Another year has rolled around and the iPhone world shows no signs of stopping its expansive growth, with a plethora of new apps on the market and an iPad 3 in the offing. I’ve brought you 10 of the best iPhone apps that will keep you busy in 2012, covering the areas of entertainment, games and utilities.
1. Netflix, By Netflix Inc. FREE
With the recent release of Netflix in Europe, we now have brilliant, high-quality access to an online library of around 10,000 TV shows and films. Compared with its now-rival LoveFilm, Netflix has more TV Shows, although its selection of films tends to be more nostalgia-oriented rather than treating us with the latest hits.
For a modest fee of £5.99 a month, Netflix members can access their accounts from PCs, games consoles, and now your beloved iPhones as well! The interface is simple and easy to use. The app always lets you resume whatever you were watching from where you left off and recommends things to you based on your viewing habits.
The arrival of Netflix in Europe will inevitably make legitimate online streaming services a hell of a lot more competitive, and its accessibility on the iPhone is likely to encourage competitors to do the same. All the better for us end users!
2. Temple Run, By Imangi Studios, FREE
There are so many ‘Infinity Runner’ games on the iPhone that it can be hard picking one that really sticks out from the crowd. Well Temple Run should resolve this predicament for most people, as it’s easily the most fun and fast-paced such game on the iPhone.
Chased by a horde of monkey zombies, you control an Indiana Jones wannabe running along a narrow platform, jumping and slide his way past various ancient obstacles. The controls are very intuitive, and the gameplay will keep you gripped until your hero’s inevitable death.
The 3rd-person perspective and a host of unlockable power-ups and costumes make Temple Run the best free iPhone game of recent times. Hopefully the developers will respond to this popularity by giving it some big updates throughout 2012.
3. Pageonce, By Pageonce Inc, FREE
While there are few things that we don’t use our iPhones for these days, personal finance management is something that has been a bit of a taboo on the format until now. Maybe it’s something to do with the popularity of iPhones among thieves, or maybe mobile finance management just doesn’t feel… grounded enough.
2012 is looking set to be the year when companies increasingly start going mobile with their financial services, and Pageonce is a brilliant app to help you manage these intricate matters. Supported by powerful security technology, such as McAfee and TRUSTe, Pageonce provides a convenient, secure place to manage your bills.
The app lets you track your credit card transactions in real-time, pay off bills instantly (you need the more expensive Gold version for this), and monitor your purchases and deposits. Since 2012 is looking to be a financial stinker for many, now is a better time than any to keep close track of your finances on the go.
4. iCircuit Training, By Matt Burnett, $0.99
Most people will be considerably poorer in 2012. For reasons that no one really understands, we’re all going broke and will need to cut back on the finer things in life like wholemeal bread, fresh meat from the butchers and gym memberships.
iCircuit Training is quite possible the most comprehensive physical exercise app out there. It offers 50 different exercises crammed into 18 circuits, each of which is tailored to what you personally want to achieve from your work-out.
All the exercises make use of your body-weight alone, meaning that you don’t need equipment. The app contains pre-installed videos and photos of how to do the exercises and, of course, graphs; nice, official-looking things that show you the progress you make over time. This really is the best alternative to those overpriced gym memberships.
5. 2013: Infected Wars, By Action Mobile Games
Post-apocalyptic zombie shooters may not be a particularly new or innovative concept, but the way this game is looking, it’s hard to resist excitement. Powered by Unreal Engine 3, the teaser footage shows this to be one of the atmospheric and moody-looking games for the iOS.
The game throws you into a series of dark, beautifully-rendered environments, filled with equally well-designed monsters. The creatures have clearly been influenced by those seen in games like Doom and RAGE and really show off the developers’ dedication to strong character design.
As if that wasn’t enough, 2013 will feature an online co-op mode, in which players will have to utilise their chosen characters’ unique abilities to help each other fight off the waves of zombies and other demonic nasties. This is look set to be another boundary-pusher in terms of iOS graphics and online gameplay.
6. OnLive, By OnLive, Inc.
The future of gaming is probably in cloud gaming, and Onlive is one of the brave pioneering services to take steps in that direction. Recently released to wide appraisal in Europe, Onlive allows players to play some of the latest computer games by streaming them.
This effectively means that, so long as you have a fast internet connection, hardware is no longer an issue when it comes to playing the latest games. The service has recently begun trickling down to smartphones and Tablets, although some copyright issues meant that it hasn’t reached the App Store yet. You can, however, indulge in the trivial activity of viewing other people playing on OnLive using the free OnLive Viewer.
Since everything is stored online, you’ll be able to play games on your iPhone or iPad that you begun playing on your PC. Hardware is no longer an obstacle, and with a good enough WiFi connection, iPhone owners will soon reap the benefits of this unique and forward-thinking service.
7. Snapseed, By Nik Software, $4.99
With Adobe recently releasing a major update for their mobile Photoshop app, iOS is clearly being treated as a serious format for image enhancing and editing. When it comes to this function, however, it is not Adobe who come out on top (for a change), but Nik Software’s Snapseed.
While image editing software can at times be fiddly on the touch-screen, Snapseed’s is wonderfully intuitive. This is done largely through the inclusion of Nik’s innovative ‘Control Points’, which more than compensate for the lack of a computer mouse. When you first begin using Snapseed, a well-integrated help screen overlays the interface, meaning that you’ll get to grips with it in no time.
The amount of effects and editing modes for you to play around with is not quite at the level you’d get on a computer. Nevertheless, Snapseed is conquering new frontiers in terms of what people have come to expect from image editing software on iOS. It’s safe to assume that this app will be on the front-line when it comes to iPhones and iPads being treated as serious systems for photo editing.
8. Vidify, By Vidify, $1.99
With the recent jump in the quality of your in-built iPhone cameras, you can actually make videos that don’t have the feel of an old snuff video. Vidify has taken maximum advantage of this by creating the most convenient and accessible video editing app around.
Creating video montages is facilitated by how unusually quick the app processes and splices together your various video clips. Suddenly, video editing feels more like skiing down a freshly-powdered mountain than wading through a swamp.
Vidify has a strong selection of special effects and gimmicks that you can take advantage of, making it a great tool for creating amateur films. Your videos can instantly be shared through facebook, Twitter, and streamed on the revolutionary Apple TV service. Amateur filmmaking has never been so accessible!
9. Path 2, By Path Inc, FREE
The social networking market may seem full and monopolised, but it’s always worth mentioning the potential next big thing, just so I can say ‘you heard it here first’ if it does get big. Path 2 can be described as a more intimate version of Facebook.
It encourages the posting of more sentimental day-to-day happenings like baby births, graduations and whatever music you’re listening to at a given moment. You can set Path to automatically update your status when you change neighbourhoods, cities or countries. Path lets you easily upload things like notes you made on your iPhone, photos, or screenshots of whatever’s on your iPhone screen.
Aside from how it markets itself, Path isn’t essentially too different from Facebook, but with people growing increasingly frustrated at how prying Facebook can be at the worst of times, many are being drawn to this tamer, more back-to-basics social networking app.
10. Infinity Of God (CalviGames/Chillingo)
While the iPhone has plenty of unique games wonderfully tailored for the format, its game collection is still lacking in certain areas. This could all change with Infinity of God; a violent action-adventure clearly inspired by the brilliant God of War games on the Playstation.
Set in an alternative realm of well-known Chinese mythology, the game will feature a wealth of weapons and upgrades for your character, and a mysterious ‘Racing’ mode alongside the epic campaign.
Infinity of God is looking set to push the iOS not only in terms of fast-paced combat, but also in the graphics department. It’ll be powered by Unreal Engine 3, and the footage revealed so far shows the game, even during its most action-packed moments, to run at a smooth frame-rate. The title may sound a bit lost in translation, but the game itself certainly whets the appetite for mythological ultra-violence.