August 21, 2011
My colleague, Lubor Ptacek posted an article on his blog about the 10 coolest and most useful iPad apps that he uses. I agree with some of his choices but not so much on others. So I decided to come up with my own list of most useful. But I had such a hard time with keeping the most useful list down to 10 that I made it my top 14. So here they are:
Top 14 Most Useful iPad Apps
OmniFocus – I have had such a hard time finding a good way to manage tasks. It was easier to do before when I was able to rely on Outlook. Tasks in Outlook worked pretty well most of the time. Sure, they weren’t perfect, but they were good enough. And then I got this Mac. And I use the Mac all the time. Now Outlook 2011 syncs tasks, but due to the version of Exchange at my company, I have to stick with Entourage 2008 which does not sync tasks. Thats really the only issue I have with Entourage. So I started looking around for a better tasks app. I looked at all sorts of stuff, even online alternatives. I finally settled on OmniFocus. It may seem costly at first, but it would be a bargain at double the cost. Having the app on my iPad and my iPhone as well makes having a single list of tasks so much easier than ever before. Now if you are thinking you don’t want to go that route because you are on a Blackberry, then let me tell you this. I didn’t buy OmniFocus because I had an iPhone, I bought the iPhone because OmniFocus was helping so much and it didn’t exist on Blackberry. The iPad version offers some features that aren’t available elsewhere, making the 3 apps work really well together.
iThoughtsHD – I thought a mind-mapping app would be worthless on the iPad. While mind-mapping is great on a Tablet PC, the lack of a serious pen interface would be limiting (and don’t even try to convince yourself that the styluses available provide a decent pen interface). After I spent a few minutes with iThoughtsHD, that opinion completely changed. Although its still better on a real tablet, the iPad interface for mind-mapping in iThoughtsHD is genius. I have been able to fill out so many ideas and lists using this app that have help me on a wide range of projects at work.
Reeder – I have been a big fan of news readers for a very long time, having been a paying customer for NewsGator when they still had paid customers. Reeder is the best of the news readers I have seen on the iPad for going through my top feeds. It doesn’t present it in a newspaper or magazine format, but when I want that I use Zite which is also pretty amazing.
Instapaper – I often find stuff online that I want to read, but don’t have time for right now. So I save it for later with Instapaper. Having this app on the iPad means I have that list of reading material where ever I am.
Teleprompt+ – This is a pretty specialized app, but when I record my videos, its truly invaluable. I no longer have to edit out the sound of rustling paper when I read from my script. I keep meaning to build a teleprompter mount, but even without, this is still magically useful
Notesy – I started with SimpleNote, but have moved on to Notesy. I can’t remember why. It probably was something I heard Merlin Mann say. But I use Notesy, synched with DropBox for all my ongoing notes. I use the same app on the iPhone, plus Notational Velocity on the Mac, all looking at the same list of text files. I keep notes on things I said to people, books I read, gifts I bought, measurements of furniture I need to buy, future blog posts, translations of Dutch articles I am working on, instructions for apps, scripts I am working on, and more. Notesy handles it all without a problem.
LastPass Tab – I tried using 1Password to manage passwords, but since the app on iPad is so pathetically useless, I switched to LastPass. LastPass Tab is a tabbed browser for iPad that has access to my LastPass password store as well. I find I use it almost as much as Safari on the iPad
Squarespace – My personal blog is hosted at Squarespace. The Squarespace iPad app (and the iPhone app) means I have the quick ability to respond to comments, report spam, and see visitor stats.
WordPress – My work-related blog is hosted by my employer and uses WordPress. Everything I said for the Squarespace app applies to this WordPress app as well.
Tweet Library – I have used Twitter for a long time. Well, for a long time in Twitter years. Tweet Library makes it easier for me to maintain a library of my tweets going back to almost the beginning. Because occasionally I say something good, and 6 months later I need to find that. Tweet Library makes it easy to find those little gems.
Tweetings – Tweetings is the ultimate iPad Twitter app for me. I have tried plenty of others, but I keep returning to Tweetings. It does the basics, like my timeline, mentions, and DMs. I can create buttons for my favorite searches (right now they are FCPX, Blender 3D, and Timelapse). The best part is the window for creating a new tweet, with quick access to recent hashtags, url shrink utils, scheduled tweets, lists of contacts, and more.
Sonos – I bought into Sonos before I moved to Europe 6 years ago. I thought it was braindead easy to use then and its still that way. Having the apps on my iPad and iPhone mean that I now have my remote with me all the time. The main beauty of Sonos for me is being able to hear my music everywhere in my apartment, without having to blast it from a single speaker in one room, annoying all my neighbors. Now the music plays from 5 different zones at a level you cannot hear through the walls, but it sounds perfect to me. And the apps work well.
Goodreader – This was the first PDF reader I found on the iPad and I see no reason to change. It syncs easily with specific subfolders on dropbox so I always have whats important and not the rest of the stuff I share in Dropbox. Goodreader has great features for annotations too.
DayOne – I have blogged now for a little over 15 years. It wasn’t called blogging then and the tools were terrible, but its still the same idea. Ever since the beginning, I blogged because I wanted to record something that I would have forgotten otherwise. If others want to read it, great, but thats not really my goal. I have always known that everything on the Internet is NOT private, no matter what you do to secure it, so sharing more…um….intimate things was always off limits for blogging. DayOne is kind of a private blog for me, stored on my machine. It syncs to my Mac and my iPhone so I can always record what I did that day, who I met, etc. Its a beautiful app I really enjoy working with.
Maybe later I’ll work up my list of coolest apps on the iPad. Do you have any favorites?