One of my colleagues just called and said he was on his way to buy a new iPad. He asked for advice on apps and accessories. I've pasted the text of my email to him below, in case it is of interest to anyone here.
Some random thoughts on app/accessories:
You might want to download the ilounge ipad buyer's guide for a pretty thorough listing and review of some of the better accessories.
I like the Apple Flip cover, esp. the magnetic attachment that lets me take the cover off easily. I don't like the portfolio cases, because I can't remove the cover easily.
I have two plastic backs: Belkin and Speck. I like the Belkin better (thinner and lighter). I think there may be better options available now. I don't recommend the Speck. I'm thinking about getting a different one altogether. I really just want something thin and clear that protects the back and the corners.
For a sleeve, I've ordered something called the Breve from Seattle bag maker, Tom Bihn. It has been backordered for a few weeks (very popular), but should arrive next week. I've bought bags from TB for years, and their stuff is incredibly well built and designed. I expect the Breve to be great; it should work as a pouch in my brief case and as a stand-a-lone carrying case that will also hold a charger and my iphone.Breve for iPad/iPad 2: TOM BIHN
The apple bluetooth keyboard works great and is thin and light. All of the volume and brightness controls work with the iPad. I've been looking at a couple of carrying case options for it; at the moment I use the box it came in. There are some other cool keyboard solutions coming to market, including a roll-a-way keyboard.
My friend has the iPad Zagg keyboard/case combo. He really likes it. It is nifty, but I hated the keyboard. I also don't like the keyboard that close to the screen if I'm going through the trouble of using a separate keyboard. Finally, I don't want to always carry the keyboard with me. Seems like that is what a netbook is all about.
Key apps include:
Note Taker HD (I've bought and tried the other top rated note taking apps, and this one is the best for me. Huge feature set, very stable, regular release updates. There is a learning curve to use it comfortably; I benefited from the instruction videos. Can be used to mark up PDFs, and I dump paper notes into it all the time so that everything is in one place. When I've shown the app to people in the office, it seems like they suddenly see value and utility for daily use that finally justifies pulling the trigger on an iPad.)
Drop Box (getting stuff onto/off your iPad)
GoodReader (best app for handling lots of PDFs, like where I want to take an entire pleading binder. Also has PDF annotation features.)
Flipboard (free news aggregator; really great UI)
Pocket Cloud Premium (best Remote Desktop tool for VPN-like access)
I bought Apple's apps for word processing and spreadsheets. They seem to work quite well.
My kids love Garage Band for the iPad. With your music background, I bet you'd enjoy it.
HitPad (another news aggregator that correlates twitter trends with breaking news stories -- pretty amazing use of the iPad UI and also free)
Penultimate (Another note taking app. I like it for sketching and use it like a white board some times. It is a very clean, simple app with cool ink technology. It won't work for a legal pad replacement, but most people I know seem to like having both Note Taker HD and Penultimate.)
If you use mind mapping software, then iThoughts HD is the clear winner. I use it quite a bit. But if you don't mind map already, I'm not sure if it is something you'd use
Finally, there is no calculator on the iPad. Seems like a silly omission. I downloaded Calculator Pro. Works well enough. You'll probably want to get something like it.
Enough for now. I've got lots of other apps, but I tried to limit this list to the stuff I use every day. If I think of anything else, I'll supplement.
Great post bnett. I would add:
Wordpress App if your friend blogs
Fotolr PS HD for basic photo editing
Air display if you use an iPad and computer concurrently
Words with friends if you like scrabble
Hoot suite for twitter
nook and kindle apps for reading
I've used EWallet since my first PDA- Handspring Visor and Pocket Informant since Win Mobile.
Don't know if trials are offered on ipad. Apple sometimes becomes too much of a "software nanny".
However, can't go wrong on both apps. And the support would make the TB team proud.
I'll definitely agree with Note Taker HD. I've been using it for a couple weeks now and it works great. I'm in a lot of meetings and was really sick of all the paper notes I accumulate, so this works great to be able to keep everything electronically. I mostly use it with a stylus, but it even works fine "writing" with your finger.
Originally Posted by bnett
Case-wise, I actually did end up going with a RooCase Executive Portfolio. The nice thing about this particular case is that the "pocket" for the iPad 2 is actually a leather skin that's held into the portfolio by velcro disks on the back. So, you can keep it in the portfolio for maximum protection, but pull the whole skin out if you want a smaller hand-held option. The skin has a velcro flap on one side which secures the iPad, but also makes it easy to remove if you want and there are appropriate cutouts for all the ports (including both cameras). And, it has a magnet embedded for the sleep function. About the only thing I'm not crazy about are the zipper pulls (somewhat small, slick metal which can be hard to grip. I'd replace them with cord pulls, but you have to push the zipper up a little into the spine to open the case fully, so not sure that'd work well.
Wow. The Roocase looks very well thought out.
I remain partial to the minimalism of the smart cover + shell solution, but if I was to get a portfolis, that one would be the one to beat.
That said, I wonder whether TB could design something like the Field Notebook that could handle paper and a tablet computer.
Anyway, I just got a new back for my iPad: Smartfit2 from TheJoyFactory. If you decide to go with the back/smart cover solution, I think this is the best back. My Belkin was terrific, but the corners have cracked beyond usability. The Speck feels like a monster when compared to the SmartFit. The Smartfit is pretty much exactly what I wanted: light, very thin, strong, etc.
Video review (not mine, just one I checked out before buying) here.