Author: Gary Willmann, Studio Designer

So here I am, 52 years old, a veteran of the old days, i.e., the predigital world…

I grew up in a cellphone-free world; our signal to be home was sunset after being gone all day without any communication whatsoever from anyone other than the one or two best buds you hung out with all the time. No Internet, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or texting. Our phones were mounted on the wall, and, if you were lucky, you had a long, curly cord so you could move across the house from one side of the room to the other.

Computers filled an entire room the size of your house. Then once there were personal computers, they performed at a snail’s pace, and, if you were lucky, you could get twice the information on a double-sided floppy disk. Video games consisted of Pong and a few shooting games.

You get the point…I’m the old fogey my kids laugh at.

My wife and I purchased our first cellphone – that we shared – in about 1995, well after most people had them and, more than likely, after we finally got to the point where we could afford one. I purchased my first iPhone in 2015, resisted it as long as humanly possible, but finally had to give in to keep up. I worked on a computer all day and just didn’t want to carry one around with me the rest of the time.

I’m not eaten up with everything digital, every new gadget, app, or gizmo that comes out. I don’t particularly keep up with emerging technology, but my eyes and ears are always open and I am willing to learn about it if it piques my interest. That said, I don’t know how anyone can keep up with all the digital innovations our world experiences on a daily basis. There is an app for absolutely anything you can imagine. I saw one just today that if you take a picture of a math problem, it will solve the problem for you and show you all the work it did to come to that solution. Where in the world was that when I was in high school?

Out of about two million apps available in Apple’s App Store, here are the 20 most popular in 2016. And after reading this list, there’s no wonder I only have a few on my phone…

Free Paid
Snapchat Heads Up!
Messenger Face Swap Live
Pokémon GO Minecraft: Pocket Edition
Instagram Facetune
Facebook KIMOJI
YouTube 7 Minute Workout Challenge
Google Maps Geometry Dash
Pandora Plague Inc.
Netflix Akinator the Genie
Spotify Music Bloons TD 5

At least I can say I have two of the top 10 free apps!

Earlier this year, Popular Mechanics listed 23 of the best iPhone apps of 2017 to download now. And while some of these still don’t appeal all that much to me, this list represents many more I might be interested in. Check them out!

Now after only a couple of years, I’ve started to become increasingly dependent on my iPhone for the very few apps I do have and use. Nothing earth-shattering here, but they have become daily staples for information.

Waze – GPS Navigation, Maps, and Real-Time Traffic

Being a commuter of over 50 miles round-trip to work, this is one I have grown to use and trust every day. Live traffic updates from users on the roads I am traveling, estimated time of arrival to my destination, alternate routes around accidents, and, most of all, locations of cops!

The Weather Channel

I’m a bit of a weather nerd, fascinated by Mother Nature. Being able to see current conditions and forecasts at the tip of my fingers is awesome.

HuntStand

I am an outdoorsman and avid hunter. A friend told me about this app several years ago, and I never had the need to use it. Now that I have it, it has become another tool in my arsenal.

Facebook

Love it or hate it, more people I know are on it than not. And while I enjoy keeping up with my friends, I’ve also started using it for its marketplace. There are some pretty good deals to be found.

These are just a small sample of what has made things easier and more accessible for the daily information I have become accustomed to. These tidbits of technology have made my life “easier,” if you will, by having that information instantly. They also serve as time killers when I’m sitting in a waiting room. I know there are thousands of apps out there that I might use and enjoy, but this “old fogey” has taken his first steps to embrace the ever-evolving digital world while just trying to keep up.

References

  1. Eadicicco, Lisa. “These Are the Most Popular iPhone Apps of 2016.” Time, December 6, 2106.
  2. Price, Emily, and Popular Mechanics Editors. “The 23 Best iPhone Apps to Download Now.” Popular Mechanics, May 31, 2017.