My Favorite iPad Apps

As promised, here’s a list of my favorite iPad applications so far. I’m up to eleven since I wrote my initial iPad post, though, so I guess this is a Top Eleven list.

1. Kindle (free). Allows me to read all the same books on the iPad that I have access to on my Kindle, plus, since the iPad has a backlit screen it’s great for reading books at night. The free Apple iBooks application is fine too, but I have hundreds of books on my Kindle account, and we have several Kindle’s in the family as well as a number of Kindle-enabled PCs and handheld devices. No brainer then to use the Kindle app on the iPad instead of iBooks.

2. Documents to Go Premium ($14.99). Provides a great way to create and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, as well as move them to and from the iPad. Remote storage tools include a PC client for Documents to Go as well as Dropbox, a free on-line file repository. As a paid app, this is probably the single best productivity application I have found for the iPad (and I went through several).

3. Evernote (free). I use Evernote extensively on my PCs to keep track of the plethora of data I need to keep my hands on, including to-do lists, material for my writing, and copies of interesting web pages and other data. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Evernote was one of the main reasons I bought the iPad. The Evernote app has a few problems with things like adding extra lines to my text-based notes, but the folks at Evernote have assured me they are working on fixing things.

4. WordPress Client (free). Allows me to more easily blog to my many WordPress-based blogs (like this one). The iPad version of the WordPress app also makes it easy to work on multiple blogs (I have about a half-dozen). The only thing lacking at present is any sort of formatting ability. You have to hand code HTML to apply formats to your posts. What’s also nice is you can maintain local drafts, or move a draft up to your blog for later editing on a PC.

5. PrintBureau ($12.99). Gives me the ability to print from the iPad. Works best with a free print server program from Eurosmartz, the same company which makes PrintBureau. As I happen to use a netbook as a 24/7 utility computer to run backups, weather station updates, and other scheduled tasks in my home office, setting it up to be a print server for my iPad was a natural. However, you can still print entirely without a print server as long as you have network-enabled printers. Getting things into the application for printing can be a bit cumbersome at times as a result of current iPad limitations (see yesterday’s post on iPad Annoyances), so PrintBureau also includes a simple e-mail client as well as its own web browser, both of which can be used as the source of material to be printed.

6. FlightTrack Pro ($9.99 plus $3.99 for airport info add-on). If only I were traveling as much as I did last year, because this application is just so cool. You enter your flight itinerary (or that of someone you want to track), and this application will give you a near-real-time update on each flight’s status – at gate, taxiing, in flight (with altitude and flight speed, even), landing, delayed, etc. And as a bonus, the flight is shown on a global map. I used it to track my daughter’s movement from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Los Angeles to Newark to Manchester, New Hampshire. Way cool. But for now, I’ll have to use FlightTrack Pro vicariously, because I have no travel plans off of my island home of Bonaire for the foreseeable future.

7. iSSH ($9.99). I need to manage several Linux servers for my businesses which provide web-hosting services, and in order to do that securely, I need encrypted access, which the SSH protocol provides. iSSH is a simple to use SSH terminal client that meets all my SSH needs. It also include VCP support, handy if you use VCP on your server for access and control.

8. (free). Some of the books I’ve been reading lately deal with molecular biology and gastronomy, and this dictionary has been very helpful in learning the meaning of words like adsorb (not a typo of absorb as I first thought), lipids, casein, and ester.

9. FileBrowser ($2.99). FileBrowser gives me the ability to access files on my office file servers via my iPad, as well as store files there. Incredibly handy and simple to use.

10. Photogene ($3.99). Before trying Photogene I used PhotoPad (free), but ultimately I found Photogene a bit more intuitive and useful. Combine this with the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit ($29.00), and you can do some pretty reasonable photo work on the iPad. The problem after that, of course, is getting your images off the iPad onto a photo web site. Flickr, Photobucket, and Shutterfly all offer apps for that purpose though.

11. WeatherBug Elite for iPad (free). Really nice weather application with animated weather data maps and weather forecasts. But most of the animations seem to only work in the U.S., not internationally, which is kind of a bummer here on Bonaire.

I downloaded several dozen other applications before gravitating to the ones above. Some of the apps I previously downloaded were free, some cost real money, but none of those were as useful as the ones I have outlined above. And a number of the above applications superseded the ones I previously bought (like GoodReader, which Docs To Go trumps rather nicely).

However, I will add that unless you are a Mac user using iWork, or plug your iPad into your iTunes PC regularly, stay away from Apple’s Pages application (or any of the other applications in the iPad iWork suite). Pages is not capable of sharing documents with other iPad applications, and if you don’t have an account for storing and sharing files or use an iTunes-equipped PC much, then your only option is to e-mail your documents to yourself, which is more than a bit lame. Docs To Go Premium is so much more versatile, and only a few dollars more.

I’m sure there will be other cool and useful applications on the iPad that I will stumble over at some point, but for now, the above eleven apps are tops in my book.


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4 Responses to “My Favorite iPad Apps”

  1. Osman Kent says:

    Good list Jake,

    I would like to add the following though.

    1. Dropbox – superbly implemented cloud storage and it is free.

    2. Instapaper – Beautifully simple webclipping app – read articles like a book.

    3. FastPDF – the best and the fastest PDF viewer by far

    4. PocketCloud – Best RDP app to access your PC remotely

  2. Kalli says:

    Hi Jake

    Cool list and just what I was looking for. I came back from vacation with a new iPad to play with and have been searching earnestly for good useful (and functional) apps. Easier said than done I must say

    I would second the above. Dropbox is just awesome; I’m working on Instapaper and we hugely disappointed that SkyPE don’t have an iPad app yet. Or do they ?

    Good to hear you will be on island for a bit. Who knows but we may even see you. That would be great.


  3. Jake Richter says:

    Thanks Osman – I’ll have to check out the other apps that you mention.

    Kalli – You can use the iPhone/iPod Touch Skype app on the iPad – works great, but no webcam in the iPad means no video calls, of course.

    I’ll add that I’ve just become disenchanted with the WordPress app. It’s now failing to work on all my sites, even with a complete uninstall/reinstall. No idea why.


  4. Osman Kent says:

    Jake – I must add one more which has really been life changing for me.

    I am an avid magazine reader and Zinio makes this a great experience on the iPad. I’ve been using Zinio for years on the mac but on the iPad it really shines.

    I do not understand the recent outcry about subs on the iPad – every magazine I subscribe to (Science, Economist, Business Week, Macworld, Photoshop etc..) arrive regularly inside my zinio app without any fuss. Also, they are not bloated by videos etc – they are a replica of the print magazine with clickable links and option to read ‘text’ only (like instapaper).

    I think zinio is the best kept secret in digital magazine publishing and they seem to have a lock on over 2500 magazines worldwide.

    I would not be surprised if Apple bought them for the rumoured iMag store.