Smartphones have become an essential part of our everyday life. But as you know, today's smartphones are used for so much more than talking or exchanging text messages with friends! Think about it: you habituate your phone for reservations, social media, listening to music, even those stress relieving mindless and fun video games. Most of us spend a vast amount of time on them (in fact, according to a recent Bloomberg report, "We now spend more time staring at phones, than tv's... an average of 2 hours and 57 minutes a day)!"
So due to the enormous range of apps available, I decided to put together a list of some of my essential and all time favorites, that make my crazy busy life as a mom, wife, businesswoman and world traveler to provide you with perhaps a more pleasurable day to day experience.
1. Open Table
If you're living in a big city in the U.S., Canada or Mexico, you know how difficult it might be to get a table in a respectable restaurant. Don't embarrass yourself in front of anyone by having to wait forever to be seated! When my husband and I are traveling this is our go to app!
Open Table is a valuable app that allows you to make reservations at over 20,000 restaurants. You can explore the available tables in real time and pick the best one by simply tapping on the image. The app also includes a "narrow search" feature by price, rating or distance. Also comes in handy for when you're unsure of which restaurant you will end up eating at by being able to simply click on the reservation(s) and cancel or modify -- without having to personally call each and every one of them. What makes it so great is it not only the immense amount of restaurants you can check, but also the "review" option -- in this way, you can be 100 percent sure you've made the right choice.
2. Memorize Words
This is my newest app jam. It is like having your own free private language tutor, on your phone. Pick a language (Spanish, French or Russian) and the app introduces you to thousands of words a month. Memorize words uses flash cards, where each word can also be heard out loud, so you may hear the pronunciation clearly too. It then reviews and quizzes you on the words you have progressively learned each day. It definitely makes learning convenient everyday words and phrases fun. It also comes complete with it's game mode (a la word find, matching words by similar meaning, hangman and even space invaders) to quiz you in a lighter and less conventional method. The next time you're flipping through magazines at the hair salon, or watching the news, you could also be multi-tasking and tackling another language to add to your impressive resume.
No more need for long supermarket trips! As its name suggests, Instacart gives you the unique opportunity to get your groceries delivered directly to your front door. Your items will be delivered rapidly and using the app will surely save you a lot of time and trouble! What makes it so great is that Instacart works with local grocery stores, including Whole Foods Market, Ralph's or Costco.
InstaSize is the original app, that also allows you to share your cool rectangular shaped photo(s), and change it to the "square" format necessary, so that you can post it without the entire image being cropped. It's a simple, fast and free way to post your desired image, in full bleed, onto any social media. It also has a wide range of various filters, overlays and typography, which will turn your photo into a piece of art. I personally love the various decorative borders you can add on a picture (especially the wide range of pantone colors to the fun and festive glitter ones).
Scanners are now outdated: if you need to scan your documents quickly and efficiently, you can simply use your iPhone to do so. Turboscan allows you to scan any type of document (both in black and white, or color), including receipts, notes, and even whiteboards. The images will be stored as PDF and/or JPEG files and can just as easily be integrated in emails. The simplicity and efficiency of Turboscan make this one perfect for any type of business -- try it out for yourself!
An award-winning application, iTranslate is simply the best translating tool out there! It features more than 80 languages, and can translate words, phrases and whole texts. It is phenomenal, as it also has an amazing "voice output" option, which you can use to select a different dialect. This app for me was a personal life-saver on my recent trip to Tokyo with my daughters, particularly when the salesgirl and I needed to communicate regarding exchanging various sizes, and then of course, praising her for her awesome help. The dictionary feature of the app is also state-of-the-art and gives you multiple translations per word, depending on the context.
Targeted specifically at drivers, this is indeed the driving app that professional drivers use (contrary to belief, it is not Google maps). Waze is perhaps the greatest real-life traffic and navigation app at the moment. You can receive real-life traffic and road info in just a matter of seconds, as well as report road accidents, police traps or any type of hazards you encounter on the road. You also get turn-by-turn voice guided navigation (that not only shows you one, but two or three various routes to your destination, and each of those routes real time estimated time of arrival. In other words, you can see if you should take the freeway(s) or side streets to arrive at your final destination in the fastest moving manner. This also eliminates the need for expensive GPS devices.
How do you put a photo into the shape of a cute heart or style it up with stylish eye catching backgrounds surrounding it? This is another great free photo app that can guarantee beautiful photos with little to no effort. You can apply various filters to make your photos look like the work of a professional with just a few clicks -- and then upload the results on social media for all your friends to see!
9. Word a Day
Word a Day is an innovative app that can expand your vocabulary and help you improve your English language proficiency. It gives you the opportunity to listen to the word pronunciation via Google voice and also listen to the explanation of the word. The app also features a social media integration and a translation option. As of now, you can also quiz yourself with your favorite words!
Kayak is my best friend when it comes to traveling. This is literally the #1 mobile travel app. It gives you the chance to quickly browse and find the right flight, perfect hotel, and even a car to drive you there (it combs through hundreds of travel sites in a flash, to help you find the best deals, so you can then view in the simplicity of one page). Basically it saves you from having to research and click on a voluminous amount of travel/airfare sites and compiles it for easy one page viewing bliss. You can also use it to track your flight status and manage your itinerary -- yep... your dream vacation is just a few clicks away.
These apps will ease any busy life as they have mine!