In no particular order
1) Documents to go
This allows you to sync your device with a desktop folder to transfer Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files, and edit them while on the move. The process is quick, easy and highly convenient. Expensive perhaps, but worth every penny considering the service it offers.
Available for iPhone & iPad - £6.99/$9.99
An ideal multi-tool for anyone looking to cut back on hard copies. An all-in-one scanner, Prizmo can be used to scan and store text files, business cards, and more - all through the use of your iPhone camera. A superb tool for backing up, capturing data and saving on physical storage space.
Available for iPhone - £6.99/$9.99
3) Pocketcloud Remote Desktop Pro
Gain remote access to your desktop from your iPhone or iPad over 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, open files, browse the internet and interact with your work or home desktop from anywhere you like.
Available for iPhone & iPad - £10.49/$14.99
4) Dragon Dictation
If you’re looking for a Siri alternative (or have an iPhone 4 or 3GS), then Dragon Dictation could be right up your street. This easy to use app instantly translates the spoken word into text. Proven to be up to five times faster than typing on the iPhone keyboard, you can even use this to update your Facebook status, send notes and reminders to yourself, tweet and so much more. And did I mention that it’s free!
Available for iPhone - £Free
If you’re on LinkedIn, then CardMunch is a must have for you. Made my LinkedIn, CardMunch makes it easy for you to add new real life connections on LinkedIn. Whenever you meet a new professional contact for the first time, you usually exchange business cards - it is here where CardMunch comes in to play. Open up the CardMunch app, scan the business card using the app, and CardMunch will automatically find that person for you on LinkedIn and offer you the chance to connect. Get it now, it’s free!
Available for iPhone - £Free
My friends pointed out to me recently that I am a bit ‘app mad’, with close to 200 apps on my iPhone, and a growing number on the iPad. So I thought it might be a good idea to note down some apps I would recommend to other people. I don’t necessarily use all of the following apps on a daily basis, however they are ones that I recommend based on their usefulness, features and design.
Part 1 of 20: top 5 apps for reading
It doesn’t have the selection of Apple iBooks or Amazon’s Kindle app…. however for functionality and design Kobo is top of the bookworm apps. I’m big on anything appropriately socially integrated, and Kobo has it. Small social touches like live discussions and awards for reaching milestones in your reading make this a great app.
Available free for iPhone & iPad
A stunning showcase for the iPad, this interactive extravaganza enables you to explore the building blocks of our universe in stunning fashion by tapping on an element in the periodic table, and then being treated to a nicely blended visual & written journey into its existence.
Available for iPad: £9.99/$13.99
This app is essentially a portal to the Marvel and DC universes, giving you access to over 12,000 comics that can be downloaded through in-app purchases. More than 500 of them are free, and there are some genuine gems in there.
Available free for iPhone and iPad
This stunning interactive novel experience could only be achieved on touch-screen devices. Rather than reading through text you are given access to bits and pieces of people’s lives as you weave the narrative together in your own mind. A transcendent experience!
Available for iPhone & iPad: £4.99/$6.99
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore
Breathtaking visuals and a heartwarming story are just the beginning of this app, as it leads the way when it comes to interactive books on the iPad. Essential reading whatever your age or interest, and one you will definitely want to show off to anyone interested in apps and reading. Created by an ex-Pixar designer, and technically a story for kids (but no one has to to know it’s a kid’s book!). Worth a look.
Available for iPad: £2.99/$4.99
Cast your mind back to 2010. It was a simpler time in Facebook when your status updates would appear in the newsfeed of all your chums. Facebook then implemented this ‘clever’ clustering based on ‘engagement’ - which translated to us as only seeing posts of friend’s that we would often interact with on the site (ie. ‘like’ their posts or comment on their wall).
Well the next chapter in newsfeed evolution is to have us to pay for posts that we want to highlight to all our friends. Highlighted posts will appear higher in the newsfeed, stay visible for longer, and appear to most of your friends (currently your status updates are visible to only about 12% of your friends thanks to the secret sorting algorithm). Facebook are currently trialling this feature in smaller English speaking territories such as New Zealand.
My concerns with Facebook encouraging the use of paid ‘highlighted’ posts for users are:
1) Something that was originally free for us is now something we have to pay for. Less than 2 years ago we could write a status update and most if not all our friends would have the post appear in their newsfeed.
2) The person with the deepest pockets wins. I’m sure that the cost to highlight a post will be affordable to many, however the richer the person the less of a burden the cost will be to them.
3) Where will it end? Will we soon be paying for additional photo storage space, or the right to privately message someone? Perhaps I am being a little dramatic, however if Facebook are willing to trial more aggressive ways of getting money out of us, it makes me wonder how much further they will go to please their investors.
4) Are we in too deep, and do we even care? Google+ is a much easier social network to use, it’s privacy features are straight forward, and it has some cool features that Facebook doesn’t (Hangout feature is something I use regularly for example). However despite it’s superiority we’re not migrating to Google+ at a particularly fast rate. This would suggest that perhaps we are prepared to put up with Facebook no matter what they do to us.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the upcoming promotional and presentation work I will be embarking on when introducing the world to the app I’ve been working on with my team. Admittedly I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, as the app is currently still in beta and has some way to go. Nevertheless, I like to think ahead in order to get things right…. well get things right in my mind at least.
I started thinking about why people are passionate about particular products, services, or brands - especially when there are other services out there that do the same job or provide the same or even better experience. The best example that I can convey and that everyone would easily understand would be Apple.
One of the guys I am working on the app with is a complete Apple fanatic. He owns almost every bit of Apple kit out there - iPhone, iPad, iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, and Apple’s take on DVR , Apple TV. He’s not the only one too - plenty of others in my life are also Apple fanatic’s, salivating at every Apple product launch and visiting the mothership (the Apple store) everytime they go to a shopping mall.
I found a few great pieces online that talk about the way Apple communicate their message different to their peers, and how this sets them apart.
Year after year after year, Apple seem much more innovative than their competition. Yet they are just a computer company. Just like their peers they have the same access to the same talent, the same expertise, the same consultants, the same media etc. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?
The above circle, as simple as it may look, demonstrates how Apple inspires action compared to other computer companies such as Dell.
Every single organization on the planet knows what they do (outer circle). Some know how they do it (middle circle). Yet very few organizations know why they do what they do (inner circle). And by why I am not referring to making money, that’s the result, that’s always the result. By ‘why’, I mean what’s your purpose, what’s your cause, what’s your belief? Why do you get out of bed in the morning…. and why should anyone care?
Now as a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. We go from the clearest to the fuzziest. BUT - the inspired organizations (regardless of their size, regardless of the industry they play in), all think, act, and communicate from the inside out.
Going back to the Apple example, if they were to communicate like everyone else, a marketing message from them may sound something like this….
[What] We make great computers, [How] they are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly, [Why] wanna buy one?
….And that’s how most of us communicate. That’s how most marketing is done, and that’s how most sales pitches are done. It’s even how most of us communicate interpersonally…. we say what we do, we say how we’re different or better, and then we expect some sort of behaviour, a purchase, or a vote.
It’s not just Apple, we can take other examples….
[What] Here’s our law firm, [How] we have the best lawyers with the biggest clients, and we always perform for our clients, [Why] do business with us.
[What] Here’s our new car, [How] it gives great mileage, it has parking sensors, leather seats, a 3 year warranty, [Why] buy our car.
It’s all uninspiring. Here is how Apple actually communicates (from inside the circle outwards)….
[Why] Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. [How] The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user friendly. [What] We just happen to make great computers, wanna buy one?
See the difference? Much more engaging, much more inspiring - start with the fuzzy then into the clear.
This explains why everyone is comfortable to buy an MP3 player, a phone, and a DVR from Apple. Apple’s competitors are all equally qualified to make these products also. In fact they’ve tried!
A few years ago Gateway computers came out with flat screen TVs. Gateway were eminently qualified to make flat screen TVs, they had been making monitors for years. Guess what - nobody bought one.
Dell came out with an MP3 player. Dell just like Apple make perfectly well designed computers. However, nobody bought their MP3 player. Why would you buy an MP3 player from Dell, why would you buy an MP3 player made by a computer company?…. oh but wait, we do it everyday!
What I’ve learned from this:
1) People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
2) The aim of brands and organizations should be to sell to people who believe what you believe, rather than to people who you think need what you have.
Inspiring action and growing strong loyalty comes from people buying into your beliefs. That is why Apple can sell us DVRs, music players, and phones, while Dell is stuck selling laptops and desktops.
Facebook take note!…. users prefer a Pinterest style interface & profile compared with Timeline.
If you are in love with Pinterest, and I mean really in love with Pinterest - to the point that you wished every website looked like it, then this Facebook plug-in is right up your street.
PinView is a Facebook app that transforms your profile into a Pinterest style page. It’s growing fast in popularity despite only being launched recently. The only downside to it is that you and only you will see your profile in the PinView style, everyone else will still see it in standard or timeline format.
Personally I quite like the timeline profile, however I tend to keep quiet about it at risk of being shouted down by absolutely everyone in earshot! So for all of you out there who switched to timeline and are gravely regretting it, check out PinView as it might right for you.
PinView: available for free through Facebook apps https://apps.facebook.com/pinviewer/