Best iPhone Apps For 2014: The Unusual Suspects
All the best iPhone apps in one place - what more could you ask for?
Apple’s App Store boasts one of the most extensive collections of apps this side of the sun. Inside you can pretty much find anything – and we mean anything. But what are the best and, more importantly, which are worth having on your iPhone?
In a bid to locate, download and test the best apps for iPhone in 2013 we’ve been tinkering with applications all year to bring you a list of the best apps in the run up to Christmas. We’ll be adding 10 new applications to this list every week as December 25 approaches.
To keep things tidy we’ve decided not to include the big apps that every man and his dog knows about –– Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Mail and the like. Instead, we’re focusing on useful applications that might have slipped under your radar.
So, without further ado, here's our pick of the best.
This game is just freaking awesome. We love it. No other racing title has gripped our attention for such a long, uninterrupted period of time. The concept is simple and the gameplay is beautiful. To be frank: this is perhaps one of the best games available for iPhone and iPad – and at just £0.69 it’s an absolute steal.
I’d also suggest giving this one a look ahead of the sequel: Jet Car Stunts 2. The original game is simpler and a lot more satisfying. The sequel is good but it feels like the developer has tried to do too much and, as a result, has lost the essence of what makes Jet Car Stunts so good.
It’s not a racing game, per se – although you are awarded for speed and driving skill. The real USP of the game is the layout and composition of the tracks, which are platforms housed in the sky, high above earth. You have to make huge jumps using your car’s jetpack, navigate loops and do your best not to fall off the track.
If you like driving games and you don’t already own this title, stop what you’re doing right now, head over to the App Store and download it!
Habit List – £1.99
There’s no shortage of to do list apps in the App Store, but they all miss one crucial point: many of us create daily lists of things we have to do, things which repeat multiple days a week. That’s where the beauty of Habit List comes in. It lets you create recurring lists (say, “Workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) automatically. You swipe your items off the list as you complete them and the automatically reappear the next day you want them to. I’ve been using Habit List for months and it’s earned a coveted spot on my iOS dock.
AirBnB – Free
I’m surprised by just how many people don’t know about AirBnB. It’s the app/service that allows you to find accommodation in virtually any local around the world. Just enter the dates you are going and the city you are going to and you’ll get a list of available housing locals are renting out in the area. AirBnB is a great (and often better and cheaper) alternative than renting a hotel or hostel and is almost always a much better way to get the “local’s” experience of a place.
Duolingo – Free
If you are going to be traveling somewhere, it never hurts to learn the local language. In the past this meant joining a class or reading boring language guides. But app now make learning a language much easier—and more fun. Duolingo acts as a game almost, allowing you to track your progress and hit goals as you go along. The app allows users to learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. It’s completely free and doesn’t have any ads. How do they benefit, you may ask? Because the lessons that you are taking have a hidden benefit: it helps the company translate real-world texts in the language you are learning, which help them translate the web into other languages. Best of all, the app has been scientifically proven by an independent study to be more effective than a one semester university course in the same language.
London Bus Checker – £1.99
Waiting for a bus anywhere is a pain, but no more so than in London where it seems like every bus that comes by is not the one you need. Thankfully an app like London Bus Checker exists. I’ve been using it for over six months now and it’s saved me more time and headaches than you can imagine. The app works by showing you all the bus stops on a map in your area. Tap a stop to see a real time list of the upcoming buses, including how far away they are and when the next one of the same number comes if you miss the immediate one. Also a nice feature is that you can view the route map for any given bus—handy for planning your journey.
Vert 2 – £1.49
I think everyone should have a conversion app on their iPhone. After all, there’s so many random times when you find yourself needing to convert something, be in currency, metric to imperial, or even UK to EU shoe sizes. The problem is most conversion apps don’t offer the whole host of units you might need to convert on the fly—especially cloths. That’s where Vert 2 comes in. Vert is the most feature rich unit conversion app I’ve found on iOS. It gives you the ability to convert over 900 units on the fly. Moreso it’s freaking beautiful.
Wordeo – Free
After 2013 was full of video-based social media apps, 2014 was surely going to follow suit. Right at kick off Wordeo has launched, a video messaging app launched by former employees of Apple and the BBC. The real bonus, this one is free.
The aim of the app is to message each other with video clips and to “be as quick and easy as sending a tweet.” That can be difficult to upload video, write a title and share but Wordeo claims you can compose and send a message in 30 seconds. You enter the text you want to send on and the app searches through Getty Image’s library of content to match up and create a video message. From there you can change fonts, choose different clips and then change the accompanying music.
The app allows you to send these packages to a friend, post on Facebook or Twitter and even upload it to your own Wordeo feed. If you still don’t fully understand, here’s a sample message.
Wordeo is the brainchild of David Bailey, ex director of worldwide retail development at Apple and partner Bob Johnson who helped to build BBC iPlayer. Wordeo is currently available on the iTunes store for iPhone and iPod touch devices sporting iOS 6 or 7.
Jelly – Free
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has been busy at work creating a new social networking app called Jelly. It has no relation to Jelly Splash but because of the name is can be difficult to discover on the app store, search for Jelly Industries if you have any issues.
Jelly is Yahoo Answers for 2014, the aim of the app is to use other people’s knowledge by asking a question and crowd-sourcing an answer. There’s also a photo sharing element to it as well. Jelly state, “It’s not hard to imagine that the true promise of a connected society is people helping each other.” That’s what Jelly is trying to do, help people get through life by sharing information. The best example of the app so far comes from Mr Mark Zuckerberg.
The founding father of Facebook found a spider in his bathroom and was unsure how dangerous it was. So how do you go about finding out? He posted an image on Twitter asking the question and less than 10 minutes later he’d received a reply and knew to swiftly get it outside and as far away as possible.
If we’re honest you won’t be using this on a hourly basis much like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But it will come in useful when you need some specialist knowledge or want that warm fuzzy feeling when you’ve helped someone out of a pickle.
Citymapper – Free
Picture the scene: you’re out in London (or New York) and you’re a bit lost, drunk or both. It’s late, most likely raining, and you need to get home but you’re in an unfamiliar part of the city surrounded by strange buildings and weird people. What do you do?
Simple, just open Citymapper, enter where you want to go and the application will give you detailed instructions, complete with public transport information, on how to get from your current predicament to the comfort of your own abode.
The New York Times described Citymapper as the best travel app to ever hit New York and on this subject that particular publication ‘ain’t wrong. Citymapper is a must have application for anyone living in either London or New York.
Viber – Free
Viber is in many ways just like Skype, it syncs your contacts and provides you with push notifications as well as regular messaging or calling. This app is for everyone: from the jet-setting world traveler who wants to keep in contact with people around the globe, to the average user who might have hit their messaging limit.
Tinder – Free
Dating can be tough. Online dating seems like a good solution but can also be a laborious process. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time you joined the Tinder party.
Designed with dating in mind, Tinder is the rapidly up and coming social networking app for people ages 18-35. Tinder makes things easier by utilising your Facebook profile, set up takes seconds simply by connecting your Facebook account and then you’re free to browse singles nearby.
Tinder gives you a continuous feed of faces to evaluate. Like someone? Swipe to the right. Not so keen? Swipe to the left. Once you “like” someone who has also extended you the same courtesy a notification pops up and you can begin messaging. It’s really that simple.
Couch to 5K – Free
Couch to 5k is an app designed to help the average, non-runner get into a routine to help them get fit. The name speaks for itself when describing what type of fitness level you can start off with, so there is no need to worry about how long it’s been since you last sported those dusty trainers.
This app uses a time frame of three times a week, for 20-30 minutes for nine weeks to allow users to go from virtually no exercise to the ability to run 3.1 miles.
With in-app music playlists and real human vocal cues from a selected trainer this app will make you feel as though you’re in the presence of an actual personal trainer.
It allows you to track and calculate pace and distances of your workouts, as well as your progress. If you’re looking to train for your local 5k or even just to get into shape then we highly recommend you purchase this app.
TriggerTrap – Free
Have hopes of becoming a world-class photographer but don’t have the money for the proper tools? Or maybe you just want to dazzle your friends with your amazing photography skills. Either way Triggertrap is the inexpensive solution for you.
By using a simple adapter plug to connect your camera to your mobile device, Triggertrap transforms your smartphone or tablet into an advanced photography tool. Trigger modes include Timelapse, Distancelapse and long-exposure. These modes work to help the photographer create images that are compatible to those taken with expensive equipment.
The app itself is free while the dongle will cost you around £30, but when compared to the price of the latest cameras and changeable lenses this is nothing. Trustedreviews,com states this app is a “nifty addition to a photographer’s toolkit” and points out the unique trigger qualities that it has to offer.
Feedly – Free
The New York Times raves that ‘Feedly is what you needly.’ Feedly provides a personalized news feed for users, saving the time spent searching for news or checking in on your favorite Tumblr blog.
This RSS reader app allows users to track their favorite YouTube channels, news sites and blogs. It creates a magazine-like feel with a deck of tracked sources all easily accessed through the app by merely flipping pages-or scrolling through. Feedly even allows you to share articles or pages through popular social networking sites.
Cinemagram – Free
From the next Steven Spielberg to skateboarders, from video bloggers to parents wanting to creatively capture special family moments, the Cinemagram app has something for you.
This app allows users to create short, polished video clips to share with their friends. You can film a clip for up to six seconds, edit it with Cinemagram’s filters and effects and share it over your social networking feed. It’s so easy, even Tommy Wiseau could do it.
Praised for its creative nature, Cinemagram combines the use of video and still picture to create a Vine-Instagram hybrid app. This unique app allows users to freeze areas of the clip that they wish to remain stationary so the focus of the moving clip can shine. This app is a must have for those with creative ideas who wish to see them produced and shared.
Steam – Free
Gaming is no longer purely geek territory and is now very much a mainstream medium. Thanks to smartphone technology the gaming world has opened up a new platform that is literally much easier to get your hands on.
Steam provides over 2,000 games ranging from all genres and allows users to interact on mobile devices, desktops and even their televisions. The app creates an online community of users who want to play games and interact, all in one place.
The Steam website encourages users to “Meet new people, join game groups, form clans, chat in-game.” Take that gamer stereotypes of being antisocial!
This digital distribution app provides great deals and updates on games as well as providing a way for users to interact with other gamers. PCmag.com claims that it helps ease the transition from console to mobile device and is “damn near flawless in terms of usability and execution.”
Quora – Free
Maybe you’re the kind of person who spends time typing questions into Google search, or maybe you’re the kind of person who trolls the questions on Yahoo to provide condescending answers, either way this app is for you.
Developed by two former Facebook employees, Quora is one of the leading question-answer apps. Quora allows users to create a profile to add, browse, or respond to questions on topics that they have knowledge of or interest in.
Like most apps nowadays Quora lets users share questions and answers with their friends and followers. It also has a location-based feature that allows users to read topics that are being discussed nearby.
With an attractive interface this app has received great reviews and provides users with endless amounts of topics to read up on whenever there is a spare moment. Users boast about the speed of the app for those moments when you need to know something right there and then. Bottom line is: You’ve got questions and Quora’s got answers.
Omnifocus 2 – £13.99
Imagine how much easier life would be if you had your own personal assistant. Someone to keep track of your appointments and events, to write down your every thought and basically help organize your life. Well, stop rubbing that magic lamp, because Omnifocus has the app for you.
Described as a personal task manager, the Omnifocus app allows users to record thoughts, memos and appointments into their device. It creates to-do lists that will actually keep you on track with reminders of tasks that need to be completed.
What makes this app different from pre-installed solution, such as the iPhone’s Calendar app, is that it provides location-friendly tasks and reminders. Omnifocus allows users to create lists based on hierarchy and allows them to track task details like due dates, audio notes and images attachments.
Dragon Dictation – Free
Typing on the small iPhone keyboard can be difficult, why not give those tired fingers a rest? Siri is great for using talk to text technology but sometimes she just doesn’t understand you. Dragon Dictation is a free app that allows you to speak into your phone and it will transcribe it allowing you to tweet, text, email or update your Facebook status. This app is perfect for grammar nerds as it allows you to call out punctuation marks, such as “Bill COMMA take out the garbage FULL-STOP".
Dubble – Free
The latest in phone photography brings us Dubble, the first app that allows people from around the world to merge their photos together. First, take a photo. Then, Dubble will randomly select someone else’s to create a unique image. Shoot directly in-app or use a picture from your camera roll to Dubble an image, then share it on your social networking sites. This app is an innovative, cool and will spice up your Instagram account.
Around Me – Free
Exploring a new place can be fun, but what happens if you need to fill up your gas tank or withdraw some money from an ATM? Around Me is a free app that uses Wi-Fi to identify your location and finds everything from the pubs to the pharmacies nearest to you. Relying on Google Maps for directions, Around Me is a great and easy to use companion app for any iPhone user.
Shazam – Free
Shazam is one of those apps where you wonder how you coped before you downloaded. This musical recognition app will make sure you will never be bothered by those unidentifiable ear worms again - simply hold your iPhone to a speaker and it will tell you what song is playing in as little as 1 second.
Tumblr – Free
Post pictures, links, observations or videos from wherever you are in the world with the Tumblr app for iPhone. Not only will it let you keep up with your favourite blogs and publish remotely, it also offers offline support where you can post, like and reblog. Nice!
Movies by Flixter – Free
At a loose end? Or just fancy seeing the latest Jennifer Lawrence film? Whatever you want, this is the app for you. All you need to do is select a film and the app works out everything else. It displays nearby cinemas and screening times based on your location. Plus, you can customise it by adding your favourite cinemas. All you need to do is buy the popcorn.
Mint – Free
You don't just need a budget: you need Mint. It allows you to track and manage your money on the go - and see what you can save. Simply open an account, add your details and Mint will do the rest. If you're worried about security, the app is password protected and you can deactivate access remotely if you ever lose your phone. It also syncs across other devices so you can use it on a desktop or via any tablets you have.
3Rings – Free
3Rings is an app designed to help you keep a watchful eye on elderly relatives to ensure they’re ok.
The service links an elderly relative’s traditional landline phone to the rest of the family’s smartphones via an app interface, SMS texts, calls or emails. Essentially, the elderly relative makes a daily call from their landline to 3Rings’ automated hub, this then relays the “check-in” to linked family and friends via either the app, a text message, an automated call or an email. If the relative doesn’t call to check-in for a day as expected, then an alert will be sent out suggesting you check on them.
The app is free to download and comes with a free trial, but a full package costs either £5.99 per month or £9.99 per month depending on what options you go for.