This time last year I was dabbling in a bit of Android business, but that ended in misery. Since then I have been toting around my iPhone 6 and I have to say it is my primary device. I use it far more than my iPad mini and a tad bit more than my MacBook. That being said, the release of the iPad Pro has made me wonder if I could pull a Federico Viticci and ditch the MacBook. I recently acquired the updated Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader so now I can even import photographs from my camera straight to my iPhone or iPad. It’s magical, though it does look funny. Despite all of that dreaming I will await the more powerful apps the iPad Pro was designed to foster and ‘make do’ with my iPhone and iPad mini.
Below are the apps that have made my 2015 just a bit easier and more fulfilling. Some are new releases, others are new discoveries; all are somewhat essential to my routine. I hope you find a few new ones to introduce in yours!
I always have to stay current with the news, and Bloomberg Business is my favourite way to keep up with the economy and politics. From an editorial perspective the articles are well-written, concise and unbiased. The app itself is simple without big photographs wasting space.
Not exactly a new app but a new app to me, Snapseed is a wonderful way to edit photographs. The Selective feature is my favourite as it allows for brightening of regions of a photograph. I use it to brighten shadows in flat lays. More exciting is its ability to merge the edits you make with the original photograph in your library rather than creating two separate copies (the original and the edit). After Snapseed the photograph is off to VSCO, but nobody needs another list with VSCO on it.
Unfortunate for me, yes, but my skin is less than flawless. Photoshop Fix makes it easy to eliminate blemishes and slim facial features if the angle of the photograph is a little unflattering. Rather than blurring blemishes, Photoshop Fix recreates the area pixel-by-pixel. That means instead of those random blurry patches all over your face it will look as if you just had naturally wonderful skin in the first place.
My college professors assign several PDF readings every week, and though they are optional I always enjoy reading them. LiquidText is the most innovative app I have come across for annotating documents. You can quickly scrub over words to highlight and tap to type notes. When you pinch the document you get a compressed view. Basically the app eliminates everything you didn’t annotate, enabling you to just see what you found important. When you are working with heavy research papers on the economy this feature is incredible.
Ad blocking was controversial this year after it became possible on iOS. Crystal is my favourite app for the task. Ads have become far more vicious in the last few years, and I find myself spending far more time on blogs now that their ads are not cluttering the content. It is my hope that publishers and advertisers get the hint and start to act more ethically in the coming year, but until then I would almost say ad blocking is essential to the experience and your privacy on the Internet.
The paperless world is still far away, but Evernote Scannable helps inch me closer to that utopia. I am not a fan of Evernote itself as I find it bloated and cluttered, but Evernote Scannable does not require an Evernote account to use. My favourite thing about the app is that it does not just take a photograph of documents, but it automatically crops and edits them to look just like a scanned document. I use it to keep records of my visits to the doctor for insurance, shipping invoices and receipts for warranties.
While the built-in Wallet app is fine, Stocard is a real treat. It lets you scan all of your loyalty cards and quickly access them in one app. This way I have all of my loyalty cards—and I do have a lot of them—in one place rather than the supported ones in Wallet and the rest in their own apps. Stocard is so simple that I have even convinced my mother to use it, and she loves having the plastic loyalty cards in her wallet.
Perhaps my most-opened app on any of my devices, Instapaper is where I save everything that I have ever read on the Internet. I was a Pocket fan but found their website to be a little pokey and the typography just a bit off. My only quibble with Instapaper is that all search functions are disabled unless you pay for Instapaper Premium. All I ask is for searching by title, Instapaper people.
I hate ‘sales’ and flyers. What I really want is for companies to offer steady, constant and fair prices. Until companies take the hint from Apple and Muji I will need Flipp. With Flipp, local flyers are available in one app ready to be clipped and added to your digital shopping list. New this year is their Coupons feature which automatically matches the best coupon to the best in-store price of a product to get you the best price available.
On top of Bloomberg Business I subscribe to about twenty blogs ranging from beauty, skincare, interior design, food and technology. In all honesty I wish Instapaper and Feedly merged together and I could have one place to read and store everything, but alas; no. Feedly is just a super simple way to read everything that I subscribe to, because manually checking-up on blogs is a pain and Bloglovin is just not my cup of tea.
Closing up the list is the built-in Notes app on iOS and Mac. It is what I am using to write this post, and it is where I have been dreaming up a few future projects. The new version that debuted with iOS 9 and El Capitan adds image support, lists with checkboxes, and limited text formatting. Now if only they would get rid of that horrible patterned background.