iPad – The Recommended Apps

Numerous write-ups abound on the internet, touting different apps as “must-haves” for your iPads from a repository of over 200,000 apps available in the Apple app store. Personally, i feel such recommendations are very difficult to make because different people use the ipad for different purposes. Some use theirs majorly as ereaders, some as a video viewing gadget, while some go to extremes using it as a web designing and networking tool.

The ipad, is far from being a laptop replacement but how much it can go in doing this is wholly dependent on the apps you have installed. My recommendations is based on my own preferences as i have tried to use the ipad as a laptop replacement,  as closely as i can make it be.

There are 4 basic ways one can get apps on your ipad and other iOS powered devices like the ipod touch and the iphone;

- Purchase from the Apple app store using your credit card. Unfortunately, only cards with a billing address of a few countries are accepted and expectedly, Nigeria is not one of them.So, this option is as good as closed, unless Steve Jobs has a change of heart anytime soon like the folks at Google did recently with the Android Market Place.

- Purchase from the Apple app store using gift cards. For those with nice folks living in Europe, South Africa or the U.S., you may ask them to purchase gift cards from Apple web site. These are just coupon codes that you can use to purchase your apps. This option is open to we folks in Nigeria.

- Aim for free apps or apps with “lite” versions. These are stripped down or trial versions of the premium apps. You just may be able to get your work done with them.

- Unfortunately, the fourth option is beyond the scope of this write-up as it involves some processes that would cause a deep frown on the brows of the folks in Cupertino (Apple) and some good folks out there too. It involves “jailbreaking” your device. You may do some online search for more information on this.

Below are some apps that i find useful. Who knows, you just may too;

BOOK READERS

The Kindle ebook store probably contains the biggest collection of ebooks for any single store, so it might be a good idea to have the app installed on your ipad, just in case you might need it. But other than this, i do not find the reading experience on the ebook app good enough, not even comparable to Apple’s ibook.

But for those of you with a huge stash of pdf files like i do, below are my recommendations;

- Kobo
- iBooks
- Stanza

All three are free and are recommended based on the fact that, though the ipad is not the best ebook reader available because of its backlight, these ebook reader apps gives you better control of adjusting the screen brightness. One good thing that is rarely mentioned about the ipad is that the device has a “Night Mode” feature that enables an inversion of colours, enabling easier viewing in the the dark.

Kobo and Stanza have a better handling of your bookmarks, ibooks offers no easy means of accessing them.

iBooks also has a slower rendering of pdf files. There is always lag of about a second before a page is clearly displayed when opened.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Kobo and iBooks seem to have a better handling of large ebook collections. I loaded about 100 fairly large sized pdf ebooks via itunes, Kobo handled it with little hitches while stanza seem to buckle under the load. However, the best method of loading ebooks into the different ebook apps maybe to do it in bits.

However, the most efficient and reliable document manager for the ipad is probably GoodReader ($4.99). The ipad does not have a file manager, so if you want to view a document in different readers, you have to load the document separately, but with GoodReader, it can act as a repository of all your documents. You may view your document in the app or you can open the document in another app from Good Reader!

BIBLE

Probably the most popular Bible for the iPad is OLIVETREE, with its large collection of Bibles and Bible study tools, a good number of them offered for free.
However my preference is for THE WORD OF PROMISE AUDIO BIBLE. Offered in the New King James Version only, readers have an option of listening to a dramatic rendition of the Bible while reading. Of note is the fact that the audio is not just some recitals as found in most audio bibles, top actors like Jim Cavalier (Jesus in “The Passion of The Christ”), Richard Dreyfuss, Jon Voight, etc were involved in the dramatisation of the scriptures. Note that most of these actors are top rate, academy award winners.

The text version of the Bible is free with the audio of the Book of John bundled with it. However, buying the audio for the whole Bible is about $40. Alternatively, you may buy audio for selected Books for $2.99 or the old and new testaments seperately.

Daily devotional apps include OPEN HEAVENS (Redeemed Christian Church) for the iphone platform but compatible with the ipad.

NEWS READER

My recommendations for this category requires an existing free subscription to the Google Reader.

REEDER has a nice and a more easily navigateable interface. Your feeds are syncronized quickly and are viewable offline. However, it comes at a price, $
BYLINE, is a free alternative but not as good as Reeder.

NOTEPAD

Buying a Stylus with your iPad may be a good idea. Amazon offers one from Boxwave for $15 and after using it for a few weeks, i find it very good and useful. Having a good stylus can also effectively influence your choice of a good notepad as you would not be restricted to just those that rely on keyboard inputs.

Top on my list for a good notepad is NOTE TAKER HD.
It offers you the ability to turn your ipad into a notebook using your stylus as a pen. It comes at a price though, . A free alternative you may consider is ADOBE IDEAS.

GAMES

This is highly subjective and is based on user preference.

- Scrabble HD
- Angry Birds. Any of the variants will do but Angry Birds Rio is free.
- Spider (A Spider solitaire card game)
- Real Racing HD (Car racing game. Use your iPad as the steering wheel! You really must try it. Version 2 is even out now)
- Mau Mau (Card Game)

MESSAGING

For those with the 3G variant of ipad, now you can use the SIM card in your device to send and receive SMS. Thanks to SWIRLYSMS. (CAUTION : Jailbreaking required!)

MUSIC

The ipod app on the ipad is good enough for your everyday music listening needs. But if you need more than just that, the following is a list you may check out;

- IDJ : For those that remember the music mixing software for the PC platform MIXMEISTER, IDJ is the ipad version. Mix your music tracks in real time!
- DJAY : Two turntables, load your tracks and “scratch” away!
- VIRTUOSO : Free Piano

For music producers, you may want to check out apps like iELECTRIBE, BEAT STUDIO, AURORA and a host of others.

To Be Continued …

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Wale Falade is Nigerian. A Business Systems Analyst, Technology Enthusiast and a Linux Server Administrator. He engages actively in improving online visibility of Nigerian brands. Follow him on twitter @diaryofageek