Useful iPad Apps

To complement my list of useless iPad apps, here's a list of useful iPad apps ... apps I use daily. The list is in no particular order:
  • Google search for iPad. Love the hands-free voice search feature. Beyond search, this app also provides a portal to all of my Google App services. One negative is that the Google Search app does not afford easy switching between Google accounts.
  • Safe Gmail for the iPad. This app provides for easy switching between multiple Google accounts. A real frustration reducer.
  • Gmail for the iPad. If/when Google enables quick account switching, this will be my go-to app for email. On the margin, the archieve and trash icons are too close together. It is too easy to trash a message by mistake.
  • MobileRSS for the iPad. I keep hoping that Google will publish a reader app that is as convenient as the Google Reader for Android. Until that happens, MobileRSS, is my go to feed reading app. MobileRSS integrates seamlessly with my Google Reader account. It also makes sharing posts via Twitter , email, Facebook, etc. a simple two-tap process.
  • Safari. Safari is an OK browser. The recent addition of Chrome-like tabs is a mixed blessing. The tabs use precious screen real estate. I rather liked Safari's previous "view all open windows" navigation scheme.
  • WSJ for the iPad. Because of this app, I now prefer to read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad, rather than the dead trees version. Dow Jones is to be commended for this!
  • DrudgeReport for the iPad. What can I say?
  • Facebook for iPad. This app is better than accessing FB via Safari, but that's not saying much.
  • Twitter for the iPad. As with the FB app, the Twitter iPad app beats accessing Twitter via Safari. However it's annoying and confusing to use. Why, for example, is the compose new tweet button located at the bottom left of the window?
  • WeatherBug for the iPad. My favorite weather app.
  • Google Maps. Gmaps on the iPad is just as useful as it is on the Android platform. Endless fun.
  • Google Earth. Ditto. Fun to pinch to zoom and swipe to relocate the earth.
  • Netflix. Gotta have it.
  • Kindle for the iPad. Essential for accessing and reading our household library of Kindle books.
  • Kno Textbooks. Useful for organizing technical reports and other documents in PDF format.
The iPad's lack of Flash support means that I cannot access the vast media library that accompanies my Amazon Prime account and makes impossible use of the myriad websites that use Flash.

See my companion post: Useless iPad Apps.

Useless iPad Apps

An iPad 2 (32 GB with Verizon 3G) has been in my bag for about six months. I use the iPad for:
  • Email. The iPad makes for an OK email device. Editing typos remains more difficult than with an Android device. Android provides a convenient way to locate an insertion point. iOS does not. The lack of SWYPE for iOS makes text entry more tedious than necessary.
  • Reading books and technical reports.
  • Reading blogs and news sources.
Here's a run down on the iPad apps that I've found to be useless (as in I've never used them or rarely use them):
  • Messages (New with iOS 5. I have now clue what it does).
  • Videos. Never used it.
  • iTunes. Ditto.
  • Photo Booth. Huh?
  • Photos. Why?
  • Music. How different from iTunes?
  • Face Time. Google + hangouts and Skype are better.
  • Mail. Awkward.
  • Calendar. Apple FINALLY added the ability to use swipe gestures to change months, etc. Generally awkward to use.
Most of these apps reflect Apple's legacy approach to content. Apple has historically assumed content is loaded on the device. In contrast, I operate in a cloud based environment. Google Apps is my primary tool for personal and work email, etc. iOS5 is a step in the cloud direction.

See my companion post Useful iPad Apps.

Overall, it's an OK device. Android provides a superior user experience. iOS lacks key information display features (such as widgets). And I find more consistency across Android apps than I find in Apple Apps.