iPhone Life magazine

iDoc's Top 10 iPhone App Recommendations.

Considering how many apps are available in the Apple app store, not to mention how many are actually on my iPhone (close to 300), it's a bit daunting of a task to come up with only 10 apps to recommend here and now! There are simply so many amazing and award-winning apps out there and each is suited to an individual uniquely.

 
In making my top 10 list, I have to take a few things into consideration. First of all, while many people have used some version of the iPhone before, there are still many for whom the iPhone is a new toy and a brand new computing environment. So I have to keep this in mind, as iPhone newbies (if that describes you then this article may be a great resource!) certainly may prefer simpler apps while they get familiarized.
 
Secondly, everyone uses their iDevices differently! Not everyone plays games on their iPhone, not everyone uses social networking, not everyone uses their iPhone to try and capture photographic masterpieces, etc., etc.. That said, many of us sure do! The iPhone has record numbers of users interacting with it and in ways and at levels unprecedented and unheard of with other smartphones. We iDevice users seem to enjoy seeing apps that push our iPhones and iPads to the limits of their magic, so I also keep in mind that many iPhone users really expect to be WOWED!
 
Figuring out the top ten apps (out of the 600 I have purchased over this past half-decade), to recommend to all of our readers presented a small challenge. And yet, when I looked at the amount of time spent, combined with the quality of experience I have, within any given app, it became easier and easier to whittle the apps down, till only 10 remained.
 
The following are the top ten apps I would recommend. No two apps are in the exact same category, and even though not every app here will appeal to every reader, I feel confident that most of these will appeal to most of you. My highest heart rating (❤❤❤❤❤) is 5.
 
 
 
Facebook
 
1: Facebook. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤. Price: Free.
What else can I say? If Twitter weren't already so integrated in the iOS environment it might've been a contest. Facebook is the social network everyone uses at the moment. The app is cool, clean and smooth. I've see it evolve over the years and I can say, right now Facebook is providing a great user interface and experience. Videos, links, comments, pages... all are seamlessly woven together on a sleek and simple, free app. The only thing the app lacks for is the ability to share other's posts. That aside, Facebook is one app I'm sure most everyone can put to good use.
 
 
Pandora
2: Pandora. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤. Price: Free.
Until Grooveshark gets an official iOS app, Pandora is still my favorite app for streaming music and customizing stations. My only regrets are that Pandora still won't let us go back and "thumb's up" songs we've heard, nor can we view all of the songs we've thumbed up.  Nonetheless, Pandora is perfect for unlimited music on the go from most every genre you can think of. The Pandora app has certainly allowed me to free up precious space on my 32 GB iPhone that I used to allot to my personal mp3 music library, since now I know I can access such a wide variety of specific music anywhere, anytime, courtesy of the Pandora app.
 
 
Camera Awesome
 
3: Camera Awesome. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: Free.
Camera Awesome by SmugMug is my current default camera app, and that's saying something, since I take a lot of pictures and having a good camera app on hand has continued to be important to me. This app has it all. Standard camera features are only the beginning! This app packs in all the best features, as well as manual and instant editing options; including video capability, zoom, filters, cropping, color modification, emailing images, timers and anti-shake, to name a few! While you can buy many more filters with an in-app purchase, those that come with Camera Awesome are just fine for me, if I wanted more photo editing options than Camera Awesome provided for the intial cost, I'd use a dedicated, full fledged photo editing app! Camera + is another very successful, very similar app, but lacks a video feature, and for me a camera app definitely get points when it allows me to conveniently switch back and forth between camera mode and video mode. Minus the lack of video recording, Camera Awesome and Camera + are virtually identical, except, oh yeah, Camera + costs a dollar.
 
 
Infinity Blade II
 
4: Infinity Blade II. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: $6.99.
 
(Click here to read my preview of the soon-to-be-released Infinity Blade: Dungeons game, a prequel to the award winning Infinity Blades I and II.)
 
There's a reason Apple keeps featuring the Infinity Blade series at the debut of their new iDevices! The Infinity Blade series has an amazing storyline and the graphics and game play are unrivaled and simply have to be seen (and played) to be believed! Sure, it helps to have played Infinity Blade I first and it also helps to read the book, Infinity Blade: Awakenings to get the finer plot details. However Infinity Blade II is a stand alone masterpiece. Arguably the most graphically stunning video game for iOS, and good for endless hours of hack and slash gameplay, I would recommend this app to anyone who likes a good game! It's a best-seller for a reason!
 
 
Pulse
 
5: Pulse News. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: Free.
Pulse is the best news aggregate out there, though they could benefit from the ability to change font sizes making them a bit larger, but that's my only issue with the Pulse app. While not touting as fancy an interface as Flipboard or Google Currents, and not programmable to your tastes like Zite, Pulse is the most straightforward, easy to browse and easy to use news app. It also syncs with all the big sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instapaper, Read It Later, Readability and Evernote, and lets you create your own Pulse account where all your saved articles are also stored. Pulse is a hit because of its clean interface and simplicity of use. Additionally Pulse provides feeds from a wide variety of top sources, including everything from Reuters, BBC, iPhone Life, CNN, ABC, NBC, Wired, Mashable and MacWorld with many topic categories ranging from sports, to science and technology, to entertainment, food and lifestyle.
 
 
Words With Friends
 
6: Words With Friends. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: Free.
A great game that has seen immense popularity and likely needs little introduction. Words With Friends is the highly addictive social game that is a great way to brush up on your vocabulary while competing with family, friends or random opponents in this Scrabble-style board game.
 
 
Flashlight
 
7:  ⚡Flashlight. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: Free.
⚡ Flashlight by Liu Jian Jun is my favorite flashlight app. The fact that we have a high powered torchlight in our iPhone is so wonderful to me! I use mine all the time and even if you are a city dweller who lives where a light is usually always on close by, this flashlight app takes up such a small amount of memory for such a handy app, there's really no excuse not to go get it! Even if you hardly ever use it, it could be a lifesaver (literally) if and when you do need it. The app store is flooded with flashlight apps and I've tried most. The ease of use of this one is tops in my book. The LED light toggles on or off with a "switch" that appears wherever you tap the screen, and the front screen itself can become a flashlight on its own with one tap too. This app even provides a full spectrum of flashlight colors which your front screen can illuminate with, for a variety of muted or electric light color displays.
 
 
Pro HDR
 
8: Pro HDR. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: $1.99.
Even though this app only takes two pictures that it then takes and combines the light and dark areas to create the "perfect" eye-quality snapshot, as opposed to 3 different images like some other HDR apps, Pro HDR still gets my top vote for best Hi-Definition camera app. As I stated above when discussing Camera Awesome, I take a lot of artistic and work-related photos. Pro HDR has given me some of my best iPhone shots that I've ever taken. The parameters and algorithms it uses to render the two images into one produce some of the highest quality hits I've ever seen my iPhone  capture! Another great thing about Pro HDR is that it's fast! Unlike many camera apps, it's pretty speedy and snappy relatively speaking.
 
 
 Adrenaline
 
9: Asphalt 6. Adrenaline. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: $.99.
What's a top ten list of apps without a good racing game on it? And this is one of the best. Admittedly, it was a very close call between Asphalt 6: Adrenaline and Real Racing 2, with Real Racing's amazingly HD graphics and accurate physics engine. But in the end, I voted for the little dose of psychedelic surrealism at high speeds that Asphalt 6 brings to the table. The racing environments are accurate renderings of such recognizable locales as New Orleans, Tokyo, New York, L.A. Russia and Chicago among other places. The graphics are top notch, the cars are highly customizable and there are a wide range of vehicles of all shapes, styles and sizes to acquire. The game's audio is great, complete with in-cockpit voice reports as thrillingly appropriate tunes (or you can choose from your music library) help keep your adrenals pumping as you swerve, drift and yes, sometimes even fly though the air, on your race to the finish! Try not to "crash out"!
 
 
Photoforge 2
 
10: PhotoForge 2. Hearts: ❤❤❤❤❤. Price: $.99.
There are so many photo editing apps out there, it can be a challenge to wade through all the options to distill the best. (Click here to view iPhone Life's Alex Cequea's interview with professional photographer Jonathan Marks for a detailed "inside scoop" on some top iOS photo apps.) but if I had to recommend one photo editor with the broadest appeal and greatest ease of use and functionality, it would be PhotoForge 2. There isn't much you can't do with this handy and powerful little app. You name it, most types of photo editing can be carried out within this powerhouse photo editor. Layering, noise reduction, textures, levels, tones, sharpness, saturation, white balance, frames, FX and much more can all be added to your photographs within this beautiful app. If it wasn't relatively straightforward to use, it wouldn't be on this list, so don't worry that the app is over your head. It's actually very intuitive and is a great introductory or advanced photo app for anyone interested in taking their photographic skills and editing to the next level. It saves your images within both the camera roll as well as within the app itself too, that way, when you come back to the app after being away for awhile you can pick up where you left off!
 
 
What are your top ten apps that didn't make my list here? And what do you think of the apps that did make my Top 10? Please feel free
to chime in with any thoughts or feedback in our comments section below!
 
And as always, thank you for reading!
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Siva Om's picture
Siva Om is a freelance writer and blogger. He's covered the latest trends and developments in mobile tech for over a decade. Siva founded iDoc Tech Support computer services in 2002. He has been an avid gamer ever since getting his Atari console in 1977. When not working, Siva enjoys adventuring off the beaten path.