As a gadget freak, I’ve pretty much got every gadget going, but when the iPad came out, I genuinely didn’t know where it would fit into my life. Sure, it’s great for magazines and newspapers, but was that worth €500? What I have found however, is that the iPad does fill the role traditionally my notebook held; an ultralight portable which I use to write articles and work on, out of the house. While my MacBook Air now only leaves the door when it needs to, instead being more of a desktop.
Of course, the huge app store means that the iPad is flexible enough to do what I need it to. I do a lot of writing, so I’ve gone through a lot of various apps, but have found that three make work easier, but if you know any others, please share!
1 – Pages, €7.99
Apple’s own productivity package is available on the App Store, Pages is the Mac equivalent of Word in Microsoft Office and is very well suited to both OS X and iOS. The app itself is smooth, offering a bookshelf style display for the user to swipe between various documents and email them, bin them, or transfer them with the touch of a button. Actually viewing a document is a pleasure, with controls smoothly hidden out of the way, it’s everything you’d expect from an Apple product. With all the usual commands, the app handily allows you to save documents as a PDF, Word or iWorks format.
However, the app lacks some intuitiveness which could really set it apart from the pack and while iWorks comes as one package, each iWorks app (Pages, Keynote etc.) are all sold separately for a hefty €7.99 each! For the price, it’s not worth it, unless you have a jailbreak.
2 – QuickOffice – €14.99
If you were surprised by the price of Pages, then Quick Office might floor you! Certainly an investment, this is practically a fortune by App Store standards, but in my opinion is well worth it. While you’d have to fork out €24 for the whole iWorks suite, Quick Office allows you to work in PowerPoint, Excel or Word documents easily, with a very clear and easy to use file structure, there’s no pointless swiping around the place. Controls here are a lot more spartan than Pages, but it’s a very organised app, which gives you the impression that it’s here’s for work, and not much else.
While its pricey, the flexibility in app is really great. a few more controls could be handy as there can be some searching for things. Autosave is also handy, but it pops up and stops you typing at the oddest moments. However, it’s my personal favourite.
3 – Bamboo Paper – Free
If you’re like me, then your a frantic note taker. While the word processing apps are great, they just can’t simulate writing for speed. Enter Bamboo Paper, is free app OS effectively a jotting pad, using your finger as a pen. I find it indispensable at meetings, given my dislike for pointless printing. A very intuitive app, it picks up your writing perfectly and while it can take a while to get used to, once you do – you’ll be taking notes as easily as if there was a pen in hand. It’s a lovely program and allows you to email notes to yourself for cleaning up later.
It’s tough to find the balance between replicating paper and having to keep the nessecary buttons on screen, and mostly this is done ok. However, you may find it diffiuclt to change from pen to eraser etc, as the controls do tend to blend in. Page turning can also sometimes result in a pen mark across your notes. But it’s a fun, clever app.