The Editor’s iPad

The one thing that everyone that gets a new iPad want’s to know is how to get the most out of their shiny new device.  Well, the way to do that is through great Apps.

This is a short list of the Apps I use on my own iPad.  It is not the full list of applications as I have a huge number of Apps I’m experimenting at any one time.  These are Apps I use regularly and which I feel can be of interest to most iPad users.  Applications are listed in no particular order.

iBooks – Apple’s own eBook reading application is pretty good for reading eBooks in EPUB format and PDFs.  I use this app primarily for reading PDFs.   I use Kindle for iPad as well, for books bought through Amazon as well as Stanza for reading EPUB ebooks.

Pages – Apple’s word processor.  So far, this is my choice of word processor.  The iPad itself isn’t yet my choice device for doing word processing, but this App will let you open and do some light work on documents.  Don’t count on moving them back to your desktop without some formatting loss, though.  A recent update has improved this App adding support for footnotes and endnotes which was missing from the original release.

Keynote – Apple’s presentation creation application, ported from the Mac.  Keynote has done well with the few presentations I have imported from Powerpoint, requiring little if any adjustments to be made.

This is not the simplest application to use, but is is quite powerful for the first version of an application so sophisticated that has been ported from a desktop version. Once you learn the basics it gets easier to use.

Flipboard – Flipboard is a must-have application for anyone that likes to flip through interesting news and information in a convenient and beautiful format.  This application transforms feeds from Facebook, Twitter and many major news sites and blogs into a magazine like format.  This is, so far, the best of breed App for a whole new generation of feed readers.

Osfoora HD – A Twitter client.  There are many Twitter clients available for the iPad, each with particular strengths and weaknesses.  Osfoora won me with a simple but very practical interface and its integration with Instapaper.  While the new Twitter App from Twitter itself is very well implemented and did tempt me a bit, Osfoora HD is still my preferred way reading Tweets on the iPad.

Instapaper – Instapaper is both a service and an App.  The service is available through the Web and can be used from any computer by simply adding a bookmark to your favorite browser’s toolbar. The Instapaper service saves pages you might want to read later so that you can do so without having to find them again on the Web, or clutter up your bookmarks.  The Instapaper App for the iPad gives you immediate access to the text and pictures of those pages while offline, once synched with the online service.

VLC – Everyone’s favorite free, multi-platform, media player that has recently arrived on the iPad scene.   VLC allows you to watch just about any video you have on your Mac or PC on your iPad.  The videos are transfered to the iPad through the Apps page of  iTunes when the iPad is connected.  VLC supports most video formats and codecs dispensing with need to convert videos for watching with the built-in Videos App.

Air Video – This App allows you to stream video directly from a Mac or PC.  It essentially serves the same purpose as VLC but the actual decoding of the video and audio happen on your desktop computer.  This means that you don’t have to transfer the videos to your iPad but it also means that you won’t have access to those videos when you are on the move.

While not having the content on the device can be annoying when you have to kill some time, WiFi streaming in your home is quite convenient.  The Air Video streaming server application for both the Windows and Mac can be freely downloaded from their website.

TowerMadness HD – So far, this is my all time favorite game on the iPad. It is a tower defense game combining strategy and puzzle solving as some of its levels are very hard to win requiring the player to figure out the right types and placement for the towers.  There are more elaborate games and certainly many other great ones which I haven’t played yet. I’m certainly keeping this one on my list, regardless of what I may find.

Dropbox – As is the case with Instapaper this is a combination of an App and a service.  The Dropbox service allows you to store files on the cloud and access them from a variety of devices.  There are clients available for Windows and OS X as well as for all iOS devices.  There are also applications that integrate with the service to let you edit documents that are then synched with the cloud storage.

On desktop computers you can visualize your Dropbox content as a folder which is automatically kept in synch with the cloud.