11th October 2010 Jonathan Harris

iPod Apps for Designers

This is a companion piece to an item I’ve written for the DBA on the top 10 Apps for the iPhone for designers and those in the business of design. Having squeezed into down to 10 I was left thinking that there were numerous Apps that missed the cut by a mere whisker and probably deserved a mention.

For those of you who’ve missed the piece for the DBA I’m going to include the original list in with those I’ve added subsequently. It’s by no means comprehensive or scientific, if you’ve got any suggestions then please let me know and I’ll be more than happy to add them to the roster.

Pulse News Mini (£1.19)
If you want to make the most of RSS news feeds then this is a great app for you. If you’re not sure that RSS is then learn about it here http://bit.ly/cDRr7S

The layout is similar to the BBC News App, it takes up to 20 news sources that you follow and presents them in a scrollable grid. What’s more you can take the news with you offline for when you’re not connected. http://bit.ly/baeXhb

App Box Lite (Free) / App Box Pro (£0.59)App Box Pro
A veritable swiss army knife of apps for your iPhone. Before you go and collect 10+ apps to help with daily tasks and productivity you’ll find them all here in one handy packages. Save money, save space. http://bit.ly/9Za45c

myPANTONE (£5.99 yes I know!)
While it’s one of the more expensive Apps available it does give you the ability to access the Pantone® colour libraries and build colour palettes that you can share on the fly.

Create schemes from photos as well as from scratch, while it will give you RGB and HEX, the only thing missing (and its a big omission) is no CMYK breakdowns. Fingers crossed for the next update. (are you listening PANTONE!) http://bit.ly/dayRbJ

If you don’t need the PANTONE element then have a look at cliqcliq Colors which does give you the CMYK for only £1.79, users of Adobe Kuler will be right at home with this. http://bit.ly/aN9tRG

BentoBento (£2.99)
The mobile companion to the smaller brother to FilemakerPro, Bento on the iPhone lets you take the functionality of your databases with you wherever you go. You need the desktop version to make it work and you’ll still probably use iCal and Contacts on the iPhone as before but if you’re using the project managements and other business effectiveness databases in Bento on your desktop then this can be invaluable on the road. http://bit.ly/cq1GyJ

However if you just want a simple task manager or to do list then you could do a lot worse than the free SeizeTheDay app. http://bit.ly/97MsU8

Needless to say all of these time based apps are only as good as the person filling them in and we all know how much us creatives love paperwork already!

Photoshop ExpressAdobe Photoshop Express (Free)
There are a few photo/phone apps about but this one does the basics really well. Essentially its tiny version of Photoshop that lets you tweak and improve your shots. Don’t expect much more than that and you’ll be very happy – if you want more functionality that this then you probably need to ask yourself why am I doing this on a tiny iPhone in the first place!? http://bit.ly/bjGJhi

Pug Time TrackerPug Time Tracker (£4.99), Lite version (Free)
Eternity Time Log (£5.99), Lite version (Free)eternity log
These are both time management Apps, with free (limited) versions to try before you buy. They capture your time and activities and export to familiar and useful formats for reports and billing. Very useful if you’re a freelancer or a consultant or just want an accurate record of your business days, weeks, months…
Pug http://bit.ly/dyFylv , Eternity http://bit.ly/cH8iGw

VATV.A.T. Calculator (Free)
Does what it says on the tin, an easy V.A.T. or Sales Tax calculator. Simple is good.http://bit.ly/c81Ghe It gives you a range of rates 5%, 6%, 17.5% (use it while you can!) and 20%. The same people also do a UK Salary Tax Calculator, always good to know your earnings in advance.

Good ReaderGoodReader for iPhone (£0.59)
Another congested area in the App Store, GoodReader lets you quickly read and manage your PDFs both through iTunes and over servers and google docs. http://bit.ly/at55JT You might not use all of its functions every day but worth having.

Also have a look at the equally good PDF Readerhttp://bit.ly/cnIxsp

If you’ve not managed documents and iPhone items through iTunes before then its a useful thing to be able to do. You can also use the spare capacity on your device as a memory stick at a push! Since you can drive an external display from your iPhone (with the right cables) a nicely tooled PDF could serve as a creds presentation or a sampler at a push.

TweetdeckTweetDeck (Free)Hoot SuiteTwitterrific Probably still the ‘daddy’ of twitter apps on the iPhone, at times frustrating due to slow updates but still a great companion to the desktop version. Keeps a lot of the functionality that you’re already used to. They can also integrate with Facebook and Foursquare.http://bit.ly/anDgpg

See also Twitterrific http://bit.ly/b8CAu8and HootSuitehttp://bit.ly/9d2oGp

Typography ManualThe font gameThe Typography Manual (£2.39)Pretty much the five star app for typeography. A really great pocket resource and inspiration for anyone that works with type. History, background and many useful resources. If you work with type on a daily basis this is probably for you. http://bit.ly/bxnmj7

See Justin Stahl’s (the developer) other app The Font Game for more type related fun and find out how good your font knowledge really is… http://bit.ly/cPlRWr

On the newstand there are a handful that you might want to consider (from a UK perspective). BBC News, The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Independent have great offerings with prices ranging from free to £2.39 for updated content. Assuming you have the bandwidth the BBC App also drops you into the live feed from the BBC News channel.

BBC NewsThe TelegraphThe Independent

There are similar offerings from the USA including TIME Magazine. Most magazine versions are a best of, or a smattering of highlights at best.

On the games front and I include them only on the basis of completeness and that it pays to be sharp and active mentally . . . ahem…

Cat Physics is an excellent problem solving challenge that can while away the hours without realising it, simply get the ball from one cat to the other, what could be simpler? If you’ve got a good grip of momentum, angles, ballistics and force then you’ll do ok.

Angry BirdsAngry Birds is also a game that depends on your grasp of physics, its just sillier than Cat Physics. Fat birds, exploding birds, zooming birds all play their part in strategic destruction. Have you noticed that very few of these games involve building things or healing people…

Talking Tom CatSheep is just silly, but very useful for entertaining 5 year olds/Account managers . Which kind of justifies it entirely.(joking joking!) See also Talking Tom for instant delight and gratification too. Warships despite its imperfect interface is an App version of the old classic Battleships. A bit of work and it could be a real winner.

If you want to spend some more money the probably the best realisation of a golden oldie is Scrabble, yes the dictionary is sometimes questionable but it feels pretty good and the multi-player option is well executed. If you have an iPad too then you can use all your individual iPhones as the tile racks and the iPad as the board in one big WiFi love in.

For the more socially unacceptable end of the spectrum (and I know that’s why some of you have been reading this far) you will probably want to look at Fragger and Dismount. Both must have been the result of some really dark and interesting planning meetings . . .

I’ll add more as and when I get the chance.