Among the veteran Mac360 writer crowd, I’m the apps diva. From Mac to iPhone to iPad, I use ’em all. Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Microsoft’s Office, and everything in between, including all of Apple’s own applications.
So, when I read about a list of non-Apple apps that could replace Apple’s own standard bearers that would supercharge your iPhone, I was skeptical. After all, some of Apple’s iOS apps are among the best and most used of all mobile device apps.
Better? Or, Different?
The implication behind any attempt to replace Apple’s default applications on an iPhone with a similar third party applications is that the latter is better than the former.
Here’s the list:
Mail vs. Outlook: I use both. Both are good. Both suffer from an inability to handle spam email, but kudos to Microsoft for making Outlook on iOS a first class citizen. Tie.
Messages vs. WhatsApp: A billion people use WhatsApp. A billion use Messages. Messages works. WhatsApp works. Both apps are everywhere. Tie.
Calendar vs. Fantastical: I use both on my iPhone’s launch screen. Calendar has more features. Fantastical is easier to view events. Tie.
Keyboard vs. SwiftKey: Only members of the technorati elite politburo use the third party keyboards for iPhone. It’s nice. It’s different. It’s not any better. Tie.
Weather vs. Dark Sky: There are twenty eleven different weather apps for iPhone. The default Weather app on iPhone displays more information than Dark Sky, but Dark Sky has an incredibly useful micro-forecast that just works. I use both. Tie.
Maps vs. Citymapper: Citymapper has better directions (but not necessarily more accurate). Even Apple considers it an Essential app. But it doesn’t give directions everywhere. Maps does. Winner: Maps.
Clock vs. Sleep Cycle: This isn’t a good comparison. One tracks your sleep patterns, the other is a clock. Disqualified comparison.
Apple Music vs. Spotify: Apple Music does more for less than Spotify. How so? I buy iTunes Cards when they’re on sale, stuff them into iTunes, and when Apple deducts the Apple Music fee, it uses the credit balance in iTunes instead of charging the credit card, so I get a 25-percent discount. Take that, Spotify. Winner: Apple.
Reminders vs. Wunderlist: I’ve used both. Wunderlist is cumbersome, Reminders is not. I use Due and Things. Tie.
Camera vs. Manual: Manual has more features than Camera, but Camera is easier to use. Ease of use wins. Winner: Apple.
Podcasts vs. Overcast: Apple’s Podcasts app is anemic, probably devoid of features just to introduce iPhone users to Podcasting. Overcast is better. Downcast is even better. Winner: Overcast.
Notes vs. Simplenote: I have both, used both, the new Notes is iOS 9 is better than Simplenote because you can format notes until the cows come home. Winner: Apple.
Stocks vs. Yahoo! Finance: Both are free, but the former has fewer features than the latter. Winner: Yahoo!
Safari vs. Google Chrome: Please. Even the writer of this dumb list pointed out that Safari is better. The only advantage Chrome has is that Google can follow you on any device where you use Chrome. Chrome is the most used browser in the world, though. Winner: Apple.
Of course, your mileage may vary, and personal taste covers much of the criteria, but Apple’s own mainstay apps are not bad; some great, some not so great, but all priced the same. Any list of alternative apps that claim to supercharge your iPhone experience should be better in every way than Apple’s apps. Many the list are not.