City life has never been the same since the advent of the smartphone. Not only is there always something to stumble upon in London, but with the internet always at your mobile fingertips, you can seek out whatever you want to do, eat, or see, with multiple options.
Plenty of apps promise to “revolutionise your life,” or help make you money on the go, but if you’re a native Londoner or merely find yourself in the British capital, there are four specific apps that should be your go-to to make your daily life more pleasant, and getting around much easier.
It is no longer acceptable to not know what a podcast is. Whether you’re going through a wistful walk through the park, jogging around parliament, or enjoying some beans on toast, few things can enhance your experience like a nice story being told in your ear. Perfect for history buffs, comedy nerds, political junkies, business watchers, and well, anyone with literally any interest. Whatever you like, there’s a podcast for that.
Want to learn about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire? Want to listen to comedians interview Maria Bamford about her new Netflix pilot? Want to review every single James Bond movie? Want to hear a neurologist debunk the latest bad science reporting?
You can listen to podcasts natively through the iOS podcast app, however as a podcast addict myself, the current state of the iOS podcast app is a poorly designed and clunky abomination. Likewise, Android OS lets you download podcasts directly. However, Stitcher is the best solution to both OS’s over-design or lack of design. Stitcher will show you what podcasts you’ve played or only partially played, the dates each podcasts were released with a description, and by clicking on a link on a podcast, you can easily view the whole back catalogue of that podcast.
Find enough podcasts to your liking and your earholes will never be lonely again.
The most popular “smartphone-peeping” app there is, Periscope is an innovative way for individuals to use their smartphone cameras as an access point for anyone in the world to see. If you come across an unusually talented street performer or are momentarily backstage at a concert for a band your absent friend loves, you can set your Periscope channel to open, and everyone who chooses your channel is now right there with you.
Whereas too often we experience the world through our smartphone instead of enjoying it with the people we’re with, now you can bring people who aren’t with you, into the moment and let them experience your world through your smartphone.
With Periscope, when something wonderful happens you never have to experience it alone again.
We don’t read enough as a society anymore. I remember when electronic books were first emerging, and there was a significant outcry in the literary community about the allure of the printed page, the smell of an old book, and the tactile experience we all equate with a good book you just can’t put down. I was sympathetic to this argument, but it’s pretty clear now that despite the best tries of the luddites, electronics are here to stay.
The literary community has now realized that the only way they’re going to survive is by embracing the new paradigm as authors rush to publish their own books on Kindle, or major publishers themselves release digital versions of best-sellers almost the instant they go to print.
And the reason for the transition makes sense. You don’t want to have to lug around Moby Dick, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance in your satchel. Even better, with the Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet, you can read any trashy or nerdy novel to your heart’s content without feeling judged by onlookers! Plus, the new Kindle e-reader is rather nice.
Apple Maps has improved markedly since the time when it was synonymous with “thing that doesn’t work at all,” but both Apple and Google Maps lack the nitty-gritty travel and pricing details you can get with Citymapper. Award-winning and lauded with overwhelmingly positive user reviews, it’s more than just an app that maps out all public transportation and gives directions—tell Citymapper where you are and where you need to be and it will give you multiple options to compare: only tube, only bus, combination, by car, on foot, and by book. Google Maps does give you options for deciding your route, however Google Maps’ algorithm is (besides not being the best for tube delays) about the “one best route,” which is anathema to Londoners.