Several friends and relatives have asked for my iPad application recommendations. I’ve provided one off e-mails on the subject but thought it would be simpler to put something here and direct people to this page. As you read through the list below, keep these things in mind:
- I purposefully rely on on cloud storage and services rather than local storage. I have the 3G version of the iPad and expect continuous connectivity. I understand the risks associated with this approach but feel the benefits outweigh them.
- I will pay for web services. In combination, I pay more than $200 a year for these services. I’m ok with that. You might not be.
So here, without further introduction are my iPad application recommendations (in no particular order):
Evernote (Dropbox/MobileMe iDisk/box.net): I pay for very few web applications. Evernote is one of them. It has tremendous utility. It is a veritable Swiss Army knife of applications. Being able to pull up any document anywhere is valuable. Being able to search through all of my documents by name, tag or content anywhere is really nice. Dropbox, MobileMe iDisk and Box.net serve a similar purpose – just not as well (or as cheaply).
Google Voice: As an iPad owner (and not an iPhone user), I rely on Google Voice. As it is currently offered, this is a free service. Others have written about it better than I – but it is a great value.
NetFlix: One of several applications on this list that have no competition. Being able to sit down anywhere and watch almost any movie or tv episode is a great thing. The streaming plan is very affordable ($9/month).
Kindle (iBooks/Nook), : This is a particularly tough choice. The Apple application is a good choice. It’s well integrated with the iTunes store and supports a much richer graphical experience. The Amazon app is the simpler choice. I think the Kindle app is better not as much for the reading experience as for the Amazon web site. Apple’s iBooks is very well designed and a delight to use. I just like being able to read my books on any device (not just Apple hardware).
Dragon Dictation: The voice to text is certainly not perfect, but it works well enough. You may not use the app frequently but you’ll love it when you do.
Pandora (Napster/Rhapsody): My primary use of the iPad is to serve up music. I sit at my desk at work listening to music several hours a day. I do not yet pay for Pandora but will likely pay for an annual subscription soon. Having an iPad user interface is worth something and of the items in this category, only Pandora has one. The problem with Pandora is that by design you can’t pick specific songs. For that I use Napster. Napster’s iPhone interface is not intuitive – but I do value the ability to play any piece of music in their vast library at any time (and with constant connectivity – any place).
Google Earth: Easily the coolest application for the iPad. You have to see it to believe it. As cool as the application is on the desktop, it is even better on the iPad. This application has no competitors – absolutely none.
Google Reader (iStreamer/Flipboard/Pulse ): As you can tell, I’m a big fan of Google applications. While not the flashiest RSS reader, it is well integrated with their other products and does everything pretty well. It’s just not the prettiest application. It has lots of competition. The other readers in this list all work, but each imposes one or more restrictions of its own which I do not like. At least for now, simple works best.
Twitter: Probably the best executed web service application for the iPad. It takes a little getting used to, but the native Twitter iPad application works very well. I’m not a big Twitter user, but if I were…
Social (Friendly): From what I can tell, there are two primary iPad native Facebook applications. Between these two, the Social application works better.