13 awesome iPhone apps that would supercharge Android
15th Feb 2014 | 11:01
The grass is sometimes greener on the iOS side
We know. We know. You went for Android because it offered superior customisation, because it didn't patronise you, because it delivered more bang for your buck.
And that's great, but let's be honest: sometimes you'll see an iOS app and the word WANT flashes through your brain in 50-foot letters of fire.
These are the iOS apps we'd really like to see on Android. Is there anything great we haven't included, or do you use excellent alternatives? We'd love to know your thoughts.
The iOS App Store is packed with writing apps, and one of the most popular is the simple and superb iA Writer: it's designed to help you concentrate on what you're writing and nothing else, and as a result it's deliberately stripped down so that you can't procrastinate by messing around with fonts or formatting. You can sync via iCloud or Dropbox, and on iPads there's a nifty focus mode that only displays three lines at a time.
Android isn't short of calendar apps either, but - wait for it - Fantastical is different. It looks good and its natural language input means you can enter things such as "London Grammar 7pm tuesday calendar gigs" or "todo buy dog food at 5pm". It's good with repeating events too.
Tweetbot is the Twitter power user's app of choice: it's fast, friendly and it boasts lots of features for taming the Twitter firehose. There are mute filters that enable you to block users without unfollowing them - brilliant for sporting, news or entertainment events you don't give a toss about - and support for multiple services including Instapaper and Pocket, and it's as happy handing multiple accounts and lists as it is running a single account while you swear at Question Time.
Android users aren't the only ones excluded from the Facebook Paper party: for now it's US-only too, although both international and Android versions are incoming. Paper may well be the future of Facebook: it delivers a much more beautiful version of your News Feed with an emphasis on video and photography.
Amazingly, the excellent If This Then That trigger-action service hasn't made its way to Android yet: the best you can hope for is third-party apps such as LIFTTT. The app is coming, but in the meantime Android users can only drool over the iOS app's ability to automate services such as Facebook, Gmail and Twitter, and devices such as Belkin's WeMo switches and Philips' Hue bulbs.
This is an odd one: you'd think a firm with the global reach and deep pockets of Nike would ensure its Fuelband fitness kit worked as well with Android as it does with iOS. Nope. Nike says that the problem is reliability: it can't guarantee that any Fuelband app would work consistently well across several hundred handsets. "We have nothing against Android," Nike VP Stefan Olander told The Next Web in late 2013. "We just want to make sure that when we do it, it works well."
Email can be pretty horrendous sometimes, but Mailbox makes it much more pleasant: it's designed to clear your inbox quickly, archiving stuff you don't need to bother with and scheduling stuff you do. It's currently iOS-only with support for just Gmail and iCloud email, but its recent purchase by cross-platform sharing kings Dropbox suggests a brighter future.
Silvio Rizzi's RSS reader is an absolute joy for news fiends: Reeder connects to the major RSS and sharing services (Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, Fever and Readability plus the usual Send To services), it's lovely to look at and it's very fast. Where apps such as Flipboard try to make the news look pretty, Reeder concentrates on delivering the information you need as quickly as possible.
When the developer's called Realmac Software the likelihood of an Android version is pretty remote - and the lack of an official Android version might explain why there's an almost identically named Android app with an almost identical interface and an almost identical icon in the Play store; no, we're not linking to it. It's a shame the real one hasn't made it across, though. Clear's clever, intuitive interface couldn't be simpler, and that makes it a very fast and useful way to record anything you need to remember: notes, to-do lists, shopping lists…
Nosy Crow apps
Nosy Crow's interactive picture books have won shelves full of awards, and with good reason: they're absolutely delightful apps for younger children. The firm did dip its toes into the Android market back in 2012 with some releases for the Barnes & Noble Nook, but since then it appears to have retreated again and its latest apps are iOS-only. Shame.
Infinity Blade 3
Android gamers can usually count on the big names releasing games for their platform - *cough* Flappy Bird! *cough* - but Epic's famous hack-and-slash epics remain iOS-exclusive. While Epic Citadel delivers the same world, exploring streets isn't quite as entertaining as getting all stabby.
No, we're not being funny. Apple's iWork suite is great, and while both Google and Microsoft offer perfectly good mobile office suites in the form of Office 365 and Google Docs they aren't as nice as Apple's apps. Keynote in particular is fantastic.
Apple's iLife apps - iMovie, iPhoto - are pretty good, but Garageband is stunning: it's a really useful music creation app, and its synchronisation with the desktop version (whose files can in turn be read by the pro music app Logic Pro) means it's a great mobile tool for dabblers and professional musicians alike.