It’s just 2011 but my head (and my laptop’s power supply) are still stuck in 2010. So, before my laptop battery completely dies, here are my top iPad apps for 2010. Thanks Apple for redefining mobile computing (I don’t care what Zuckerberg says about it.)
Index Card is a simple, yet ingenious, application that takes the old paradigm of using 3×5 index cards for ideas generation and organization, and puts it on the iPad. If you have a presentation, a short story or a novel you’re writing, start with your outline here. Move cards around in a very natural way. Color code them. Flip them over for additional notes. Sit on the couch and block out your next J-Cameron-busting climax. This is the best tool I’ve found for writers. Also presents cards in outline format…which is great for printing out your work so you can feel it dead-tree style. Includes Dropbox integration so you can backup your work. The only other writing tool this useful is Scrivener, which isn’t yet on the iPad. (boo hoo)
If you haven’t heard of Dropbox by now, WTF? Dropbox creates a seamless folder on your computer, where you can open and save documents, images, music, photos, whatever you want. You can then access this folder from any other computer or device. Files saved (and or worked on) in this folder are automatically synchronized up on the cloud. You do not need to be connected to the Internet to access your Dropbox folder. A cached version of that folder is automatically stored on your device. Once you do reconnect to the Internet, the files you’ve changed are automatically synch’d. Fantastic for collaborating with others. The Dropbox application on the iPad makes it easy to pull up work you’ve completed on other computers and vice versa. Now if I could only find a Dropbox-associable application that lets me edit .rtf files created in Notes…that’d make me down right giddy.
This is a beautiful application that re-imagines what your Facebook and Twitter feeds should look like. In addition, it reformats the Twitter feeds from anyone else you care to follow. There has been a lot of talk about this app and for good reason. Think of your Facebook page looking like a magazine. It almost lends more credence to the wacky shit your friends post. Go here to view their demonstration video. Nice feature about this app is that is caches pages out so that even if you’re not in wifi range (like…say on an airplane), then you can still read which one of your friends just turned single.
I LOVE this application. Reeder aggregates your Google Reader feeds into an interface that makes reading, bookmarking and posting your favorite articles a snap. The pinch and swipe controls give Reeder the feeling like you’re rummaging through stacks of magazines or leafing through individual pages. Good cache makes this app ideal for extended periods without Internet access. Note: You need to have a free Google Reader account set up in order to use the application.
I have been using 1Password on my Mac for years. How else do you expect we’re supposed to remember all of the passwords we’ve accumulated across the Internet? You people that use the same password for every site are out of your minds. The need to have literally hundreds of hardened passwords makes remembering 853$*24! for your Netflix access impossible (Unless you’re Temple Grandin). Accessing sites that require login and password on your iPad can be a pain. 1Password helps. It lets you login to these sites straight from within the 1Password application. This reduces fumbling with cutting and pasting. Also, 1Password automatically gives you synchronicity with your computer’s 1Password database so credentials from sites you add or update on your computer are add-updated on your iPad . This is one of those application (available in versions for computer, iPhone and iPad) that I simply couldn’t live without. Internet life without a password manager is irresponsible and the king of pain. (yes, I made a Police reference there because they were just playing on the Pandora.)
Personally, I would purchase an Amazon Kindle in a heartbeat even though I have an iPad. Why? I’d dare not expose my iPad to the sort of environmental dangers that I would a Kindle. Thankfully Amazon realized that selling books is more important than selling Kindles. With the Kindle app installed on my iPad I’m not locked into owning a Kindle. I have full access to my Amazon library. And, book purchases are just 1-Click away. Plus, with the app also available on your other devices, including iPhone, you’re not locked into one form factor for your reading enjoyment. The app synchs the page you’ve read to and then asks you if you want to jump to that page when you access the same book from a different device. I also love the built-in dictionary (just press and hold a word and the definition appears at the bottom.) You can also highlight words or passages and bookmark them. No longer do you need to dogear your books, besides dogears aren’t searchable. There is a social component too. Passages that others have highlighted are represented by dotted lines. You might think this intrusive–like when your used college textbooks had been hyper-highlighted by some jack wagon–however, in the Kindle app this social component works. I find it interesting to see what others have highlighted. I also get to stroke my narcism by highlighting passages I think are generally overlooked..(for instance did you know that King Arthur was a baby killer?? But I digress). The #1 complaint from most people is that the iPad screen can’t be seen in the sun. That’s true. But then again I’m not about to take my iPad to the beach.
I know that Reed Hastings from Netflix says the iPad has made little difference to how people access Netflix, so maybe I’m the only one that likes to watch movies this way. Streaming Netflix movies on the iPad is fantastic. How else are you going to be able to curl up in bed to veg with Battlestar Galactica or StarTrek…or the thousands of other on-demand movies that stream directly to the iPad–try doing that with your 42″ flatscreen cowboy! Smooth HQ playback and audio makes TV shows and movie viewing on the iPad quite enjoyable. Prop the thing up on the night stand or against the bedspread. Makes getting the flu–or recovering from a Patron-filled New Years Eve party–cough cough–not such a bad thing.
If you want the newspaper experience without getting ink all over your hands, PressReader is the application for you. Literally thousands of news papers from around the world are at your fingertips. When I was in London I was able to download the Sunday edition of the Arizona Repulsive. Now THAT’s cool. I’m of the generation that doesn’t read newspapers. Like comic books, I never got into them. But through PressReader I’m now consuming newspapers regularly and digging it.
InstaPaper is one of those simple apps that can be confusing until you try it. Basically when you’re on your computer you can click a button on your browser to “save” the webpage you’re reading. The text is saved in your Instapaper account. Then when you’re on your iPad you can open the Instapaper app and you’ll find that same article cleaned up and ready for you to read. Great for off-line reading too.
I’ve gotten re-hooked on adventure games since the iPad came out. TwistedLands does not disappoint. Hours of fun. Gameplay challenges by pushing the player through a wide variety of puzzles. Find objects, solve brain teasers, save the girl. The “locate the objects” puzzles are beautifully illustrated. Likewise the Help (give me a freekin clue here) button is perfectly placed and clues (arrows) tell you where to go, but not what to do, which I like very much. Some of these adventure games can require huge illogical leaps of logic (cough–cough–Hector Episode 1 I’m supposed to tazer the sex offender so I can jump start my car battery? Really?) but I found TwistedLands to be smootly logical. My next article coming up will compare 5 of the top games in this Adventure genre.
January 2, 2011