Like it or not, the first thing a lot of us look at in the morning is our phone or tablet. To that end, a slew of apps have popped up that seek to get your morning off on the right foot. Here are the best options.
For the Google User: Google Now
If you're hooked into the Google system with Gmail, Calendar, Maps or any of its other services, Google Now (free) is easily the best option you have for a morning dashboard.
With Google Now, you'll automatically get a dashboard of up-to-date information about your day, the weather and a lot of other things automatically. Just load up Google Now, pull up the cards, and everything you need is right there in front of you. It's perfect if you're deeply invested in Google's ecosystem. However, if you're not really using any of Google's services, it's worthless.
For the iPad User with an Eye for Simplicity: Morning
Morning for iPad
Morning for iPad($2.99) is probably one of our favourite alternatives to Google Now because it manages to emulate a lot of what Google Now does without requiring an account. Like Google Now, you get access to upcoming events on a single screen.
Unlike Google Now, Morning requires some setup. You have eight options for your main dashboard, including weather, to-dos, calendar appointments, stocks, news headlines, commute and travel time, the current date and time, or a countdown timer. You can customise the app within those options so you're only shown what matters to you. The basic idea here is to get you just the information you need as quickly as possible.
The problem with Morning is that it's not particularly powerful, and you can't really do much else with it. That's part of what makes it great, but power users are going to wish it could do a bit more.
For Those Who Like to Customise: Status Board
Status Boardfor iPad ($10.49) is a powerful dashboard app that has lots of customisation options so you can use it however you want. Like most dashboards, you get access to email, tweets, to-dos, the weather and emails, but you also get great visualisations of all that data so you can really understand what you're looking at.
If the standard old info on Status Board isn't enough, you can also graph your own data or create your own HTML snippets. Essentially, you can turn Status Board into the perfect dashboard app if you're willing to do a bit of work.
Status Board also has output through Apple TV or HDMI, which means it's great if you need to display information to a group of people. It might be a bit excessive for the common user, but if you need the extra features and power, Status Board offers enough customisation that you can serve up all kinds of data on the screen at once.
For Those Who Like Fun: Pindolo
If you're looking for a completely different way to start your morning, Pindolo for iPhone offers just that. Instead of supplying you with loads of information about your day, Pindola serves up inspiration quotes, songs and more.
It might sound silly, but we've seen before that cuteness can actually make you more productive, so Pindola's not totally off the mark. Instead of boring you with your email or the weather, Pindola gives you an inspirational quote or a song, and happily sends you on your way.