Five Apps That Will Take Over 2013
If you own a smartphone, the first thing you probably noticed when you made the switch all those years ago is that you’d taken your first steps into a larger world. They are, after all, the pinnacle of communicative advancement and our gateway into a grander, interconnected world.
My first experience with an iPhone was reminiscent of the Kubrickian monkey/bone moment from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but instead of eventually jump-cutting myself to a tech-savvy satellite metaphor, it took me almost a year before I downloaded enough apps to warrant a second page. In 2009, it wasn’t that big of a deal. In 2013, it’s absurd.
Apps are the heart of the smartphone system, pumping in fresh content to appease our ever malnourished consciousness with new ways to use our glorified walkie-talkies. But in an age where a simple app can create a billion dollar company, there’s no denying their significance today.
Success, however, depends on the users. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are so popular because everyone you know uses them. Without your social circles, these apps would have faded faster than Kony 2012. So to help you sift through the mediocre fads clogging up app stores today, I’ve conducted a thorough investigation into the top five apps that will most likely take over 2013. The trick is they don’t reinvent the wheel — just the way you use it.
Pheed is a social media app that busted out the starting gates like a bat out of hell. After only six weeks, Pheed had reached the Top 10, and in February it was rocking the charts at number one. But while its thrusters have begun to run low on fuel, Pheed may continue to rock its competition because it’s so simple and universal.
Touted as “the evolution of Twitter,” Pheed combines everything you can do on various social networking apps and mashes it together into one app. You can write posts, share with friends, stream live events and post all manner of creative content, but the kicker is it lets you retain complete control of your content. Why does this matter? Because anyone can monazite their content for whomever/whatever they wish. A little sell-outy? Yes. A little opportunistic? Yes. A little genius? Yes.
Chances are by now you’ve heard of Snapchat, aka the perfect solution to sending moment-to-momet pics. For those of you still in the dark, Snapchat is an app that allows you to send pictures or videos for a 1 to 10 second duration to any user. After the recipient views the photo/video for your set amount of time, said photo/video is automatically deleted. Forever. Additionally, if you decide to sneak a screenshot of whatever beauty beholds you in those precious seconds, Snapchat will send a notification to the sender of your attempted sneakiness.
Snapchat is not only going to get bigger, it’s going to get more legitimate. What has started as a tool for libidinous teens is becoming much more popular as a goof-off tool among friends. Nobody is going to send an impromptu video of themselves lip-syncing to Brittany Spears unless they know it won’t be used for nefarious purposes later, so Snapchat eliminates the stigma. Also, a cute little ghost has something to do with it, so that must mean something completely platonic, too. Right?
Vine’s another app you’ve probably heard about by now, and like Snapchat, it’s only going to get bigger. Vine is used to post videos on Twitter, but the videos you post can only be up to six seconds. After that, the video loops until someone navigates away. On paper that sounds borderline useless, but then you remember that this is the internet, and a few seconds are all you need for internet gold.
Vine has all the markings of app success: it’s fun, it’s addictive, and it’s tied to Twitter. Twit pics lent themselves to the longevity of Twitter, and now Twitter will lend itself to the longevity of Vine. Get in line and swing away.
Like Vine, ShadowMe is an app that enhances how you use Twitter. Unlike Vine, ShadowMe doesn’t stop at surface level modifications. ShadowMe takes your twitter experience and splits into two halves. On the left is your normal timeline. On the right is somebody else’s.
ShadowMe offers users the option to experience Twitter through the eyes of someone else. You view their timeline right next to yours, following two twitter lives simultaneously while tweeting away on your own. If this isn’t your cuppa tea, ShadowMe let’s you “shadow” pre-made group feeds that are specifically set-up to follow certain topics or events. For example, if I chose to shadow a group for the NFL or Indie Films, I see the best feeds about all the top NFL news or indie films releases next to my timeline instead of cluttered inside it. It’s the slow-burning dark horse of this list, but only time will tell if it snowballs up with the leaders.
I couldn’t complete this list without at least one game, and the app most suited to take the thrown this year is Minecraft. Like the majority of these apps, this port of the PC/Xbox phenomenon didn’t get much traction until recently. Now in 2013, it’s number 2 of all top paid apps, a whole 8 places ahead of the nearest Angry Birds.
Minecraft is so simple, but so fun. You are a blocky man in a blocky world. You chop wood, mine stone and metals, build structures and take shelter from the foes who creep out at night. That’s about it. But there’s a special serenity about the whole undertaking that transcends any real reason you should be playing it, transforming the game into an experience beyond the genre. Minecraft has become such a cultural staple that its creator is currently second in Time Magazine’s people’s poll for most influential person of the year. If that doesn’t say it to you, I don’t know what will. Angry Birds be damned.