A disruptive app is an industry game changer. One that challenges the industry and spawns imitators.
These apps make life easier, more fun, and often improve upon something that came before it.
There are over 500,000 apps in just Apple’s App Store, and hundreds of thousands more in Google’s and Microsoft’s stores. But few have had the power and influence to disrupt an entire industry.
The following are apps we believe embody innovation and have changed the way to view shopping, music, mobile payments, photo sharing, and so much more.
iTunes U provides access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools. The app contains a plethora of educational content and even takes advantage of specific TED collections.
iTunes U is an app that changes how individuals learn, take notes, and interact with textbooks. But the app isn't only limited to students. If you're a student this app is especially handy but it is completely usable by students of life as well.
Sparrow changed the way we interacted with email across our Mac and iPhone. The small company proved that the communication on mobile could be simple, easy to use, and feel more like a conversation instead of a chore.
Their app is full of clever email features and multi-touch controls. The only annoyance is that the iPhone app does not support push notifications. This isn't a fault of the developers, instead it is just one of Apple's strict rules.
Last month, Sparrow was acquired by Google, we assume the app will disappear into oblivion but hopefully the simplicity and features will transfer to Gmail.
Price: $2.99 (iOS)
The Fancy is changing how we discover and purchase things that we like. The Fancy is a social version of Amazon. It's like Pinterest, but with a heavier emphasis on e-commerce.
The Fancy is so cool that there are even talks of Apple buying the service.
Checkmark is a new location-based reminders app that rivals our old favourite Clear and Apple's own Reminders. Checkmark is much more polished than Apple's stock Reminders and gives added functionality.
The app features a timer Feature, a distance list, users can choose a Geo-fence Radius for reminders, and even add locations from a map.
Robin is the first true Siri challenger. We love the expanded capabilities of the newer virtual assistant. You can ask Robin for directions, local places, real-time parking, traffic info, gas prices, weather, your Twitter news, and much more.
Robin is disrupting the personal assistant arena, and we only hope that her existence pushes developers to make personal assistant apps feel more like true personal assistants.
Price: Free (Available only for Android)
Google Earth is the first app to let you explore our planet in gorgeous detail from the comforts of your couch.
The app is constantly improving. Just recently 'Earth' introduced 3D maps providing an even more realistic experience.
Google Earth has made it possible to view our entire planet in extreme detail and exploring the world has never been more fun.
We're not sure if Instapaper was the first 'read it later' service, but it's certainly the best. Instapaper is strengthened by its simple and easy to use interface. Since debuting in 2007, Instapaper has carved its own category and there are many imitators to prove it.
Before this app email was pretty much our only option for saving articles and links.
When has it ever been possible to hold a device up into the sky and be able to identify which stars, planets, galaxies, constellations, and even satellites?
Not since Night Sky debuted. This app uses your location data provided by the GPS and compass to brilliantly display outer space and its closest content.
This game changing app has the ability to turn anyone into a pro star gazer.
Price: $0.99 (avail ble for iPhone & iPad)
Skyfire was the first well-developed app to bring Flash videos to our iOS devices.
The web browser is the closest we've gotten to having that capability. Before it debuted, we were out of luck if we wanted to watch many web videos on our iPhone or iPad.
Evernote is the future of storing your entire life. We love writing a note on our phone and it showing up across all devices.
Evernote was the first note-taking, save it later, and overall remember everything app that was wildly successful on iOS and pretty much every other platform out there. And it keeps getting better.
Shazam may not be new, but it's the best at what it does. Before Shazam how would we have ever know what song was playing almost instantly?
We love the app, its interface, and killer ability to almost aways know exactly what song is playing.
Dark Sky is the first app that actually tells us when it is going to rain down to the minute. In addition to being beautifully designed, Dark Sky is disrupting the weather app market by letting you view the future and past weather too.
We love Dark Sky's design, ease of use, and prediction ability. The same technology that powers Dark Sky's predictions also allows it to make a perfectly smooth radar animation.
iMovie on the iPad takes away the need for us to have a powerful computer to edit our video.
iMovie is a basic, easy to use video editing app for the iPad. It's beautifully made, filled with features, and made by the people who know your iPad the best, Apple.
With the push of a button we can read almost anything.
Before Kindle if we wanted to carry around more than one book at a time our back wouldn't be very happy with us. Now that we can access Amazon's huge library on pretty much all of our devices we never have to be without literature again.
Spotify has emerged as a true iTunes challenger. The streaming music service offers millions of tracks from all the major studios. Spotify is available for PC, Mac, home audio systems, and mobile phones. Wherever you go, your music follows you.
Spotify charges users $9.99 per month to have access to its premium service on mobile devices, but you can still sign up for the free plan and stream songs to your PC. (With ads, of course.)
Spotify is killer because we can still access all our favourite songs and don't have to use up all our phone or computer's storage.
Dropbox is the future of storage. Any file you save to your Dropbox is accessible from all your computers, iPhone, iPad, Android device, and even the Dropbox website.
We also like to use Dropbox as a sort of ad hoc music service as well. It's easy to stream audio files right from the app.
We don't even remember what we did before Dropbox freed us from physical storage.
HBO Go was the first mobile app to make the network's entire library available online (for subscribers, of course). By making a beautiful, easy-to-use app HBO has essentially put other premium networks in a tough spot.
It's only a matter of time before we're watching our favourite shows from all the networks directly on our tablets. We won't forget that HBO Go was the first app to do this.
Angry Birds is the most successful mobile game to date and demonstrates a radical change in the way people play video games. The app proved that games don't have to be complicated or expensive to be successful hits.
Angry Birds truly paved the way for mobile gaming and is available for almost every platform you can think of.
Not only that, but Angry Birds has opened up an entire universe of merchandise including toys, board games, theme parks, even candy.