Welp, it’s that time of year again, folks. We’ve had a great 2010, filled with all sorts of amazing superphones, new mobile broadband services, and all kinds of interesting apps hitting app stores around the world. True, most of these apps soared high, but a few were banned from some app stores altogether. Nevertheless, the app store that started it all, had a great year. What better way to wrap up 2010 than to run down the Top 10 iPhone and iOS apps of the year?
On that note, Happy New Year to you all!
#1 – Angry Birds
Angry Birds was the runaway hit app of the year. The app has cost users countless wasted hours on the addicting avian-vs-swine game, and the price of their entertainment was Rovio’s gain. The game was so huge, in fact, that plush toys, videos and cartoons were made in honor of the game. It has also found its way into the more mainstream media as celebrities and other icons have publicly talked about their addiction to the game.
When the holidays came around, Angry Birds got dressed up in Halloween and Christmas clothing as additional apps. Over the course of the year, additional levels were added and an in-app purchase for a special character – the Mighty Eagle – was also tossed in. Angry Birds sold millions of copies for iOS which has resulted in millions in revenue for Rovio, and the game developer says next year will be an even better year. Let’s hope so!
Angry Birds ($0.99) [iTunes link]
#2 – Skype
Skype has been on iOS for quite some time now, but it’s still one of our favorites because it lets us keep in touch with friends and family from all over the globe. The service has been popular over the years and it was a huge relief to many when it finally landed in the app store years ago. The VoIP app works seamlessly on the iPhone and iPod touch and also allows instant messaging chat within the app, just like the desktop version.
Skype also recently introduced video calling for the iPhone 4, something that was sorely missing from previous versions, but for good reason. Now that the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4th gen are equipped with front-facing cameras, you’ll be able to initiate and receive video calls with Skype for iPhone/iOS.
Skype (FREE) [iTunes link]
#3 – Facebook
It goes without saying that the Facebook app for iOS was one of the most popular apps of 2010.
Facebook for iOS allows you to easily check your news feed, edit your profile, exchange messages, upload photos, chat with friends… and much more. Bringing the full desktop experience to this app was something the developers at Facebook had in mind, and after numerous updates during the year, they’re getting closer and closer to just that.
Built with both the power user and casual user in-mind, the Facebook app is a must have.
Facebook (FREE) [iTunes link]
#4 – Google Voice
The voice service from Google caused quite a stir in 2009 when it wasn’t approved for the iTunes App Store. The service allows users to have one phone number tied to all their phones for convenience. It also allows you to track missed, placed or received calls and send and receive text messages. When Apple decided to ease its restrictions for the App Store, Google Voice managed to get approved and now iPhone users have an application dedicated to accessing and using Google Voice.
From within the app, you can make calls, send and receive text messages and even listen to or read voicemails. Best of all, unlike other Google Voice apps, the official one from Google is free in the iTunes App Store. If you rely heavily on Google Voice and own an iPhone, this app is an absolute must!
Google Voice (FREE) [iTunes link]
#5 – iBooks
iBooks was a much anticipated app for bookworms looking for some reading material on their iOS devices. Of course, the Amazon Kindle app and Barnes & Noble NOOK apps are also available, but iBooks enables you to purchase reading materials straight from iTunes – a huge convenience since iOS device owners already have iTunes account, and many might not have Amazon or Barnes & Noble accounts.
Text and other features are customizable, much like other e-Reading apps, and iBooks also supports PDF files along with ePub. You can even print notes and other things you’ve written within iBooks using AirPrint. And iBooks allows rich and colorful content that you might otherwise not find in the other e-Reading apps, which is a bonus for children who love vivid illustrations.
iBooks (FREE) [iTunes link]
#6 – Skyfire
Flash video content for the iPhone and iPad! For years, iOS users bemoaned the lack of Adobe Flash content on their devices, but Skyfire recently solved that problem by converting Flash video content into a viewable format for iOS. While it doesn’t handle all Flash content, like games and the like, it’s a good start and users are seeing less of the blue puzzle piece with the question mark on it.
In its first week of availability, Skyfire was so strained with downloads that it had to pull its app, releasing it in batches a few days later. During the first week of sales, even with the downtime, it’s estimated that Skyfire pulled in $1 million in sales. And Apple says users didn’t care to have Flash on the iPhone?
#7 – Nike+ GPS
Taking the running scene by storm earlier this year was the Nike+ GPS app.
This was a big deal for existing users of the Nike+ sensor system. No longer did they (or anyone else for that matter) need to have a Nike+ sensor in their shoe. With the new app, all you need to do is turn it on, and the iPhone’s built-in GPS and accelerometer tracks all of your movements. Easy as pie.
You can use it to record your pace, distance, and even track your running route. While you’re out on a run you can get voice feedback, and even celebrate great runs with motivational messages from some of Nike’s most recognizable athletes.
The app also connects you to the Nikeplus.com community (if you want to use it!). Once a member (it’s free) you can join challenges, set new goals, chat with friends, and a whole lot more.
Nike+ GPS ($1.99) [iTunes link]
#8 – Cut the Rope
With many notable puzzle games entering the app store this year, only a few made their mark to stand out from the crowd. One of these apps is ‘Cut the Rope’ from the good folks at Chillingo.
To say the game is addictive is an understatement. In this puzzler it’s up to you to help the loveable little ‘Om Nom’ eat the candy he so desires. You do this by cutting ropes with a finger swipe, setting the puzzle in motion. It sounds easy, but as you make your way through the game more intricate puzzles show themselves, with extra obstacles and techniques.
Thankfully the developers are continuing to work this app. In a recent update 25 new levels were added, alongside a new ‘anti gravity’ feature and more. I have a feeling we’re going to see much more goodness within the ‘Cut the Rope’ app in 2011, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Cut the Rope ($0.99) [iTunes link]
#9 – Beejive IM
For those of us addicted to AIM, GTalk, Facebook Chat, Yahoo! Messenger and more, Beejive IM is the way to go for the iPhone. Not only does it support multiple chat clients, but it has push notifications as well. You’ll never miss another instant message from a friend or colleague again.
Beejive IM has a very clean interface and is very customizable. You can sort your buddy lists by groups or by name, add friends to Favorites if you talk to them more often than others and tweak your login times and notifications, too. From within a chat message, you can send messages, files, voice notes and images. There really is not much that your desktop client can do that Beejive IM can’t. You can even save messages or e-mail them as transcripts to yourself.
When it initially released two years ago, it was a very pricey $14.99. But after several deals and specials, Beejive IM has finally dropped to the more attractive price of $9.99. Oh, and right now it’s only going for $4.99 as part of a holiday sale!
While other chat clients will get the job done, none are as clean and reliable as Beejive IM. And of course, it’s ad free.
Beejive IM ($9.99) [iTunes link]
#10 – Instagram
Photo-sharing services really took off in 2010, and leading the way is Instagram. The application allows users to take pictures with their iPhones and share them via the app itself, or on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare. Instagram also lets you customize your photos with different retro-looking filters if you’re feeling like the standard image is a little bland and boring.
In just six days after release, Instagram picked up over 100,000 users and has taken off in a big way. You can follow other Instagram users from within the app and see a stream of friends’ photos, or what’s currently popular in the Instagram world (those are typically the images that receive a lot of “Likes” from other users). Best of all, it’s free and was recently updated to include Foursquare check-in integration.
Instagram (FREE) [iTunes link]
Happy New Year from the IntoMobile team!