Three Incredible Apps I take for Granted

This list is not exhaustive. I take just about all tech for granted about 3 months after it's released. I could list all of Google's apps/services here. Also, though two of the three listed here aren't just for iOS, but I'm mostly thinking about using the apps on an iPad as I write this.  What makes these apps incredible is not just their user friendly UI, but the service behind them. A well designed interface plus a well designed service equals an instant take-for-granted app.

1) Songza

Songza is what Pandora hopes to be someday. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Pandora in its day, but it'll need a ground-up re-code, and whatever the corporate equivalent of soul searching is, before it'll compete with the usefulness of Songza. In addition to the context/daypart music concierge, one of the best parts of Songza is that little "HQ" button next to the volume control. Touching this is the 21st century version of sliding the "bass boost" switch on my late '90s CD player. It uses tech from Audyssey to re-shape the audio for specific headphone brand/model, presumably to make the audio sound more like the original producer's intent, compensating for specific headphones' idiosyncrasies.

2) Garageband

Garageband is just for iOS. This is the app that sold me on the iPad. In fact, if all the iPad  could do was Garageband, it would be worth the purchase price. If you have any interest in music creation and any musical ability at all, this app will both impress and depress you. I got a decent feel for the interface, the smart instruments, the multi-track recorder and the midi editor in about a half hour. It's amazingly easy to create songs and get ideas down. After using Garageband, you may ask yourself "why did I spend all that time learning an instrument and honing my music skilz?" Don't worry, it built character. Also, there are plenty of instruments not yet available in Garageband for iOS... like the accordion.

3) Nest

Last year, we had to replace our HVAC. I decided, that along with our new heat and air, I'd spend the $260 for the Nest thermostat. I haven't regretted it. The intelligent "learning your schedule" feature isn't as important to me as the simplicity of using the thermostat while simultaneously having all the bells and whistles, like remote accessibility. Is it bad that I somehow feel MORE comfortable when a new device in my house has the ability to connect to the internet and download updates? I'm also a fan of the monthly energy use reports it emails me and the little leaves I get, when I'm saving energy. At least, that's what it's telling me. Couple that with the ability to tell it I'm "away" or "home" from anywhere I have an internet connection and have it adjust the temperature in my house accordingly and it's the instant winner of the "I now take you for granted" app award.