10 essential entertainment apps for iOS
23rd Dec 2013 | 13:00
Listen, watch, make and more with these 10 apps
iOS devices have long enjoyed the richest app ecosystem around, with nearly 1 million applications available in all. Even if 90% of them were rubbish that would still leave roughly 100,000 worthwhile ones.
With so many apps on the store it can be easy for some to get buried and ironically it can actually make it harder to find the apps you're looking for.
With that in mind, turning your iPhone or iPad into an entertainment and media hub can be hard work, but it needn't be, just grab these ten essential apps and your entertainment needs should be covered.
1. Crackle (free)
Crackle is a godsend for movie lovers. Like Netflix and LoveFilm it's a streaming service, with hundreds of films and TV shows available on demand.
Unlike Netflix and LoveFilm it's totally free of charge. The app's free and there's no subscription fee.
How does it manage this? Well, it's ad supported, so that's something you'll have to put up with.
Its selection also isn't anywhere near as good as Netflix or LoveFilm, as it consists mostly of older films, alongside those that no-one has ever heard of ('Shakes the Clown' anyone?).
But it has a reasonably large collection and even has a few original shows, such as 'Woke up Dead' and 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.' Plus, did we mention it's free?
2. TuneIn Radio (free)
While many phones come with a built in FM radio, the iPhone surprisingly doesn't.
That's not too much of a problem though as while FM radio is off the table there are many digital radio apps available to download from the App Store.
The best of these is probably TuneIn Radio. It has over 70,000 live radio stations spanning the globe and covering just about every music genre, as well as sports, news, talk and comedy.
So whatever your mood you should be able to find something to listen to.
3. SoundCloud (free)
SoundCloud is a community for audio creation and discovery. The focus is arguably on music, giving you the ability to follow both professional and amateur musicians and listen to any new music they post.
However you can also listen to other audio streams that users have uploaded, such as news and comedy shows.
You can favourite things that you want to listen to again and search for specific audio streams, some of which can't be found anywhere else.
Listening to content is only half the story though, as if you're so inclined you can also upload your own music or other audio content, unleashing it into an unsuspecting world.
4. Procreate (£2.99)
Music and video isn't all there is to entertainment. For anyone with an artist's soul Procreate is absolutely essential.
It's an incredibly feature rich painting and drawing app, as with 120 different brushes, up to 128 layers per image, custom canvas sizes and the ability to create and alter brushes, there are very few limits on the images you can create with it.
Add to that a slick, smooth interface that's minimalist and easy to learn and you have a sublime portable art app. Plus it continuously auto saves and has Dropbox integration to ensure you never lose your artwork and can easily get it off your iPad.
5. Netflix (£5.99 per month)
Netflix is arguably the best video streaming service available in the UK and the iOS app makes it all the better.
Thousands of films and episodes of TV programmes await you, including some fairly new releases.
Netflix has even started creating high quality content of its own such as 'House of Cards' and a new series of 'Arrested Development'. All of which can be enjoyed on your iPhone or iPad, ad free.
There's a monthly subscription fee, but if you don't want to be a slave to TV schedules it's well worth it and with new films and television programmes being added all the time you're never likely to run low on content.
6. IMDB (free)
Life's too short for bad films and the easiest way to find out whether a film is any good or not before you watch it is to check out the IMDB.
Not only does it have critics and user reviews for just about every film ever made, but it also has full cast and crew listings, trailers and information on actors. Then there's soundtrack listings, plot summaries, quotes, goofs and trivia.
All in all it's probably the most comprehensive listing of film details available anywhere, giving you a wealth of information in the palm of your hand.
While it's primarily a website, the iOS app makes it a whole lot more digestible on your iPhone or iPad.
7. VLC for iOS (free)
Watching videos on an iPhone or iPad can be great. The screen quality is high and on an iPad you get to enjoy things on quite a large screen too.
But the stock Videos app leaves a little to be desired, particularly in its unwillingness to play certain file types.
VLC is much more robust in that regard, playing most formats without conversion.
It also supports file synchronisation through iTunes and Dropbox and it can stream videos from a UPnP media server.
It's not the most attractive player, but for function over form VLC is hard to beat.
8. KORG iMS-20 (£20.99)
The KORG iMS-20 is serious business. It's a complete recreation of the KORG MS-20 synth, but as well as a synthesiser it also includes an analogue sequencer, a six-part drum machine and a seven-channel mixer with 14 different effects.
It also has dual Kaoss Pads which generate music when you slide your fingers over them and once you're done creating your musical masterpiece you have the option to share it straight to SoundCloud.
Be warned that this is designed with professional users in mind, so while it's jammed full of features, if you've not used a synth before you might be a bit lost.
9. Spotify (£9.99 per month)
Music ownership is dead, or at least it might as well be with a subscription to Spotify.
£9.99 per month gives you unlimited access to millions of songs with more being added all the time.
Stream them, make playlists, share them with friends, even download them for offline listening.
Or if you're not sure what you want to listen to just check out some of the genre based and curated radio stations. Spotify has it all.
10. SoundHound (free)
SoundHound makes it easy to identify any song that's playing. Just point your phone at the music, tap the SoundHound button and wait a few seconds for it to find a match.
Once a match has been found you can buy the song from iTunes or watch related videos on YouTube.
You can even launch the song on Spotify or Rdio if you want to listen to it again straight away or add it to a playlist. SoundHound also has the unique ability of even being able to recognise music that you sing or hum.
So if a song gets stuck in your head and you can't remember what it's called, simply sing at your phone, just maybe don't do it in public.