Got a new smartphone or tablet on your Christmas list? Here are 10 apps you’ll love
1 ASANA REBEL (iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases) THERE are a gazzillion yoga apps on the various app stores, more if you count the ones that offer other kinds of workouts, too.
Some of them are rubbish, some of them are OK, and some of them are excellent. Sadly, the excellent ones usually require the most outlay in terms of cash. But, you get what you pay for, as they say.
Asana Rebel is one of the very best, with all kinds of yoga routines to meet all kinds of needs, but it costs a few bob – £58.99 a year to be precise. For an app this well made, it’s worth it.
2 BBC SOUNDS
(iOS and Android, free) THE BBC’s iPlayer Radio was, apparently, not cool enough for youngsters to “engage with”.
Old people like me got on with it just fine, however, so I was a bit perturbed when it was replaced with the much “funkier” Sounds app.
I need not have worried – it’s an excellent way to enjoy all the BBC has to offer audiowise.
You can listen in live to radio shows, or catch up later with things you’ve missed.
The BBC’s prodigious podcast output is also accessible, bringing it all together in a nice, neat, and simple package.
3 HEADSPACE (iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases) IF YOU’RE going down the yoga route to fitness, you might also consider a bit of yoga for the mind, and Headspace is the clear winner in this, erm, space.
Again, it is not cheap to subscribe (£9.99-a-month or £74.99-a-year), but you do get a lot for your money, and you can try out the introductory course for free to see if you like it. There’s a vast array of help available, tackling all kinds of what Headspace like to refer to as obstacles – lack of sleep, lack of confidence, worry, boredom… it’s all in there, and there’s a soothing voice just waiting to help you meditate your way out of virtually any corner.
4 THINGS 3 (iOS, £9.99) THINGS is a task manager that is as beautiful as it is useful. Its developers also have not rested on their laurels after its initial release and are actively adding features and improving Things as we speak.
So if you find your mind is brimming with too many things to do, just pour them into this app where you’ll find they become a lot easier to manage, organise and, ultimately, actually get done.
5 MONUMENT VALLEY II (iOS and Android, £4.99) WE ALL need a game on our phones for those idle moments in the supermarket queue – the second instalment of the beautiful puzzler Monument Valley is perfect for such occasions.
It’s like a living Escher illustration that you have to manipulate to work out the route from A to B – and it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
When you add in sprinkles of charming personality and some beautifully drawn artwork, you’re onto a real winner.
6 ADOBE RUSH (iOS, free) DESPITE already having a few video editing apps on the go, the king of creative software Adobe is having another go with Rush.
It’s a fairly straightforward affair, and does all the things you’d expect it to do, but has a bit of an advantage over some of its rivals – it can edit portrait videos, and so is perfect for those looking to make a name for themselves on Instagram TV.
It ties into the wider Creative Cloud community (which includes desktop apps like Photoshop and Illustrator), and while you don’t need a CC subscription to use Rush, its capabilities are expanded if you do. An Android version is in the works.
7 DUOLINGO (iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases) I WON’T’ stop telling people about Duolingo, despite the fact that it’s been around for ages and everyone should already know about it.
It’s simply the most fun way to learn a new language on the app stores.
If you’ve tried it before, give it another chance – it’s just had a bit of a visual makeover that makes it more appealing than ever.
8 VSCO (iOS and Android, free with in-app purchases) VSCO (short for Visual Supply Company, since you ask) is a great photo editor from a very cool company that used to specialise in lightroom plug-ins that emulated classic film looks of yore.
These have found their way into this app, which is one of the most top knotch photo editors around.
To get the full set you have to subscribe to VSCO X for £19.99 a year, but you also get access to some “experimental” features, like video editing, for that. As well as the camera and editor, though, VSCO also features its own fully-fledged social platform for sharing images that is about as far away from the noise and nastiness of other platforms as you can imagine.
9 CITYMAPPER (iOS and Android, free) IF YOU live in London, Birmingham, or Manchester you’re in luck – CityMapper covers your manor.
If you don’t, get on the CityMapper website and vote for whichever spot you do live in – because this app offers door-to-door guidance for commuters using any kind of public transport you can think of to get you home as fast as possible and with the minimum drama.
Beats carrying around a load of bus timetables in your pocket, that’s for sure.
10 STREAKS (iOS, £4.99) STREAKS is iOS-only, but might be one of the best reasons to bag yourself an iPhone this winter. It’s a simple habit forming app – you tell it what you want to do, or not do, every day, and check off the task when it’s done.
The app records when you do the thing you want to do, and counts ‘streaks’ of consecutive completions. Once you’ve hit a streak, the desire not to break it keeps you on target, and the longer you go, the less likely it is you will fail.
It’s a great idea, beautifully executed, and has the potential to bring real change to your life.