While I keep working on the drafts for the couple of upcoming posts on additional perks of freelance work, as well as some of its setbacks, I figured I may as well put together the next blog entry from the My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week series. Even more so as an opportunity to keep things rolling with a good effort to take my mind away from the reflection time I am going through at the moment having witnessed, perhaps, one of the most profound and rather mind-boggling changes that may have happened in our recent history and that I’m sure everyone is very aware of, given the recent date in which it took place. My mind is, currently, very much distracted reading, learning and pondering further along about everything that’s going on, so those other more meaty articles would need to wait for a little bit while I get back in shape in the next day or two. Thus hang in there for a bit more time, please, if you were looking forward to those articles around freelancing. They will be coming up shortly!
For now, I would like to continue with the My Top 5 iOS Apps of the Week series and move into Week #8, which is really interesting, because when I first got started with it, a few weeks back, I never thought I’d be taking it this far highlighting and recommending already 40 different iOS Apps I use on a more or less regular basis. In fact, it’s even more intriguing when I look into my iOS devices and I see I still have got those many, if not more!, to include in this series for upcoming weeks, so it looks like I’ll be busy with it for a little while longer.
Overall, I’m enjoying, quite a bit, the opportunity to blog about these apps, because it also gives me the good chance to go deeper into other tabs and folders within my gadgets that I haven’t been to for a while and question whether I would still want to make use of some of them, and if not, whether I’m ready to ditch them for good and never come back. I didn’t expect this blogging exercise would allow me to do massive housekpeeing and remove all of those other apps I haven’t used in months now, but it has. And it’s more than welcome to help me continue with it. If anything, it’s been quite liberating altogether just as if it were spring cleaning! Thus, for this week, I’ll be recommending apps in the areas of Business, Productivity, Photography, Music and Reference – News.
Let’s go ahead then and do it!:
- Ummo [iPhone Only]: If you have recently been doing public speaking, whether just getting started with your first speaking gigs or whether you are well seasoned public speaker, you know delivering a speech / talk is no easy task. There are tons of things to take into account: the pitch itself, the visuals, the delivery, your posture, your enthusiasm, your passion, your nerves, the ideas you’d want to share across, you name it. The list goes on and on and on. You wish you knew what else you could do from the several thousands of articles, blog posts, books, white papers, etc. etc. out there that presumably advise you on what you need to do to become a better speaker and while all of those resources may be helpful, you still feel you could even learn plenty more.
Well, take a look into Ummo. You may wonder why you didn’t have this app a long time ago! It’s one of those apps that will essentially analyse your pitch and then advise you wisely on how you could improve your own public speaking skills based on what it discovers about you and your delivery style. MacStories, as an example, has written, not long ago, an excellent, and rather detailed, review of the app itself you may want to go through first, before you may decide to take it yourself for a spin, but I tell you, if you are into public speaking and would want to spice up a fair bit your own skills, this is a must-have app. Without a single doubt!
- Scrivener: In a previous blog post from this series, I mentioned how one of my favourite iOS apps for uninterrupted and focused writing was Ulysses. Back then, I mentioned how there are a couple of other apps I quite like as well for writing long form, without distractions on my iPad Pro, so for this week, if Ulysses doesn’t cut it for you and if you would be open up for other suggestions I’d like to suggest you take a look into Scrivener. Perhaps, the most powerful writing and note taking app out there at the moment. In fact, if you have been using it on the desktop I don’t need to mention anything else other than it’s now available for iOS, too! And it rocks, big time!
I still haven’t decided just yet which one of the two of them would become my default one for my iPad Pro, so I have decided to make use of both of them for the time being and get the most out of them. Since both user experiences are rather different and very unique, all the better. Like I said in a previous blog post as well, it’s about having a choice and in this case we are very well served with both of them!
- PhotoSync: When talking about photography apps, PhotoSync is probably one of the essential Top 5 Apps, if you are keen on transferring your iPhone / iPad photos on to your desktop (in my case MackBook Air) without having to make use of iCloud per se. At the moment, it’s the main app I use for all of my iPhone photos to be copied across into my MacBook Air, connecting over the same WiFi network, selecting the folder or photos I’d want to move and off it goes. Job well done and painlessly.
At the same time, it has got tons of other options to upload all of your photos into online services like Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Flickr, Google Drive, etc. making it really easy to manage and export your iOS photos into whatever online service you can then process from there. Pretty neat, if you ask me heh
- Shazam: What can I say about Shazam that may not have been said before already? If you are really passionate about your music tunes, but, alas, you are terrible at remembering either the singer or the title of that particular song, let Shazam come to your rescue! There are tons of features and neat capabilities I really like about this app, but there are two in particular that I’m just in love with: first, the fact I can trigger it from the home screen itself with its widget without having to first unlock, open up the app and tag that song, making it all really quick and friction free, which is what you want when you are on the move, listen to a piece of music you may not recall, but may be interested in and BOOM! Shazam has it for you! Secondly, the fact it’s fully, and beautifully!, integrated with Spotify, so it allows me to build Spotify Lists pretty neatly directly from the app itself that I can then start listening to in Spotify. Talking about integration of apps done right! Yes! It works just perfectly!
- Otto Radio [iPhone Only]: And, finally, one of those rare recommendations that blew my mind when I first bumped into it, by chance, a few months back. Otto Radio taps into the world of podcasting, and news broadcasting radio, and what it does eventually is speak out loud to you different news items, as if you were listening to the radio, and then reproduces snippets of podcasting episodes that may match the interests you have already selected. And if you like them, you can then get the rest of the episode, but without having to subscribe or download the episode itself. All of that nicely packed in different time slots you select ahead of time, so depending on how much time you may have, while commuting, exercising, or waiting for other work to finish, you make your time selection and off it goes, all nicely packaged for you. Ready to be listened to and enjoyed.
Ohhh, and the more you use the app, the more effectively it learns about the news items that tick for you and the better its fine tuning capabilities. Of all of the new iOS Apps I have tried this year so far, it’s perhaps one of the best out there, specially, if you are a news junkie, or if you just want to be in the know about what’s going on out there. The way it entices you to stick around and engage with the app is really good as well. Wish other apps would learn from it. Remember Zite, by any chance? Well, it’s that good, but with audio / podcasting snippets. Highly recommended!
And that’s it, folks, for this time around! Next week I will be putting together a new set of iOS apps I am hoping you would be enjoying as much as I do and, again, if there is an app out there you would want to recommend I give it a try, please leave a comment below or let me know via @elsua in Twitter, where a few folks have been sharing their suggestions as well through Mentions.
Thanks ever so much for sharing them across and till next time!