The Rest of the Best
The iPad 2 is a tremendously versatile tool. Its size and long battery life make it perfect for everything from airplane terminals to tracking down brushfire locations in West Texas. I've had several weeks now to test my iPad 2 in some of the most demanding situations I could imagine, and in my daily life as a student and journalist. Here are the apps that have impressed me most:
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1. Evernote: If Jack Kerouac were writing On the Road today, he'd use a (jailbroken) iPad with Evernote. This app allows you to organize your off-the-cuff thoughts and light bulbs of brilliance in a more efficient way than ever before. Going on the Great American Road-Trip and trying to keep your journal in order? Evernote automatically saves your ideas to the location you wrote them in. You can search geographically in a map view to read them.
The iPad 2 is a multimedia device, and Evernote is a multimedia app. In a lecture? Record audio with your tablet's mic and take notes at the same time. You can even attach multiple audio clips- and images- to the same note.
2. Good Reader:
If you spend a lot of time interacting with different documents, you need Good Reader. This app uses PDF reflow to extract pure text from very large PDF files, and can also handle massive (book-size) PDF files. It can handle high-res photos and supports every file format Safari does. This includes Office, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML, and more. It'll even handle .ai files and all audio / video files iOS supports.
3. Adobe Ideas:
If you're in graphic design and you own an iPad, Adobe Ideas is probably already loaded up on it. This app may be the best photo sketchbook around. It allows you to draw in layers right over images. You can create up to ten layers per sketch, which opens up a number of possibilities for flow-charts and outlines. Yes, it supports vector drawing.
And here we have the straight-up best sketchbook app around. Jot an excellent finger-drawing doodle-book, but it is also much more. By tapping two fingers, you can create a textbox wherever you want. Which means taking notes in math class just got one hell of a lot easier. This thing is also exceptional for storyboarding. Budding directors pretty much have their whole studio in an iPad 2 now...as long as they aren't big on a crisp picture.
5. Paper Desk LITE:
If Evernote and Jot had a baby, it would be Paper Desk LITE. This app combines audio recording, keyboard note-taking and finger-scribbling into one powerful tool. Your audio comes embedded to the point in your notes when it was recorded. Which allows you to use this app sort of as you would a smartpen. Saved documents can be uploaded to email or sent to Google Docs.
6. Press Reader:
If you're going to read the news on your iPad- and I don't necessarily recommend that you do- Press Reader makes way more sense than something like The Daily. It gives you access to more than 1,500 newspapers and magazines. You can browse through, cover to cover, and even use the supported pinch-zoom to get a closer look at things. Automated subscriptions are now supported- but your first seven downloads are free.
You're browsing through your favorite forum when, lo and behold, someone posts a link to an article you'd dearly like to read. But you're also in the middle of a juicy thread and don't quite want to break off. With Instapaper, just mark the link as "read later". Your account syncs up between your computer and mobile device, so you'll be able to catch-up whenever you have the time.
Yes, your iPad is now the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Going to vacation in Madrid? Add every page on the city- from geographic information to the most famous resturaunts and historic buildings- to your Wikipanion queue and then save it for download. Your pages will be saved for offline reading and ready whenever- wherever- you need them.
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