22 Apps You Must Own
If you're anything like us, you carry your iPhone around with you everywhere you go because its an all-in-one portable device. But what you might have overlooked is its potential as an all encompassing repository of useful apps, capable of doing everything from organizing your social calendar to putting the entire sum of human knowledge right at your finger tips. We plumbed the depths of the App Store and came up with the following list; add them to your iOS device to turn it into a digital Swiss Army knife that will help you with just about every situation life can throw at you.
I'm the guy that always shows up at birthday parties armed with cash because I forgot to get a gift before hand. It doesn't matter if it's a girlfriend or my own mother, I am simply incapable of remembering anyone's birthday (save my own). Then I discovered this app which allows you to connect to your Facebook account, and then automatically downloads and lists your friend's special day in a calendar format. You can even manually add in loved ones who aren't as Internet savvy. Don't be the guy who has to sleep on the couch because you forgot your wife's birthday. Just get the Birthdays! app.
Dictionary.com - Dictionary & Thesaurus
Words are the foundation upon which our entire society is built, which makes this app an incredibly useful thing to have with you at all times. Whether you need a reference source to look up an unfamiliar word or a thesaurus to spice up your venacular, Dictionary.com's app is a terrific resource you should keep within easy reach.
If you love sports, this is a must-have app. The ability to quickly and easily check scores and news updates on your favorite teams is a must, especially if you get stuck somewhere without easy access to a television. You can set the app to focus only on the sports you care about, and you can filter results so that your favorite teams are always listed first. If you want more in-depth coverage, you should download the actual ESPN mobile app, but for checking scores on the fly, Scorecenter is the way to go.
EZ Read++ allows you to view the popular Sparknotes database in a quick and easy-to-read format. Whether you need to fake your way through a term paper (cheaters never prosper, kids) or want to appear well read to your friends at your next cocktail party, this handy app will improve your knowledge of classic literature. It even allows you to customize things by changing the font size or caching pages to view them offline. The people that run Sparknotes probably would prefer you buy their books than this app (which was made by an unrelated third-party developer), but EZ Read is too darn handy to pass up.
Yeah, we know it's a no-brainer, but it makes sense to have the world's most popular social networking site's app on your phone, doesn't it? While it isn't as robust as the actual site, you can still manage most of your online social life on the go via status updates, uploading pictures, and sending messages to your friends.
Find My iPhone
This is yet another app that compensates for one of my many character flaws: forgetfulness. I lose my iPod Touch and iPad all the time, and the free Find My iPhone app lets me send a message to the device; this causes your iOS device to light up and starting making horrible noises, so it's easy to find. The app even lets you track down your missing device via GPS, in case you've left it so far away from home that Google Maps has to come into the picture.
Speaking of Google Maps, have you tried Google Places? It's basically that feature that a lot of GPS devices have nowadays, the one that can help you quickly find interesting places like restaurants, bars, or hospitals. It's really useful, but if your grandma falls down and your first response is to calmly pull out your iPhone and start tapping away to try to locate a hospital, you're probably going to have an upset granny on your hands.
How Stuff Works
The good people at HowStuffWorks.com have been answering all the questions you never thought to ask for years via podcast and online articles, and now the entirety of the HowStuffWorks database can fit into your pocket thanks to the website's official iPhone app. Ever wondered why snow is white; how air conditioners work; or what keeps your refrigerator cold? Download this app and you can get the answer instantly.
If you're even remotely interested in console gaming (and we know you are), this is the app for you. It's like the world's most focused encyclopedia of video game console knowledge. It contains details on every major and minor system ever released, and we're talking really granular stuff like lengthy "History of" texts and details about processor speed. This app actually inspired me to begin collecting cool retro consoles, but I quickly realized that for monetary reasons, I really shouldn't continue. If you've got deeper wallets than me, iConsoles makes for a great collector's guide.
IMDb - Movies & TV
iMDB has become the go to resource for all things acting related, and it's a terrific app to have on hand to settle the heated arguments you get into with your friends, like whether or not Kim Basinger was in Wayne's World (this is an actual argument the GamePro editors got into once with some industry colleages-for the reacord, Basinger was in Wayne's World 2 while Donna Dixon was in the original Wayne's World). It's also handy for looking up information on the fly; for instance, I was playing Mass Effect 2 and thought that the voice of a character called "The Patriarch" sounded familiar, and low and behold, iMDb informed me that it was Pete from Goof Troop! God bless you, iMDb.
iSurvival - Wilderness Survival Manual
Imagine this situation: You're in the woods, and you can't find your way back to camp. It's getting dark, and the only thing you have on your person is your iPhone, which (of course) has no service. Luckily for you, you purchased the iSurvival app, a military-grade wilderness survival manual that's broken up into an iPhone-friendly format. The app includes information about making improvised tools, plants to avoid, and advice for those looking to set up a shelter. Even if you're not planning on venturing into the wild any time soon, this is the sort of app that can literally be the difference between life and death.
There is a checklist of things you should do whenever you get into a fender bender, but often, you're so disoriented and stressed that you can overlook certain key steps. iWrecked helps you take down all the pertinent details of the accident, including location, insurance information, and photos of the damage. This is one of those apps that you'll hopefully never need but if you ever do find yourself in a car accident, it can be a lifesaver.
Mirror in Your Pocket
Here's the scenario: You're walking down the sidewalk and begin to notice that people are casting glances at you You start to feel paranoid, and the first thing that comes to mind is "I must have something on my face." While the truth of the matter is probably that you're just extremely attractive, Mirror in Your Pocket is there just in case. The app "transforms your iPhone into a mirror" by simply activating your front camera and allowing you to check to make sure you don't have anything in your teeth.
Nimble Strong: Bartender in Training
This game is half bartender simulator, half Phoenix Wright. Let that sink in for a bit, and then try to tell me that isn't incredible. Nimble Strong is a story about a loser trying to make his way in the dog-eat-dog world of bartending, and as you listen to the sob stories of the various characters who frequent your cantina you'll also learn some totally rad cocktail recipes. It's quirky, educational, and surprisingly fun.
Pulse News Mini
Pulse News is really nothing more than an RSS reader with style, but it also allows you to integrate your Facebook account to see your friend's status updates in a cool feed. I subscribe to far too many RSS feeds for Pulse to be useful for me, but if you just want one convenient place to read the morning news, check out the updates on GamePro.com (because all the cool kids are subscribers), and see what your friends are up to, Pulse is the fastest and most user-friendly way to consume your news.
Shazam is the musical equivalent of the iMDB app mentioned above: Simply boot it up, hit the listen button, and hold up your iOS device to a sound source and the app will identify the song by cross-checking it against an online database. It's really pretty impressive how often it works, and I've used it more than once to identify a song on the radio or a TV commercial.
Star Walk is easily the nerdiest application on this list, but it's also the coolest (in my opinion). The app contains information about all sorts of constellations and far away stars, but its most amazing feature is that if you point your iPhone at the sky it can actually tell you what heavenly bodies you're looking at. It's stargazing brought into the 21st century in the most incredible way possible, and if you've ever spent any time staring up at the night sky, you shouldn't hesitate to check it out.
Texting of the Bread
It's the 21st century, and typing using your iPhone's keyboard is likely something you find yourself doing quite often. Whether you need to send an email, a text message, or simply access a web site, you're going to want to input whatever it is you're typing as quickly as possible, and the iPhone's virtual keyboard is something of a new thing for those of us more used to old-school physical keyboards. Texting of the Bread is here to fix that. The charming 2D shooter is something of an homage to Sega's cult hit PC title, Typing of the Dead. As zombies gingerbread men approach, you'll have to tap out the words shown on screen using the iPhone's keyboard. It's a total blast, and you'll be improving a necessary skill while playing.
Tip Calculator Free
Use this app to avoid ever worrying about how much tip to leave on a restaurant bill or how much each person is owed if you're splitting the costs. Seriously, money should never get in the way of a good meal, so leave the math to this app and focus on just having a good time, okay?
Ultimate Guitar Tabs
If you're an aspiring guitar or bass player looking to quickly learn a song, tabs are by far the quickest and easiest method. The ultimate-guitar.com app takes the massive database of tabs from the website's online database and catalogues it in an easy to read way, so you can pull out your iPhone, search for a song, and starting playing along anywhere. You can even set the tab pages to auto-scroll at varying speeds as you play, which helps tremendously. It's also worth mentioning that from within the app you can purchase the "Ultimate Guitar Tools" pack, which includes a guitar tuner, metronome, and chords library that will then be integrated within the normal app. If you find yourself using the app a lot while playing along with songs, it might be worth it.
The Weather Channel
iOS devices have a built in weather app but it gives you very minimal look at the conditions outside; while that's useful, it can't beat the Weather Channel's app in terms of offering comprehensive meteorological information, including forecasts for the rest of the week and any severe weather warnings that might affect your local area. Weather forecasts are a pure crapshoot sometimes, but this app gives you the best shot at not getting caught out in the rain.
We're fairly sure this app is already on your iOS device, but if it isn't, download it right away. It's perfect for finding new eateries and businesses in your local area, and the user ratings are a great way to filter out the bad from the good (though we'd suggest you take those with a grain of salt, as some Yelp users seem to create ratings based on criteria that makes absolutely no sense to anyone but themselves).
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