Top 5 iOS Apps I Can’t Live Without

High Fidelity

Why “Top 5 iOs Apps I Can’t Live Without” and not “Top 10 iOS Apps I Can’t Live Without”? 5 reasons.

  1. 10 is too many. You can always come up with 6 or 7, but more than that and you are padding.
  2. 5 forces you to think about it and actually leave one or two you really like off the list.
  3. Duh! All the lists in High Fidelity were Top 5.
  4. Actually, I can only think of 3 reasons.

So here are the five iOS apps that I use day in, day out, multiple times a day. 

Zite

Zite Top 5 iOS Apps I Cant Live Without

Zite is an iOS news reader that is described as an “intelligent magazine” and that is an apt description. When you first launch Zite it has you enter your interests. Then it presents you with a “magazine” of articles from the web that are representative of those interests. The app notes when you launch an article and read it. You can also indicate whether you like or dislike a particular article, author or topic. The result, within a short period of time of using it regularly, is a “magazine” containing dozens and dozens of articles in multiple topics that you are likely to enjoy. The more you use it and the more you utilize the like/dislike feature, the better the “magazine” becomes for you.  It comes with multiple pre-defined categories like Business, Movies, Apple News, Gadgets, Technology, Politics and many others. You can also add custom categories. Zite is absolutely an iOS app I use almost every day.

Dropbox

The bottom line is I couldn’t run my practice without Dropbox.  At least I don’t want to try. Dropbox allows me to sync my client and other files across multiple devices: my Macbook Pro, my iPad and my iPhone and my family iMac. Like my Mac, Dropbox just works. And for me that is high praise.

Fantastical

fantastical Top 5 iOS Apps I Cant Live Without

Fantastical is a recent addition.  A few months ago this certainly would not have been on my list. Before I tried Fantastical, I didn’t realize how irritating Apple’s Calendar could be.

Fantastical is a simple calendar iOS application that syncs with and usurps Calendar. It is available for both your Mac and your iPhone. It allows “natural language” entry of calendar items. For example, it understand that if I enter “Lunch next Tuesday with Sam” to set up an appointment on the appropriate date and time.  I can preset multiple default reminders. (When Apple introduced Mountain Lion it totally castrated the “snooze” feature on Calendar’s alerts to a single 15 minute snooze. Which does you no good if you want a reminder of something 10 days before an event so that you can start prepping for it. Apple screwed that one up and at least with Fantastical I can set multiple default alerts that can make for a work-around for the snooze feature.)

My only complaint about Fantastical is that it really doesn’t have an iPad app.  Oh sure, you can install it on the iPad, but what you get is a tiny iPhone sized application. Not what you really want on your iPad. But I use both the iPhone and Mac versions all day, every day.

Kindle

kindle Top 5 iOS Apps I Cant Live Without

A few years ago when I started on my paperless path, I realized that I needed to adopt paperless practices in my personal as well as professional life. One thing I realized I needed to do was find an alternative to traditional books. Books were taking over my house. I’m an avid reader. I am always reading something. The Kindle and iBook apps let me buy e-book versions of most new books. In fact, some books are now only available as e-books. These apps certainly help in lugging around whatever I’m reading. In the past I’d bring 2 or 3 books on a vacation. Lugging multiple books was always a pain.  With e-books, I can literally carry dozens of books with me. And my house no longer looks like a literary version of Hoarders.

Now why Kindle rather than iBook? A couple of reasons. One: Price. Kindle books are almost always less expensive than iBook versions. Two: Selection.  The selection on Amazon.com in Kindle books seems much more extensive than the iBook store. Three: Sharing. Amazon makes it possible for you to loan your Kindle e-books for short periods of time. It is also possible to simply download the e-book to multiple kindle devices or iPad Kindle apps using the same Amazon account. The logical use for this is sharing the books among family members. The sharing thing is something that Apple doesn’t do at all. At least I’ve never come across that option. For that reason, I find myself using Kindle more often than iBook.

Human Anatomy Atlas

Human Anatomy Atlas 300x114 Top 5 iOS Apps I Cant Live Without

I am a trial lawyer and I primarily represent plaintiffs in medical malpractice and medical product liability cases. Thus, I am always on the lookout for anything that will enhance my ability to educate myself and others with regard to anatomy issues. And the Human Anatomy Atlas, from Visible Body, is a great iOS app for this. It allows you to view all aspects of human anatomy, broken down by systems, such as digestive, circulatory, nervous, skeletal, muscular and others. And you can view the systems in conjunction with each other. It allows you to zoom and rotate, viewing the organ or structure from any angle. It also allows you to fade out other systems and highlight structures. It is a great tool.

I own several other anatomy apps and most limit themselves to a particular system. There are a couple that do a stellar job in displaying the skeletal system, something I find particularly useful in orthopedic malpractice cases. However, Human Anatomy Atlas brings them all together. It allows you to project to a a monitor or projector and you can e-mail yourself .pdfs to use as paper exhibits. This one app can easily replace hundreds of dollars worth of anatomy illustrations for a single trial. In the context of several trials, you’ll save thousands of dollars. One of the best apps for a frugal lawyer.

Instapaper

Instapaper Top 5 iOS Apps I Cant Live Without

I find the Instapaper service and its accompanying iPad and iPhone iOS apps to be invaluable in a paperless practice. Rather than printing off web pages and articles to read later, I simply utilize the Instapaper app.  A button or tab is added to your browser and if you click on it while in a web page that article or page is then saved to Instapaper for later viewing on your iPad. If you are like me you find multiple articles every day that you want or need to review. Rather than going down the rabbit hole that can end up with you having wasted several productive hours of your day surfing the internet, click on the article and review it later. Really valuable time saving application.

That’s my top five

Wait a minute, that was six! Did you ever notice in High Fidelity that the top five lists rarely actually contained five items? While staring at the camera reciting whatever important, angst-ridden list that was called for at that point in the script, Rob Gordon would be interrupted and the list would only contain 3 or 4 items. Other times he would go on and on, apparently unable to count to five. So my Top 5 list actually contains six. I could have edited out Dropbox because it is so ubiquitous, but it is ubiquitous for a reason.  Kind of like the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in a list of Top Five Songs about Death. Just can’t leave it out.

(image: http://mixtressrae.blogspot.com/2012/12/high-fidelity-2000.html)

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  • Darren Wells

    I know a lot of practices use the Dropbox app. and it definitely is a great tool. Ease of accessibility to files and documents can really improve productivity. Not to mention it is extremely convenient. With so many firms going green, it definitely cuts down on the printing of documents to take them on the road or to meetings. I haven’t tried Instapaper, but I’m always looking for new green-solutions so I’ll have to check it out!

    • http://www.hendricksonlaw.com Todd Hendrickson

      Instapaper is great. I find myself saving things to Instaper throughout the day and then I can catch up on those articles in the evening or on the weekend. Add the widget to Safari and its simple to save from your computer or your iPad.