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Smartphone apps are all the hype nowadays – just look at the figures. And then remember that just about half of UK mobile users now own smartphones. We here at Tom Sawyer prefer iOS nowadays, so we’ve decided to compile a little ‘Top 5′ of the ones we keep tapping on. Here goes!



Highlight …more for what it represents than what I actually use it for – the ability to see who is around you and what they are like, regardless of whether you have actually met them yet or not. This functionality still feels a step too far for us at the moment (only a few years ago it was strange to talk to people online that you hadn’t met, let alone in the real world) but is a very exciting thing to see coming…

Cinemagram  …Instagram is the content app getting all of the headlines but there are some smarter beasts out there allowing you to create multimedia content that you wouldn’t believe. This is just one of them.

Aurasma …Augmented reality has been one of the most anticipated functions of smartphones but has had a bit of a faltering start. It is now starting to get a bit smoother and, even if it doesn’t quite work all of the time yet, when it does it’s like Harry Potter is in your phone.

Tiny Wings is such a beautiful, wonderful, playable game. Just one game mechanic, but so well executed that it deserves an ovation.


Path …because of its beautiful user experience on mobile and the option to share with those I care about rather than everyone I’ve ever known.




Instagram …Because they’ve figured out what other photo sharing services haven’t – namely how to master mobile. And because I’ve finally found something to do with all those photos I’m taking. Have a look!

Flipboard …These guys define the concept of a ‘social news magazine’. While it’s particularly better on an iPad, it does a wonderful job of pulling in your RSS feeds, tweets from the people you follow, your friends’ Facebook posts, Instagram photos – heck, now you can even link up with SoundCloud for some pleasant reading tunes!

Clear …Personal task management at its simplest – great for managing my (less time-sensitive) to do lists, like ‘the useless trinkets I need to buy’ or ’the odd indie comedies I haven’t watched yet’.

Paper …An amazing iPad app (also available for iPhone but it’s too weird on a small screen) for those initial ideas, sketches, diagrams – and why not actual slide illustrations? Also good for improving my kindergarten-level (at best) drawing skills.

Tweetbot …A Twitter client with (the best) personality. By far the best iOS Twitter app out there. Bonus: it integrates Readability.




Sleep Cycle …Amazing app for those who generally wake up tired! It reads your sleep patterns by measuring your movement whilst you’re out for the count and then tries to wake you up at the best possible time within a timeframe you can set. It sounds more complicated than it is and it actually works! Plus you get ‘sleep reports’. It works especially well if you pick a great song – ‘The Cycle of Abuse’ by Emeralds works perfectly for me.

The Night Sky …I gave up physics after AS Level as the maths was pretty tough and I was bored learning about waves. However, it’s never failed to ignite my interest since (I prefer the pop science books without all the maths). This app is perfect for someone with a passing interest in science and star-gazing. It was amazing when Mars, Venus, Jupiter and the moon were all lined up the other day (and I was able to tell people that was the case!).

Carcassonne …I have just discovered this fantastic tile-based medieval town planning game (I promise you it’s much better than that sounds). And you know what? It transfers perfectly to the iPhone and allows me to hone my skills so I can beat my mates next time we play. Winner. Get it, it’s a great game.

Instagram …I have to put it in really. It makes my photos look lovely. Which is more than 27 years trying could do. Top marks.


ESPN Goals …You can watch all the Premiership goals as they happen! Not sure how this is possible, but it’s great either way.




Football Manager …Rudi’s a bit old school and doesn’t actually use an iOS device – but if he did, this is the only app he would ever use. All the time. No exceptions.


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