If you’re going to be buying (or receiving) a new iOS device over the holidays, you’re going to want to grab the hottest apps to see what the App Store has to offer. But with close to 750,000 apps available, it can be a bit daunting to figure out which ones to choose.
To get you started, I put together a list of apps that include both all-time hits and up-and-coming new software. Each of these is available for iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and give you a sampling of what your new iOS device can do.
There are a ton of photo-editing apps in the App Store with some made for social networks such as Instagram, and others that offer more features for tweaking your images. But in a sea of photo-editing apps, PhotoToaster is a great place to start.
PhotoToaster has long been a favorite of mine with easy-to-use basic editing tools, tons of effects you can preview by tapping your finger, and other handy tools to enhance parts of your images for the best look possible. When you’re finished tweaking your photo, you can save it, e-mail it, send it via text message or to one of many social networking sites, and even make it into a physical post card.
Angry Birds Star Wars
Angry Birds is easily the most popular game of all time on iOS devices and — once you play this cute and addictive sequel — you’ll immediately see why. The simple concept of flinging birds into structures and causing the most damage possible is easy to understand and enjoy whether you’re 8 years old or 80.
While an Angry Birds game might be an obvious choice for a list like this one, Angry Birds Star Wars really impressed me beyond what I thought it could using more than just a “Star Wars” backdrop. New “Star Wars”-themed bird types, music from the movies, and intricately designed levels make this game an excellent choice, even without the popular gaming franchise that came before it.
Like the Angry Birds games, Netflix has been available for a long time, but it’s simply way too good to pass up on a new iOS device.
While you only get the limited streaming library from Netflix, having instant access to TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more on your iOS device is amazingly useful. Whether you’re out and about, on a trip, or just want to catch a quick episode of your favorite show, Netflix streams are high definition and smooth for an enjoyable viewing experience.
While I have already included Netflix in this list, not everyone has a Netflix account. But this new movie-browsing app takes a different angle on movie viewing and discovery that covers most popular online services. Using a carousel-shaped interface, Fayve digs into the movie and TV show libraries of several services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, iTunes, and Redbox, and displays them so you can browse through everything from one app.
Aside from its easy browsing capabilities, Fayve also lets you view a show page for more information, giving you everything from actor bios to movie recommendations. If you want to see everything available to watch on online right now, this app is a great choice.
Google Search really needs no introduction, but the app for iOS devices has undergone several updates to make it one of the best available for search. Just like on a desktop computer, you’ll be able to enter search terms and use many of the Google apps on your touch screen, but a few mobile-specific features make this app even more useful.
A feature called Google Goggles gives you the power to take a picture of an object or just the bar code, then searches a vast database to give you options to purchase it on the Web or a nearby store. But a recently added feature lets you use your voice to search, and it churns out results even faster than Apple’s Siri. With an already proven search engine and added features for mobile, this app is extremely easy to recommend.
FIFA Soccer 13
Coming from a long line of console soccer games, FIFA Soccer has seen a number of improvements over the years to make it the best in the genre. But this “football” game is not just good — it might be the best all-around sports game for iOS ever.
Not only can you play as any of 500 fully licensed teams, with more than 15,000 players, across 30 leagues, the gameplay is silky smooth as you try to make a play for the goal. New skill moves in this latest version are much easier to pull off as you fight your way through difficult defenses in tournaments, championships, and other game modes. If you like soccer or really any team sports, this game is a must download.