I purchased my first smartphone about 4 years ago, it was an Apple iPhone 3GS. I turned into the “there’s an app for that” guy and spent weeks finding the best apps for everything I wanted to accomplish with my phone. Before long I learned about jailbreaking and, of course, had to give it a shot. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the iPhone, giving features that would not be supported by Apple until 2-3 generations later, or in some cases never at all. This isn’t a post about jailbreaking, so I won’t go into detail, but multi-tasking, copy & paste, and the notification center were just a few critical features that were available well before Apple rolled them into iOS.
When iPhone 4 was released I refused to buy one until it was possible to jailbreak it. The same thing happened with the release of the 4s. While many Apple fans waited in line, I sat online scouring jailbreak websites waiting for a compatible jailbreak to become available.
I was happy with my jailbroken iPhone 4s, but started seeing more and more phones around with much larger screens. The iPhone 5 was going to be the answer to the small screen problem, but when it was officially announced, I took one look at the new specs and two days later bought myself a Samsung Galaxy S3.
Now that I have started to become more active with Twitter, it was essential for me to find a good Twitter app for my iPhone. The problem is that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of twitter apps available in the app store. Anyone who has tried to search the app store knows how tedious the process can be. There is no way to sort, and no way to see app ratings in the search results. You must click on each individual app to see the ratings. There are a few websites out there that index the app store contents and make things a little easier, but trying to search for a twitter app is still virtually impossible. I used uquery, searched for the term “twitter”, filtered by 4 stars and above, and only in the social networking category. This returned over 400 results. Expand the query to 3 stars and above and the number of results jumps to over 1300.
Getting frustrated with that search method brought me to Google. A search for ‘best twitter app for iphone’ will return over 79 million results. Out of those results, many of them were well over 2 years old. After weeding through search results, reading iPhone message boards for user suggestions, and browsing through app store reviews I started installing and testing many of the highly acclaimed twitter apps. In total, I must have tested 2 dozen apps over the last few weeks. Some of them were uninstalled within 30 seconds of entering my login information for one reason or another, others looked good at first glance until I found a few missing items that I consider critical, and even fewer have made it into my top 4 which are currently installed on my phone. Each has something it does better than the others, but also something it’s lacking. There is no perfect solution as far as I’m concerned and you will need to determine which features are most important to you. This will not be a comprehensive review, rather a brief description of a few apps that I found usable. Continue reading Finding the best iPhone Twitter app
As a photographer, I am always on the lookout for the next great photo opportunity, but I don’t always have my gear with me. Having an SLR with multiple lenses is the best choice for quality and flexibility, but not when it comes to convenience. I have considered purchasing a small point-and-shoot camera that I could always carry with me, but never got around to it. The 3 megapixel camera on the iPhone 3GS just didn’t cut it, but the iPhone 4 steps up it’s game with 5 megapixels, a built-in LED flash, and even an HDR (high dynamic range) mode. Suddenly, the point an shoot camera that I have always wanted is in my pocket, ready to shoot at all times.
We know the hardware is up to par, but as usual, Apple put only the most basic features into it’s native camera app. Luckily, there are some pretty nice camera apps available in the app store, and one that was recently pulled from the store due to a violation of Apple’s crazy requirements, which I will explain later.
First, lets talk about the built in camera app. Just the basics here. Buttons across the top allow you to turn the flash on or off, enable HDR, and flip to the forward facing camera. Tap anywhere else on the screen to focus and set metering. Once focus is achieved, a zoom slider will appear at the bottom of the screen. And below that is access to your camera roll, the shutter button, and the video switch.