Monday, October 31, 2011

First apps for your new iPad, 2011 edition


Dwight Silverman from TechBlog writes:
A few months after the first iPad was released last year, I posted a list of apps that new owners should consider installing first. It has become one of the most popular posts on TechBlog, but it was written almost 14 months ago. That’s eons in Internet time, and it’s already out of date.

With that in mind, here’s an updated version of the list. It includes many of the original items, but others have fallen off and new apps have been added. Some of the additions came from solicitations I posted to Twitter, Facebook and Google+. (And thanks to everyone who made suggestions!)
Dwight's list is both awesome and extensive, and I'll give you the link to it at the end of this article, but I thought I'd highlight a few apps I've found particularly useful.
Beat the Traffic HD – Traffic and weather for the iPad. If you’ve got an iPad 3G, it will also tell you how fast you’re going.
This app makes me wish I had an iPad 3G!
Dictionary.com – Dictionary & Thesaurus – The popular iPhone dictionary app is reformatted for the iPad. It’s a large download (grab it via Wi-Fi if you have a 3G iPad), but once it’s installed, it won’t have to connect to the Net to download definitions.
I love Word Of The Day feature on this one. It's intuitive and the advertising isn't too intrusive.
Dragon Dictation – Excellent voice recognition from the folks who bring you Dragon Naturally Speaking. Say what you want to write, then paste it into any application, including e-mail. No, it’s not as amazing at the iPhone 4S’s Siri, but it will make text input on your iPad a lot easier.
I've been playing around with Dragon Dictation for the past week or so, but I find it a bit lacking. In order for it's accuracy to approach something I'm comfortable with I have to talk very slowly and take care to enunciate clearly. (Yes, this is probably something I should do all the time!) That said, for a free app it is amazing and well worth the time it takes to download. It's a fun app, just not as useful for a writer as I'd like.

On the other hand, I've heard nothing but great things about Dragon Naturally Speaking and plan to buy the software. I'll keep you updated on how it goes. I'm interested in whether it will help me write more by allowing me to record sound files on, say, my walk to work and then using the voice recognition software to transcribe the file. (My 6th grade teacher talked about how in the future this would be possible but we rolled our eyes and him and thought he was nuts! Sorry Mr. Schmidt.)
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List – A beautifully designed, smartly organized recipe and grocery shopping application that includes user reviews of the recipes.
The recipes look scrumptious and I was excited by the prospect of having a grocery list on my iPad, but it seems that the list is linked to the recopies and you can't add items on a whim. If I'm wrong about that, please let me know. For me, this isn't a keeper.
Facebook – At long last, Facebook has updated its iOS app to be iPad-friendly. If you’re on Facebook, you’ll want it.
I'm on Facebook, but I'm a reluctant Facebooker. I love all my friends on Facebook, but some aspects of the site puzzle me.
Feeddler RSS Reader for iPad and iPhone – The best RSS reader for the iPad. It’s particularly good if you have a lot of feeds to manage.
I'm always on the lookout for RSS readers, and after fiddling around with this app for about half an hour, I'm in love! This is the RSS reader I've been looking for.
Find My Friends – Get your friends to install this free Apple app on their iOS devices, and you can see where they are. They, of course, can see where you are, too. It’s also great for families, allowing you to keep track of where your kids’ locations.
I haven't downloaded this app and I don't plan to. The whole idea seems creepy to me, but I see the utility for concerned Moms and Dads so I'm including it.
Flipboard – Feed this app your Twitter and Facebook streams and it extracts links from your friends’ updates, displaying the results in a magazine-like format. This is one of the most innovative iPad apps you can install, and probably the best way to view the information flowing into your social networks.
What he said. I use Flipboard daily and love it. This is a must-have app.
iMovie – Did you think the iPad’s touch-based interface was too limiting for video editing? Think again. It’s $4.99.
This is an awesome app. I've been using to edit videos I've taken with my iPad and it's wonderful. Sometimes the touch interface gets the better of me, but that more of an iPad thing than a limitation of iMovie. I'm almost read to upload my first movie to YouTube and make it public, so I'll let you all judge for yourselves!
Kindle – Amazon’s book-reading app is so much better than Apple’s own iBooks e-reader. If you’ve got a Kindle or a smartphone with the Kindle app, you can pick up where you left off on any of those devices.
I like iBooks, but there's no question: Kindle is great. I do most of my reading on it. No complaints.
Pages – The iPad doesn’t really come with a decent word processor, so if you’re planning on writing anything beyond a quick note or an email, you’ll want this well-designed app from Apple. It’s full-featured and is $9.99.
Pages is excellent, especially since it's now possible to put files in folders.
Speedtest X HD – If you’re compulsive about checking your connection speed, you’ll want this app. The one downside: you can only choose from four testing locations.
After downloading Speedtest and running it I'm underwhelmed. Apart from a rating out of 5 stars it doesn't give much of an analysis of your score.

I encourage you to read the entire article: First apps for your new iPad, 2011 edition

My App Recommendations (all these apps are free):
- Dragonvale. Hugely entertaining and addicting. Beware.

- SmartRecord. You can use this app to record lectures, or post sound files to your twitter account. It also allows you to imbed images. I haven't tried out posting to Twitter yet, but it's a cool idea. Easy to use and free.

- TED: Ideas worth spreading. You all know about TED, right? Folks with something worth saying are invited to say it.

- Yelp. Find restaurants near you and read reviews from people like you.

I love technology posts! I hope you found something new and neat. Cheers.

2 comments:

  1. This is a great list. I am new to the iPad and have been looking for good apps. The Epicurious app sounds awesome! I'll have to check that one out. I'm already on Yelp, Kindle and Facebook...which are all good. What I'm obsessed with this week is Hulu Plus. When I got my iPad, I also got some iMainGo XP speakers (I'm lucky - I work with them http://amzn.to/ritvtj), but it's pretty awesome because the speakers are also a case and a stand, so it makes it like a home theater. I'm hoping HBO Go is available in LA soon...I've heard good things.

    Thanks for the tips!

    If you want to check them out, they are sold on Amazon:

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice! I was thinking of buying speakers, thanks for the recommendation. We don't have Hulu yet in Canada, so I'm envious. A friend of mine has access to Hulu and she loves it. Have fun with HBO when you get it, I love their programming.

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