If you’re one of the lucky few that got yourself a new iPad for Christmas then you might be wondering where to start when selecting those essential tools.
Here’s my take on the absolute essentials, the apps that get used the most on my iPad, well apart from the games and I’m not going to select games — that’s just too personal. I also have a different list I consider essential on my iPhone, I may write that next.
I also have to admit that my choices are incredibly idiosyncratic, if you’re not an information junkie and writer your mileage may vary. I’m always open to hear what your essential apps are. Please leave me a comment or drop me a note with your list.
Since I create and edit on my iPad Dropbox is essential to make sure my files are there when I want them. It’s become automatic to save files into Dropbox on my Mac. There are also an increasing number of apps that sync using Dropbox including TextExpander and Taskpaper.
If you write you need an editor and Nebulous Notes is my current favourite. As well as good Markdown support the winning feature is an extra keyboard row that can be customised including real macro support. It’s possible that Textastic might replace it, we will have to see.
I have an almost insatiable need for information, news, tech gossip and good how-to writing so I read dozens of blogs every day through RSS feeds. Reeder has a good, clean interface, has good integration with other software and social networks and syncs with Google Reader.
Zite is my favourite news discovery app. Other like Flipboard or Pulse but I find Pulse too much like an RSS reader but harder to quickly browse through and Flipboard is just clunky and overfull. Zite also allows me to quickly add an article to Evernote or Instapaper, open it in Safari or tell the world via Twitter or Facebook.
Instapaper is perfect for taking long web articles on the road for reading over brunch or a coffee. Adding articles to it is easy from both my browser and apps like Zite.
I am a huge Evernote fan, it keeps so much information for me and is now a huge, constantly expanding information source. It keeps scans of important documents, recipes found online and a plethora of other web pages. Between Dropbox and Evernote my iPad carries everything I need to know.
If you collect bookmarks as assiduously and prolifically as I do you end up having to use a bookmark service. I use pinboard.in as it also collects URLs from my Twitter feed and other nice places. Yummy is an extremely usable iPad app for both Pinboard and Delicous, another popular bookmark service. It doesn’t look like much but it does the job.
I have to admit I use TextExpander more on my Mac and iPhone than the iPad but it is so useful for such things as entering the date, time or my address as well as one or two other useful snippets.
Amazon seem to have better prices and availability than Apple so I have Kindle for my growing collection of e-books.
Try as I might I can’t find a way of adding other e-books to Kindle so I have iBooks for books from Project Gutenberg and O’Reilly books that I buy in paper that offer a free or low cost e-book. It also contains a couple of freebies.