App essentials

Danny Gorog
4 September, 2011
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If you’re new to the iOS platform and you’ve just got your shiny new device out of the box, choosing which apps to install can be a tricky proposition. With more than 450,000 apps available on the App Store it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give up.

But stick with it and you’ll discover that the App Store is a pretty great place, and that there really is literally an app for everything!

Here is my recommendation of the essential apps you should install on your device:


The weather category is a tricky one. In fact the iPhone comes with its own weather app, but in my experience the forecast and temperature are mostly inaccurate. Spend a couple of dollars and get yourself something better.

My personal favourite is Pocket Weather AU ($1.99), a great app that provides easy access to
current temperatures and forecasts anywhere in Australia. Pocket Weather can get your forecast based on your GPS location or you can select major cities from a list.

The app also provides a heap more data like tide information, real-time UV support, National Rain, Satellite and Synoptic Chart. But my favourite feature is the creative way the developers have used Push Notifications – it can badge your home screen icon with the current temperature or the daily high so you don’t have to even open the app to get the latest information.


Getting news on your iOS device is easy without an app, but with one it can be so much better.

SBS World News for iPhone (free) provides breaking news from SBS and its partners. You can quickly stream video and audio reports and get breaking news alerts.

Another favourite of mine is Reeder ($2.99), a great Google Reader client that is available for iPhone and iPad.


Now that you’ve loaded all the boring apps on your device check out these few that will make you look like a magician to your friends:

Shazam (free). This seriously cool app can listen to a sample of a music track and tell you what it is without blinking an eye. Pull it out at a party, hold it up to the music and prepare to amaze your friends. Once Shazam identifies the song it will provide links for you to buy the track on iTunes.

Akinator ($1.99). Ever played 20 questions? Well Akinator is the friend that you’ll never beat. Like Shazam, it’s from outer space. Ask your friend to think of a real of fictional character (even an Aussie!) and watch Akinator find out who it is by asking a few questions.

Word Lens (Free). What if I told you your iPhone or iPad could instantly translate any printed word from one language to another with its built-in camera? You’d probably tell me to get back on my space ship.

Well, it’s 2011 and that’s exactly what Word Lens can do for you.

Admittedly it only works between Spanish and English now but future in-app packs will include support for more languages.

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