[The audio version of this blogpost is here...]
2011 has been "The Year of The App" - the year when "smart" phones & tablets moved from being "toys for the boys" to being ordinary things many people have.
Most people you know who use Internet have iPhone, Android phone, iPad or some other mobile device. They began with a mobile phone - now they have fast Internet access where ever they are. During 2011 people have been moving round with computers in their handbags & pockets.
It's happened so fast.
All this change made me think over Christmas...
This 'revolution', this huge change in communicating power, got me thinking
"I've an iPhone 3G ... bought iPad the first day they came out in Cork... got iPad 4s recently... I drink Apps every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner & bedtime... Apps are the new Abs... Many gurus are writing blogposts - names like "The greatest Apps ever invented", "50 Apps to make you succeed in business, life & love"... Why don't I write down my favourite Apps?"
Good advice came knocking... just in time:
As I was scrolling through Twitter on St Stephen's Day (Boxing Day, the day after turkey) advice arrived from Dan Zarrella:
Say less about yourself... Tweet more info that others value...
I got that message, let it sink in & influence what I did next.
On 27 December I reached out to others via Twitter with this Tweet:
"I'm going to write a blogpost #bestapp2011 - Your opinion counts & you'll get special delivery of the blogpost. Reply now."?
I sent a series of requests (via Twitter) asking people to let me know their favourite Apps from 2011. Also asked them to spread the search (please retweet).
It became an adventure - an exploration based on Twitter... A quest to gather intelligence from others... th find out the most popular Apps of 2011 - according to those I've had most Internet contact with. This was seeking the view of a Circle you might say ( Google+ lingo).
The result of the research, 250 Tweets later:
Finding these rich links via others showed me how valuable it is to open a topic up - rather than simply expressing or broadcasting a personal view.
The Apps, the Apps, my Kingdom for an App...
2011 has indeed been "The Year of the App". Here's the full list of Apps loved by people in my Twitter sphere (Apples & Androids mixed together)
TuneIn Radio : loved by @DoneganGardens @nickysragtales @tnteacherTim @OConnorDg @carrigman @SundayTwist @ValerieMcDermot
Twitter : loved by @PembrokeTownhse @destaic @o7o759 @madoptom @thecreativepenn @ValerieMcDermot
Flipboard : loved by @clickcasestore @johnpeavoy @lesanto @GregCantyFuzion @thecreativepenn @OConnellCork
Hootsuite : loved by @JJ5000 @PiperHawk @CliffHouseHotel @SarahArrow @Pat_Whelan @MikeHaydon @nomnomFoodIrl
Evernote : loved by @dingadeal @carrigman @SteveMcDonnell
Shazam : loved by @carredenis @VivVivacious @SundayTwist
Wordpress : loved by @destaic @topgold @DoneganGardens
Angry Birds : @VinaySuper @techie_fan @SarahArrow
Instagram : @DoneganGardens @Chriskas100 @documentally
Dropbox : @mickobrien1 @winealliancemoz
Facebook : @PembrokeTownhse @destaic
Kindle : @MikeHaydon @thecreativepenn
Livescore: @OConnorDg @ValerieMcDermot
Snapseed: @unslugged @SteveMcDonnell
Sky+: @techie_fan @Tymonpark
WhatsApp: @sherqui @waresean
Audioboo: @DoneganGardens @documentally
Tweetdeck: @PembrokeTownhse @DoneganGardens
Camera+ : @LordHumphreys
Jetpack Joyride : @mb_ie
FreeSpirit - Spirit Level: @Planegal
iHandy Level: @BuckleyFineArt
First Aid by British Red Cross: @barbaraedwards1
PlayItYourself 4: @techie_fan
Pixlr-o-matic : @documentally
Mobile RSS: @MikeHaydon
Wyse PocketCloud: @techie_fan
Sheet2 HD: @MikeHaydon
Juice Defender: @carrigman
You Tube: @DoneganGardens
8mm Vintage Camera: @DoneganGardens
Dublin Bus: @DoneganGardens
Visit Dublin: @PembrokeTownhse
Rachel Allen: @PembrokeTownhse
Philadelphia recipes: @PembrokeTownhse
Awesome Note: @PembrokeTownhse
Trip Advisor: @discoveringCork
Talking Tom: @akd100
Few of the Apps were picked out for special mention by more than one person.
How many Apps are there in Apple's App Store & Google's Android Market? 500,000+ iPhone + iPad Apps; 300,000+ Android Apps. Many Apps overlap - but it's impossible for anyone to sample more than a tiny % of the whole field. (Just as it's impossible for anyone to try out all the hobbies that humans pursue.)
Personal recommendations have never been so essential. That's a great reason to reach out to others & try Apps they've loved. Searching alone is a sure way to a restricted life. You can achieve more by depending on others to try out Apps for you.
Looking ahead into 2012... Maybe now's a good time to check out one of those Apps you've never even heard of. Go for a mystery dip - like you did as a child when you plunged fingers into a bag of sweets, not knowing what was waiting for you...
The Apps I've loved most
In case you'd like to know the Apps I've loved most in 2012 - here they are [in no particular order]:
Osfoora: the one I use for Twitter on iPhone & iPad...
Instagram: the one I use for sharing snaps taken on iPhone, seeing pics from others & commenting on them...
Path: the one I use on iphone as a personal diary & share with a few people I trust a lot...
BBC News: the one I use to keep in touch with the world & share stories via Twitter...
Flipboard: the one I turn to on iPad when I want Twitter & Facebook displayed with beauty... You could nearly say I bought iPad so I could use this App on it...
WeatherProHD: the one I rely on when I hope it'll be ok to play golf, tells me what time it'll rain & how much will fall...
Pages: the one I use for documents I have to write when the laptop isn't convenient & when I need to attach invoices to emails...
EyeWitness from Guardian: the one on iPad that gives me a wonderful pro photograph to admire & learn from every day...
Tweeps: the one I use on iPhone to see who's recently followed me on Twitter, who follows them, who they follow & how long they've all been using Twitter...
Google+: the one I use on iPad to keep in touch with what Google is doing next & experience it for myself...
iLoader: the one I use to upload short videos from iPhone 4s to Facebook...
Hitpad: the new kid on iPad - I use this to find information, inspiration & intelligence to use in blogposts... it promises so much
WolframAlpha: for when I want to learn something impractical that can be turned into numbers, statistics, formulae - the stuff I've forgotten from school...
There are others too - but it's good to operate within solid boundaries - so it's time to stop.
The thanks I feel I owe to everyone mentioned in this blogpost - developers, marketeers, users, retweeters, readers - is enormous.
Hopefully this blogpost will help you explore during 2012. Like every blogger, I crave your comments. Please share your view - and if you'd like to add links to lists of great Apps that's gold dust too.
2011 The Year of the App indeed!