Savannah Mul – Opinions Editor –
Apple brought applications, more commonly referred to as apps, to us along with the first touch screen phone, the iPhone. Apple started the leap into the app world that exists today and which has now spawned into a worldwide phenomenon that leaves me wondering from time to time, “Oh, is there an app for that?”
In terms of helpful apps that are worth the money—or even better if they’re free—the ones that will help you along in school, as well as life situations, are worth the download. iTunes U is a free app that offers lectures from leading universities throughout the world. iTunes U allows you the insight to be a part of lectures and the opportunity to learn because the professors will post readings and assignments tied to their lectures.
Being a journalism student, that subject was the first one I browsed when I initially downloaded iTunes U to my phone. First, I was curious to see what other professors were teaching about journalism, and the fact is that this app is good when you wish you had the extra time to take a class. If you don’t have time to fit a foreign language class into your schedule, no worries; search languages on iTunes U and pick the course description you like the best and would learn the most from.
The app technology has made it even easier to learn and share. Blogging, for example, has become more popular, and thanks to technology, it’s easy to blog right from your smart phone. I’ve been doing it since I got an iPhone. The apps even give you an option to connect posts from an Instagram account to your Tumblr or WordPress.
WordPress is another successful blog site that has an app available for free on the iTunes store. I haven’t played with this app very much yet but feel that it’ll be a successful one to have, especially since some courses use blog sites for classroom purposes.
Along with blog apps, there are many in addition to that to use for note taking. First off, the iPhone already comes with a note app built in. But, if you want to experiment with other note apps, try, N+ote. It’s a good app to organize notes from school or some ideas you’ll come back to at another time.
Dictionary.com also is a free app that is a good resource to include within your smart phone data. Now it seems Words with Friends has lost its zest in recent months, but this app is still a good way to test your vocabulary and get your mind wrapped around words.
New York Times also has a free app called NY Times Crossword. This app gives the public free access to the exact puzzles that are published in the daily New York Times paper. Test the problem solving part of your brain with this app when you have five minutes to spend waiting for your next class to start. Solving the crosswords will get your brain moving—something most students need before heading into an hour-long lecture class.
Now for some fun photography apps that can transform iPhone pictures into HD camera-quality shots—check out Dynamic Light. Given a picture with cloud definitions and contrasting colors existing in it, this app will create texture within your photographs giving them that extra pop.
Next is Instagram, briefly mentioned above. To relate to Holden Caulfield from “Catcher in the Rye,” this is the phoniest of all apps. Instagram gave the opportunity to be an artistically talented photographer to those who know that they don’t have a creative bone in their body. Instagram is based solely on filters, the most boring photography app of them all. Call me a hypocrite because I use it and connect my posts to my Tumblr from it, but people have to see past the fakeness the app creates. Plus, most of the time the hashtags and pictures typically feature food, self-portraits, sunrises and sunsets.
Not all apps are a waste of time; hopefully this small collection and head start into the app universe will help you make the most of your smart phone. They are called smart phones for a reason so why not use them to their fullest potential.