asking for trouble

10 iPhone apps that amaze me daily

I felt slightly guilty after giving in and purchasing an iPhone late last year but that was soon forgotten when I realised I had bought something pretty much indispensable. No jokes, this has totally changed my life.

I think my favourite thing about the iPhone is how light I can travel. If I’m only going across town, I don’t need my iPod and if I’m away somewhere for a couple of days then I don’t need my laptop. Or maybe my favourite thing is how I can keep up to date with my shop/s wherever I am so I know about new orders and can delete sold things at craft markets. But no, actually, my favourite thing is how I can check my email, Twitter, weather and news headlines without having to get out of bed. Double bonus if you’re sick. Hurrah for Apple.

Anyway, I have immediately become hooked on installing apps to do whatever random thing I just thought of. Not that you can’t have hours of fun looking up the weather in Tokyo, or typing PIE LONDON into the maps thing to find the nearest pie seller, but these apps make my life even more fun.

Hello Kitty Camera (£1.79)
I read about this aaages ago and had to get it myself as soon as I had an iPhone. Basically, you take a photo of your friend/s and pass it to Hello Kitty who will place fruit on their heads and otherwise decorate the screen like a 3 year old. To hilarious effect, of course. It’s always been a dream of mine to wear a pineapple on my head and Hello Kitty can make that come true. Although, having posted about it here, I’ve lost the element of surprise and won’t be able to collect so many idiotic photos of my friends in future. Disaster! At least Angel Bunny is a willing subject.

WordPress (free!)
The first app to truly blow my socks off, as it lets me do almost everything I can do on my computer – write and edit posts, approve comments and do that on all 5billion of my blogs. Which doesn’t explain why I never blogged once from my sickbed, hmm. It does mean, I will quite likely BLOG FROM JAPAN later this year. Amazing. See also the Flickr app, though it’s a bit less amazing.

Brushes (£2.99)
Since the iPhone has a touchscreen, clearly people like me want to use it for drawing. Brushes has a great interface with colours, brush sizes, zooming and everything, plus layers so you can draw on one and add colour on another. Now if only I could control my fat fingers better. Might be investing in a stylus soon for this.

Facebook (free)
Notable for being an app that is infinitely better than the website. At least I now check in with my FB friends on a dailyish basis. Might even start posting things again soon.

The Guardian (£2.39)
I like The Guardian best for news because it doesn’t update too often – when I had BBC news on my RSS, it used to update with about 700 stories every minute.  It also has lots of writers I like. This app is a bargain, as you can choose which sections to get updates on and even download a bunch of articles to read on the train. Other newspapers/magazines take note.

Solitaire City (free / £3.49)
This pretty much saved me from stabbing my eyes out on a number of occasions including extremely delayed train and illness-induced insomnia. The controls are really nice and the design isn’t too hideous. The free version did me fine for ages but I just upgraded to the full version and it has so many more games and variations. Farewell, boredom!

PicGrid (free / £1.79)
Picross on the DS is literally my favourite game in the entire history of the Universe. It’s tricky enough to make me forget about work stuff but enormously fun and satisfying too. I’ve played through the whole game twice and am missing it so much since my sister borrowed it a few months ago. So, the first app I searched for was picross. PicGrid is the best of a bad bunch – sadly the small screen means the puzzles never get bigger than 10×10 but it’s still fun, even if some of the pictures are ludicrous.

Amazon UK (free)
Like I need an easier way to buy stuff off Amazon. This is a truly dangerous app, which not only lets me search Amazon’s inventory but gives me access to my wish list, and allows me to pay for stuff with 1-Click. Argh! It is actually very useful for wishlisting things I read about in magazines etc. but I fear for my bank account. I also note it has a new feature where you can photograph covers and it will look ’em up for you.  Wait, WHAT? When did we arrive in the future?

iBattery (free)
One of my “I wonder if..” app searches. It just tells me how much battery power is left and what that actually means. You get a breakdown of time left in various uses – internet, 3G, phone calls, standby etc. As the owner of a camera that can work on a third battery power for about a week, this is hella useful.

National Rail Enquiries (£4.99)
£4.99?! Are you insane?!, you’re thinking. Best £4.99 I ever spent. It would be almost worth £4.99 just for being able to see when the next trains are leaving Bridgeton station (in real time!) so I don’t have to type all the info into the website every time I want to go across town. Even better though, if you’re taking a train, say, to Inverness on Christmas Eve during some unexpectedly heavy snowfalls, you can look up your train and see if there are any delays or problems along the line and get real time updates along the way that your train is currently running 40 minutes late. That way you can text your dad and tell him to carry on shopping and not stand around in the train station waiting for you. Mind you, if the train staff actually ever told you when you might arrive at your destination we wouldn’t need iPhone apps for it, but you know, best £4.99 I ever spent.

If I’d had 11, I would have added Tweetdeck, but really all Twitter apps are great as Twitter is pretty much custom built for phones.

If you fancy any of these apps, do buy them – just search for the app name in the App store. Most of them should work on iPod Touches too, though in a less useful way once you’re out of wifi range.

What have I missed? Tell me about your favourites so I can install them too.


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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