In the first of my roundup of the year posts, I’m had a look of which iPhone and iPad apps I’ve used most this year and the ones I’d recommend. Without further ado…

Super Jetpack Penguin

Game / iPhone / Free

 

What is it?

In Super Jetpack Penguin you need to help the penguin eat as many fish as possible without getting killed by any of the nastier sea creatures that try to block his path. He has a Jetpack so all you need to do is tap and hold to keep him going up or down the screen. Like many other games there’s the double challenge of not just passing the level but achieving a 3-star score.

It’s great because… 

It’s so simple. It can be learned very quickly and mastered with a little patience. Also, the sea creatures, and the penguin, are very cute.

Cdf Hotspots

Productivity / iPhone / Free

What is it? 

This app uses your device’s GPS to locate you and show you the nearest wifi hotspots. It’s a Cardiff app, so obviously only shows you hotspots in Cardiff! With a nice clean design, and just the right amount of information, I’ve used it on a number of occasions to locate the best wifi for wherever I am. This app was developed in conjunction with Cardiff Start by Applingua, a friendly app translation and localisation startup based in Cardiff. If you need your app localised, give them a shout.

(They’re not paying me to say that, but they are my friends, just incase you had any disclosure concerns.)

It’s great because… 

It has a clearly-defined purpose so it’s simple, clear and very helpful.

Letterpress

Game / iPhone / Free

 

What is it? 

An online word game. Use the grid of letters provided to spell a word. The letters you use go blue, then your opponent does the same and the letters they use go red. Be the first to complete the board, and make sure more are blue than red. Simple.

It’s great because… 

A lovely simple concept can be made more difficult by the word skills of the players. It’s also a nice, clean, flat design (no bevelling or skeuomorphs here!)

Draw Something

Game / iPhone & iPad / Free

What is it? 

Get a word, draw a picture, your friend has to guess what you’ve drawn. Effectively, it’s Pictionary but over the Internet. Words very from classic objects (spoon, train, man) to topical and entertaining things like Bieber, Hogwarts and J-Lo.

It’s great because… 

It’s entertaining. If you’re a really good artist, it’s an opportunity to show off. If you’re not so good at drawing (or your opponent isn’t!) it’s funny trying to work out what’s being attempted. I actually cite playing this game as the reason I’m better at drawing than I was a year ago.

Pinterest for iPad

Social Media / iPad (iPhone app also available) / Free

 

What is it? 

The long-awaited tablet version of Pinterest. It’s surprising it took this long to be released, as Pinterest’s browser interface has always been so tablet-like. I’m a very enthusiastic pinner so this has just completed my experience. It’s easy to use, if the navigation is a little congested and confusing, and uses a layered page system to show different types of information from pins to profiles to source links.

It’s great because… 

Pinterest is such a natural tablet experience. All those beautiful images you’ve pinned are now full-size on the retina screen and you can admire them and dream about when you actually afford a house/building/wedding/life like that.

Trip Advisor City Guides

Travel / iPhone / Free

What is it? 

An app featuring downloadable city guides of a selection of major travel destinations across the world. Once downloaded, the guide includes offline maps of the city which combine with GPS to make sure you’re never lost, and listings of restaurants, attractions, transport links, subway stops, etc. I used the New York guide on my recent trip there and it was extremely useful.

It’s great because… 

You get offline maps of a whole city for free. Also because it links to Trip Advisors reviews and rating system. A selection of the reviews for each place is available offline within the app so you can make an informed choice about a restaurant or bar.

Adobe Sketchbook Pro

Art & Design / iPad / £ – appears to be on sale at the moment at £1.99

 

What is it? 

A drawing, painting, creating app. It functions a lot like Photoshop but is optimised for tablet use in terms of tool placement and interface design. The paid version allows for up to 30 layers, great high resolution images and a whole host of tools and colours, all customisable. There’s an inbuilt gallery and you can save the images to your iPad’s camera roll.

It’s great because… 

You get a huge amount of function from it, and it’s on a tablet so is always there and nice and easy to use. For best results, combine with a good stylus. And some talent. There’s probably call for a disclaimer here that you still have to actually draw and the results will only be as good as you are. Maybe get Draw Something to practise 😉

The drawing in the screenshot is by Kat Aldridge. She’s an awesome illustrator and you can find her on Twitter here.

Gifboom

Photography / iPhone / Free

What is it? 

A simple app to create animated gif images and share them. Add up to 30 still images, set the speed and the rest is all done for you. It features a ‘feed’ of gifs created by people you’re following but I haven’t actually used this feature at all, as you can share the gifs you created straight to Facebook and Twitter, or just copy the URL.

It’s great because… 

It’s easy, and lots of fun to animate photos and video of your friends, or hand draw your own animations.