There are tons of free apps available for the iPad, but there are some even better paid apps out there that help users stay productive with what is often labeled as a just a “consumption device”. In this piece, I’ll take a look at some of the apps that I like to use to when I’m away from my notebook computer.
Splashtop 2 – Remote Desktop $4.99
Splashtop 2 is an invaluable tool for those that love the ability to be able to “travel light” by only carrying a tablet, but still access full desktop apps/functionality in a pinch when required. Splashtop 2 allows you to remote into any desktop/laptop that has the companion Splashtop Streamer software (free) installed. Once connected, you can perform any task that your heart desires as if you were sitting in front of your standard PC/Mac.
Splashtop also offers easy setup and discovery of PCs and can work with a local LAN/wireless network or over the internet. Best of all, the app currently only costs $4.99.
Photoshop Touch a simply a no-brainer choice people that need an image editing app on-the-go. The $9.99 app provides a close approximation of the full-size Photoshop software package for tablet users. Photoshop Touch provides the ability to use layers, selection tools, filters, and the ability to work with images up to 12MP. Users can sync projects though Adobe Creative Cloud, print projects using AirPrint, and even continue their projects on their desktop/laptop using Adobe Photoshop CS 5.1 or CS 6.
And for those that may seem overwhelmed by the vast options and somewhat confusing interface, Photoshop provides some handy in-app tutorials to help power you master difficult concepts.
Sure, there is an official Twitter app out there for the iPad, but if you truly want to micromanage your Twitter experience, it’s hard to beat TweetBot. TweetBot offers a much friendlier and logically-arranged user interface than the official Twitter client, and there are numerous options including the ability to customize alerts and choose your own URL shorteners and image uploading services.
Quickoffice Pro is probably one of the best ways to edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on the iPad. The office suite costs $19.99, which manages to undercut Apple’s trio of iOS apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers) by $10. Quickoffice allows you to sync your files with a number of services including Dropbox, Google Docs, SugarSync, and Evernote. In addition, Quickoffice is compatible with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents (it’s even compatible with documents dating back to Office 97).
Other features include the ability to save files as PDFs and print documents directly from your iPad using AirPrint.
If you want to know just how good Quickoffice Pro HD is and how important it is for the mobile document editing space, look no further than the fact that Google acquired its maker back in June.
GoodReader is a handy tool to have around for those that need to manage large TXT and PDF files. While there is a built-in PDF reader in iOS, GoodReader takes things to the next level with the ability to annotate documents (highlight, draw, underline, strikeout, etc.) to your heart’s content. GoodReader also offers the ability to Sync across Dropbox, SkyDrive, and SugarSync (there are also options to use WebDAV and FTP among others).