My current favourite iPad apps

Okay, okay, I admit it, I was one of those guys that bought himself an iPad during OOW and I thought maybe it’s cool to share some thoughts on those iPad apps that are currently on my iPad, after things have settled down a bit regarding the downloading, install, try-outs and deleting (zillion of times) most of those apps again and again and… Which of those apps are still on my pad and worth maybe a tryout…? Some I have bought, some are for free. Let’s have a look and I hope you enjoy the line up…

Current Setup

Currently I have setup my screens in multiple sections:

  • Main Screen
  • Social apps
  • Music and …
  • Games
  • Utilities
  • iWorks and alike

You could discuss if they are really belonging in those sections but currently those screens feel okay for me and that’s what counts.

Main Screen

Not that much exciting stuff here. Worth mentioning is the WordPress app that I can use to update, write and check my wordpress blog sites I post to. Twitterrific is a twitter app that I installed because my default one, the one that I like most, Tweetdeck, crashed initially to many times. Nowadays Tweetdeck is stable but lacks some functionality that I have on my desktop machines. Mentioning “lack”; The WordPress app doesn’t have the statistics tab, that his alternatives have for Windows or Android, because this page makes use of flash and being on a Apple environment, that kind of stuff doesn’t work anymore…

“Timezones” isn’t actually a app, but a HTML5 site saved on the “desktop”, which is very useful site really to quickly check timezones and avoids me calling people in the States while they just went to sleep.

WeatherProHD is a very extensive weather app. If I really need it, I don’t know, but it is really beatifully crafted, but you will have to pay for it.

Screenshots

iPad WordPress App

WordPress App

Twitteriffic

Everytimezone URL

WeatherPro HD

Social

Most social apps on this screen are apps for reading up news, manuals, twitter and file handling. Most of them you probably won’t use because they are refering or dealing with Dutch content.The Dutch content driven NU app is very neatly crafted as also is the Telegraaf HD app. They aren’t really my kind of info sources, especially the “Televaag”, but as said I can appreciate the way they have setup the apps. Clear and efficient without too much ennoying commercial stuff in there.

I use IMDB to look up, from time to time, some some info on movies and television series. Current version of TweetDeck, as said, is really stable and because I love the look and feel, this is my main twitter app. Flipboard is a funny application. You can create a sort of newspaper look and feel of your twitter accounts or groups and it would really be a great way to read up twitter messages or other info if it also would accept RSS feeds of, for example, blogsite aggregator feeds. Anyway, have a try, its freely downloadable from the App Store. Pulse is an app that maybe is a bit the same as Flipbook, but I can’t get it really to work for my info needs (it doesn’t refresh my sites), so anyway, that app is probably one of the next apps to be deleted if I need some room.

The “Instapaper” app is pretty smart. It gives you the extra functionality in Safari and other apps to link or save webpages to “read later” or just save them in a folder. So for example if I see a website that has interesting content then I can link it to be read later and this page will be saved in this Instapaper app.  In Instapaper I can now sort them into the appropriate folder and/or share it, for example via email.

GoodReader is more than just an eReader app. You can read for example, pdf’s but you also can move, manage, protect, upload docs to GoogReader with a server, see media content like pictures and movies. You are also able to created password protected folders or protect content via a password. You can download content directly via multiple sources and if needed pass it on to the Apple iBooks app.

Google Remote is just a funny app. If you have an iMac, for example, you can control the iTunes Music library remotely via WiFi, for example, picking the next song or remotely increasing volume on your iMac. Nothing more, nothing less.

Screenshots

TweetDesk

Flipboard Main Page

Flipboard – Generated article based on a twitterfeed

The Dutch NU app

Instapaper

Apple Remote

Pulse

Music and …

As far as I remember “Virtuoso” is a free app, KORG’s iELECTRIBE and Pianist Pro aren’t. iELECTRIBE is a serious drumbox machine app espeically cool if your into creating Dance, House and/or drum patterns. It is a very good music machine port to the iPad and definitely worth its money if you are into this kind of stuff. Pianist Pro is one of the more decent piano app’s with a good default sound for piano, organ and others. Also its keys are not that small so you can actually play the thing without hitting continuesly the wrong keys.

I downloaded VLC, a multi app regarding playing media files, as an alternative to the Apple defaults so when I am out of luck regarding support, VLC probably will play it. Until now, also GoodReader does a good job in playing mediafiles.

Tactilis is one of those small gems out there in the Apple store. It is a pad that can be used to draw pictures / sketches. It has a blank paper, one with regular lines on it so you can write on it, or a background “paper” with cubes for doing your numbers. Mainly it is used for sketching. You don’t have any colors but only “graphite” pencils. Straight lines and circles are very easily created via some magic moves. It also supports zoom functionality for very fine adjustments. It’s probably best to see it’s YouTube demonstration so you can see how amazing this app really is.

Screenshots

Korgs iELECTRIBE – Main interface

Korgs iELECTRIBE – Some menu options

Pianist Pro – Single view keys (two key rows are also an option)

Pianist Pro – A lot of extra’s like MIDI and drum & ARP patterns

Tactilis – best to see the demo on YouTube

Games

Wouldn’t the iPad not be a great environment for games? So why are there so few…? The demo app “Epic Citadel” is a real good show case that it can be a great environment for gaming. Until now, I am still waiting for the first one to arrive. It’s a shame that the better games, until now, on the iPad are mainly ports from very old PC games for the iPad. The better ones like Lucas Arts “Moneky Island” (the humor is still great after all these years) and the Broken Sword adventure games are beautifully restored for this iPad environment, but were are the new ones…?

I tried some games like the one still on the screen called Nathalie Brooks and/or Isabella, but they are very easy regarding the puzzles and it took me only 2 upto 4 hours to play through the whole game. Both of them had repeating elements which got boring at the end. There are also very bad ports from old PC games like “Dragon’s Lair”. I should have known it wasn’t a good game. It wasn’t one on PC and its still horrible on iPad. They didn’t invest any time improving it or making the game more interesting.

So while waiting for the real killer app regarding games on the iPad, as “Epic Citadel” proves can be done, we, you, I have to do with decent ones like Settlers, a decent port or Dungeon, which doens’t really make it for me because of the not so properly working controls, which are vital if you’re into these kind of role playing, dooms and dragons kind of stuff.

I got two racing games on the iPad. One, the NFSU (need for speed) is actually an iPhone/Touch app but also delivers on the iPad, although the graphics are not optimal. Asphalt 5 is a good racing game for the iPad. I am not such a racing game guy so I am not sure if they are really good ones from the perspective of racing game nerd. Because you “steer” via the gyro options buildin the iPad these kinds of games can become rather tiresome steering your car by using the iPad as your “driving wheel”…

Angry Birds and Cut the Rope are the current top games in the Apple store and both deserve it to be. They are simple but good designed games. I think I like “Cut the Ropes” more because it is more a brain teaser while Angry Birds is more about luck or at least there is a luck factor involved. Cut the Rope also reminds me of “The Incredible Machine“, an old PC game which made those kind of games more popular in the 1990’s. Sometime “clean and simple” can really work. Glow hockey is a good example of this and great fun playing while playing it with 2 people.

I downloaded and deleted an enormous amount of games and yet still waiting for that one newly crafted game for the iPad… It’s almost X-Mas so were are those cool decent games…?

Screenshots

Monkey Island 2 – Intro

Monkey Island 2 – Game interface

Broken Sword – Movie intro

Broken Sword – In between cartoon story movies

Broken Sword – Game interface

Epic Citadel – Main page

Epic Citadel – Realtime moving environment with incredible detail

Epic Citadel – Outside the castle

Epic Citadel – Realtime flying birds, changing sky’s, you name it. It can be done…

Angry Birds – Main menu

Angry Birds – Game interface

Cut the rope – Main menu

Cut the Rope – Game interface

Glow Hockey HD – Game interface

Settlers – Game interface

Asphalt 5 HD – Game Interface

Asphalt 5 HD – Oops, I crashed my car…

Utilities

The more serious, work related utilties. VNC, Telnet and RDP are free apps and are fairly decent while working on Linux/Unix environments and/or on Windows via VNC. iSSH was the only software app that I really bought hoping that it would be my new alround “Putty” app for the iPad and it comes really close. The iPad isn’t still a multithreaded environment so working with these apps can be tiresome. iSSH for example can only open one VNC connection at a given time, so switching from one to a different one isn’t that easy to get some work done. iSSH is highly configurable so it was worth those 10 bucks, it combines the mentioned 3 in one decent app.

Screenshots

iSSH – SSH, Telnet or VNC configuration menu

iSSH – Terminal look and Feel. The keyboard disappears if you have a Bluetooth keyboard

iWorks and alike

I bought the Apple “Pages”, “Keynote” and “Numbers” apps so I had an environment supported way of dealing with documents and/or MS Office related material. In all they feel a little shortened in functionality regarding the fact that you have to pay 10 bucks each for it.

Air Video is just a great app and I have had a lot of fun for those, what was it 2 or 3 bucks. Air Video can be used to stream movies and media directly to your iPad. It is able to stream it and do some realtime conversion to an audio and video format your iPad can handle or can convert the file and then stream/store it on your iPad as needed. But given that you are able to stream the content live without storing it also means that you don’t need the biggest most expensive iPad to see movies. It has also, currently still beta, option that securily streams your movies from your PC or iMac via the internet towards your iPad. I really like this one. It enables me to see some movies while being in bed or somewhere in the house on the couch. The server side software for Windows or iMac can be freely downloaded. The Air Video app is available for iPad or iPod Touch or iPhone and can be downloaded via the Apple store.

Screenshots

Air Video – Preview screen and part of the menu (of course full screen is also an option – default btw)

Air Video – Menu options where you can change, for example, audio track or subtitle, if available (mg4 for instance or mkv movies)

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4 Comments

  1. 11/8/2010

    Hey Marco,

    Great list! Still regrets about not buying the Android??
    I am missing one great free app I frequently use: Dropbox… (to synchronize files across multiple PC’s/iPad/iPods etc)

    Roel

    • 11/8/2010

      In principle, yes, I think if I get my hands on that samsung or other pad provider with an Android OS installed on it, that I start to whine/weep/cry. You can run Oracle on Android you know…

    • 11/8/2010

      Yep I have seen “Dropbox” but I don’t want another account. If so, I could also get an account for the Apple “MobileMe” sharing service. If it is only sharing capabilities you need WebDAV, FTP etc services provides via Goodreader and such are good enough for me and not extra strings attached…

  2. Arnoud
    11/11/2010

    Great list, Marco! I’ll be keeping this post in mind when I get my iPad next month!

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