So, about a month ago, I gave in to the ridiculous premise imposed on my subconscious brain by all the advertising and product placement that I needed an iPad. Well, not strictly true, I did not need one – I just wanted one. (I had bought an iPod Touch for Christmas and fell in love with the OS and scope of use). After some calculations, brain wrangling and negotiations with the boss, I plumped for the 32Gb 3G version on the 3 network. I know the on-going pro’s and con’s vs. Android devices and the monopolising nature of Apple as a corporate entity, etc, etc, but the decision was made and, bloody hell, what a good one it was as I am in love with the little beauty. Given that, I also know it’s unnecessary, self-indulgent and a complete waste of money – I tell myself this everyday.
Ooohhh, the apps – so much to choose from, both FREE (often ad-laden) and paid. The Genius feature and Top 100 lists in the app store tempt you into downloading more useless crap that you’d ever need, but every now again it introduces a beauty. Most do end up rotting in an unused folder due to the ‘wow-that’s-pretty/amazing’ initial appeal, but on reflection is just a shiny piece of useless rubbish. However, although I am still in my Apple infancy (and even eyeing an iMac now – not good!), here are a few apps that I find myself using regularly and are a cut above the rest:
Osfoora (Twitter Client) PAID – £2.39
I spend more time on Twitter than anything else online. It’s only been five months since I joined, but already I have seen what a super environment it really is (current super-injunction and related scandals aside). After trying loads of the apps, Osfoora wins hands down for the iPad. Apart from looking sleek, it is very user friendly, functional and reliable. There are a few minor gripes, but nothing that knocks it off top spot. I did use Tweetlogix on the iPod though, and I still think it’s ace. If they did an iPad version I would certainly give it a go, but for now Osfoora clearly rules.
FLUD News (RSS Reader) FREE (I would pay for this – it’s brilliant!)
I have only been using this for a day, but already I can see that it does exactly what I need for RSS and news reading. It looks GREAT, and presents each feed economically and in a very user-friendly fashion. It does suggest several feeds by default, but allows you to add in any feed of your choice using a URL, with full control over which appear and in which order. After getting excited when I first saw Flipboard, I found it an inappropriate way to read Twitter/Facebook and the RSS feeds are certainly not as flexible as Flud’s – a massive win for Flud. This is a young product, and I am really looking forward to see it develop as I think this one will be very popular.
MyPad+ (Facebook) PAID – £0.59
I have issue with all Facebook apps for the iPad, as there is yet to be one that would come close to a 5/5 rating. In fact, just accessing it through Safari is good enough to most uses. However, due to its obvious Twitter-like interface, I prefer MyPad+ over Friendly (which is also quite good). The trouble is with MyPad+ is that like all Facebook apps, they do not handle photos, and specifically albums very well; this is a key feature for me (see Albums for Facebook Friends for a great solution for this). It also handles comments in a clumsy way, but again, this is related to photo albums more than other posts. It starts very quickly compared to other apps and is very easy to navigate around. Until Facebook ever decide to release their own app (which is looking doubtful), this will do.
TV Guide FREE
This is free, and although it does contain advertising, it’s amazing. It is fully customisable and offers summary and detailed views seamlessly. The main reason I love this is that I can set my Sky+ to record anything wherever I am. I know that Sky’s own app does this, but it is crap in comparison. Not that I use them, but it also supports reminders, favourites, iPlayer links, rating, calendar integration, social networking and email links.
iAccounts (Password Manager) PAID – £2.99
I am now managing over 100 password-protected accounts and I really needed a decent password manager to carry around with me. This one was selected, not just on the lower price compared to competing apps, but the fact that the data is stored locally and not on a web server somewhere (as most are!!!). Is is very customisable and the desktop app, although basic, allows you to backup the database on a PC/Mac. This is still only available as an iPhone/iPod app, but the developer is working on an iPad version. Very good value for money and user-friendly.
I use these when required and would highly recommend:
IMDb (free) – essential, that is all
PS Express (free) – great for editing images when out and about prior to posting
WiFi photo (free) – a great way to get images from your device onto a PC over WiFi
GarageBand (£2.99) – so good for the price
Planetary (free) – the most beautiful music playing app in the world. Get this and try not to say “WOW”
FlickStack Explore (free) – lovely way to explore Flickr, a daily 500 with favourites, etc.
Discover (free) – a lovely interface for Wikipedia
Dropbox (free) – simply the best application on the web, I have not used a USB drive since I signed up for this.
Trickle (59p) – a passive trickle feed for Twitter
Albums for Facebook Friends (£1.19) – the easiest way to create photo albums on Facebook
Star Walk for iPad (£2.99) – more oooh’s and aaah’s than a firework display
Splashtop (59p) – desktop control of your PC over WiFi, very high quality.
Math Bingo (59p) – a great maths operations games for kids to practise basics
My Movies (£3.99) – DVD/Blu-ray collection manager
Spellboard (£2.99) – a way to record and make spelling quizzes