Human beings seem to love lists. We list everything from best movies and TV shows to sports teams and players. Lists and surveys are everywhere these days. I found one for the 10 most important iPhone apps of all time.
Jason Hiner’s list was wrong, but mostly because my list is better and more obvious. Yes, such lists are subjective, but allow me some room to explain which apps have had the most impact on iPhone users.
Usability vs. Gimmicky
Somewhere along the line we’ll need a definition of what is an important app. Is it the ones most used? Most downloaded? Or, is it applications that impact the entire iPhone user base? Let’s go with what’s behind door #3, Monte.
Jason’s list seems strange to me but your mileage may vary.
TripIt, Fortnite, Evernote, Duolingo, Pokémon GO, Flipboard, Instagram, Pandora, Google Maps, and Tweetie make his Top 10 List of all time. I can agree with Google Maps, Instagram, and Flipboard. I skip games because that category does not have a leader or a single app that started the generation.
Here’s my List of the Most Important iPhone Apps of All Time:
Safari – Apple set the browser standard as far back as the iPhone’s introduction in 2007. Safari was and is a full-fledged (mostly) browser that renders pages– albeit in a mobile mode, thanks to responsive design in HTML5– the way God intended. Today we have dozens of iOS browsers. I like Firefox Focus and Brave, disdain Google’s Chrome, but Safari is the one that started it all.
Mail – For similar reasons, Mail makes my list because it was Mac-like email in a smaller package. Mail still does not have the features of Mail on the Mac (no Junk mail filter) but it does the job on almost any email account, including Gmail and Exchange.
Flipboard – My iPhone and iPad have other news applications– notably, CNN, BBC, and others– but this is the one that gets used the most and shows up often in the iOS Battery-shaming app. There is just no better, faster, easier way to browse the day’s news, and even though competition hast lit up this year– Apple News and Google News apps are very good– this is the one that makes navigating easier, faster, though maybe not better.
Camera – Few applications for iPhone have improved as steadily as the Camera app, and though other apps have more features, this is the one that gets used. Camera on iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus capture photos that are not easily distinguished from DSLRs. Camera on the right iPhone even does 4K video with time-lapse and slow motion at better than broadcast TV quality. What’s not to like?
YouTube – This is not a favorite app that I use but one I recognize as being valuable to many hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users. YouTube, in its various flavors, is television in the 21st century. More people watch YouTube videos than watch network television, cable or OTA.
Google Maps – As much as I disdain Google, it is difficult to assess how valuable Maps was to the iPhone platform. Apple Maps is not as good, though it is used more on iOS. Nothing else compares to how well Google has developed Maps.
Facebook – Allow me the privilege of putting both Facebook and its companion photo app Instagram into the same lump. Both are used by hundreds of millions of iPhone customers every day. Yes, Facebook may have tilted the 2016 general election to Donald Trump, but that shows just how much impact it has on humanity.
Messages – This is the killer app of the 21st century and Apple took a simple SMS text messaging app and turned it into a complete platform in a class of its own (green vs. blue). iPhone customers (and Mac and iPad, too) use Messages more than anyone else uses any other text messaging app. Google is way behind this standard after a decade of use.
That’s my list and I’m sticking to it.
What else? I could add Pandora and Music, or Weather and Calendar, and maybe even Twitter, but my list is of those iPhone apps that set the standard for others to follow. Most are still following.