Notable apps and app updates for October 12, 2015

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks for iOS and Mac OS X:

iOS Apps and Updates

It's Monday and time to get back to work, so what better day to turn our focus to business apps. One popular app for independent professionals is Thumbtack for Professionals (free with in-app purchases). With this app, you can find new customers, find out what their requirements are for a project, send quotes if you're interested, and then get hired for a project. Thumbtack notes that many of its pro users grow their businesses 2-3X using the app and service.

Remember back in the day when having a Nextel phone with push-to-talk was the big thing for businesses? Well, Nextel has disappeared into Sprint, which seems to be pulling away from the PTT market, but there's a wonderful app that can give you the same functionality with your iPhone. Voxer Walkie-Talkie Messenger gives your iPhone the instant push-to-talk capability you need, group chats and more. It's free, with a $30 annual subscription for enhanced services. 

Let's talk about another thing that seems to be going away... but you still need to do it occasionally -- faxing. If you fax less than 5 pages a month and receive less than 25 pages a month, then Fax Burner (free with in-app purchases) is for you. Toss your fax machine out the window, because you'll be able to compose faxes, add a cover letter, and add pages to send with just a few taps. Need to add a signature? No problem, since the app will capture your signatures. When you need to send or receive fax, just press a button and Fax Burner gives you a 24-hour temporary fax number. For businesses that need to do a lot of faxing, you can subscribe for unlimited service for just $80 a year.

Want to record incoming or outgoing phone calls on your iPhone, including conference calls? TapeACall Pro ($9.99) is the app for you. To record, you just tap one button. Recordings can be easily uploaded to Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive for posterity. There are no additional fees and you can make as many phone call recordings as you want. 

Companies with a lot of employees who need to have their time or shifts scheduled already know about HotSchedules. It's a service that gives companies and their employees a way to schedule work, change shifts, and record it all online. The universal HotSchedule app ($2.99) now includes an Apple Watch companion app for picking up or releasing shifts with a tap. 


Mac OS X Apps and Updates

Now let's look at the OS X side of business apps. iOS has Fax Burner, and the Mac platform has iFax (free with in-app purchases). iFax is a virtual fax machine for your Mac. For my consulting business, I used eFax, a service that was quite expensive and had some issues. iFax can provide your business with a dedicated incoming fax number for as little as $12.99 per month with no limit on inbound faxes. Outgoing faxes are charged through in-app purchases based on the number of pages being sent and the destination. 

Prizmo ($49.99 with in-app purchase for Pro pack) is an app from Creaceed that has been popular for years. It takes images from connected or Wi-Fi scanners, iPhone, iPad or digital camera, adjusts them, provides a way to edit the scanned images, and then adds optical character recognition (OCR) functionality to boot. The app has recently been updated for El Capitan compatibility and is still the best OCR app on the market for Mac.

And what can we say about OmniOutliner Pro for Mac ($99.99)? Now at version 4.3.2 and fully updated for El Capitan, OmniOutliner Pro is perfect for the professional who needs to create, collect and organize information. It's an amazing brainstorming tool and can be used to do anything from simple to-do lists to planning events, creating meeting agendas, or writing screenplays! Probably one of the most flexible Mac apps ever. If you don't need all of the amazing functionality of the Pro version, OmniOutliner is available in a "regular size" for just $49.99. 

Many Mac users decried the loss of Filemaker's Bento app a few years ago, because they didn't need to power of the full-blown Filemaker app. If you're looking for an app that can provide simple, easy to use and pre-made forms, Tap Forms Organizer and Secure Database ($34.99) is perfect. It even imports Bento database files and comes with 33 built-in forms, and you can create your own. Syncing over iCloud is possible, and the app works with over 1,000 Avery label templates. iPhone and iPad companion apps are sold separately.