Top 3 iOS Apps: Fall 2012 Edition

CIO.com mobile-apps blogger James A. Martin shares the three best iOS apps he found during the past three months, including a valuable to-do app and an Office-compatible app that supports a key Microsoft Word feature.

Yesterday, I posted a list of my top three Android apps for the fall season. I selected the apps using the best artificial intelligence currently available to me: caffeine. Today, I’m here to report on the top iOS apps I reviewed over the past three months—iapps that help me stay productive, organized and...dry.

Office² HD

The world currently awaits native iOS Office apps from Microsoft, but there is no shortage of Office-compatible apps from third parties. My current favorite is Office² HD ($8) for the iPad.

Remarkably, this is the only iOS app I’ve found that supports Word’s Track Changes feature, which is essential in my line of work. Office² HD also has other useful features that make the lack of native Microsoft Office apps less painful, including the ability to freeze spreadsheet panes, undo up to 10 previous edits and use password-protected .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx files. You have to buy the iPhone/iPod touch Office² app ($6) separately, and the PowerPoint features aren’t exactly robust in either app. But both criticisms are par for the course among other Office-compatible apps.

Office2 HD iPad

Things

For several years, Things was my favorite iOS task/to-do list organizer, especially the iPad version ($20). (The iPhone/iPod touch app is $10, and the Mac software is $50.) It’s a full-featured app that makes it easy to create and organize projects, tasks and reminders. But in the past, you could only sync tasks between devices and computers if all were on the same Wi-Fi network. And you had to sync each device one at a time. This practically guaranteed that Things on my iPad, iPhone and Mac weren’t in sync.

Recently, however, Things developer Cultured Code released a free cloud service for automatic syncing between devices. It was a big shift that put Things back on top among to-do organizers.

At $20, Things for iPad is pricey, and it'll cost you $80 to buy all three versions. If you’re not willing to fork over those funds, consider the free Any.DO or Clear ($2) apps.

Things screen shot

Weather HD 2

As a budding weather geek, I’ve not been content with the default iOS Weather app. Where are the 3D weather maps, wind speeds, humidity, wind chill factors and chances of precipitation? They’re in Weather HD 2, a $2 app designed for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPads.

A free version is also available. It includes ads and fewer features but could be a good way to try the app before you buy it.

One missing feature in the free app is MultiForecast, which collects data from Weather Underground, the default service, and optionally from AccuWeather (for an additional $1 yearly) or the European weather service MeteoGroup ($2 per year).

The app’s 3D weather maps are designed to quicken the weather geek’s pulse. On an interactive globe, you can view cloud coverings, current temps and precipitation for the cities you’re tracking. You can also view a live Twitter stream related to weather—which, not surprisingly, is usually useless.

Weather HD 2 is, to date, the coolest weather app I’ve tested, but there are others I like a lot too. (The Weather Channel’s free iPad app is definitely worth a download.)

Weather HD 2 screen shot iPad

Your iOS Favorites

What are the best iOS apps you've tried recently? Share your raves in the comments section below.

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