If you think your iPhone is just for fun and games, think again. It can also be a powerful tool for business and productivity if properly employed. Sure, there are some great (but relatively expensive) business apps out there, like LogMeIn Ignition and Documents To Go, but you can also find some amazing free business apps for the iPhone; here are my favorite five:
1. Evernote – This is the king of the note-taking and ‘clipping’ apps. If you are familiar with OneNote for Windows, think of Evernote as a free version of that application, which can be used across multiple platforms, including iOS, Windows, Apple, across browsers, etc. Wherever you use Evernote, you will find that it syncs to the Web, so all of your devices are always up to date. Evernote can also record audio and save it for you, along with photos you take with your iPhone camera. So, if you are at a meeting, you can take snapshots of the whiteboard, jot notes, and record the audio. Evernote will capture it all–and it’s completely free.
2. Genius Scan – Genius Scan is a ‘PDF Scanner’ for the iPhone. Think of it as a virtual scanner, without the 500lb copier attached. You might be thinking, ‘how is this different than just using the camera on my iphone?’ Well, you do use the camera from your iphone. Just take a snapshot of the item you are trying to ‘scan’ and then load it into Genius Scan to refine. This application will then make it look presentable by cropping, straightening, and refining the colors to look more like an actual scan. Once done with that, you can save it, share it, etc. I like to use this app to take photos of my receipts on business trips. Speaking of receipts…
3. Expensify – Expensify is another nifty (and free) business app for the iPhone. Use this one to capture you expenses as they happen. I find that if I don’t take note of my expenses, especially the cash ones, I tend to forget about them and I lose money that could have been reimbursed by my company. Fortunately, I always have my iPhone with me, and I like to use Expensify to capture expenses (including images of the receipts) as they happen. Expensify is free for individual use, and that’s how I use it, but there are subscription charges if a company wants to roll it out to their workforce and deploy some of the advanced functionality.
4. CardMunch – I can’t believe this app is free. You take a photo of a business card, and then someone (an actual living and breathing human) will read it and transcribe that card for you, returning information you can put into your address book. This company was recently acquired by LinkedIn, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this integrated within the LinkedIn app (which deserves honorable mention for this list).
5. Currency Converter – This free mobile app is pretty self-explanatory: it converts currency values. Simple, but extremely useful for the frequent business traveler.
Those are my favorite five free business apps for iphone. If you would like to learn about even more applications, including some that aren’t free, check out this list of the top 10 best business apps for iphone.