Blog Post

The iPad Works, Thanks to These Apps

If you happened to venture over to our sister site TheAppleBlog recently, you might have seen my list of iPad (s aapl) applications that changed my mind about the future of the device. Well, I’ve also had a similar epiphany about using the iPad as a mobile workstation — and it wasn’t the same app loadout that convinced me of its value in that regard.

These are the apps that make the iPad work for web workers, and the ones that set the bar for developers to strive for when creating new apps for the future of the platform. If you feel like I’ve missed any, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

  • Instapaper Pro ($4.99) This is the app to use for grabbing pages for reading later while you still have wireless access. Heck, I have a Wi-Fi + 3G model so I’m very rarely out of network range, but I still use it because of its formatting options and cross-platform compatibility. It’s a joy, and the ability to jump from iPhone to iPad seamlessly with it makes it a must-have for business use.
  • Documents to Go Premium ($11.99). A word processor, spreadsheet and presentation app is a must for work purposes. Docs to Go Premium is my choice, because I already had it on my iPhone and the universal update is free. I chose the premium version because of cloud access to services like Dropbox and Google Docs (s goog). (To learn more about the cloud, join us at Structure June 23 & 24 in San Francisco)
  • Dropbox (Free) Speaking of Dropbox, grab this app if you have an account. If you don’t have one, grab this app and then create an account from within it. It’s the easiest possible way to sync up your mobile device, your desktop, and any other computers you might use on a regular basis. The iPad app makes use of the great “Open in…” feature introduced in the iPad-specific iOS 3.2, and it’s a huge time-saver.
  • iUnarchive ($2.99) Another great app that integrates well with other apps on the iPad is iUnarchive. It’s a little utility that allows you to open and extract pretty much any type of archived file, from .ZIP to .RAR and beyond. It works with Safari and Mail’s “Open in…” protocol, too, so you won’t have to take a lot of extra steps to get at those files, unlike many of the other options available in the App Store.
  • GoodReader for iPad (99 cents) If you’re looking for a very capable PDF reader that also supports VGA out using Apple’s adapter, this is the way to go.
  • BeejiveIM for iPad ($9.99) You’re going to need an IM client for the iPad if you want to use it as your go-to mobile workstation. Beejive is the king, despite some early hiccups with landscape mode that have been worked out in the latest update. You could also try IM+, but for my money, nothing’s better than the Beejive.
  • Penultimate ($2.99) Need a notebook for quick notes, mock-ups and other ideas? Penultimate will replace your moleskine and do it with style. Choose from lined, graph and blank pages, create and maintain multiple notebooks, and turn on pen mode for use with a stylus. It’s an amazing app, and a great bargain at the price.
  • Square (Free) It’s now a universal app, so go ahead and grab the Twitter founder’s venture into mobile payments on iOS. Even if you can’t yet get the credit card swipe dongle, it’s a useful way to track your payments from clients on the go without having to get into a detailed spreadsheet or invoicing app.
  • Reeder for iPad ($4.99) The hotly anticipated Reeder for iPad has arrived, and it blows all other RSS readers out of the water, including the Early Edition, which I reviewed favorably not too long ago. It has a beautiful interface, great caching and speed, terrific integration with other apps and services — this baby has it all. Plus it’s dead simple, since it’s just basically a shell for your Google Reader account.

Which iPad apps keep you productive?

17 Responses to “The iPad Works, Thanks to These Apps”

  1. Just a small update about iUnarchive: a iOS 4 (iPhone, iPod Touch) / iPad Universal version has just been released and is currently 99 cents (for a very short period of time). On iOS 4 you can do the same as on the iPad, just on a smaller screen ;-)

  2. Aaron Johnson (CyKiller)

    I have a love hate relationship with the iPad when it comes to productivity the way I need it to work. But I am an early adopter because of it’s potential and my list is more oriented towards that. Great applications that has a lot of potential and makes the ipad a lot more compelling.

    1. Goodreader – great app, google docs was why I purchased it and I am happy over some of the others for it’s ease of usage and simple GUI. Only thing missing is application integration with other programs. The addition of iAnnotatepdf makes them a perfect combo….but they could learn a few things from each other.

    2. Pulse is bybfar the best rss reader to date. Perfect in my opinion with one needed change for convenience and the article is about …… productivity so adding the open in safari as web button is a vital change.

    3. iWork….with no iDraw. I love Pages, Numbers, and Keynote but I am missing something important. A nice draw application that allows for clipboard copy and paste.I have tried a lot and the unofficial iDraw is crap, ArtStudio, adobe ideas, Sketchpro and other free ones are missing this feature as well. I can deal with Pages for this at the moment but it’s very annoying….any suggestions? For document creation and editing it’s not bad at all just takes some getting use to. I will give docs2go see how it compares….there is a lot of room for improvement of iWork from apple.

    4. iMockup and iAnnotatepdf deserves a spot…a lot of potential here, great in their infancy.

    5. Ithoughts is astounding and is a great app for me.

    There are plenty of others but I love these apps and wish their progression rate keeps pushing, the competition spreads innovation. I guess my love hate relationship would be defined as i love the apps for what they are today but hate waiting for what’s to come in the future. Great device, even more impressive platform for developers which applications are displaying.


  3. I highly recommend:

    Teamviewer (Free) — allows an iPad to remotely connect to and control a Mac or PC.


    Slingbox Player (requires a Slingbox) – stream your television onto your iPad.

  4. Excellent list – I have most of these apps & will check out the ones I don’t. Some comments though – I wasn’t thrilled with DocsToGo – it locked my excel spreadsheet because of incompatible formulas so I’m looking for an alternate. I love LogMeIn for a remote desktop client and it works very well. BeejiveIM is THE instant messenger to have – hopefully they will incorporate Skype in upcoming releases. The current Skype app (no iPad version yet) stinks. It needs push notifications. Perfect Browser is another winner – great replacement for Safari with tabbed browsing.

  5. Justin Withers

    Just saw a mention on for an app called Readdledocs. Installed it, blinding, deals with zips, opens PDFs, syncs over wifi, check it out folks

  6. Matthew Lieberman

    iAnnotatePDF – most important productivity app I use. If you collaborate on MS Word docs and use comments and track changes then you, like me, are out of luck, but iAnnotatePDF comes the closest to replacing that functionality. Its a PDF viewer that lets you add comments on top of the PDF and also highlight, underline, and crossout text. It can access dropbox files and email files from inside the program.

  7. I believe A “Remote Desktop Client” is also crucial…I use my iPad as my primary travel computer and came to that conclusion after ensuring it would work for my needs. (basically I carried my laptop & iPad on the road for a few weeks and tried to see how long I could go without using the laptop and had no issue. – I was able to do it for the complete duration and have never looked back). My Remote Desktop Client I use is “Jump Desktop” I paid $7.99 (currently $19.99 and I have seen it go as low as $4.99) definitely worth $9.99 or less and a must have for accessing your work computer in a pinch.

    One other important app especially if you do technology demos is to have an app that projects web pages to a projector. There are several out there in the market, I use Expedition VGA Browser (.99).

    One other one if you are a road warrior and have to do travel/expense type stuff – Expensify is good for helping you auto import your credit card info and assign as an expense but it has some quirks especially payment per approval of expense so I don’t use it for that…..and TravTracker App is a great app which also integrates with Tripit, allows for Expense tracking/capturing and has currency exchange rate info (I don’t use the “Pro” version).

    Hope this helps