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ipad productivity/science apps - a list of recommendations
19 März 2011

This list is by no means complete and might be updated in the future.

Update 23. April 2011

- Although simplenote provides a great environment for sharing notes, I have switched to a different system. In the advent of nvALT 2, with its built in OpenMeta support, I finally made the switch to a Dropbox / textfile based solution. In the end simplenote was replaced by PlainText. I also tried Notesy and Neboulous but did not like what I found there…

- Recently I’m amazed by PDF expert. Soo much better than iAnnotate and GoodReader (user-friendly interface, highlighting works more reliable, export highlights to emails is a breeze too) and does include extra-features like a dropbox folder sync!

/Update

The Basics

- Simplenote (free)
Simplenote is my extended brain.

- Reeder (2,39€)
Simply the best App out there to read your RSS Feeds. Because of Reeder I preferred reading my Google Reader feeds on the iPad for quite a while. Only the new Reeder for Mac has changed this a bit.

- Instapaper (3,99€)
One of the best Apps for the iPad. A must.

- Dropbox (free)
The official client, not too bad.

- Good Reader (3,99€)
Everything file management (including FTP etc) plus reading. Very good value for little money.

- Articles (3,99€)
A beautiful wikipedia client.

Science

- Papers (11,99€)
Even without the Mac client software a great piece of software to find and organize articles from journals on the go. If you own a Mac and work in science this is a must.

- Mendeley (free)
A free alternative for Papers. It’s a cloud based service and besides the iPAd app there are clients for all desktop OS and even a website with the same functionality. Function-wise not at the same level as Papers.

- iAnnotate PDF (7,99€)
A not so beautiful GUI tries to mask the most powerful PDF tool for the iPad. Highlighting and annotations to PDF work great. The feature I like most: after you finished working on a PDF iAnnotate allows you to wrap all highlighted text into an email and send it to wherever you want it to. I use this with my Simplenote email address quite a lot.

- Sente
If you use Sente on the Mac this is probably a nice piece of software for you. The included cloud sync allows for instant access to all your references and PDFs everywhere. Still no annotation function and the desktop software has many quirky parts which annoy me.

Update Sente seems to have now a more complete iPad app. See here I haven’t tried this one (yet). (15,99€)

- Pleco (free+but some parts of the software are expensive add-ons)
Great software if you ever want to work with Chinese texts.

Data Buckets

I kind of stopped using data buckets and now work with a filing system along the lines of the one described in this article with an added layer of OpenMeta tags (hint: file naming conventions, Hazel, Tagger, Spark and Leap are important parts of this solution, which will be dealt with in a future blog post).

- Evernote
I tried to get into Evernote several times. In the end the paid solution is too expensive and the client software too ugly for my taste. Others might think differently, though.

- Yojimbo (7,99€)
Yojimbo on the Mac is very minimalistic and I really dig its ease of use. Adding tags is a breeze. However cloud sync is a pain and only works with a dropbox hack. In addition Yojimbo allows only for certain file types to be added. The iPad version is a little buggy and does not allow you to add new PDFs. Not overly happy with it.

- DevonThink to go (11,99€)
Haven’t tried this one, as I don’t use DevonThink. I know I probably should, but I simply can’t wrap my head around some design and GUI decisions of the desktop software (worst implementation of the tag-concept ever!).

Productivity

- 1Password (7,99€)
Great software that syncs with Dropbox. All passwords ready, in a safe and secure way.

- iA Writer (0,79€)
Minimalist writing software. I like using this to just get writing tasks done. Works nicely with any bluetooth keyboard.

- Omnifocus (31,99€)
Task management in the GTD fashion done professionally. I still use the iPhone version on my iPad, the iPad version is just soo expensive. However, many people swear by it and even call it magic.

- Things (15,99€)
Not as sophisticated as Omnifocus and lags a cloud sync option. It’s a beautiful piece of software, though.

- iThoughtsHD (7,99€) and MindNote (4,99€)
Nice software to create OPML mindmaps, which I end up using in Scrivener.

- Office2 HD (5,99€)
Software for editing Word and Google documents. Bought it, but never actually had a use case for it.

For more app inspiration you should turn to the MacSparky home screen series or Beautiful Pixels.