New tech means an ’appy new year

2013-01-13 10:00

Chat cheaply. Discover crazy recipes. Find new music. Become a professional photographer without a bulky camera. Or just hang out on your couch all year, phone in hand. Yolandi Groenewald explores some established and new smartphone apps we’ll be loving in 2013


Probably the world’s most popular photo-sharing app has inspired a whole new way of taking pictures.

New privacy settings have recently made it less desirable, but diehard fans will tell you it’s still one of the best ways to have fun with your phone. – Android, Apple

» Camera+

This nifty app will transform your iPhone into a single-lens reflex camera, giving you focus options and allowing you to take light readings with a simple tap.

It also features some interesting effects and filters. – Apple

» Adobe Express

Adobe Photoshop on your phone.

This is a powerful app to help you transform your shaky 3am photo of the bar into a work of art. – Android, Apple, BlackBerry

» Kinotopic

The latest craze in mobile photography is to create cinemagraphs – GIF animations with small elements that move while the rest of the picture stays static.

Practice makes perfect and Kinotopic gives you lots of scope to play. – Android, Apple

» Epicurious

Why consult a bulky recipe book when you can just whip out your phone and browse thousands of recipes to match your mood, the contents of your pantry or your special diet? – Android, Apple

» Flipboard

This is a beautiful app that organises all your favourite news websites, including your Twitter feeds, in a magazine-style layout.

Then you just flip, and get an excellent overview of what’s happening in the world that interests you.

Choose from topics, publications and even specific people on Twitter to customise your Flipboard experience. – Android, Apple

» Kindle

Want to read a book on your smartphone?

While a small mobile phone screen will never be able to replace the real McCoy, downloading the Kindle app and linking it with your real Kindle will give you the edge when you need to kill some time. – Android, Apple, BlackBerry, Windows

» BlackBerry Messenger

BBM killed the SMS in South Africa and continues to be the country’s benchmark chat program.

Along with data costs, this app is probably the reason so many people here will not part with the often-unreliable Canadian smartphone. – BlackBerry

» WhatsApp

The must-have chat app for all mobile devices, even the old “I’m-crashing-any-time-now” Nokias.

If you haven’t loaded WhatsApp onto your phone you might as well live in the Stone Age.

The group chats or broadcast messages can become a bit irritating, so use the mute settings liberally if you don’t want WhatsApp to rule your life. – Android, Apple, BlackBerry, Windows

» Skype

The big daddy of video and Voice Over Internet Protocols (VOIP) calls creates the mobile platform you need to chat to your buddy in China with clear video feed.

Just make sure you’ve got the bandwidth. – Android, Apple, Windows

» Jango

Imagine creating your own radio station, packed with the kind of music you love.

That’s Jango. Just type in the name of an artist you like, and the app creates your own personalised radio station, based on the original artist’s sound and genre. – Android, Apple, BlackBerry

» 8tracks

Throwing a party and looking for a playlist?

Wondering how to motivate yourself for a morning of housework or an afternoon run?

8tracks allows you to create playlists for any mood or event.

As with Jango, be very aware of your data plan – you’ll easily lose yourself in all the new music you discover. – Android, Apple, Windows

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