There’s only a couple of weeks left in 2012, so now’s the time to reflect back on the year and round up the highlights. One of my favorite roundups to do every year is to pick out which apps on my iPhone and iPad I used most and that are relatively new. The end of 2012 is no different. I flipped through my home pages and browsed my numerous folders (yes, I have a lot of apps; if you’re like me, you tell yourself you’ll delete them eventually but that day never comes) and I think I’m ready to name my top five favorite iOS apps of 2012.
5. Day One
I stared at this app for months in the App Store (and Mac App Store) before I finally decided to buy it. I was so skeptical because I’ve always wanted to keep a private journal that I could use to document important events in my life and then reflect back upon, but every time I’ve attempted to do that, I never kept up with it. I don’t know what it is about Day One, but for the first time I was able to at least moderately stay in the cycle of journaling. I don’t do it on a daily basis like when I first downloaded the app, but I do journal every so often just for memorable occasions or simply to vent if needed. It’s therapeutic in a sense. With $4.99 getting you both the iPhone and iPad apps, it’s worth considering.
Buy: Day One – $4.99
Last year at this time I would have said down with Pocket, formerly Read It Later, and up with Instapaper. However, since the rebrand, Pocket has become truly useful to me even more than Instapaper once was. Don’t get me wrong, Instapaper is still a phenomenal product, but I don’t like how it just focuses on articles. Sometimes I like to save regular web pages or YouTube videos for later, and Pocket’s design is far more optimized for that wide variety of content. Plus, Pocket also has a Mac app, something Instapaper lacks, and I like having everything I save in sync across all devices. You can’t beat the price of “free” either.
Download: Pocket – free
3. Dark Sky
More than ever, seeing as we are approaching the winter season, you’re going to want this app. IntoMobile’s Charles West reviewed it and gave it high praises. I’m a fan as well. Dark Sky’s main feature is to let you see when exactly any type of precipitation will begin to fall at your current location down to the very minute. The crazy part is that it’s actually super accurate. If it says rain in seven minutes, there’s a pretty good chance it will start to rain in seven minutes. It blows my mind every time. There’s a full precipitation map, vague extended 24-hour forecast, and push notifications included as well. You might think it’s a tad steep at $3.99, but it’s worth every penny.
Buy: Dark Sky – $3.99
2. Google Maps
At long last, the king of mapping has returned to iOS. It’s been a painful few months for many who had to suffer with Apple’s new Maps app in iOS 6. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with it; I just used Apple’s Maps app to get somewhere last night. It’s mostly functional in my area, but in many areas the exact opposite is true. That said, I’ve still downloaded the Google Maps app because I’m far more confident in Google giving me directions than Apple. The app is very well designed and is nicely on par with its Android counterpart in terms of features. The world agrees too — it passed 10 million downloads during its first 48 hours in the App Store. Well played, Google.
Download: Google Maps – free
Every so often a game comes out on the iPhone or iPad that gets me insanely hooked. I’ve been through Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride, and Draw Something addictions. Letterpress is my latest. It’s created and maintained by Loren Brichter, the guy who designed Tweetie and Tweetie 2 before Twitter acquired his company. Letterpress is a fun word game that gives you a grid of 20 letters to make words out of. As the game progresses, your goal is to use letters that your Game Center opponent has used in order to steal points away. The person with the most points when all the letters have been used wins. It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s my favorite app of 2012.
Download: Letterpress – free
So there you have it, the complete list of the best iOS apps of 2012 as determined by yours truly. Now it’s your turn. Be sure to voice your opinion in the comments section about your favorite apps and games this year.