Believe it or not, Google makes the best iOS apps available

Google_Loves_iOS

Google loves iOS, and they demonstrate this feeling making the best iOS apps available.

Actually they have more than 20 apps available for free [off course] on the App Store for the iPhone and a few less for the iPad, but those apps are not the kind of apps a company makes just to be on a platform, those are great apps. I won’t be too wrong if I say Google has the best iOS developer team available on the market, maybe at the same level Apple has, and they also keep it growing and growing by adding developers of some of the best iOS and web apps available to it. Here’s a few examples:

  • Sparrow iOS email client, acquired by Google on July 20, 2012
  • Meebo instant messaging web app, acquired by Google on June 4, 2012
  • Waze GPS navigation app, also acquired by Google on June 11, 2013

Those are only a few of the acquisitions made by Google to increase their potential and knowledge over the iOS platform. You can easily see the results of this using Google+, Hangouts and Google Maps apps. They are great, won’t crash, have fluent and consistent animations and nice and seamless integration with the OS, try by yourself if you don’t believe me.

Obviously there’s a reason behind.

Google+_iOSGoogle’s objective is to develop an iOS ecosystem inside the OS by making each app able to communicate with the others. For example if you have the Gmail app installed in your device and you also have Google Chrome and/or Google Maps, Gmail will open web links with Chrome and addresses with Google Maps, instead of using Apple’s Safari and/or stock Maps app. But that’s only a part of the story, in fact they want to make better counterparts of the Apple stocks apps so you won’t use Apple’s, in other words, they want to keep you in their ecosystem. Why? Because Google is an advertising company and they need to sell ads to make money, if you use their mobile app you’ll likely end using their web counterparts and that means more possibility for you to see their ads, that’s why.

Google_iOSAnd they’re doing a great job to make that happen since nearly all Google’s counterparts are better than Apple’s stock app, and not only for me but for many other websites. If you use Gmail address, for example, it’s impossible to receive push notifications unless you use Google’s Gmail app, if you want precise turn-by-turn directions on your iPhone you can’t use Apple maps since their inaccurate compared to Google Maps or Waze [Waze = Google, so…], and what about YouTube? Same story.

An other important thing that confirms what I have said is that Google does not give the same level of attention and quality standards to their Android apps. If you have both Android and iOS you’ll agree with me when I say that, sincerely, Google Maps on Android sucks and the Google+ app is the same. No matter what device you have, from the high-end to the 50$ Android smartphone, both of those apps are more sluggish compared to the slowest iPhone ever made. Also the iOS ones gets new features way before Android’s and they’re updated more often too.

iPhone is too mainstream

Note to readers: I am not a hipster 😬.

By November 2013 over 421 million iPhones have been sold, with that number we can’t be wrong saying that nowadays the iPhone is in the hand of nearly everyone who have a smartphone and that’s a lot of [different] people. From the geek boy to the old woman, from the school girl to her grandma, they all have the same device. And they all keep downloading apps. In fact by October 2013 Apple announced that more than 60 billion total apps have been downloaded and there are more then 1 million different apps are in the App Store.

With so many apps we can easily imagine that while some of them are crafted with quality in mind, the majority are not. Before it wasn’t like this. I owned every single iPhone model since the original iPhone back in 2007, and I can easily remember how different the App Store was at the beginning. There were way less apps and it wasn’t full of stupid apps and games like today, and do you know what the reason of this “change in quality standards” is? People.

The biggest problem is that the most of users doesn’t even know what a quality iOS app looks like, and, since most of the people download pointless apps those are the results:

iTunes_Top_Paid

Seriously. How can an app like Pou be at the top positions of the most selled paid apps?.

We all know the only way iOS users can run third-party software on their devices is by using the App Store to search and download them, they can’t use any other store or website to do that, unlike Android. Also the App Store is totally under Apple’s control and for this reason it’s a completely closed environment, because they can decide which apps iOS devices can run or not and they can even pull them without any notice. Sure, this is made for security reasons and/or to defend already present apps from clones, but this behavior has a big downside in my opinion and I call it “software saturation“. With this term I mean that there are too many apps users can search for.

On the App Store those are confirmed facts:

  1. The most downloaded apps are the one that are more present on the top charts since they have more visibility over the others.
  2. Searching for apps doesn’t work anymore, there’s too of them.
    People doesn’t search anymore they simply download the most famous apps they find on the top 250 chart.

Mac_App_Store

On the other hand OS X, Windows and Linux [even if they now have their own stores] have an open environment  and anyone can write their own softwareIn fact, if you’re like me when you need a new software for OS X, Windows or Linux you simply search it on Google or any other search engine and then you pick the perfect one for you needs from a majority of similar apps, simple as that, no “App Store” needed. In this situation, with no “charts” or “top downloaded apps” anyone can have the visibility they deserve for their work and, even if there are tons of similar apps no one gets unnoticed [if the software is well made off course] and for this reason there are no conditioning.

3 apps I use most on my iPhone: Reeder, Camera+ and Clear

ReederI use Reeder all the time during my day. Really, I think I open it like 10 or 15 times on a daily basis I just can’t get enough of it. Developed by Silvio Rizzi, Reeder priced at the premium price of 4.99$ [which is a little pricy for an iOS app, I know] is the best RSS reader available on the iOS platform, you simply won’t find another one like Reader. Since I am RSS addicted I’ve tried several apps but no one will be great ad Reeder. Why? Because it’s super easy and fast to use, it support all the most famous RSS service out there like Feedly [the successor of Google Reader], Feedbin, Feed Wrangler and others, it has simple gestures, nice animations and it support [thanks-God-it-exists] Readability. If you use RSS and you haven’t found a good RSS app try this one, worth every cent.
If you don’t know what a RSS feed is check this and this [a bit old video about RSS but it’s still great].

Camera+The second app I use most is Camera+, by tap tap tap. Camera+, priced at 1.99$ [but they often sell it for .99$] was one of the first apps to show up one the App Store and update after update [I think they updated it like 20 times or so] it has become the best camera app for iOS devices. You could say:”Well, I already have the standard Apple’s camera app why should I download another camera app?” Because it offers tons of features compared to the stock iOS app like 15+ filters, volume shutter, an integrated “Laboratory” where you can edit photos you’ve taken and generally a better overall experience compared to the stock one. Just think that Apple “stole” some of the features from Camera+ in iOS 6 and the newly released iOS 7 like filters and the volume shutter originally present on Camera+!.

ClearThe last app I use most on my iPhone is Clear by Realmac Software. It’s a really simple to-do app completely based on gestures which can help you remember your thing to do. It’s a simpler app compared to the many other to-do and productivity apps available on the App Store and I prefer it for this very aspect, in fact I think that those type of app must be as-simple-as possible in order to keep you focused on your things instead of the application itself. Your to-dos can be stored on iCloud so you won’t never loose them accidentally and will synced across all your devices like your iPad or even your Mac since there’s a OS X version available on the Mac App Store.
Soon it will be free so make sure you download it during that period of time.