Top 20 best iPhone apps - paid apps
12th Oct 2010 | 14:42
Essential paid apps for your iPhone or iPod touch
Top 20 best iPhone apps - paid apps
Apps for the iPhone and iPod touch now number in the hundreds of thousands.
And when Apple claims "there's an app for that", it really means it.
We trawled the App Store, looking for the very best paid apps, and we present the cream of the crop below. If your favourite app is missing, tell us about it in the comments.
1. Brushes - iPhone edition (£2.99)
The breakout moment for painting app Brushes was being used to create the cover of a June 2009 issue of the New Yorker, showcasing the capabilities of the app itself and also how the iPhone can be used for creative purposes. It remains a standout app, offering responsive zooming, brush selections, layers, and high-res 'playback' via Brushes Viewer for Mac OS X.
2. NanoStudio (£8.99)
This wonderful miniature recording studio obliterates the need for GarageBand for iOS and also makes almost all competing apps redundant. At a basic level, NanoStudio gives you a synth and drum-pads to fiddle with. Dig deeper and you discover a six-track recording studio, sequencing, sampling/resampling and more in an absurdly powerful package that's great value at nine quid.
3. QuadCamera (£1.19)
The best of myriad toy camera apps for iOS, QuadCamera enables you to take four or eight serial shots. An adjustable timer and effects enable you to fine-tune the output, which can also be animated in-app. The resulting shots are often beautiful, oddly often giving a better impression of time than a short video.
4. Pastebot (£2.39)
While iOS has copy and paste, you're limited to a single clipboard. Pastebot provides you with unlimited clipboards, enabling you to store countless snippets of text and imagery. Adding value, the app also integrates basic editing functions, and if you're a Mac owner the free Pastebot Sync provides instantaneous copy and paste between your device and your Mac.
5. Air Video (1.79, universal)
Although fine for music and photos, the limited storage capacities of iOS devices makes them unsuitable for holding lots of video. Additionally, iOS supports only a limited number of codecs. Air Video enables you to stream video from a PC or Mac (running the free Air Video Server), and it converts footage on the fly.
6. FlipTime (£0.59)
The clock on iOS device lock screens is about as boring as they come. For more character and usability, grab FlipTime - for 59p you get a beautiful combined clock and calendar that's reminiscent of old-style departure boards. 'Clack' audio sounds are optional, and the app includes format options and alarms.
7. TuneIn Radio (£1.19)
Docks with DAB functionality seem a bit pointless when you consider that for £1.19 you can grab TuneIn Radio and start listening to one of over 40,000 radio stations. The interface is clean and efficient, and if you're running iOS 4, TuneIn Radio plays in the background.
8. Instapaper (£2.99, universal)
If you regularly find yourself looking at a browser with dozens of open tabs waiting to be read, invest in Instapaper. You use a browser bookmark to send articles to your account; these are then synchronised with the app on launch. Instapaper offers plenty of options and sharing features, but most importantly it enables you to read without distraction.
9. Weather Pro (£2.39)
If you find Apple's built-in Weather app basic, Weather Pro should give you the information you need. Along with details about current conditions, you can look ahead to the immediate future (via local rainfall and cloud radars) or the week ahead (through daily/three-hourly forecasts and graphs showing upcoming changes regarding temperature, rainfall, pressure and more).
10. Reeder (£1.79)
The king of Google Reader apps for iOS, Reeder offers pretty much all you could want: the interface is effective, with great navigation; there are plenty of settings for sync, sharing and appearance; and there's a built-in browser so you needn't launch Safari to explore articles further.
10 more iPhone apps worth paying for
11. Air Sharing Pro (£3.99)
Dropbox is great for a free document-syncing app, but if you want to turn your device into a storage drive, Air Sharing Pro is the way to go. The interface is vaguely Finder-like, and a number of file-types can be viewed within the app.
12. Photogene (£1.19)
It won't win any beauty contests, but Photogene is a fine app for quickfire edits to photos and images. You get tools to crop, rotate and fiddle with levels, and there are also built-in filters, frames and speech balloons for added image personalisation.
13. Weightbot (£1.19)
If you're keeping trim, regularly inputting your weight into an app may fill you with dread. Weightbot makes the process fun, with an interface full of character. It's no slouch in terms of functionality either: you get graphs aplenty, and there's even Withings scales integration.
14. Hipstamatic (£1.19)
Hipstamatic aims to bring character to digital snaps by aping the output of film cameras. You get a bunch of lenses and film stocks, which can be mixed and matched, and more are available via in-app purchase. The interface is suitably tactile, and although output seems artificially slow, Hipstamatic is fun and produces great images.
15. GoodReader for iPhone (£0.59)
Although iBooks has evolved to embrace PDF, leading iOS PDF viewer GoodReader continues to evolve too. For 59p, you get a first-rate app for reading PDFs, but it also supports Office files, images, HTML and text documents, and it integrates with Dropbox, Google Docs, iDisk, WebDAV and FTP.
16. Things (£5.99)
The App Store boasts plenty of to-do managers, but Things takes you further than most, offering an intuitive but powerful scheduling workflow. If you're a Mac user, Things also wirelessly syncs with the desktop version.
17. RunKeeper Pro (£5.99)
Forget Nike+, because RunKeeper Pro is where it's at for iOS fitness. The app uses your iPhone's GPS to track workouts, but you can also input sessions manually (for example, when using exercise bikes). Audio cues and customisable training sessions should appeal to pros, and iPod playlist integration and the in-app camera should appeal to all.
18. UK Train Times (£4.99)
Formerly National Rail, UK Train Times provides a user-friendly, efficient way to access up-to-the-minute train time information. Delays and cancellations are displayed, live departures are accessible, and you can tap 'next train home' to save you the hassle of a manual search.
19. WolframAlpha (£1.19, universal)
Now it's no longer priced quite so ambitiously (it launched at £29.99), you've no excuse to not buy WolframAlpha. The app is a contextual search engine, which aims to provide answers to questions rather than a slew of links. Often, it works brilliantly, and it's regularly fascinating to experiment with.
20. TomTom UK & Ireland (£42.99)
Given that it's a hugely popular manufacturer of standalone sat-nav units, it should come as no surprise that TomTom is similarly popular on iPhone; the iOS app boasts a high-quality, usable interface, plenty of options, and handy iPod app integration.
Liked this? Then check out Tap! magazine for more apps, games and kit reviews for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
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