Apps are one of the fastest-growing markets for technology. With so many mobile devices—from smartphones to tablets—available to consumers, having an app for ease of use is practically required (for some devices, they are required). According to statista.com, both the Apple App Store and Google Play each have 1.4 million apps currently available for download, and approximately 60,000 new apps are launched every month. In this column, we feature some of the latest and most useful apps that will help you with your business, streamline a process, or generally make your life a little easier.
Available: iOS, A
Here’s an app that’s near and dear to the hearts of the CD editorial team. How you write speaks volumes about you, whether it’s ad copy, a press release, an email, or a Facebook post. Typos and grammatical errors may seem like no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but if they’re seen by your client base, you can be sure that you’re being judged about your attention to detail (or lack thereof). Grammarly is an easy-to-install app that provides you with a new virtual keyboard and editing software that will finally give you the confidence to delete that “Writing from my mobile device, please excuse any typos” caveat from your cellphone (a toolbar can also be installed on your PC). Not only does Grammarly have superior grammar and spell check features, but its autocorrect option is vastly improved to what we’re used to; you know, the ones that misspell your friends’ and family’s names every time. Grammarly lets you know each time that it’s autocorrecting a word, and will help you spot those words before you hit “send.” What’s more, this app serves as a mini-English teacher, and can offer short explanations as to why it’s corrected your typing. With Grammarly, gone are the days where you’ll be fumbling over whether to type “their, there, or they’re.”
Caveat: Grammarly may take some users time to get into the habit of the new keyboard et al., but it’s worth it in the long run.
Available: iOS, A
Winding down after a long day can be hard to do, but in a 24/7 industry, it can seem virtually impossible. Calm is an app designed to introduce mindfulness and meditation into your life through a series of breathing exercises, guided meditations, relaxing music, and sleep stories. Recommended by top psychologists and mental health experts, Calm offers a simple way to reduce anxiety and stress without taking too much of your time.
Those new to meditation are sure to benefit from the app’s “7 Days of Calm” exercises, which requires only 10 minutes of your day. If meditation isn’t your bag, then you might prefer Calm’s breathing exercises, which you can do where- and whenever you’d like. Each of the app’s many mindfulness programs includes relaxing imagery and sounds that are sure to bring a little bit of, well, calm into your day.
Caveat: Many of the app’s more advanced features—such as the 10-minute “Daily Calm” meditation and “Sleep Stories” read by noted voice-over actors—cost money.
Available: iOS, $
Who would have imagined that one of the most acclaimed and popular apps to be released in the past year is an alarm clock? Well, Rise deserves the attention it has received due to its aesthetically pleasing design, ease of function, and cool features. While you may be perfectly content with the alarm that comes with your iPhone, you’ll certainly be impressed with Rise.
Setting an alarm clock has never been easier. With Rise’s simple interface, just hold your finger on the phone’s screen, and then scroll to pick the time. No fumbling with menus and pull-downs. What’s more, you get to choose the alarm you like. You can awaken to one of the included soothing sounds of nature or you can choose a song from your iTunes playlist. And, sleepy heads are sure to appreciate that the alarm sound fades in, rather than an abrupt cacophony that has you leaping from your mattress. Turning off the alarm—or hitting the snooze—is also simple: just grab your phone and give it a shake. If you’re a person who has difficulty getting to sleep (and the previous app isn’t for you), Rise offers a feature that lets you fall asleep to music or relaxing nature sounds. You’d think that it would be hard to improve on something as timeless as an alarm clock (pun intended), but Rise has delivered.
Caveat: Even though Rise costs $1.99, some features require further purchases.