It's that time of year: when tech websites post their lists of best apps for the year. Here are some of the lists of best apps for 2013 that you may want to check out. It's a great way to quickly find those that best suit your needs.
InformationWeek — I like well curated short lists rather than long lists of 50 or more. So I think a good place to start your search for the best apps is the list of 10 posted by InformationWeek. You should definitely consider adding a number of these to your iPhone or iPad. The list includes Google Maps (free), Dropbox for iOS (free), Jump Desktop ($14.99), which lets you access a Mac or PC remotely via your device, Duolingo (free), which offers foreign language instruction for free using gaming techniques, Burner (free), which lets you conceal your phone number when making calls by giving you temporary disposable numbers, and Uber (free), an alternate taxi service. I notice a number of these, such as Google Maps, Dropbox, and Uber, have made several of the lists.
Inc. — This small list of the five best apps of 2013 also deserves a look. Mailbox (free) made a big splash because it was a new approach to email that people loved. The goal of the app, which is available for both the iPhone and iPad, is a zero Inbox. Also on many lists is IFTTT (free), which stands for "If This, Then That." Basically it's a way of programming your iPhone to do specific tasks for you, such as sending you an email whenever there's bad weather in the forecast, or automatically saving attachments in Evernote. People like it because it's so simple to set up these "recipes."
iDownLoadBlog — The focus of the previous list was productivity apps, and this list on iDownloadBlog also offers up the 10 best productivity apps for 2013. The list includes Mailbox and IFTTT, and a number of other apps that look similarly useful. The most interesting may be Donna (free), a personal assistant that tells you when to leave for an appointment, dials into conference calls for you, and lets others know when to expect you. And she does all this without your even needing to open the app.
PCMag.com — If you like free apps, check out PCMag.com's list of the 50 best free apps for 2013. All of them are truly free: no in-app purchases or memberships required. Entries in the list include Cloze, which was also on a number of other lists. This app "collects tweets, emails, Facebook posts, and other bits of communication from your contacts and prioritizes them based on people who are most relevant to you." Adobe Photoshop Express. for both the iPhone and iPad, is a fairly powerful photo editing app that lets you make a wide range of adjustments, such as contrast, exposure, white balance, and color. The app also offers 20 filters and 15 borders and frames. Of course, it includes the basics of crop, straighten, rotate, flip, and remove red eye. The list also includes Evernote, which seems to be everyone's favorite app these days. It's a note-making app that effectively uses the cloud and that people love because it makes organizing your notes, files, and photos so easy.
Time Tech — Time magazine's list of 50 best iPhone apps for 2013 also deserves a look. Overall, this is an excellent, well curated selection of apps, and includes many that were on the other lists. You can scroll through the list as a slide show, or you can select View All to see the whole list of 50 at a glance. Be sure to check out Hotel Tonight (free), which lets you make last-minute hotel reservations—while getting an extremely low price. A great article in the New York Times talked about this app and the effect it was having on the industry.