First on my list of working apps is Dropbox. In addition to moving ebooks to and from the iPad, Dropbox is quite handy for making work files available between computers and devices. It’s also extremely useful when you are collaborating with others. In addition to installing the free Dropbox on your iPad, you should also install it on your desktop/laptop.
Next to Dropbox, the app I use the most is Notebooks for iPad [$8.99]. It’s my todo list, research notes, topic ideas, journal and much more. You can share your “books” (an organizational element in Notebooks) and imported documents to your desktop and/or iPhone via wifi using Dropbox or via USB sych using iTunes.
The iWork apps (Pages, Keynote and Numbers) are available in scaled-down versions just for the iPad. Even so, they are impressive applications and at $9.99 each, not a bad deal. While you can save your documents to the free iwork.com site, you cannot open files from there. You can open files from Dropbox and there’s a work-around for saving them using the DropDAV service.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite gives Microsoft Office [$24.99] users the ability to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and includes a file manager that lets you synch files using any number of online platforms including Dropbox and Google Docs.
GoDocs [$3.99] provides full support for Google Docs.
For photo editing, Photogene for iPad [$3.99] is a great option. It provides all the basic editing and adjustment tools you need plus a few goodies added for good measure.
Bloggers using WordPress, LiveJournal and Squarespace have free apps available to help their blogging efforts. The WordPress app is very usable. The BlogPress app [currently on sale at $2.99] works with just about every blog platform and is a very capable app. MacJournal [$5.99] can be used to post to Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress and MobileMe.
If you’re going to do any serious work on your iPad, I would recommend a bluetooth keyboard. There are many options to choose from, but since my Mac’s keyboard works fine with the iPad I haven’t investigated any others. I’m also getting quite good at two-finger typing with the on-screen keyboard and I take full advantage of the Text Expander [$4.99] app with allows me to save phrases and other commonly-used text with assigned abbreviations. Whenever I type the abbreviation, Text Expander replaces it with the full phrase. A growing number of iPad apps support Text Expander. There’s also a desktop version for Mac and you can use Dropbox to keep your phrase library synched on both. Oh, it also supports HTML so you can set up commonly used HTML to quickly drop into a blog post.
I still do most of my writing on my desktop, but I find that I’m frequently carrying draft projects with me to edit whenever I have a few minutes. Once you get comfortable selecting text with your finger, you’ll find the iPad is quite nice for editing. And, because you’re more likely to carry it with you than your laptop, it’s there when you need it.
On our recent trip to California, we only took our iPads. Travel time each way was about 12 hours and we were reading, listening to music, playing games and doing some work. The batteries held up throughout the trip. It was a very pleasant surprise.
Yes, my iPad is more than just a pretty face