The Best Apps from 2015

Joel Howell

Article by Joel Howell Newsletter Editorial Board

Email: jwh3@mindspring.com
Posted March 31, 2016

2016 is well under way and with the many resolutions we swear we’ll stand by this time, efficiency and maximum output is always at the top of any legal professional’s list. 2015 gave us much in the way of apps and here are the best the year had to offer: (Except as noted, all apps are available for Android and Apple devices).

Microsoft Translator (free at www.itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-translator) is the app for you if you are or aspire to be an avid international traveler. Translation apps are much more accurate than they used to be. So when you ask for the location of the nearest restroom, you can accurately ask the question in the local language and be directed to the nearest restroom as opposed to the nearest noodle café.

Starbucks Mobile Ordering app (www.starbucks.com) is a must for anyone who loves Starbucks but hates waiting in line. This app allows the user to order and pay online. All that’s left is to walk in and grab your order!

The WifiMapper app (www.wifimapper.com) is free and allows users to save on their cellular data and locate the nearest free wifi instead. A word to the wise: while the wifi may be free and convenient, make sure you take precautionary steps to safeguard your personal information from hackers.

The free app, Find My Phone, allows users to track their misplaced and stolen smartphone or tablet. You can remotely lock and in worst-case scenarios, erase all information from your device.

HBO Now (www.order.hbonow.com) is $14.99 a month and streams the network’s original shows without having a cable connection. You can watch shows like Game of Thrones on almost any device at any time. It’s a television show junkie’s dream come true! They offer a 30 day free trial as well, which is icing on the cake!

The free Magnifying Glass with Light (www.play.google.com/store/apps) app allows users to view tiny objects and text. It works by using the camera on your smartphone. Many of the reviews rave about the app replacing the need for glasses. It helps with common everyday issues such as poor lighting and minute writing, preventing users from resorting to the deleterious habit of straining to read.

Pause (www. itunes.apple.com/us/app) calls itself the “mindfulness app”. It promises a “pause” from the hectic connection to the outside world that tablets and smartphones often deliver. Users aren’t shown texts, calls, or email feeds. Rather, they are prompted to swipe their fingertips across the screen for a physiological “rest and digest” response. This app will set you back $0.99.

OneShot (www.play.google.com/store/apps) allows you to send highlights of interesting findings to friends and family without the hassle of sending the entire document. Simply highlight the interesting quote or thought-provoking article, and the OneShot app will provide a link with just the highlighted screenshot. Users are then given the opportunity to send the link with an accompanying comment.

The popular Photoshop Fix app (www.itunes.apple.com/us/app) uses trusted Adobe Photoshop image editing software to retouch images before posting them to all of your favorite social media outlets. Photoshop Fix features some of the best features of Adobe Photoshop by allowing users to liquify, heal, smooth, and more! It’s free.

RetailMeNot (www.retailmenot.com/app) is a free money saving app that helps users find coupons and promo codes. The interface allows users to save coupons, while also giving them the opportunity to send to their friends.

For those of you who were lucky enough to get a new Apple product for the Holidays or you have an Apple product and haven’t updated it yet, below are some of the helpful features included with new iOS 9 update:

You can now maximize your work potential with the split screen feature available to iPads. This allows busy users to research online while streaming the game live. With multiple screens open, Apple users will be able to use applications like iChat and Safari at the same time.

iOS 9 update also includes what Apple calls a Proactive Assistant to accompany Siri as she assists you. Siri now anticipates your needs based on the time, location, and calendar schedule. Is it 10:00 A.M. and you are located outside your favorite coffee shop? Perhaps Siri can help you order your coffee online and you can avoid the morning rush. While this may sound like it can get annoying, Siri keeps track of how and when you use your phone. This avoids unnecessary prompting, and instead pulls the weather from your favorite app before you even attempt to do so.

The new Apple update also gives a much needed makeover to the seldom used Passbook app, which comes standard with all Apple devices. The old Passbook app stored concert ticket information, hotel reservations, flight information, and the like. The new Passbook app, called Wallet, does this and so much more. It has become a virtual wallet, allowing users to manage Apple Pay, which many stores now accept.

Questions or comments? Drop me an email: jwh3@mindspring.com