With 2014 drawing to a close, here without much ado is our list of our five favourite iOS apps this year. On Android? Be sure to check out our 5 best Android apps.
#1: Inbox by Gmail
Inbox by Gmail is a great new way to deal with email. Using a similar predictive behaviour to Google Now it automatically tracks packages, flights and hotels. It also groups together similar emails, meaning one swipe gets rid of most unimportant emails. I love Inbox and one of my favourite functions is the ability to pin important emails and give yourself reminders based on time or location. Need to remember to send a birthday message to your friend when you finish work? Just have Inbox remind you when you get home.
Key Takeaway: Want a more intelligent and adaptive approach to email? Get Inbox.
Firechat is not exactly a new app but like Twitter during the Arab Spring, Firechat rose to prominence during the Hong Kong protests. Firechat allows offline messaging through Wifi and Bluetooth. Originally meant for people at festivals, Firechat saw a surge in popularity during the autumn protest movement. Firechat’s usefulness isn’t just limited to civil disobedience though, it’s great for messaging on airplanes or other places where wifi or cell coverage is limited.
Key Takeaway: Looking for a messaging solution that works in challenging environments without internet or cell coverage? This is your app.
Threes won Apple’s game of the year award for 2014 and it’s easy to see why. Threes is almost a perfect game. Like Tetris it’s simple, elegant and yet difficult to master. Threes has been copied (most famously by 2048) but unlike it’s imitators Threes has staying power due to it’s design. Many people have written about just why Threes works as well as it does, but ultimately it’s just fun and challenging.
Key Takeaway: Mix Tetris with arithmetic? What could possibly be better.
#4: Stop Breathe & Think
Stop Breathe & Think is a great little app to help you get into meditation. After checking in with your current state, it suggests a few different guided meditations of varying length. Whether you want to just switch off for a couple of minutes at work or meditate for 30 minutes, there are plenty of options. The app gamifies meditation giving you stickers and achievements when you reach certain milestones. The best thing about Stop Breathe & Think is that it has a very unpretentious and accessible approach. It’s just lets you get on with meditating without pushing a lot of other stuff on you.
Key Takeaway: Want to get into meditation but find the whole thing a little intimidating? Try Stop, Breathe & Think.
Ok this is cheating slightly as Slack came out last year, but it really came into its own this year. We use Slack for most of our communication in our team. It’s easy to see why with desktop, Android and iOS support as well as Dropbox and Asana integration (as well as pretty much everything else) it has largely eradicated internal emails. It’s difficult imagining work without Slack now which is pretty remarkable considering it’s only been around for about a year.
Key Takeaway: Do you work with other people? Do you need to communicate with them? Get Slack.