Saturday, January 15, 2011
I love my iPad
Don't get me wrong. I am a PC guy. I have used Macs over the years but I love my PCs. But I have to give Apple the props on their design for the iPhone (I have a 3Gs) and the iPad. I use these devices all day long and have been very pleased with how reliable, functional, and 'cool' they are. With the release of iOS 4.2, about the only thing I wish they did was support Flash (other than just for YouTube).
But let's focus on the iPad. The thing just works. I can do about 90% of tasks I used to use my NetBook/Laptop for but now with a device that is much lighter, easier to carry around, always online (with 3G), and whose battery lasts for over 10 hours. (And yes, it looks like a handheld PADD device from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Who doesn't want one of THOSE!)
The key to the power of the iPad is the wealth of applications that have been developed specifically for its screen size and faster processor (compared to the iPhone). The 'apps' give the iPad a level of flexibility that allows me to accomplish what I need for business, hobby work, entertainment, social networking and collaboration, and task management.
So what apps do I use the most? Well here are some of the 70+ apps in my arsenal. Some are free, many are not. But since the average price of an app is about $3.00, you can pretty much give up the soda machines and fast food for a week to be able to afford anything you will need to be productive.
Okay, so these aren't apps but I have two cases that I love. One is the Apple Case which also serves as a stand for the iPad (both landscape and portrait), and, the ThinkGeek Bluetooth Keyboard case which also becomes a stand and includes a built-in keyboard for when you need to do some serious long-term keyboarding work.
2) Osfoora HD ($3.99)
If you are a Twitter enthusiast, then you need a client that will use the screen real estate well. Osfoora does that and a lot more. It provides the full-featured Twitter publishing environment you need to keep on top of the Twitterverse. There is a version of TweetDeck for iPad as well.
3) The Weather Channel (FREE)
This app is great for tracking weather conditions, severe alerts, etc. and offers good doppler radar displays, video weather reports, and forecast information.
4) Appigo ToDo ($4.99)
If you are a busy person who needs to track 'to do' lists for multiple categories like work vs personal, then you need an app like this. ToDo can organize your tasks and supports task types like checklists, simple tasks, contact tasks, and multi-step tasks with ease. And, it will synchronize over WiFi with Outlook and several 'cloud-based' solutions. It also supports Notifications for upcoming tasks, etc.
5) FaceBook (FREE)
Yes, I am addicted to FaceBook. So if you are a FaceBook fan, this is a very helpful app to use. Sure, you can surf to the FaceBook web site itself, but this app can help you do most FB actions more quickly and supports Notifications for activities happening on your page. Note: This app is an iPhone app that runs on the iPad.
6) Evernote for iPad (FREE)
This is one of the best notetaking apps for the iPad (and iPhone). It integrates seamlessly with the Evernote.com web site, allowing you to create, view, and manage notes from various sources into 'notebooks' that are stored both locally and synchronized on the 'cloud'. Your notes can be shared with others and are accessible across multiple platforms/devices. This is a great tool for meeting notetaking. And if there is no Internet available, it will store your notes locally and sync them when you are online later.
7) Max Journal ($1.99)
This is a wonderful application for journaling (business, personal, etc.). It supports multiple journals so you can keep business and personal reflections separate. You can also assign passwords for security. You are able to not only enter text but also include embedded photos and categorize each note with multiple tags for searching purposes. Journal entries are tracked by date and can be backed up to another computer via iTunes.
8) BlogPress ($2.99)
This is a great tool for managing your WordPress, Blogger, or other blogging site. There are several apps for this type of work, including specific apps for WordPress. But I find this tool very easy to use and it allows for both the creation and management of your blog posts as well as being able to announce new postings to Twitter, FaceBook News Feed, etc.
9) Skype (FREE)
Skype is great on the iPad (and the iPhone). You can conduct both voice and text chat with your Skype buddies and even conduct a video chat (albeit for now the video is one way -- you can see the other person but obviously you cannot transmit video cuz there is no camera on the current iPad). Certainly when iPad 2 comes out this year, the video chat will become two-way.
10) Office2 HD ($7.99)
This is the second most expensive app I have installed at the moment. This app allows the creation and editing of Microsoft Word and Excel documents. It can handle the basic word processing features but cannot handle complex documents yet. It supports cloud storage which is a big plus. There are other products out there, notably Documents to Go and Quick Office Connect but they are more expensive.
11) Wyse PocketCloud Professional ($14.99)
This is the most expensive app I have. This is for all the IT and business folks out there who need to access a server on their network or the cloud using the Microsoft Remote Desktop (RDP). This is an excellent tool that provides all the functionality you need to be successful. If you work in IT, and you have Microsoft Server technology, this is a must-have.
Other apps by Category
Communications: VNC Viewer, IM+, WebEx, GoToMeeting
Office Automation: Numbers, Keynote, Google Docs, PDF Reader Pro
Shopping: Amazon Windowshop, eBay, Best Buy, CraigsPro, Groupon
Entertainment: ABC Player, PBS, Hulu Plus, NetFlix, Pocket Tunes, Pandora, UStream, Fandango
Travel: GPS Drive HD, FlightTrack Pro, Kayak HD, Google Earth
IT Stuff: IT Tools, FTPontheGo
Cloud Storage: Box.Net, DropBox
eReaders/Audiobooks: iBooks, Kindle, Audible
I won't even get into Games in this posting because that is a topic unto itself. Suffice to say that if you like gaming, you will have a plethora to choose from. Angry Birds, Need for Speed, Words with Friends, Cut the Rope, Jeopardy.... Oh wait, I said I wouldn't go there...
If you are considering getting an iPad, my only suggestion as of right now is wait until March/April when Apple announces the iPad 2. It supposedly will be faster, have dual cameras, be lighter and thinner, have a louder speaker, and perhaps an even better display. But official specs have not been published at this time.
The iPad is a fantastic tool -- very useful, very flexible. Are there other devices out there right now that compete? Nah. But the recent Consumer Electronics Show promised a bunch of competitors coming in 2011. So we will see. But for right now, the iPad is the trendsetter and leading the pack.
Looking for information about the iPad as far as what apps are out there? Looking for recommendations? I watch a weekly video podcast produced by TWIT.TV called iPad Today. It is an excellent source for app reviews, iPad features, discussion, and ideas. You can watch them LIVE weekly on Thursdays at 3:30pm CST or download their podcast from their site or subscribe to it via iTunes.