Showing posts with label killer iPhone apps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label killer iPhone apps. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

iPhone Killer apps - Silent Island relaxation

Silent Island Relaxation (and others)
"Hello.. My name is Christian and I am an insomniac", sometimes its awful, before going to sleep, a couple of hours before your alarm or just the middle of the night... triathlon training helps (exhaustion!), and a good meal (and drink) can randomly help but every so often, just plug this in and chill out... it works, even if you do end up with ear ache from the headphones... It also works with little things, though your mileage may vary there...the graphics and UE are, well they are what they are... its more function than form.


originally posted by Christian Borrman 22:19pm 20/12/08, updated 22:37pm 18/11/10

Its quite interesting that two things ocurr when you move a bog over and revisit old content, you notice

  1. that something that was a hit in 2008 on iPhone, is still relevant on other platforms and other audiences on iPhone, I still see the social network comments coming through for doodlejump. Even where doodlejump may be old news, there is a new casual game in its place, called angry birds, cut the rope, insert new one here... As I commented here, once a hit, always a hit
  2. by keeping these categories fresh, you can have a solid app store strategy

iPhone Killer apps - Draw

Draw
Draw is a great free app (had to break the mould) that, well, let's you draw. Why is that great; well the amount of hours I have spent drawing and redrawing presentations, flow charts or even just rewiring access points around the house, that all seemed clear to me at 2am, on a plane, in the back of a taxi, while the person I was having lunch with went to the rest room, etc.... I can now put them down quickly, redraw to my heart's content and then even send it to, well mostly my dim-witted self. When you are finished doing that and want to be social again, you can also use it to explain where something is to your dear but dim-witted friends :)


iphone Killer app - Doodlejump

DoodleJump (or other clever en vogue casual/social game)
I know Angry Birds and Cut the rope is all people speak about now, but doodle jump has been around  for a while, and never ceases to put a smile on my face. I Love the fact that it has leveraged social networks to great effect, and to do so has done what all great apps and social media needs: frequent updates. Some of the skins that are released as frequent updates are below. I feel a trend coming on, this app is £0.59p on most stores as well as being updated regularly with new themes...


iPhone Killer Apps - Pulse, now Linkedin Pulse

Pulse
I do like pulse, for many reasons: 1) its elevated the RSS feed to where it should be, 2) its eliminated RSS feed dross apps, 3) its works equally well on big and small screens, 4) its simplicity and intuitiveness in itself, 5) it saves me time. again, originally £0.59p very, very well spent.  now free as part of a LinkedIn purchase. Unfortunately it shows up the feeds 1.0 as not being good enough, the on-screen instructions at first and with new features are app UE master classes in themselves.
Early iPhone 4 Pulse screenshot

iPhone killer apps - Autostitch


Updated Autostitch

Autostitch had a major upgrade recently and was worth the wait, with the ability to shoot in app (but oddly with no volume up on iPhone 4 to capture?) stitch and browse with. The full original description can be seen below in the archive of 2006-2008



Original 2006+ posts below

I cannot fault Apple on the app front - I had been pushing apps since about 2002 as the way forward, we did major apps projects in 2006, and still they dragged their feet, as did mobile internet, despite all the resources of the mobile operators and even Nokia that was thrown at it, and even phones like the N95, which kicked off apps, like sportstracker in a big way with the early adopters. It was not until apple came along, and the early adopters who paid through the nose for the first iPhone, then went on to be the me-too's of the second generation iPhone, and that was it - apps hit the big time!
It took the 3GS before I was convinced, and I got quickly frustrated between getting it and not being able to upgrade within a few months. It was a long year(ish) since the 3GS came out and the 4G, in which time I had to put up with an inferior camera and terrible battery life, but it was quite clear that there was a hook that kept me engaged beyond the usual 2-3 month window. Apple may think its the glass and the hoo-ha - it isn't, its the apps! With the 3GS came a compass and augmented reality already on Nokia and Android and suddenly the iPhone not only had the quantity, but the quality. With the iPhone 4, we finally have a camera that is of a tolerable level and a flash that means we can use it, and we are there. But so is the competition. It has never been more interesting in appland!

Autostitch
This has to be my favourite app, not as the most used, but as the one that has solved a problem I had been looking for a solution for, and it always brings great results. I have tried many, many photo stitching software over the years, and none of them have done what they said on the tin. It uses a new set of algorithms that a couple of desktop programs use as well, and just could not be simpler. The usual rules apply: try and have something key and solid in each and the next frame to make life easier, only put humans in one frame, or they will come out blurred, and forget about complex macro photography, this is for landscapes. It is also a favourite app as it is simple, intuitive and well designed. Its £0.59p well spent in the UK store.



iPhone Killer Apps - Met Office Weather

Met Office

I am obsessed with the weather, I live in London, try to Boris bike or walk to most meetings and train for triathlons when I can, and have done some showcase apps for big product launches around weather apps, and so take my weather very seriously. I am not alone. I also take the met office very seriously, which more people should do, as there are even parts of the US military and other armies around the world who trust the Met office more than they do their own systems... it is now my favourite iPhone weather app.


iphone Killer apps - Intelligentsia Coffee

Intelligentsia

Despite the highbrow name, actually no, the highbrow name gives you a hint of what to expect.. this is highbrow coffee making: everything you wanted to know when you were a student and had loads of time for making coffee, or are in the industry or an industry that allows you this kind of time, or what the hell, you are your own man or woman, which may well vary by time of day, week, etc... whatever, I wish I had enough time to indulge in these coffee making processes. I do not, alas, but as a technologist I am predisposed to loving coffee, and I do, and I learned a thing or two about making the drink i love so much via this app: firstly, I do not have time to weigh my coffee, but have learned that measuring is important, and so use a scoop (that came with my aeropress) and the same cup to the same level, as well as the described process and my pourover coffee is now at a new level. It may seem silly, but it is, specially now I ordered a fantastic steel mesh filter from these guys. Download it now and pretend you have enough time to source, let alone use a chemex coffee maker :)


iPhone Killer Apps - Path

Path 

Path is a User Experience showcase in itself, as well as a breath of fresh air. Its no secret that part of Google+ and foursquare success has been people outgrowing facebook, or just unable or unwilling to sit down and grapple with the privacy and the changes, etc, so just start again. Where facebook is general everybody, google plus has become general wider but business or recent, foursquare is usually a tighter social circle, well path closes this loop by having people you want to interact with at an even smaller level with. So back to the UX, the images, the sign-up process... amazing! iOS and Android



iPhone Killer App Pinterest

Pinterest

Pinterest is interesting: its already 54th ranking website according to alexa, as posted on my G+ and that is important as it has a) only being running a few months, and b) only has the stalwarts of international emerging market millions jumping on-board that is facebook and linkedin.

It is easy to see why, again, like Flipboard and pulse and even path, it signs up easily and presents you with interesting content. Moreover, it is a modern twits on editorially defined content. First we had broadcast and print: they were editorially defined, and at the beginning of the digital age seemed very, very tired - we wanted to define what we wanted and we used Google to find it: aren't we clever! now every tom dick and harry has a blog on mobile apps and portals (well, I do anyway) we are leaning back to editorially defined: top publications like wonderland, wired and wallpaper have emerged (all beginning with "w" I spot a trend???) and we now have Pinterest: crowd-sourced editorially defined content: genius!
Pinterest -replace Facebook as the benchmark app?

It does not stop there, it then has hidden gems like pinning products you like, an instagram-esque picture posting interface where I posted this affogato and instantly got 2 likes and more. pure browsing and interacting pleasure and huge, huge promise for adapting to individual OSs on mobile.

iPhone Killer Apps - Flipboard

Flipboard

Flipboard has finally made it from the ipad to iPhone. I must say, I have tried to do this a few times, not to iPhone, but to other big screen and other screen formats I have worked on for clients (content discovery, 3D screens, etc) but the budget has never seen fit or it has fallen into the two "generic" bin.

So finally it is here. Pulse, was the closest we had to flipboard, and arguably pinterest (below) is / has eaten into the appeal of Flipboard for the smartphone screen, but I think it still has a lot to offer and could go further in terms of enhancements for different smartphone formats leveraging the UI differences now the major platforms all have style guides and distinct IUs (Apple, Android, windows phone and even meego with the N9). So what's to like? crucially, like any quality app, it understands engagement and has a wonderful sign-up process, the kind I have only seen in Path, Pinterest, Pulse, and maybe a handful of other apps begginning with "p", what is that about??? It first has an almost fluttering, teasing sign up screen, and then it does not let you just add facebook and twitter, like the sony ericsson, now sony mobile Android homescreen app 9which you then quickly tire of) but first both preselects three of 9 major categories, meaning that from the off you have an engagement and the app stands a stronger chance of impressing / engaging you to add more feeds. This is very important, as news is easily accessible everywhere, if you are selling quality you need to make it as easy as possible for people to find and engage you to make the sale. Flipboard does this very swiftly, quickly and without fuss or frustration. Nice.
Flipboard for iPhone - benchmark app for OS?
Like Facebook, and pinterest below, its implementations will become almost benchmarks of how well an app is integrated into a handset manufacturer / OS provider or Operator's ecosystem.

iPhone Killer Apps - Warhol


Its been a while since the Carnegie Museum released the original Warhol DIY app. As a fan of the digitalisation of modern art I immediately downloaded it and... well, found It was harder than expected. having developed my own film and photos back in the day, and decided it hard work, I also did silkscreening, and found that even harder work, so I do not know why I was expecting the app that does the even more difficult Warhol silkscreen process to be easy, but I did, like we all expect to buy an iPad and do a Hockney by downloading brushes app....  The truth is, its not all that hard, after a think you remember that, like all good photography and art, it all starts with understanding light... to get a good digital silkscreen print you need to shoot the right image to start with, and this is hard, if not impossible on a mobile with no exposure control. So you search through your images for the right exposure, there are not that many, and the ones that are do not have the right subject...
The only usable image from original app, this will now change!
It all seemed like hard work and I only found one image that I could sort of use originally, and even then the result was, well, it did not get shared, let's put it that way!. So, for example, if I wanted to use this iconic Lotus, a brand made famous from the 60's and use its namesake bright yellow Warhol used so much on his screens, there was no much I could do: a black car in a dark street was just not going to work. It also was a pain to edit, I had to use another app to crop the photo (pre iOs 5 camera crop feature) rather than in app. These have both been addressed, as well as another key issue I will get to in a minute.
Editing and cropping in app is an essential addition
So, when the last update came out with exposure control I picked up from where I started: Crop photo instagram style in app - check; 
exposure levels mean you chose the subject you want
Edit the exposure level in app - check... we are now on our way! the next problem, and the reason I left the darkroom work to others, was the trial an error process... before the app was unforgiving of mistakes, and made you start again, it now let's you go back and change exposure levels etc.
fine tuning exposure now does not mean starting again
The only issue I still do have is that I was never good at the underpainting with a brush, on the screen that does not get any better, but to be honest, I am more of a fan of the bass relief style single silkscreen colouring with no underpainting... which is just as well. I have not tried it on a tablet yet, but undepainting on a screen, even one as good as the iPhone's, is not great. So what are the results like? Well, I am still playing with the exposure but will let you know :)

There are also sections explaining the process and a bit more about the museum, etc, so all in all is a great app and well worth paying for.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

climate clock killer app weather apps

I have ended up doing a lot of work on weather apps over the years, and a lot of work on UE of apps to either make them better, unique, luxury, worthy of a product launch, etc.

So I was very excited to come across climate clock for a few reasons, firstly because it brings together two key recurring themes of mine;weather apps and app user design, but also as it marks the beginning of a new period on app design as far as I am concerned.
Climate Clock is a unnecessarily beautiful by design - finally we have apps like this! 
So why is this app so important? Well, I started life in consulting as an e-commerce consultant, and watched and analysed the web from dreadful days of active gif ridden sites to the responsive web we have today, and in between there were some design treats and progresses that made my life, and those who consume the web... well, better.

A quick example, to show you where i am going, was the Jackson Pollock page of a good few many years ago, but there gave been more from pixel mosaics, to pixel art and more.
Hours of fun can be had at http://www.jacksonpollock.org/ which caused a stir in its day
Climate Clock is the first app I have come across that you will just open for the sake of it, with no need for the time nor the weather, just to see the background and its progress... which is a huge development in apps. yes, there are beautiful apps out there, from path to even functional apps like Relais & Ch√Ęteaux, but this is different, this is design in technology because we can... and life is just not worth living if people do not sometimes do things great and do great things just because they can!

Back to the app as an app, its actually not that useful at telling the weather over time in the main screen, however, swipe from the bottom and the most useful omission from most weather apps appears: a ten day forecast.
10 day forecast within the context of the main screen make the app very useful as well
I know and appreciate the amount of thought that has gone into this app - I and a UE designer spent 200 hours getting the first, now omnipresent three day weather button for active views for the Accuweather app for a showcase handset launch, and that was just an active icon!
200 hours work!
From there there is not that much to write home about - there is the usual gesture to go from location to location, however then there are clever but not intuitive other gestures to edit locations, which had me screaming at the app at first. fortunately, the app is pretty enough to get away with it and reveals a pretty, dare I say, Metro-esque settings page.
did anyone see a Metro UX guideline document handing around anywhere??? :-D
... and yes, my life is so glamorous I need to know the weather in Reading... don't ask...

So there we have it, combine a clock and weather and you have a killer app, and well worth spending 69 finest British pence on. If only now we could edit the Apple home screen on iPhone and iPad to have the weather app we want, instead of the abomination that now is the native iPhone weather app (no, its not 2007 any more Apple...) or the lack of weather that iPad owners are deemed to have... you could even edit the homescreen apps on Symbian, let alone iPhone modern day competitors.. and yes, that does include Windows Phone!


Monday, 28 January 2013

killer apps - vivino iPhone & android app, snooth iphone

Wine mobile apps

Lifestyle apps do not come more fun than wine apps; while wine can be an exquisite and esoteric affair, there is such a variety and quality of wines available now at all price ranges that, at least here in the UK, where the market is very competitive, and a huge amount of economies of scale in terms of shipping, there is no excuse to not get involved.

Wine Mobile App history

Until recently, the main apps have been the high end likes of Vertu's Berry Brothers and Rudd app and for the rest of us, snooth and a handful of others, however they have not grabbed me for one key reason: the social aspect! Yep, you got it, wine is a social affair, and as such I have just resorted to posting labels on Facebook  emailing certain friends and storing the photos of labels for my own recollection in a folder called, well what else: wines...
The social aspect of lifestyle apps is key: we seldom enjoy life's pleasure alone!
So I then found Vivino for Android, and Vivino for iPhone, yes, via someone posting on Facebook; just like the world found Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, Foursquare (I sense a trend!) and was instantly hooked, scanned 5 or 6 bottles in my store (I cannot call it a cellar, as, well, it is not a cellar!) of wines and invited others to join.

Community & Social key for killer apps

Even more important were two things throughout the experience so far (the weekend); firstly; I did not get the feeling I had to go pro immediately, which I did with Snooth (only to be then slightly disappointed) ; secondly I added a label, could not find it and had to go pro to search the database. This I understand. However a day or so later, I have an update and somebody has manually added my wine to the database - nice! This community sense is key to the mobile app model.
Building a profile is simple with Vivino, unfound bottles get updated by the community!
Having my collective virtual "cellar" with notes is quite handy, while to date, searching other people's cellar has been frustrating to annoying (long story, but involved a dodgy merlot...) but then I do only have one friend so far (you know who you are!).

The only downsides to this app, that have held back other wine apps for me are the fact that wine seems to moving quicker than many of the:
  1. not being able to edit some of the wider elements community style, even if after approval; like for example, I have a strong steer to big, bold full bodied wines that lend themselves to red meat, which can be seen above, yet the food pairing recommendation still had the very outdated recommendation of "suited to pork". Just as well I am not a Rioja and Ribera drinking person of 2 certain faiths that do not eat pork!
  2. having a list of grapes in the bottle is good, but not having a % is not - the subtle additions of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano to the main Tempranillo base can have a huge impact on how well a Rioja will age and/or be ready for drinking!
  3. The old temperature issue - while thank god we have moved away from the "room temperature" model to the fridge, whether its 15 mins or not will depend on the fridge, the previous room temperature and other points. Moreover
I think the best way out of this is moderated community additions? I will be upgrading to pro and will update, but in the meantime, these are the next issues that need to be tackled with these apps.
Grape % would be useful, at the moment all Spanish wines appear to be paired with pork!
These are small gripes, with an otherwise great app, and will now substitute my random posting of pictures of bottles on social networks...

Antisocial drinking apps

When will people learn that creating a community on just one OS does not work! Facebook and twitter check-in is the other key feature that has made Pintererst to Foursquare via Instagram before it was bought (...and did the whole T&Cs debacle). I do not want to create another account on another app!
Snooth: another apps that thinks people need yet another login!
Another key for Vivino is that it is on Android as well; more and more people have a mixed OS tablet/smartphone mix and even a dual smartphone mix and the market has seen iPhoners switch to Android and vice versa: you need to be on both platforms at least to succeed. Any premium app, especially one at the £2.99 end that has not yet adapted to the iPhone5 screen size  six months on almost demands a refund!

Social drinking apps on the other hand, could become the next foursquare????

Thursday, 5 April 2012

get your 15 mins of Warhol fame: Warhol DIY app

Get your 15 mins of Warhol fame!

I have just added the newly revised Warhol : DIY app to my list of the best, killer iPhone apps, although it's been around for a year, updates to enable exposure, crop and backing and forthing within the app make the process less frustrating as the process warhol went through, and more mobile camera friendly, so your 15 mins of fame can be done in less than 15 mins now ... read the full thingy here
get your own 15 mins and make your own warhol