There are now over 100,000 apps on the App Store. Even if you could magically access every available app on your device, just 10 seconds checking out each one would take almost two solid years, without time for trifling matters such as eating, sleeping and working.
In an attempt to make good apps easier to find, the App Store provides tools, but they’re troublesome: the search is slow; reviews are littered with ratings and comments that make no sense; and charts benefit apps already listed within them – once an app breaks the top 50, it tends to stay put, by virtue of being easy to find.
Many fantastic, deserving apps never reach a wide audience, and so we’ve decided to highlight the very best the App Store has to offer, from blockbusters to obscure-but-essential indie products. Whether you’re into games, music, news or utilities, buy these apps and you’ll have the best apps available on your device.
Best toy camera app - QuadCamera
There are many toy camera apps for iPhone, but QuadCamera doesn’t just filter your shots. Instead, it takes four or eight photos in quick succession. You can set the layout of the resulting compiled image to a grid or strip, amend the colour contrast, and adjust the time between shots. It would be good to see higher-resolution output, but otherwise this app is perfect, and you even get great results with the lower-quality cameras on pre-3GS iPhones.
Star Rating: 4
Best filters app - Mill Colour
Although Mill Colour doesn’t have the range of some other filter apps, the results are generally more pleasing (doubly so when you consider this app is free), and the interface is extremely usable. You take a photo or image from your Photo Roll and can apply one of several excellent presets. Lift, gamma, gain and saturation can subsequently be refined. You can also, via the Settings app, amend the output resolution from 800 x 600 through to the original size.
Star Rating: 5
Best photo app - Best Camera
Part image editor, part social media tool, Best Camera reminds you that taking photos should be fun. The app includes 14 image effects – including vignetting, warming, and high-contrast black-and-white – which you can layer to create seriously gorgeous images. We’ve been impressed at how well the filters work on a wide variety of images. You can email the results to yourself, save them to the Camera Roll, or upload them to Facebook, Twitter, or the Best Camera website. That last option – which connects you to an active online community of shutterbugs – is where Best Camera really stands out. The app lets you view and vote for photos submitted by other iPhone photographers, which should be good for an endless supply of inspiration.
Star Rating: 4
Best Flickr client - Mobile Fotos
Flickr offers a perfectly adequate free app for uploading images to its site, but Mobile Fotos goes above and beyond. Along with enabling you to upload full-resolution photos (via background queueing) with EXIF and GPS data, you can browse your Flickr photos, those of your contacts, and all public photos. Location services enable you to find images taken nearby, and caching speeds up access. There’s also integration with Tweetie and Birdfeed Twitter clients, to share your images on Twitter.
Star Rating: 3
Best music streaming - Spotify
No, it’s not an image editor, but we had to fit this in somewhere. We think Spotify is the best music app for your iPhone or iPod touch. It provides access to a staggering amount of music, and can cache thousands of files locally to save on bandwidth. Searching and playback is swift, and playlists are synchronised with the desktop version. The app is a bonus for £9.99-per-month Spotify subscribers – but what a bonus it is.
Star Rating: 4