It should be no surprise to former Pocket Sized Podcast listeners that I’m a huge fan of iOS app developers and their wonderful products. Many of the best apps are from indie developers, and I love supporting them by buying and using their software.
Because there are so many apps available on iOS that I truly love and greatly enjoy using, I tend to switch back and forth between different apps for a given category. Today, for example, I took Byword off my iPhone homescreen and replaced it with the freshly updated version of Editorial.1
For those who enjoy looking around and seeing what apps other people use, here’s a short list of some of the apps I’m currently using for different tasks on my iPhone.
Editorial by OMZ Software
I’ve always had a general liking for Editorial, but it’s now been pushed into the love category with today’s update to version 1.2 on iOS. New to the app are features such as paragraph rearranging, full support for larger iPhones, templates that allow you to control how a document is prepared, and much, much more. See Viticci’s review on MacStories for a great overview of this update.
Already present in Editorial is its tremendous automation capabilities thanks to workflows and built-in Python scripting. Editorial’s online documentation gives a hint of the power of these features. Rather than relying on external tools such as Workflow, Drafts, or Launch Center Pro, you can build powerful task workflows that can be executed without ever leaving the app. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have those other three programs; they’re indispensable. But it’s nice to have the excellent internal alternatives as well.
Best of all, Editorial’s UI presents itself much more attractively in this new version, and the icon works well on my iPhone homescreen. Priorities, people!
Drafts by Agile Tortoise
Editorial may be my choice for long form writing, but Drafts is the master of note taking, getting content into other sources, and generally being the Swiss Army knife of text editors. I use it for everything, including making notes for things I later move into Editorial for fleshing out and writing to completion.
Drafts 4 is a powerful beast; indeed, it’s admittedly a little intimidating for people who expect a basic note-taking app and wind up stumbling across all the actions and features of Drafts. The good news is, it can be used as a basic notes app if you wish. The even better news is that it can be used as much, much more than that when you’re ready.
First of all, it has great organizational skills, with tabs for filing your drafts under. These can also act as powerful filters.
Secondly, text handling in this app is superb. You can rearrange paragraphs, similar to this newly added feature in Editorial, although I prefer the UI for how this is accomplished in Drafts. There’s Markdown support, word and character count, themes, support for all installed iOS fonts, snippet and action support in the keyboard, and cursor movement keys to take the pain out of getting you where you need to be in your document.
The real power comes in the form of actions, though. There’s an action directory that’s a virtual catalog of functionality for text manipulation and interacting with other apps to extend the possibilities for changing the world with your words.
I cannot live without this app.
Twitterrific by Icon Factory
A lot of geekdom holds dear the principle that accessing Twitter on an iOS device means using Tweetbot. I am not one of those people. That’s not meant as a slight to Tweetbot or its developers, I just don’t prefer it. In fact, I’ve been using the official Twitter client for awhile, but this week an update to Twitterrific (and more specifically Ronnie‘s reaction to it) prompted me to switch back to that. So far, I’m glad I did.
Why do I prefer this app for Twitter? Well, the best answer to that is to admit that all Twitter clients, official or third party, are flawed in some regard. It’s like a line from Argo: “Sir, this is our best bad idea.”
That sounds worse than it is in this case. Twitterrific is a delightful app. It fully supports iOS 7 share sheets (something the official client apparently has never heard of), Twitter’s new embedded quote style, and pretty much every important current feature of the service. The fact that it makes it easy to share to Flipboard and Evernote via the share sheet is key for me.
The only real negatives about the app are that occasionally it needs the account cache cleared, and it starts falling way behind during DM conversations. If you like the Twitter DM functionality a lot, this could be a problem for you. And, as much as I think the little blue bird is kind of cute, the icon doesn’t work on my homescreen at all.
Like I said, in the Twitter client space, nothing’s perfect, but Twitterrific is pretty good.
Fantastical 2 by Flexibits
Productivity on iOS is a pretty popular segment of the market. You can’t swing a dead iPhone around without hitting a calendaring or to-do app. Choices are plentiful. For me, though, Fantastical 2 for iPhone still tops the list.
Natural language input, accurate search, support for calendars of all types, whether iCloud or Google, and widget and Watch support add up to make this a full-featured calendar app. And, just as importantly, it looks good. That honestly cannot be said of many of its competitors.
Due 2 by Phocus LLP
I have tried many, many reminder and to-do apps. Many. More than many. I’m not loyal; I need something that works, and if something better comes along, I’ll abandon all other principles and jump right on it.
For me, that something better is Due 2. I love this app. I gave up my staunch requirement that whatever app I use sync with Apple reminders for it. And it’s all because of… the reminders.
A reminder app is useless if it doesn’t actually remind you of anything. The alerts need to be noticeable and persistent, as well as flexible in terms of how and when they are presented. Most reminder apps fail in that regard. They’re more of suggestion apps. Due keeps you reminded.
Repeating reminders and persistent reminders with auto-snooze mean that, in the words of the developer, “your todo list never gets stale.”
Due 2 is beautifully designed. It has flexible reminders that don’t go awol right when you need them most. It’s the only one I can rely on at work to keep me on time and on track. This one is my huckleberry.
Calcbot by Tapbots
I may not be a Tweetbot user any longer, but there is one Tapbots app I can’t live without: Calcbot.
Calcbot is an innocuous looking calculator app that’s simple and friendly to use, but there’s more there than meets the eye.
The ticker functionality works very well, only saving what you explicitly choose to store on it, and allowing you to easily recall either the result or the expression from each saved line.
My job requires a lot of converting between metric and imperial units. As a result, whatever calculator I use needs extremely quick conversion capability, with speedy unit selection. Calcbot meets my requirements quite handily. I used to use dedicated conversion apps; this solution is much faster and less fiddly.
I also love and recommend Pcalc very highly; it’s just that for my needs, Calcbot is quicker and fully sufficient. At work, in a development lab environment, that’s what I’m looking for.
I’m always on the lookout for new and better apps in any category. My only loyalty is to suitability to task. The best apps are those that get the job done quickly and efficiently, and look good doing it.
- And oh, what a glorious update it is! ↩