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.

Why you should always restore your iDevice when installing a new iOS version

OTA_iOS_7

Admit it, when was the last time you restored your iDevice?. Do you remember? That weird process of plugging your device to your computer using a cable, launch iTunes and click restore? Well if you’re like 80 to 90% of the iOS users out there you never restored it and, trust me, it’s a bad thing [while for Apple that’s super great news to hear, instead].

It all begun with iOS 5, when Apple introduced a new feature to his mobile operative system: over-the-air updates.

AirPort_logoYou should already know what over-the-air updates [also know as OTA updates] are but in case you don’t it’s a feature that let’s you install new updates available for your OS literally “over the air”, meaning that you can download them using any network connection [Wi-Fi and 3G in the iOS case] and install them right in your device instead on needing a Mac or PC [like with iOS 4 and prior]. Sound like a great thing, uh? Well on paper it is but only if you use it wisely.

While OTA updates are a great thing for iOS users, especially for those who are not computer or tech experts, because it make them up to date with the latest iOS version available without even knowing, and for Apple too, since they can be sure nearly everyone has the latest and greatest iOS version on their device, it has a few downsides and the biggest it:

It makes your iDevice slower. Sad news to hear but that’s true [sadly].

Why? Because when you perform an OTA update the OS does not clean itself from old caches, temp files, obsolete settings, etc., generally it only replace old files with new ones without looking for any dependencies around. And that can make your system slower and cluttered [OTA] update after update. While this is not evident with small updates like iOS 7.0.6, which weights nearly 16 MB, things gets worst with enormous updates like iOS 7 was [around 700+ MB of flat greatness], especially with older devices like the iPhone 4.

Restore_iPhone

The only thing you can do to maintain your device as snappy as it was out of the box is to use that restore button when a major update comes out [like iOS 7.1]. Also, do not restore an older backup on to it after the restore process has done or the “restore magic” will be lost since the backup will bring back those cache and temp files right where they was, you can always restore your personal things with iCloud.

Recently the New York Times discovered this fact too:

When I called tech analysts, they said that the new operating system (iOS 7) being pushed out to existing users was making older models unbearably slow.

from “Cracking the Apple Trap
by Catherine Rampell

Remember: Apple wants you to buy a new device every year and OTA updates helps them with this process, who wants a slow device anyway?

So try it by yourself and restore your device! [instead of being lazy].

You [we] should stop thinking that iOS is a mobile OS, it is an OS like all the others like OS X and Windows are, and it has the same problems.

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.