App of the Week: My Top Ten Most Used Apps

Almost five years ago, I was talking to a friend who had an iPhone. I swore up and down that after a failed BlackBerry experience in the mid-'90s, I had zero interest in another so-called smart phone. My friend said it would change my life if I got one. I was already a Mac user, so I figured if I were to purchase a smart phone, it would be of the iPhone variety. It's now four-plus years later, and my friend was right.

In some ways, it has revolutionized how I live my life. In others, it's created yet another time suck. But this technological Swiss Army knife has most certainly connected me in ways I never thought possible, for better and worse, and a big part of that is the apps that iPhone owners can purchase by the thousands. I have quite a few and figured it might be a good idea to list the ones I use the most.

This is not necessarily a list of my favorites, though all of these would rank pretty high if I made one. This also does not include any apps that cannot be removed from the phone (with one notable exception). I used the Mail and Message apps constantly, but those seem like a given.

I'd love to hear your most used. Drop them in the comments.

10. IMDb I'm a fan of connecting the dots, whether it be musicians who played on various albums or actors in film, so, naturally, I use IMDb liberally. As it has improved -- particularly in the ability to find television episodes by season -- I've used it more and more.

9. Yahoo! Sportacular

This is my favorite sports app and widely considered one of if not the best out there. Yahoo! has completely reinvented itself, going from being bitch-slapped in the search engine game by Google to one of the more well respected news outlets online, particularly in sports. There are a few interface changes I'd still like to see, but for pure get-the-stats-and-scores immediacy, there is no better app.

8. Shazam Shazam is like magic to me. For most of my life, when I heard a song, I had virtually no way of finding out who it was. Now I hold my phone up to a speaker and Shazam tells me not only who it is, but the name of the song and the album it came from. Another click or two and I've downloaded it. If this were shown to someone in the '70s, they would think it was alien technology.

7. Evernote If I were compiling a list of apps most used on my desktop computer, Evernote might be number one. On the phone, it is insanely usable and literally keeps my entire schedule organized. Ten years ago, my version of Evernote was Post-it notes on my computer monitor. Today I carry all my lists around in my pocket. 6. Google Maps This is the one app that comes standard and rightfully so. In the same way Shazam makes it feel like we are truly living in the future, imagine being told 30 years ago you could carry around a detailed map of the entire world on a machine the size of a deck of cards. That's how incredible it is.

5. Google Chrome

I started with Safari and moved on to the wonderful, if a bit convoluted, iCab, but I have settled in with Chrome. It is my desktop browser as well, making the connection between the two seamlessly functional. It loads quickly, looks great and instantly updates bookmarks across my platforms. I have no need for any other browsers.

4. Weatherbug I've said for a while now that this is my weather app of choice and it remains so. It is fast loading, detailed and easy to use. Plus, it sticks with what it does best. It doesn't try to include every little thing -- like hurricanes, for example -- but does what it is designed to do well, the mark of a great app. 3. Instagram Like the iPhone, it took me awhile to come around to Instagram, but now that I have, I really do enjoy the filters and the ease of posting images both to its social network and to others. As a photographer, I find it to be a pretty creative tool even if it is "just a toy," as some would have you believe. It doesn't make you a photographer, but anything that teaches people creativity is fine by me.

2. Facebook This app is such a piece of crap, but it is the ONLY piece of crap that allows quality access to the social media monolith that is Facebook. Mobile has clearly never been a substantial priority for Zuckerberg Inc., but when you need to like someone's inspirational photo of a sunset, you don't have much choice.

1. Echofon I'm a Twitter junkie. I have been since it started. Maybe I'm better with 140 characters than I am with paragraphs -- let's hope not -- but I just enjoy the back and forth of the medium and there's no better way to access it than through Echofon.

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