The top 16 iPhone app battles

The iPhone has become a battleground for a number of popular mobile app categories

Apple iPhone apps
For both productivity and fun, it's a battle to the finish

The iPhone app wars are heating up. Some of the battleground categories are critical, such as maps, language translation, and productivity. Others are strictly for fun and recreation, such as streaming radio, golf, and running. Every app battle, though, means you will need to make a choice. Sometimes the winner is clear. Other times, it's a fight to the finish.

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Apple Maps vs. Google Maps
Apple Maps vs. Google Maps

Maps is one of the most important apps on the iPhone. Yet we all know Apple Maps can send you on a bridge to nowhere, while in Google Maps we trust. So it's no surprise that Google Maps is the clear winner today. But Apple Maps is getting better every day. It may be only a matter of time before Apple Maps is good enough to mount a real challenge to Google Maps.

Instagram vs. Vine
Instagram vs. Vine

A video-sharing war is now under way on the iPhone as Instagram challenges Vine. The battle started to heat up when Instagram added video sharing to iOS and Android apps late last month, thus throwing down the gauntlet to Vine. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin has already picked a winner. Read his five reasons why Instagram video is better than Vine.

Apple iWork vs. Quickoffice vs. Microsoft Office Mobile
Apple iWork vs. Quickoffice vs. Microsoft Office Mobile

The office productivity wars on the iPhone took a dramatic turn when Microsoft finally entered the fray last month. Unfortunately for Microsoft, its Office Mobile app received lukewarm reviews. Meanwhile, third-party apps, such as Quickoffice, have been evolving and now offer solid functionality. The king of iPhone productivity apps, however, is still Apple's native suite, iWork.

Also see: InfoWorld Picks the Best iPad Office Apps.

Evernote vs. Springpad vs. OneNote
Evernote vs. Springpad vs. OneNote

The iPhone is great for jotting down notes, and apps haven't missed the opportunity to serve up this functionality. Evernote, with its elephant head logo, has been the longstanding leader in the note-taking category and offers an array of functionality. But taking notes is all about speed and simplicity, which is the calling card of note-taking rival Springpad. Now Microsoft jumped into the fight with OneNote. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin, however, isn’t impressed: OneNote is still missing a key feature, he writes.

Jibbigo vs. Google Translate
Jibbigo vs. Google Translate

A language translator in the palm of your hand is a powerful device, and two such apps have risen to the top: Google Translate and Jibbigo. Which app should you choose? It depends on where you are when you need it. Google Translate requires an Internet connection and is perfect for, say, field service workers who may run into a language barrier on the job. Jibbigo takes up more memory because it doesn't need an Internet connection, making it perfect for globetrotters without an international data plan.

RunKeeper vs. Endomondo
RunKeeper vs. Endomondo

Runners love the carry-with-me-at-all-times iPhone for all sorts of reasons--mostly to keep track of their times, mileage, and especially heart rate (via a paid subscription). You can also share your hobby on social networks. Two of the most popular apps are RunKeeper and Endomondo. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin prefers RunKeeper. Find out why in his post, Two iOS, Android Fitness Apps to Help Track Heart-Rate Data.

Also see:

10 Best iPhone Apps for Healthy Living

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Apple Weather vs. Yahoo Weather
Apple Weather vs. Yahoo Weather

There's a storm brewing in Boston while, across the country, a heat wave embroils San Francisco. It's no surprise that weather apps are some of the most heavily used on the iPhone. The simple, native Apple Weather app has one unique advantage over the competition: It's tied to voice-enabled Siri. The Yahoo weather app, though, "is pretty cool, right down to the spinning windmills that show wind speed," writes CIO.com blogger James A. Martin.

Golfshot GPS vs. SkyDroid vs. GolfLogix
Golfshot GPS vs. SkyDroid vs. GolfLogix

It didn't take long for golf apps to get on course. Golfers could tap these apps to keep score and use GPS to get distances from the tee to the green, instead of forking out hundreds of dollars for a laser range finder. Golfshot GPS, the granddaddy of the category, initially drained battery life but has since been improved. Other quality apps have also hit the App Store, such as GolfLogix and SkyDroid.

Calorie Counter vs. LoseIt
Calorie Counter vs. LoseIt

Counting calories to lose weight has never been easy -- until now. The smartphone is the perfect device to record calories because it's always within hand's reach and you can record calories as soon as you consume them. Two apps are among the top of the category: LoseIt! and Calorie Counter. LoseIt was the first to gain exposure and has even been cited as a digital disrupter to Weight Watchers, while Calorie Counter claims to have the largest food database.

Also see:

16 Mobile Digital Disrupter Apps

10 Best iPhone Apps for Healthy Living

Mobile Health Apps and Gadgets for Better (and Longer) Living

Twitter vs. Field of 3rd Party Apps
Twitter vs. Field of third-party apps

Sometimes it seems as though the iPhone was made for tapping out a short Tweet and scanning others. An array of Twitter-related apps descended on the App Store (including Twitter itself), each promising to better organize the chaotic Twitter universe. Depending on personal preference, iPhone users swear by such third-party apps as Tweetbot, Twitteriffic, and, recently, Slices. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin writes that Slices does a good job organizing your Twitter stream.

Also see: Twitter Tools: 11 Free Apps and Services You Need Now

Apple Calendar vs. Omnifocus vs. Tempo
Apple Calendar vs. Omnifocus vs. Tempo

Keeping track of your day, week, and month is important, especially if you're always on the go. Apple's native Calendar app is simple and does the trick for most people. Business executives with jam-packed schedules may want to invest in Omnifocus. Other apps include Bento and, recently, Tempo. CIO.com blogger James A. Martin was on the waiting list to use Tempo for nearly a month. "It's worth the wait," he writes. 

Skype vs. Facetime vs. Google Hangouts
Skype vs. FaceTime vs. Google Hangouts

When Steve Jobs showcased FaceTime by having a video chat with Jonathan "Jony" Ive two years ago, you'd have thought the future had finally arrived. Free video chatting, though, proved to be kind of creepy. But this hasn't stopped similar apps from making their way to the iPhone. Skype and Hangouts, which replaces Google Talk, are the most notable. FaceTime enjoys the advantage of being integrated into iOS, which makes it easier to make and receive video calls.

Also see: Videoconferencing in Action: From Skype to 3D Holograms

iMessage vs. Kik Messenger vs. Whatsapp
iMessage vs. Kik Messenger vs. Whatsapp

Messaging is fast becoming the preferred way of communicating with friends and colleagues. You could argue that messaging has replaced making calls as the dominant communications app on the iPhone. Apple's native app, Messages, includes iMessage for unlimited texting with other iPhones. Other messaging apps include Kik Messenger and Whatsapp. Messages has the added advantage of being integrated into iOS and can be accessed by Siri.

Kayak Pro vs. TripIt
Kayak Pro vs. TripIt

Travelers depend on iPhone apps to plan and organize their trips. You can check everything from flight status to hotel addresses. If you're a frequent flier, you might need more than one app. "TripIt Pro is super useful, if only for the airline alerts, but its feature for syncing all your frequent flier accounts is pretty lackluster," says CIO.com blogger James A. Martin. "I use Kayak Pro to start my searching and TripIt Pro when I'm actually traveling."

Also see: 20 Best BlackBerry, iPhone Apps for Summer Travel

Foursquare vs. Facebook Places
Foursquare vs. Facebook Places

If you're one of those people who likes to check in to places (and earn rewards) or search for places like a restaurant, you'll want either Foursquare or Facebook Places on your iPhone. Facebook Places, of course, integrates tightly with Facebook and has recently undergone improvements that make it comparable to Foursquare. But Foursquare's big advantage is the number of people using it.

Also see: Location Etiquette Tips: 6 Foursquare "Faux Pas" to Avoid

Pandora vs. Spotify vs. Slacker
Pandora vs. Spotify vs. Slacker

When Apple adds a third-party app's functionality to iOS, it's a sure bet that the app is gold. Last month, Apple announced iRadio in iOS 7. Pandora is the current leader in the music-streaming category, but it isn't alone. Spotify and Slacker are also popular apps. "I'm partial to Pandora because it helps you discover songs and artists you're probably going to like," says CIO.com blogger James A. Martin.