Here are my recommendations for iPhone apps, gleaned from my experience as a woman who has a lot to balance: work, home, family, friends, and everything else. I’ve categorized them into two groups: business and leisure. Please feel free to respond with your favorites; I’m always on the lookout for more iPhone apps that can either help me be more efficient, connect with others, or add some fun into my day.
Around Me is an easy-to-use yet powerful app that uses your GPS-identified location to do a quick search of businesses and other resources around you. You can search either by category or type in your own key words. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, it can show you where it is located on a map, give you directions for how to get there either on the iPhone or by e-mailing the information to you, and so far has never led me astray. Price = Free.
Helps you quickly access your LinkedIn information like network updates, your inbox (accept invites to connect, aka become friends on LinkedIn), and information about your contacts on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to see what your network is up to without having to log in to the site. If you’re a professional and you’re not yet on LinkedIn, I highly recommend that you join. It’s a great way to connect with current and former colleagues. Price = Free.
Google Mobile App
Ah, the power of The Google. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a work-related conversation and I’ve had to leverage the power of the Google. And the nifty thing about it is that the voice recognition works rather well. When it doesn’t, at least you have something to laugh about. Price = Free.
I’ve written a blog entry about the wonders of TripIt, so I’ll keep this brief. TripIt, if used consistently, can save you from missing flights and can help you make tight connections. It’s a site dedicated to helping you organize and track your travel plans. TripIt’s iPhone app is easy to use and has even more functionality if you have TripItPro. Price for the iPhone app = Free.
I check Yelp before I make reservations for business dinners because the reviews are consistently helpful and the ratings and guidelines are spot on. Who wants to bring their boss to a place that has horrible food or service? Not me! Sometimes you have to decide these things while in the back of a taxi or on a plane before take-off. That’s when Yelp gives you the real skinny on what places are good and which you should pass on. Price = Free.
Boxcar is an application that sends you push notifications (little message pop-up box with configurable sound) when a social networking site you’ve linked to has an update for you. You are allowed one site for free and then pay $.99 each additional one. I’ve set it up to notify me for any Facebook replies to posts I make or posts I’ve made comments on. It also lets me know when someone has DM’ed me or @mentioned me on Twitter. This app has saved me from having to upgrade to unlimited texts. Price = Free for first networking site.
My work intranet bans Facebook access so if I need to get my fix and have a few minutes between meetings, I can Facebook on my iPhone. Since the most recent UI upgrade, it’s been much easier to use and much more reliable. It helps me keep up with my friends in the neighborhood and classmates I’ve reconnected with thanks to Facebook. Price = Free.
The whole idea behind Foursquare is that it helps you explore your city or new cities that you are visiting. When you are in a city covered by Foursquare, you can “check-in” at various locations. Each check-in gains you points and there is a leaderboard for those folks who earn lots of points for visiting many locations within a city within the week. If you frequent a location enough, and you have uploaded a profile picture on the internet site, you are declared Mayor of that location. So far, I’m Mayor of my home (yes, I know that’s lame), am Mayor of the Hampton Inn Las Vegas, and was recently dethroned Mayor of the Hartford Hilton. The other fun feature is that you can see where your other Foursquare friends have been – you may decide to meet up with them if you see that they’ve checked in to a location nearby. Price = Free.
I was recommended this game by a friend at work who travels much more than I do and who is someone I trust when it comes to tech rec’s. It doesn’t disappoint. I love to play Sally’s Salon when I’m killing time due to a flight delay at the airport. The object of the game is to keep customers moving through your beauty salon without making any of them wait for too long or undergo treatments that don’t meet their needs. It’s so satisfying to earn points for just being good at coordinating and multi-tasking. Price = $.99
Ever want to know the name of the tune playing but can’t quite remember? Shazam solves that problem for you. It listens to the song and then tags it with the name and artist. The music has to be loud enough for it to get a good listen, which has been the only challenge I’ve encountered with the app. I upgraded to Shazam Encore recently which allows for recording of the location you were at when the music was tagged, twittering of the song if you’ve configured it to do so, and tons of other good features. Shazam Price = Free. Shazam Encore = $4.99.
So how about you? What are your favorite iPhone apps, either for work or for play?