Whenever a new iOS app comes on the market, graphic designer and technology buff Damien Aresta just can’t resist. As the year comes to an end, he takes a look back on the apps that have proven to be the most useful and fun. You know, the ones that basically make the world a better place. From concert finders to sleep analysers, check out his faves list here. Wishing you all an ‘Appy Christmas (groan)…

1. iA Writer

Launched in September 2010 by information Architects

iA Writer is the premier app for writing that lets you keep your hands on the keyboard and your mind on the text.

As a graphic designer, I’ve been familiar with the work of iA for quite a while. With their minimal design and interesting posts by founder Olivier Rasenchtein, I knew that the writing app they were developing would be great. And that’s exactly what it is. Even though the app’s principal philosophy goes something like ‘Don’t waste your time choosing your font’, they were aware that the size they chose for the Mac version is quite big and not suited to every screen resolution. So they changed something and they did it their way. The solution was to adapt the size of the text depending on the size of the window. It’s the first “responsive” Mac OS app.

What another magazine/blog said about the same app Read » 

2. Day One

Launched in March 2011 by Bloom Built

Day One is a journaling application on the Mac, iPhone and iPad with fast syncing from iCloud and Dropbox.

Day One helps users remember, record and track their lives in a simple way.

Writing everyday is the best way to make ideas come to life. Until you put pen to paper or pixels to screen, an idea is never clear in your head, it’s just a cloudy and strange jumble of words, images and colours. Writing it down gives it a physicality. I love ideas and I love reading how people spread an idea with words. That’s also why I love writing and why I love an app that helps you write everyday. That’s why I love Day One.

Some recent improvements include the ability to track your whereabouts and the weather at the time of writing and the ability to take and add pictures directly within the app. All these new features are nice, and even though I totally understand that the app had to evolve to serve a wider audience, I really liked the earlier version’s simplicity, in that it allowed you to just write and to read past entries in your timeline. Oh well.

What another magazine/blog said about the same app Read »

3. Tweetbot

Launched in April 2011 by Tapbots

Tweetbot is a full-featured Twitter client on the Mac, iPhone and iPad with a meticulously-crafted interface, plus features like multiple timelines & smart gestures.

There’s really not much to say about this app except that it’s just the best iPhone Twitter client out there. They’ve just released an identical twin app for the new Twitter-like network, the one you pay $36 a year for and that’s ad-free, called App.net. The app is called Netbot and, of course, it’s as cool as Tweetbot. By the way, you can find me on App.net under the user: @da

What another magazine/blog said about the same app Read »

4. Pastebot

Launched in December 2009 by Tapbots

Pastebot is a powerful clipboard manager that stores text and images copied from your iPhone/iPod Touch, allowing you to organise, apply filters to, and copy clippings to be pasted or sent to other apps.

When I discovered how smartly designed Tweetbot was, I had to look for other things made by these guys. That’s how I discovered Pastebot and its easy way to fill a need that I hadn’t even realised I had: the need to manage more than only one “copy/paste” at the time on my clipboard. But it has a few more tricks up its sleeve, like keeping track of old ‘copied text, organising it into folders and sending it by SMS or email. You can also convert your snippets to HTML or change case. But the most awesome feature of this app is the transfer between your iOS device and your Mac. If you get an SMS that you want to add to something you’re writing on your Mac, just send it to you Pastebot pluggin and it’s done. It’s super useful and works like a charm. Can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next.

5. Shows

Launched in January 2011 by Sam Vermette

Shows keeps you informed about where and when you’ll find your favorite artists in concert. On first launch, it automatically imports all your iPod artists and makes it really easy to add more from your Last.fm, Rdio or Facebook accounts.

My friend Ali (from Digital Park, former partner at Central Design, the guys behind The Word Wide Web) told me about Shows and my life has never been the same since. If I were to go and see all my favourite bands, I’d have to go to between two and five concerts per night and that’s a bit too much for a normal person. But who’s normal, anyway?

6. The Magazine

Launched in october 2012 by Marco Arment.

The Magazine is for people who love technology, as well as photography, publishing, music, and even coffee. Rather than just giving the low-down on the latest in technology, it’s a mag with meaningful editorials and big-picture articles.

When Marco left Tumblr in 2010 to focus on Instapaper, he worked on it constantly, upgrading one version after another after another. As a regular consumer of his blog, podcasts and tweets, that’s how I got to know about The Magazine. I got quite excited. It’s an app that’s been on my devices from the word go. Certainly looking forward to a sequel.

7. 1Password

The cross-platform password manager

8. iThoughts

Easiest mind mapping tool on the iPad. From preparing a trip to writing an article, this is the best way to organise your ideas.

9. Letterpress

The strategy game with words.

10. Sleep Cycle

A bio-alarm clock that analyses your sleep patterns and wakes you when you are in the lightest sleep phase.

I can’t remember how this first popped up in my radar but I’m pretty damn sure it was the first app I ever bought on my first ever iPhone.

Bonus

11. Reeder

12. Instapaper

13. Things

14. Checkthis

15. Windosill