Five top business apps for the iPhone 5
The unveiling of the iPhone 5 last week looks like being another triumph for Apple, with a record two million handsets pre-ordered in the first 24 hours.
But with the device set to be unleashed on the Australian market tomorrow, the question for start-ups is not only whether it’s any good for business but whether it’s a serious upgrade on what’s already out there.
The experts have commended the light weight of the iPhone 5, as well as its enlarged screen. A new A6 processor chip improves processing times and graphics power, with battery life set to keep pace with the upgrade. SmartCompany has a good run-down of the features here.
If you do decide to plump for the iPhone 5, its use as an enterprise tool will be greatly enhanced if you also use the right apps.
Here are five of the best business-friendly apps that look set to shine on the iPhone 5. Click on the tabs below to see each app.
1. Onavo Extend
For many entrepreneurs, a smartphone is a one-stop device to access documents, photos, video and emails.
This can lead to a bit of a data log-jam, potentially costing you money in the process. Therefore, it’s worth opting to download Onavo Extend – especially as the app is only free for a limited time.
The app works diligently in the background to shrink down your data, letting you get up to five times more out of your data plan without altering the way you use your phone.
So, you can surf the web, share photos and so on for longer without breaking through your data limit. It has a data caching tool which compresses your data without knock-on impacts to the phone’s performance.
Helpfully, if you travel abroad, the app helps you stay within your roaming plan. It also provides you with an overview of exactly how much data it saves you. Very handy for data-hungry start-ups.
Apple’s voice-controlled assistant Siri appears here to stay, with the feature retained for the iPhone 5.
If you are unconvinced by Siri, but still want to issue voice commands to your iPhone, Vlingo is among the front runners you should be checking out.
The app contains an "intent engine" which works out what you are asking it to do and respond accordingly.
You can use the app to send texts, set reminders, find out the weather in another country, update your Facebook status – pretty much anything.
Vlingo, which was acquired by rival Nuance earlier this year, says that its system works better than Siri as it better understands slang, while others claim that Siri is preferable as it is more integrated.
Why not try out both to see which one works best for you.
Apple announced upgrades to a number of its apps to coincide with the iPhone 5 launch, primarily to make the most of its enlarged screen.
One app that entrepreneurs may be keen on is iPhoto, which allows you to browse, edit and share your photos.
Although the iPhone 5 has the same 8-Megapixel camera as its 4S predecessor, it has a new lense and low light functionality to take sharper pictures, making it a handy tool if you want to take pictures of products, people or other things that customers or clients may want to see and share.
The app allows you to edit pictures so you can remove blemishes and ‘red eye’, as well as change colour brightness and contrast. The system is well integrated with Facebook and Twitter and even allows you to create cards with photos within them.
4. iCC Pay
The rise in payments taken via mobile phone is big – and growing – business worldwide, as evidenced by the huge capital raise by US venture Square this week that values it at $3.25 billion.
iCC Pay is a little different from Square, which provides a device to sit on top of your smartphone that you can use to swipe customer credit cards.
By contrast, iCC Pay allows you to take funds via the screen through payment gateways SecurePay, eWAY and DPS PaymentExpress.
You then add the details of the card into the system or take a customer signature via the touch screen. iCC Pay says it is the first iPhone app to specifically support Australian payment gateways and the Australian dollar currency.
Plus, it recently dropped the app’s price from $43 to a smidge under $9.50.
According to the makers of TripIt, the app “drags travelling kicking and screaming into the 21st Century”, which will spark the interest of start-ups that spend a lot of time on the road (or in the air).
TripIt acts as a travel organiser that collects your electronic travel confirmations – from airlines, car rental companies and so on – and collates them in the one place.
The app rounds up all of the vital information to create short itineraries that you can view and share with others. It also adds in relevant details such as maps, weather, events and photos of your destination from Flickr.
Ultimately, this is a handy solution to the reams of pages of printed confirmations that often come with a business trip.