favorite ipad apps, week one


I've had a few days of travel with the iPad, followed by a few days at home relaxing. Based on that, I've already found some apps that I'm particularly fond of.

I've divided them up into entertainment and productivity, since those are two very different modes of use.


  1. iBooks: Yes, the iPad is an awesome ebook-reading device. I haven't purchased any books from Apple's bookstore, but I have loaded quite a few non-DRM'ed books onto my iPad. I also installed the Kindle reader, since I've purchased books via my iPhone in the past. I much prefer the iBooks interface, though, primarily because in landscape mode it shows two pages at a time; that means that the line width is much more comfortable for reading. On non-DRM'ed books, iBooks also allows you to copy text to the clipboard, so it's possible to extract quotes for use in other apps. Of course, this is less useful without multi-tasking, but once the next version of the OS is available that issue will be addressed.
  2. Videos: This is a built-in app that allows me to watch videos that I've synced to my iPad using iTunes. It would be far less useful without Handbrake on my Mac, which allows me to optimize movie files (.mov, .mp4, .avi, etc) for the iPad screen.
  3. NPR: The NPR app is fabulous for both reading text versions of news and listening to favorite shows. What's particularly nice is the labeled segmenting of shows. Today, for instance, I was listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" in the car, and found the segment featuring the superintendent of the Air Force Academy particularly entertaining. When I got home, I was able to bring that segment up and play it for Gerald with just a few taps on the screen.
  4. NYTimes Editor's Choice: This is a really nice newspaper implementation--it feels like the perfect blend of the newspaper and the iPad. It takes fully advantage of the interface, while preserving the look and feel of the classic newspaper. Lovely! (Runner-up here is the USA Today app.)
  5. Tap Tap Radiation: I loved the idea of Tap Tap Revolution on the iPhone, but never really used it. On the iPad, however, this game is delightful. It takes full advantage of the larger screen, and engages the user in a delightful blend of rhythm and hand-eye coordination.
  6. 1on1 Hockey: The best free app I've found for showing people how much fun the iPad can be as a social gaming device. It's just a simple air hockey game, but it's fun and engaging and deeply social.


  1. Dropbox: This app works on both the iPad and the Mac (or PC), allowing you to store files "in the cloud" on their website and access them from any device. By placing documents from my Mac in the Dropbox folder, I can easily access and view/edit them on my iPad. You get 2GB for free, and that's plenty for what I need.
  2. LogMeIn Ignite: Remote login from my iPad to my Mac. If I leave a file behind, I can use this to log into my home machine, copy the file to the Dropbox folder, and instantly have access. I can also launch and run programs on the remote machine--it's slow, but there are times when that kind of access is critical if you're traveling with only a mobile device.
  3. Office2 HD: Allows me to create, view and edit Word and Excel documents. Even better, allows me to access and edit Google docs from the iPad, something the iWork suite doesn't provide, and the iPad Safari browser won't support.
  4. Instapaper: I had the free version of this on the iPhone, but seldom used it. On the iPad, it's great. I can add anything I see on the web to my Instapaper account using a bookmarklet, then sync those items to my iPad and read them whether or not I'm online. It's integrated into the Twitter client I'm using (Twitterific) as well, which makes it easy to send an interesting linked article to my "read later" queue.
  5. Evernote: This amazing notetaking app works on every device I own, making it easy to take notes anywhere and access them whenever I need to. But it doesn't just do text notes--it also allows me to take a photo with my phone, create a note with it, and have that photo undergo OCR so that any text in it (say, from a white board, a napkin, or a business card) be searchable anywhere. Hard to believe that this gem is free, but it is!

I've got other apps on the device, of course--games, productivity tools, entertainment. But in the five days I've had the device, those are the ones that are currently proving to be the most useful and/or enjoyable.


thank you for your post. I helped developed 1 on 1 Hockey and glad that you enjoyed the game.

Hey, cool App overview. A few questions about the apps you mention: Everynote; does the OCR really work? Most of my experiences with OCR were more or less disappointing.
The LogMeIn app, how does it work? Is it smooth and good for remote control or just for short access like you mentioned?


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This page contains a single entry published on May 9, 2010 10:19 PM.

first thoughts on the ipad was the previous entry in this blog.

could i travel with only an ipad? is the next entry in this blog.

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