After Twitter acquired Tweetie, it was easy to think that the need for a third-party iPhone Twitter client largely disappeared.
When Tweetbot came out in April, it proved that even the most crowded markets can still find room for a great app. Tweetbot quickly started to rival the official app in terms of beauty, ease of use and features. With a customizable shortcut bar as well as advanced gesture support, Tweetbot is an all-around great Twitter client.
Twitter revamped its official app earlier this month and Tweetbot became a saving grace for users who hate the new app and want faster access to the features they like most.
2. HBO Go
With HBO Go, the premium cable network showed everyone how a TV Everywhere type of solution could actually work.
HBO subscribers login to the app using their cable or satellite credentials and instantly get access to hundreds of movies and the majority of HBO's back catalog of award-winning television shows. From The Sopranos to Boardwalk Empire to Oz, it's all there.
When the app was first release for iOS and Android, only a few cable and satellite companies would allow their customers to access the app. Six months later,Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have agreed to support the service, which means that 95% of HBO subscribers nationwide have support for the app.
If Boggle, Scrabble and Hangman had a baby, the end result might come close to being as good as W.E.L.D.E.R., a word game lover's delight for iPad and iPhone.
W.E.L.D.E.R. has a simple premise: Build words by swapping letters across a grid. Run out of swap and the game is over. It's an incredibly addictive game -- one I've wasted many hours on since its release this fall -- and an instant-classic.
If you like word games, W.E.L.D.E.R. will make you smile.
4. Super 8
When Paramount released a tie-in app for its film Super 8, it would have been easy to just phone it in and offer the standard mobile microsite with clips, trailers and trivia.
Instead, Bad Robot and QMx Interactive decided to do something special: Create a tie-in app that would be just as amazing if it wasn't a movie tie-in.
Super 8 turns your iPhone into a Super 8mm camera. You can control grain and picture effects, store and play back your movies and even upload directly to YouTube and share on Facebook and Twitter.
Bad Robot has followed up on Super 8 with the excellent Action Movie FX.
It's hard to believe that Grand Theft Auto 3 is ten years old. Ten years later, the game looks better than ever -- thanks to the work Rockstar Games put into porting the game to the iPhone and iPad.
Everything from the PS2 classic is here. Even if you've been to Liberty City in the past, it's worth a revisit on the iPhone or iPad.
Songza's iPhone app was a real standout in a year full of great music apps. The app, which basically lets you browse a seemingly-endless mix of themed and curated mixtapes, is a fantastic way to discover new artists or listen to music for any occasion.
I frequently wish I could somehow fuse my Spotify and Songza accounts into one super account. Increasingly, I find myself listening to mixes and playlists I discover in Songza more than any other mobile music app.
When the iPhone 4S was released with powerful new graphics capabilities, the first game to really show off the new glory wasInfinity Blade 2
Not only is the game gorgeous to look at, it's a blast to play. Games like Infinity Blade 2and RAGE HD have shown that iOS can be a formidable contender to other mobile gaming platforms.
Sure, iOS5 lets you download podcasts within the iTunes app, but the experience really isn't anything special and you can't subscribe without using iTunes for Mac or PC. Moreover, browsing and finding new podcasts can be cumbersome.
Enter Instacast, an app built from the ground up to deliver an excellent experience to audio and video podcast fans.
The app can sync with Dropbox or iCloud, can subscribe to new feeds from URL or by browsing your music library for podcasts you might already have from iTunes.
Mixel is an ingenious iPad app that allows users to create digital collages out of their photos or photos found on the web and remix the collages of others.
Think about art class in elementary school -- cutting up magazines and putting together fascinating vignettes. That's what can happen with Mixel, except it's on the iPad.
The most compelling part of Mixel is the way it intuitively uses social. If you discover a Mixel that someone else has made, you can follow that person's work and also take elements that they used int their Mixel in one of your own works-in- progress.
10. AirPort Utility
Apple released a bunch of new apps alongside iOS 5 this October, includingAirPort Utility, a free app that allows users to manage their AirPort Extreme or Express from an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
The app solves my only complaint about the AirPort Extreme (which remains the best router I've ever owned): No remote access on a mobile device. Now, you can restart the device, change passwords, check on other connected units from an iPhone or iPad. You can even set up a brand new AirPort Extreme from an iPhone or iPad, as I found out over Thanksgiving break.