Top 17 iPhone Apps for Business

September 28, 2011

Apps for your iphoneby Justine Parsons

There are now over 250,000 apps for iPhone with many of these compatible with both Android and Smart Phones.  For those of you conducting your business on the run, the following are the favourite applications of this Virtual Assistant.

Social Networking

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have recently updated their apps and are a must have for keeping in touch while out and about.

HootSuite is great for managing all your social networks from the one platform, simple and easy to use it has both free and paid versions available.

Communications

It’s imperfect and annoyingly lacks push notifications, but Skype is still an essential download. The interface is pleasingly simple and usable, enabling anyone with a Skype account to make free calls to other Skype users and cheap calls to anywhere in the world.

Business Tools

Plenty of apps exist for transferring content between your computer and your device, but Dropbox is free and easier to use than most of its contemporaries. Dump files you want to sync in a folder on your computer and Dropbox for your device will enable you to access them, download them for offline viewing, and, in many cases, view them.

Clients to access the popular Evernote service for storing notes and ideas online are available for so many platforms that we half expect a ZX Spectrum app to be announced tomorrow. On the iPhone, Evernote is efficient and usable, enabling you to rapidly scan your notes and also create new ones.

Read It Later is an astonishingly handy service that enables you to save pages from the web, to read them later, typically bereft of advertising and other junk. The service is free, as is this app, which downloads stored articles for you to read offline.

XE Currency is a fine example of an app that does what it needs to, without fuss. You configure a list of currencies, and it shows current conversion rates. Double-tap a currency to set its base rate or to define values for custom conversions.

A contender for the ‘surely, that’s witchcraft?’ award, Bump enables you to select up to four contacts, then ‘bump’ your device into another iOS device running Bump to transfer details, or to compare contacts. And, yeah, we know there’s an email-based ‘share contact’ option in Contacts, but where’s the fun in that?

Fed up of typing on the tiny iPhone keyboard? Use Dragon Dictation instead, which happily converts your speech into text (with slightly spooky levels of accuracy for a freebie app). You can even punctuate (“Comma! Full-stop!”), and when you’re done the app enables you to fire your thoughts at Facebook, Twitter, Mail or the iOS clipboard.

For the paranoid souls out there (or the unlucky ones who’ve had their devices pilfered), Find My iPhone has now been freed from the paid version of MobileMe. Assuming you’ve a 2010 or later iOS device, you can set up a free account and locate your devices within seconds. (Note that older devices can also be added to Find My iPhone – you just need a recent one to get things going.)

Just for fun

Virtuoso Piano Free 3 won’t turn you into a virtuoso, but it’s a perfectly serviceable mini piano. You can amend the number of keys shown on screen, and buttons enable you to rapidly navigate the full keyboard. You get two built-in voices for playback, to which you can add variable levels of sustain.

It’s a torch! It’s a cheesy neon light! It’s a hypnotic spiral effect! With slightly annoying ads! (In reality, iHandy Torch Free is a mostly a handy app to have installed in case you get up for a midnight snack or toilet visit, don’t turn on the light and want to avoid smashing your toe annoyingly hard into an unruly cupboard.)

Talking Tom is a fun, lightweight app, but parents should be aware of a few things: it’s slightly violent (you can slap and poke Tom to the point that he falls down unconscious), one animation involves Harold noisily passing gas (sure, you can’t avoid fart jokes with kids, but maybe you don’t want to encourage them), and a few of the buttons trigger requests for in-app purchases, to unlock more abilities.  In saying that I haven’t had any issues and the kids (and adults) love listening to their voice repeated back by Tom.

Fun with photos

Take a photo, smash a filter into it, and upload it. Instagram‘s service is now used by millions of people to share nuggets of visual loveliness, and the app itself is a pleasure to use, and also to browse during moments when you’re not feeling quite so inspired.

If you’re looking for Photoshop-style power, Photoshop Express won’t impress. However, if you’re after a quick, free, highly usable tool for making edits to your iPhone photos, Adobe’s app is ideal. Use it for cropping, straightening, exposure adjustments, colour effects, sharpening and more.

Your turn: If your favourite iPhone apps haven’t been covered … tell us about them in the comments.

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