If Santa was good to you this year and brought you a bright, shiny new iPhone, this post is for you. All week, I’ve been getting texts from friends telling me they got their first iPhone and asking what apps they needed to download. Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve had yours for a while, but you know a few “newbies” — send them this post, as well.
First on the list, my favorite camera app of all time. I’ve written about it time and time again as TapTapTap, the company who makes Camera+, continues to upgrade and improve it. Think of the Camera app that comes on your iPhone as a bicycle. Think of Camera+ as a race-ready Ducati. Both will get you from point A to point B, but one is more enjoyable and feature-packed. Now, don’t mistake feature-packed with technologically daunting. Even iPhone newbies can use it. The filters and photo effects are one-click to use and the app is intuitive and easy to navigate. While serious iPhoneographers will love it, so too will the average person who just wants their phone to take the best pictures possible.
Download Link – $0.99
2. Google Maps
The mapping service you’re probably familiar with from your computer (if you haven’t had an iPhone before) can also fit in your pocket. Yes, your new iPhone has a Maps app, which may or may not work well for you. Google Maps will be familiar (especially if you’re coming from an Android phone) to almost everyone. It also has some extra features that the Maps app on your phone won’t, like mass-transit directions and live traffic info. The best part: it’s not like you have to choose one over the other. See which works for you, and use both if you want.
Download Link – $FREE
3. Mobile Banking
You’re probably figuring out by now that your new iPhone is much, much more than just a phone. Try searching the App Store for the name of your bank or credit union. There’s a good chance they’ve got a mobile app waiting for you. All of the major banks like Bank of America, Citi, Wells Fargo, Capital One, etc all have them. Depending on which you use, you’ll likely be able to view the balances of your accounts, transfer money, pay bills, and find the closest branch or ATM to you, wherever you are. As a word of advice regarding security here: don’t use the generic mobile banking apps. Get the one specific to your bank.
No more Yellow Pages, no more Directory Assistance. Once of the great things about your new iPhone is that it always knows where IT is. So, with Yelp, you can always find businesses near you for just about any purpose. Looking for a great sushi place? Yelp with find you one, show you what other people say about it, give you the hours of operation, address, phone number, and driving directions, should you want them. Need to compare two places that both claim to have the best pizza? Yelp will find them both and once you’ve read a few reviews, checked out the menu, and looked at a few photos from other smarpthone-wielding, picture-snapping pizza lovers, you’ll be on your way.
Download Link – $FREE
Whether you find yourself stuck in an awkward conversation (“So, nice weather we’re having…”) with the creepy guy behind you in line at the coffee shop, or whether you need to know when/if you should head for cover as a Kansas tornado is bearing down on your house, WeatherBug will help you with all this and more. It provides access to live weather radar maps, weekly forecasts, live webcam feeds so you can see exactly what’s going on (without leaving your house) out there, plus all the geeky weather data your meteorologist boyfriend always rattles on about. Barometric pressure this, Dew Point and humidity that. There’s a free version, which is ad-supported, and a paid version called WeatherBug Elite, free of ads and packing a few extra features. Take your pick – both links are below.
You should follow Mike on Twitter for more great tech insights and good conversation. If Twitter isn’t your thing, fear not, you can always keep up with Mike on his personal blog as well at: www.MikeBeauchamp.me or on Facebook.