With the recent addition of Apple’s “Gift This App” function to the iTunes store, never has there been a better time to start giving your friends the gift of app. Of course, sifting through them to find the perfect app can be a major chore. To help, I’ve included some of the top apps I’ve used over the past year. The top five are my most favorite and the rest are all honorable mentions.
Pigeon Squadron Rated 9+
With more than a half a million people already addicted to this outrageously fun, comedic version of Alfred Hitcock’s The Birds, this is a must-have and will probably account for most of your holiday app fun. Download for $.99.
Auto-Tune Christmas Rated 4+
It doesn’t get any better than Karaoke for the holidays. This app lets you record yourself singing along to one of 12 Christmas songs, auto-tune your voice, and share your recordings with friends. Oh no, my friends might just get a little present from me. Download for free.
Runmeter Rated 4+
Undoubtedly, most of us are going to gain a few pounds from Grandma’s delicious cooking and Uncle Eddie’s delicious eggnog concoction. Luckily, this app helps get you back into shape after the holidays by tracking the miles (or feet) you’ve run. You can even synchronize workouts to your iPhone/iCal calendar. Download for $4.99.
David Busch’s Canon EOS Rebel T2i/550D Companion App Rated 4+
As a professional photographer, I’m always looking for ways to improve my knowledge of my camera. I found this app to be very useful, especially since I have the T2i. It is very user-friendly and laid out extremely well; navigation is a snap. It is a must-have for any T2i owner. Download for $14.99.
Hugh Johnson’s new Wine Guide 2011 Rated 17+
What are holidays without some form of an adult beverage? Ease into the holidays at the in-laws by searching for a good bottle of “I hope this year’s holiday party is better” with this app by Hugh Johnson. Download for $7.99.
Contracts Rated 4+
A lot of us entrepreneurs are always on the go, especially around the holidays, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get work done while in transit. This app allows quick and easy signing of model releases, non-disclosure, photo permission, general release, bill of sale, etc. Create, sign and email contracts all from your iPhone. Now that’s what I call a working holiday. Download for $4.99.
Kingdom of the Blue Whale HD Rated 4+
As usage of credit cards skyrockets around this time of the year, there’s no better time to download this app that helps you become debt-free. It uses an idea called “a debt snowball” in which it shows you how to systematically pay down debts, usually by paying the minimum to all debts except one—effectively, giving you instant results and motivation to pay down the rest. Download for $2.99.
iHateIt Personal Disapproval Assistant Rated 9+
Get a bad gift in holidays past? Well, this year if Santa brings a lump of coal, whip out this snarky soundboard app and quip “I hate it,” “Not Good,” or “Barf.” Use wisely when getting a gift from a loved one or next year might not be filled with joy. Download for $1.99.
StreetSpark Rated 17+
Hoping to meet that special someone for the holidays? You’re in luck. This app helps singles connect with the right person by tapping into your social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare and then matches you to other app users based on common interests and recent shared activities. Download for free.
Love It or Lose It Rated 9+
The holidays are full of ugly sweaters, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With this app, you can avoid a fashion faux pas by getting a second opinion. Using the app, simply take a photo of your outfit in question, send it out to your “community” of close friends, and wait to hear back. Download for $.99.
WrapItApp Rated 4+
Who likes wrapping presents? Not me. But now there’s an app for that. Well, it doesn’t wrap the gift for you, but it does give helpful tips such as using the correct amount of wrapping paper, making a three loop bow and familiarizing yourself with box sizes and paper needs. Download for $1.99.
Awkward Christmas Photo Both Rated 4+
Be the hit of the holiday party with this mobile photo booth with hilarious posed characters. It might be difficult to get your phone back if you do though. Download for $.99.
Power.ME Rated 4+
Who says you can’t be productive around the holidays? With this app, you can get organized with projects and folders by categorizing them by who is involved and completion date. It’s great for adding tasks, keeping notes, drawing sketches, and storing and managing documents. Download for $29.99.
AllHours Rated 4+
Ever get confused about time zones? You’re not alone. This app helps coordinate with others across time zone differences for virtual meetings or friends and family time. After finding the perfect time, it takes two taps to either send the chosen time out in an e-mail or upload to your Google Calendar. Download for $.99.
Pay Off Debt Rated 4+
The holidays are full of ugly sweaters, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With this app, you can avoid a fashion faux pas by getting a second opinion. Using the app, simply take a photo of your outfit in question, send it out to your “community” of close friends, and wait to hear back. A very important app. Download for $2.99.
DoInk Vector Animator Rated 4+
With easy-to-use vector drawing tools, flipbook-style animating, graduate key framing, motion path creating, and easy integration with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and email, this animator is very robust. Download for $4.99.
Photobucket Rated 4+
Fans of the very popular photo sharing/storing site can now take it with them on their iPhone. So all of those joyful pics you take by the fire with the family can be uploaded directly to your online albums as well as shared instantly on your social networks. Download for free.
mtrip Rated 12+
iTriage Rated 17+
Unfortunately, the holidays are one of the biggest times of year for health issues. Whether it’s in-law-related or just a flu bug going around, I’m not sure, but this app provides information on thousands of symptoms, diseases, and medical procedures for worry-free holidays. Download for free.
Awareness Rated 12+
Who hasn’t experienced a little bit of holiday stress? This new app offers a personalized, interactive experience designed to reduce stress by collecting information about what you’re doing and feeling at the moment, then guiding you through a brief visual exercise to become more aware and present. Finally, an app to take your mind off the fact you’re at the in-laws’ house. Download for $3.99.
Peel Rated 4+
This is a very useful all-in-one TV guide, organized by shows and your preferences rather than a long list of content you don’t watch. Peel announced that its universal control will be available soon. Download for free.
PicDial Rated 9+
Enrich your contacts with their Facebook or MySpace mugshot with this app. It automatically keeps your contacts’ social networking information current, allowing their most recent profile pictures and status messages to be displayed on both incoming and outgoing calls. Download for free.
MO-Call3G Rated 4+
Taking advantage of Wi-Fi or 3G, this app is great for cheap VOIP international calls and SMS for fairly low rates. It also features a Callback Mode that enables calls over an Edge/GPRS connection. Download for free.
Thin-Cam Rated 4+
With this app, you can take a photo of your food, catalogue it, and keep track of those darned calories. Then submit to a Thin-site nutritionist for a “Thinalysis” of your eats and how you can cut back so you start off the New Year with professional advice and a diet plan. Download for $.99.
Trapster Rated 4+
Speed traps around the holidays are inevitable. While I encourage everyone to travel safely, I also want everyone to know where the speed traps are located. With more than nine million users worldwide, this app alerts drives to speed traps, enforcement cameras, and other wallet hazards. Download for free.
Aria Rated 12+
Spending your holidays on the Las Vegas Strip? Be sure to check out some of the location-specific apps like Aria, which serves as an interactive concierge for on-the-go access to news, directions, tickets, weather, and special offers. Heck, even if you’re not going, check it out to see what you’re missing. Download for free.
Barcode Hero Rated 9+
With this app, parents might want to put a protection plan on their phone because the kiddies can use it to create their Santa Claus wish list. The best part about it is they can personalize it with a personal photo and email it directly to Santa and his elves. Download for free.
Oscar’s Rated 4+
What better way to spend the holidays then helping your children learn with an educational app? Developed by parents and educators to ensure high learning standards, these apps are still fun for children like. Download for $.99.
Scene it? 30 Rock Rated 12+
What’s Lemon’s first name? Ok, Liz and that was an easy one. Get this app to answer trivia about the shenanigans going on over at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with puzzles like “What the What?” and “Mind Grapes.” Download for $1.99.
Unlikely Suspects Rated 12+
Who committed the crime this time? Cuddle up to the holiday fire, put your Dr. Watson glasses on, and track 16 criminals across the globe in this very addictive whodunit app. Download for $9.99.
Big Fork Little Fork Rated 4+
For those looking for a family-friendly app, look no further. Kraft Foods and Chef Marcus Samuelsson teamed up to create a cooking guide and recipe collection that features globally-inspired cooking content that lets parents virtually bring Samuelsson home for mealtime ideas. Includes video recipes as well. Download for free.
Flying Poodles: A Christmas Story Rated 4+
Inspired by the poodles (yes, poodles) who ran the Iditarod from 1988-91, and all the poodles author Karen Morss has loved, this kids’ book is perfectly written for a nice fireside story time with the kiddies. Download for $1.99.
AlphaBELCH Rated 4+
What every kid needs this holiday is a belching alphabet. The ingenious idea of author Stephen White, this app will have kids singing their ABC’s in no time, albeit in a slightly funny way. Download for $.99.
OTHER MOBILE PLATFORMS
Built for the Windows Phone 7 platform, this app gives you a “this day in history”-style immersive experience on historical points of interest, landmarks, events, national parks, and monuments that are near your location. Coming to iPhone and Android soon. Download for $2.99.
Type a note on your Android touch screen as easily as jotting it down on a notepad. Even easier, instead of actually typing, you draw graffiti strokes with your finger to quickly enter text. It also features built-in word suggestions. Download for free.
Thanks to this app you can beam media content from your Droid to any Web-connected device in your home, without wires or additional gadgets. Makes it easy to watch Dance Revolution on the big screen. Download for free.