While most of these are for personal productivity or fun, it will be interesting to watch in 2011 how these folks integrate design and engineering-related apps in their mix as well as enterprise deployment of apps. A simple search for "engineering" apps in Apple's App Store shows hundreds on the iPhone and over a 100 already on the iPad. 2010 saw some engineering discussion forums move into app form, such as WTWH Media's Engineering Exchange, as well as trade publications like Develop3D .
Here are some of the apps our pundits recommend:
Allan Behrens of Taxal noted that one of the most innovative apps he's seen is from UK retailer Tesco. It "tells you where a particular item is within a chosen store (3rd row, 2nd shelf ) – fascinating integration of back end systems."
Carl Fink of Lockheed Martin says he is more of a niche app junkie. He recommends Gas Cubby to track mileage, service and gas costs. For golf, Carl uses the Golfshot GPS app "which is really good for playing golf and tracking scores & stats." He recommends Flixster to get movie reviews and show times at local theaters. He also likes the SlingPlayer app. With a SlingBox at his house, his family can watch U.S. television anywhere. He also plans to use the Skype app more now that it has video call capability. For radio, Carli uses Pandora and Wunderradio. He also uses AppBox Pro - "a great app – over 30 apps in one."
Al Dean of Develop3D recommends Flipboard on the iPad. "It changes how you perceive the social streams you subscribe to... changes how updates and links are presented in a wonderful way...PC bound users don't engage massively with content, it's more laser guided. What the iPad has changed, albeit on a smaller scale, it how much people browse. Up 1000% more per visit in many cases."
Al likes the "simplicity and the raw unfiltered or segregated stream to read, peruse and learn from" apps like Tweetie and Twitter for iPad/iPhone." I love Twitter because it gives me two things. First is a way to find interesting people and interact with them and then - last year, as the previous, showed that interesting things happen when you interact and connect with people in real life. Completely changed the social dynamic." He also recommends Mail.app on OSX. "Basic mail tool, with integrated RSS reader. Love that you can promote RSS feeds individually into your inbox, so they show up as part of your inbox. That's specifically useful for keeping track of specific websites or tweet streams." He notes Josh's SolidSmack and Deelip's blogs are in there permanently. Last year Al blogged about design and engineering with the iPhone - see his post for more engineering focused apps.
To bring the discussion back to design and engineering, check out Chad Jackson's: What is the Killer App for the Modern Engineer?. Chad touches on mash-up technologies that could bring together the many enterprise systems an engineer touches, such as PLM, ERP , SRM and CRM.
Stay tuned for Part 3 for some predictions for this year.