I rarely write publicly about apps I use on my iPhone and iPad, but there are a few I have been raving about with my colleagues and clients lately.
1. Sleep Cycle
This is a unique alarm clock that tracks my sleep quality. It uses the iPhone’s motion sensors to track whether I’m tossing and turning, or sleeping more soundly. But my favorite feature is the intelligent wake-up alarm that gently wakes me up when my sleep is shallower. How it works: say that I want my alarm to go off at 6:00am; sleep cycle will monitor my sleep “depth” for the 20 minutes (configurable) prior to 6am and awaken me when I’m almost awake anyway. The result: since starting to use Sleep Cycle three months ago, I have not been shocked out of a deep sleep by my alarm. Instead, I’m nudged awake and, as the first thing I experience during the day, it makes for a better day.
This is the navigation app that sort of “crowdsources” traffic conditions and hazards. Like Google Maps, it speaks turn by turn directions to my destination. But where it’s different: Waze is aware of the speeds of other drivers on my route, and if traffic suddenly slows (on the interstate as well as on city streets and country roads), Waze will navigate me around it.
Another cool feature: if there is a hazard ahead (accident, vehicle in road, vehicle on shoulder, debris), Waze will warn me with remarkable accuracy. How this works: as you are traveling your route, if you see one of these, two or three taps will mark the hazard and warn others behind you. When the hazard is gone, you just tap “not there” and drivers behind you won’t be warned.
Another nice feature for me is that the turn by turn directions can be transmitted via Bluetooth to my so-equipped motorcycle helmet, with my iPhone in my jacket pocket. I get turn by turn directions in audio only, and I can still find my way to a new client location in nice weather when I’m motorcycling.
Perfect for my business travel. I really don’t need to say any more.
4. Urban Spoon
As a frequent business traveler, I’m often trying new restaurants and looking for something new for internal or client dinners. You can filter by cuisine, distance, rating, cost, or just randomly select someplace nearby if you are feeling adventurous.