reader is quick. There are so many PDF readers and annotating apps but when speed and easy access is important you can’t beat the tool Apple has created.
Used as the “iMessage” worldwide, whatsapp has turned into my messaging system of choice. Grown out of of the price gouging of text messaging, this uses the data connection on your phone to share messages across platforms. Android and Apple devices work using the same app. Its not free but you will easily save the SMS costs. You can set up group conversations quickly and customize nearly everything about the app. This blends the need of SMS with the speed of an online IM system.
Keep and share files anywhere. Again another cross platform gem that has matured into a perfect place to keep many different types of files. Easy to setup on a desktop you can have your most important files at hand. I have yet to upgrade to a pro account since space keeps growing and growing. Easy to share updated links.
The magic of screen sharing across platforms. I have used this to do basic trouble shooting with clients. I have asked them to share their screen via the Joinme website and magically I can point out the clicks. The quick dial function lets you actually use the meeting code as a conference call code. If you haven’t tried this app on your device or computer simply launching the app will give you a million ideas on how to use it in your daily life. Amazing.
Splashtop 2 Remote Desktop
A fast and secure remote desktop app that supports full video on the iPad. Sometimes you have to get back into your computer and this is by far the best. Its so fast that on a stable connection you can what streaming video like hulu. Log in to your machine quickly and get a file you need.
Draw and sketch with a beautiful interface. Great for doodling out diagrams and charts. I have used this as a mini-whiteboard on my iPad during small one to one meetings with employees. The minimal interface and simple tools allow some really creative drawings. Sketches and doodles look great and you’re not bogged down with a million options. This isn’t some glorified paint program for the detailed artist. This is an app to get ideas out of your head and onto paper.
Apps that I’m trying to incorporate into my daily life:
Tapose is another all in one note and syncing tool. I find it to be too slow for real work but I see so much potential. It lets you collaborate on notes.
Onlive desktop has been a useful toy for using true spreadsheets. The office apps on the iPad and iPhone are excellent but sometimes you need tried and true excel.
You may note that I don’t share anything about a timecard or time management software. We have written our own that we use internally. I think most startups have created a time-tracker software to prove their worth.
Personal Apps I love!
If you have an iOS device you probably have flipboard. It’s a perfect news aggregator and my first stop when I want to see what is going on in the world. The magazine design works and it’s the best twitter reader out there. It’s the app that starts and ends my day.
NPR and NPR Music
Two apps to listen to NPR streams while working away on something else. NPR newsreader is an excellent way to browse articles. I use the app mainly for listening to radio programs.
Check instagram photos on a worldwide map. Want to see what life is like in Portugal, just drop a pin and see the fun pictures that pop up. See local menus since most people use instagram like to share what they are eating.
Redditors unite! Alien Blue is a third party Reddit reader that is fast and fun. Mindlessly click links as you see what the internet has to offer. I really like that you have two panels on the iPad that allow you to see the link. Never click the back button on your browser again.
Simple app to check out what wikipedia articles are around you based on location. I have used it extensively for travel when I click and wonder where I am. Learn some history around you and it links to google maps so you can walk there. I would love to see this turn into a custom walking tour application.
“Ask a Nomad”http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ask-a-nomad/id446302438?mt=8
You can ask localized questions about where you are traveling to and get a response from a local. It’s been a valuable tool for traveling and finding out baby friendly locations in cities. I’m sure the quality of result is based on the amount of users in the area, but I have loved the responses from major cities across Europe.
The list of games I play is enormous. I’m not ashamed to say the bulk of the Apps I have ever purchased are games. To find the best new games can be tough and this has been my goto site for some time. The new app links reviews and discussion boards. If you want to understand what people want from their applications dive into the discussion board and get raw responses from the most advanced users. They have a fun weekly podcast as well that you can listen to.
I hope you enjoyed the peek at my iPad and you can see the influence that great design, speed, and daily use have on making a great app. The list of abandoned apps is getting very long, so our goal is to make your app stick.