If you just got your 1st iPhone, iPad or iPod touch then chances are you're looking for some great Apps to have. Although I have literally hundreds of Apps loaded on my iPhone and iPad, I do have a recommended list of "Must Have Apps". I'm keeping the list to 20 which means that there are still dozens that I would recommend, but don't want to overwhelm you with here. Stay tuned for our Top 100 Apps of 2011! In the meantime these are 20 Apps that you should look at sooner rather than later. In most cases the Apps I'm listing today are Universal Apps and therefore work natively on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch including taking advantage of the iPad screen size. However, there are some Apps that will work on iPad, but don't take advantage of the screen size. This being the case if the App is a Universal App I will put a (+) in front of the download link so that you know it works across all iOS devices. In no particular order:
Camera+ (pictured above) is my favorite iPhone camera special effects App. You can not only snap photos with this App, but you can really create some very cool effects, including a nice HDR look and feel.
Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard photo manipulation App. Photoshop Express allows for some basic editing beyond what's included in iOS 5 and a few special effects and borders as well. Best of all for the time being it's FREE.
While Photoshop Express above does a fine job with basic edits and exposure adjustments, Snapseed is much more robust. Apple also named it iPad App of the Year for 2011. There are certainly more full featured editors out there, but Snapseed definitely has an easier interface than most and unique features that don't require any masking.
I travel for a living and therefore I use a large number of Apps in the Travel category. One of the coolest travel Apps is Taxi Magic. This location based App will show you the Taxi companies that service the area you're in and let you dial them directly. However, where the cool factor really shines is when you're in an area that supports "Direct Dispatch". When you're in one of these metropolitan areas you'll be able to book your taxi directly from the App, see when it's been dispatched, know the taxi cab number and driver's name as well as see where it is on the integrated map. Once your ride is over you'll be able to pay the fare directly from the App as well if you choose.
Evernote is the end all be all notes App for iOS that allows you to sync notes and documents with the cloud. While I'm not really an Evernote fan (the built-in Notes App with iCloud syncing serves me well), it's one of those Apps that If I don't list someone will say "how can you not list Evernote?"
Red Laser is an old favorite that keeps getting better. First off Red Laser lets you scan the barcodes on retail products that you're thinking of buying and show you the online prices for that item so that you can price compare on the spot. It also offers "Local" search so you can see if a nearby store has it cheaper. This latest version also has support for QR codes. Yes, this one App does it all and it's FREE. However, it's not a universal App, so if you're looking for a just a good QR scan App then I'd recommend "Scan" which is Universal.
Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Flipboard
If you're into social media then chances are you're going to want the native App for the social media network that you use the most. Therefore, I've listed the most popular ones. Flipboard gives you a visual view of your Facebook and Twitter timelines as well as great photos on the internet and RSS news feeds.
Delivery Status touch
I've been using Delivery Status touch to track packages on my iDevices for a long time. This App is great! You can track packages from all the major carriers simultaneously complete with push notifications and a built-in Map to see where your packages are. This latest version allows you to scan the tracking label for the items you're shipping to cut down on tedious data entry.
Flixster is a great multi-purpose Movie and TV App. The main reason I use it is to see show times for my local theater as well as trailers. However, you can also use it to add DVDs to your Netflix queue and see which movies are coming to disc and when. Once you watch a movie you can rate/review it and automatically share that rating on your Facebook or Twitter stream.
Dropbox.com is my favorite cloud based storage service. With your FREE Dropbox account you can store up to 2GB's of data. The Free Dropbox App lets you easily access your files as well as share them. Also many Apps allow you to use Dropbox to back up and share data.
The Built-in Maps App is pretty cool, but it lacks voice turn-by-turn directions. There are a few good GPS Voice turn-by-turn Apps out there on the App Store, However, my top pick is Navigon. They offer a variety of different Apps depending on how much coverage you need in terms of driving territory. You can buy one just for your region or the entire country. The latest 2.0 version also allows you to just download the maps for the areas you're going to be in, which reduces the amount of storage space required significantly.
With the introduction of iCloud and Photostream Apple has made it a little easier to sync photos between your iOS devices and your computer. However, it's all or nothing at this point. If you prefer to send specific photos to specific devices, then Photosync is your answer. This App allows you to wirelessly send photos back and forth from your iOS devices and your computer. I use Photosync all the time!
If you have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s you've got a very bright LED flash that you can use to take photos/videos in low light situations. The Flashlight* App lets you turn on this light and use it as a Flashlight whenever you need it. There are several Flashlight Apps on the App Store, but this one is Free and works great!
I use CardStar all the time when I'm out and about. Not only do I have all my loyalty cards in it for easy scanning at most place, but I also put my frequent flier/frequent stay numbers in there too for easy access when I'm checking in for a flight or hotel.
The camera on your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4s does a great job with photos, but it can also take pictures of documents, receipts, etc. However, rather than just having a photo of the document, many times I need a PDF and I need it to be cropped nicely to the document, deskewed and good quality. ScannerPro does all this for me including the ability to email the document or upload it to my Dropbox account. With this App I rarely use my desktop scanner anymore. It also handles multiple page documents.
Hopefully you're not one of those people that uses a single password for everything that you do because it's easy to remember it. The sad truth is that there are lots of people out there that have insecure passwords and use the same insecure (easy to remember) passwords for everything they do. I actually used to be one of those people and as identity theft cases began to rise, I decided that it was time to change my ways. Now I use 1Password both for my computer and my iDevices. This app keeps track of al my passwords for all my various accounts, websites, etc. and is secured by top level encryption. I enter the one master password and can easily look up any password I need. Also because it syncs with Dropbox, I can update passwords anywhere and they are sync'd everywhere. I couldn't imagine life without 1Password.
Your iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPad 2 and iPod touch (4th & 5th gen) device includes FaceTime for video chatting. While FaceTime is great and built-in, it only works over WiFi and only with other iOS devices or Macs. When I want to do video chatting over 3G or with other platforms such as Android or Windows, I prefer to use Skype. Skype is a well known App for making free Skype to Skype calls and now free video calls from Mobile Devices. Arguably the quality is not as good as FaceTime, but Skype will allow you to video chat when there is no WiFi hotspot available and with more people that don't have Apple gear.
Documents To Go Premium
Your iOS device can display many formats such as Word, Excel, PDF, etc., but it doesn't allow you to edit them natively. Apple sells Pages, Numbers and Keynote and they do allow editing of Word, Excel and Powerpoint files. However, if you're looking for a more direct way to create and edit MS Office documents, then Documents To Go is the App for you.
Having a built-in iPod in my iPhone and IPad is great, but there are times I want to listen to music that I don't necessary own yet. That's where Pandora Radio comes in. Unlike regular broadcast radio, Pandora Radio lets you create your own "radio stations" based on the artist or songs that you like. As you give songs thumbs up or thumbs down it gets better about playing the kind of music you like. I opted for a paid account to be completely commercial free. Pandora Radio can also stream to your AirPlay speakers.
I also can't create one of these lists without mentioning one of the most addictive games on the App Store. I have spent more hours than I care to admit playing Angry Birds and what I like most is that the developer constantly comes out with free updates adding more levels.
25 Fun Things to Ask Siri
If you did just get a New iPhone 4s, be sure to check out my list of 25 Fun Things to Ask Siri.