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    Sunday, June 13, 2010

    My Essential iPad Apps - Part One..

    Now that you got your iPad all sync'd and set up (or just ordered it and waiting for the sync-to-activate moment of truth) What kind of apps should you look into?

    With the iPad apps reaching over 10,000 apps to this day, searching through might be a bit overwhelming.. And after fiddling around daily for a whole week, the apps on the App store keep on showing you different ways of using your machine.. I did notice, however:
    1. The iPad can be either a great assistant to your daily usage, or a really great distraction from the things you bought the iPad for..
    2.  The iPad is all about feeding you data, visually and textually.. Making data accessibility ever-so-easy, and also making a need for that tech-free-day of the week more inevitable.. 
    3. You'll need to be on the US App store to get the best out of the iPads apps.. Which is easily manageable.. Just set your address to any state and city, and buy US iTunes gift cards (MaximusCards accepts PayPal)..
    I hope you enjoy my almost-humble list of apps..

    [Note: All apps (organized in no particular order) are linked to the iTunes app store, so feel free to check this list from your iPad too]
    NPR | Free
    NPR (100.7 FM) was one of the first news websites to create an iPad friendly version of their website, and it's great and all, but it's nothing compared to their dedicated app.. Offering NPR's high quality news and radio shows.. You can queue up a playlist of your favorite shows (organized by category and station as well) while surfing smoothly through the latest news.. What makes this app great is the ability to customize your text, and also store the latest articles offline for your reading pleasure..

    BBC News | Free
    Very similar to NPR, the BBC app offers the latest news and Live Radio feed..

    DropBox | Free
    The best thing about this free service is that it allows you to create a cloud-based dropbox that enables you to seamlessly share files between your iPad and your DropBox account.. Just download the free Mac app, and you'll be able to drag and drop your files to the cloud file and sync it directly to your iPad.. One of the great features i keep on using is taking pictures with my iPhone and syncing them through the iPhone app (free) to my shared folder and then sync with my iPad on the go.. The cable hassle is no more..

    Epicurious | Free
    One of the great apps that introduces the iPad to your everyday routine.. While you can easily check and favor recipes for different events and occasions, with a simple click, you can send an email of the recipe ingredients (to an iPhone, for example).. Ok, so maybe this is a married-people app, but it's still great none the less if you're into cooking and want to keep track of what ingredients should you buy.. It's Free, ok? so lay off! Sheesh..

    IMdb | Free
    IMdb is one of the greatest websites that gives you all the information you need on the latest movie releases, and information about any movie you can think of (almost).. Trailers, critiques and more website-like functionality, this can really be a time saver to do some background check on the movie you're about to watch.. It really uses the landscape canvas well, giving you the best real-estate value..

    InstaPaper | 4.99$ 
    A very useful app that allows you to locally store offline copies of any article you come across, for your later-to-read pleasure.. To me, it can even compete with iBooks (in functionality), adding the feature that everyone seems to forget, the ability to negatively invert the text format for bedtime reading.. With the ability to organize your articles into customizable folders, and making use of many iPad features, this app is truly worth the purchase..

    Kindle | Free
    As much as i adored the idea of an eBook reader, and my early liking of the Kindle, I opted to not buy one until i see the next version of it.. Something about that Casio-like interface didn't click with me well.. But incase you already bought one, got the books, and just bought an iPad, Amazon gives you this app to instantly load all your purchases into the iPad.. I only started buying Kindle books AFTER my iPad, so there you go, now your eBook library has the best of both worlds..

    mSecure | 2.99$
    Ever since i bought the iPad, i spent countless hours searching for a suitable app for my bank accounts and credit card numbers.. Offering you great security to store all your sensitive information (with self-erasing feature after 5+ failed attempts), mSecure is one of the easiest-to-use apps you can find (and the cheapest).. Highly customizable, free backup PC/Mac client, and once you purchase it, you can download the iPhone app for free (meaning, you can easily share your information across all your platforms).. The interface isn't as flashy as it's competition, but it's sure worth the price tag..

    Pandora | Free
    If you haven't used this on your iPhone before, now is a good time to introduce yourself to Online Radio.. Streaming free music, and with the soon-to-come multitasking this fall for the iPad, this app might replace my need to keep a large collection of music on my machine.. 

    Pcalc Lite | Free
    I can't understand why would Apple remove their native calculator app from the iPad.. Although there's a highly functional full version, the lite version is a good-enough app to do most of your generic calculative needs..

    QuickVoice | Free
    Another feature that seems absent from the iPad OS, a normal quick-to-use voice recorder.. I usually take voice memos, and this application does the job perfectly.. And if you fiddle around the settings, you can also choose different recording quality formats, incase you want to use those memos on your PC/Mac.. Nothing innovative, just pure function..

    QuranMajeed | 4.99$
    Despite the other Quran apps, this is the most decent in terms of UI and functions.. There is allot of better Qurans for the iPhone, but i didn't come across anything equally good for the iPad.. Although you can choose the Lite version (comes with an English translation), the full version has no restrictions in the number of Suras (and different readers) that you can listen to.. It's a really great app, giving you a larger screen to read off.. Another good reason to catch up on your reading, eh?

    Scissors | 0.99$
    The app store is filled with allot of apps that enable you to edit and crop your photos, but none are as easy and straight-to-the-point as this one.. I recommended it before on the iPhone, and it's even better responsive on the iPad.. Best thing is, it's cheaper than any other app that offers the same function, and it's definitely worth the buy..

    Zinio | Free
    A great Magazine publisher, with one of the widest variety of magazines on the eMarket (now includes Architectural Record).. Although the app is free, you'll need to either purchase single copies of your favorite magazine (or a very cheap 12 issue subscription).. Offering you both high-quality zoomable magazines, and some iPad dedicated magazines.. Download it for free, try out the free sample magazines, you got nothing to lose (already subscribed to 3 magazines just from a single trial lol)..

    CoolHunting | Free
    Although the app store is filled with loads of news aggregators and RSS Readers, CoolHunting is one of the few that offer a new way of gathering news from all over the web.. Not as customizable as other news readers, but it's brilliant interface can lock you in for hours.. Might be a bit hard to figure your way around, but once you do, you'll feel right at home.. A must have if there's nothing interesting on your RSS readers..

    Although this is a great app, it relies entirely on the internet to work.. I didn't search much for a local dictionary app, since am using the one i purchased for my iPhone, but it's great once you need to look up something WHILE you're on a connection.. If you used iBooks, you'll notice that there's a built-in dictionary.. Why isn't it a native app? i have no friggin' idea..

    GoodReader | 0.99$
    If you're planning to let the iPad replace your regular computing needs from your laptop/desktop, you might consider looking into a way of viewing your Office and/or iWork documents.. However, if you're planning to get this for your PDF collection (Which it can read, by the way) you might want to wait until the iOS4 release, since it allows native PDF usage..

    001ARCH | 2.99$
    If you're interested in architecture, and want to peak into the potential of iPad contemporary architectural magazines, this app is that, and more.. Although there is only one edition on the AppStore so far, the magazine is one of the most artistic in content delivery, that any Architect would drool over.. Offering you over a 100 pages of interactive content, audio commentary, and video interviews, this magazine is a must.. Trust me..

    FlipTimeXL | 0.99$
    When you charge (or dock) your iPad, there are countless ways where it can be an idle picture screen saver, zen garden, or even connected to your sound system as a music player.. Want more idle features? FlipTimeXL transforms your iPad into a large calendar/clock.. Gorgeous design, simple function, and BIG characters that can be seen from a distance.. It comes handy when am working on my workstation and the iPad is docked and charging near me..

    Sponsored by Canon, this app offers high resolution+quality photographs from all over the world, updated daily, capturing amazing moments through artistic lenses.. Elegant interface, fast to load, and really gorgeous pictures.. Did i mention the pictures are gorgeously gorgeous?

    Well, i guess that's it for now.. Feel free to post your comments below.. Until next time, i hope you enjoy those apps, and stay tuned for the second (and last) part.. Some real good stuff :D (true marketing talent right there, people)..


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