Apps for an apple flavoured snowflake?
May 19, 2012 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Friends, mefites, global citizens, recommend me your apps for the iPad.

Yay, bought a new iPad today, with keyboard and cover. Already have the stylus I use with my iPhone. Not an experienced apple user. What I want are
* drawing (and painting) programs that produce vectors (by preference) or jpgs at worse.
* PDF reading and annotating software
* cat amusement stuff
* GTD or other organisational technique sort of thingies, ideally that interface with gmail.
* converts handwritten notes to text

Any other suggestions of apps you can't live with now that you have them. Areas of interest include academia, study, art, organisation, single girl life.

Please only recommend ones you've tried - I have bought apps for my iphone and been disappointed that it doesn't do what it says it will (on or off the tin).
posted by b33j to Technology (14 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This thread, sidebarred a couple of months ago, had a lot of suggestions I found useful.
posted by muhonnin at 2:16 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For drawing I use Autodesk's Sketchbook Pro. I've recently started tinkering with Paper by 53 which I find to be very good, so far, but I'm not sure how great it could be for producing JPEGs.

For PDFs I recommend Goodreader.

For other apps I can't live without, I recommend the following;


Dominion - I love the original card game and this unofficial app recreates it well.
Carcassone - Another awesome board game iOS conversion.
Catan HD - And another board game to iOS conversion done well.
Deep Green Chess - In my opinion, the best chess app there is.
Ticket To Ride - Another board game.
Small World - And another board game.
Big Bad Soduku Book - Great Soduku app.
World of Goo - Fun!
Ski Safari - More fun... with penguins and yetis!
Contre Jour - Even more fun!
Ascension - Kind of like Dominion, but also kind of not.
Monkey Island 1 & 2 SE - If you didn't like these on the PC back in the day, you probably need not apply.
The Settlers - As above.

Social Networking


Entertainment Related Utilities

AirVideo for streaming and converting videos on your hard drive to your iPad on the fly.
AV Player HD for converting AVIs, WMP & MPGs on the fly on your iPad.
Squirl, which tracks multiple online video sources and keeps them all in one place for you.
Vimeo - the official Vimeo app.
The Daily Show... does what it says on the tin.
Video Playlist for creating playlists of video files, such as music videos, which the iPad can't do naturally for some insane reason.
Crackle - Great for legally watching full length movies for free. At the moment Ghostbusters 2 and Tallageda Nights are on offer.
Mr Plinkett - If you loved the Red Letter Media reviews of Star Wars, you want this. Otherwise, you probably don't.

General Utilities

DVD Profiler for keeping track of your DVD collection.
AppShopper for getting recommendations for more apps!
Remote - an official Apple app thats really only useful if you have an AppleTV but can be used to control iTunes as well.
Pages - another official Apple app for document editing and creation.
Splashtop for remote logging into your computer.
mSecure Password Pro for keeping all your passwords in one secure place.
Stash for keeping files stored on your iPad secret from prying eyes.
Pocket, which was once known as Read It Later, for saving web pages and videos for reading later.
Dropbox for when iCloud just isn't enough (which is quite often).
System Status for keeping track of your iPads vital signs and troubleshooting.
Shazam for finding out the name of that song you just heard on the radio
Song Exporter for exporting songs on your iPad to your computer.
Living Earth for a beautiful weather app.

And that's pretty much it! Enjoy!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:08 AM on May 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: -Propriétés de France is great for daydreaming (in english) about French real estate : from the best spendy castles to the cutest spendy Parisian roomlettes.
-Flipboard *is* a really nice magazine-y pseudo-rss reader
-Pulse is what I use for some news feeds
-artCircles is a new and really lovely, innovative way to find and explore familar and new works of art (
-NYPL Biblion is a similar innovative cultural app as above - this one focuses on the 1939 world's fair

(I *think* all of these above are free. I dont actually use the iPad all that much - it's shared - but they are the ones that stood out for me)

There's also the Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore app that I got to (successfully) entertain nieces/nephews. It's not that expensive and the short movie within it got an academy award. It's not just for kiddywinks though.
posted by peacay at 4:38 AM on May 19, 2012

Effigy2000's list is good. I'd add Puerto Rico to the list of games.

I'll also suggest Instapaper, although Pocket may suffice.

Reeder is great for RSS

Tweetbot if you do Twitter

Soulver is a good calculator (but works a bit differently)

Crosswords by Stand Alone is great.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:47 AM on May 19, 2012

If you like tower defense in any way, I'd recommend Kingdom Rush (available free on Kongregate, not free for iPad), it's a lot of fun.

For comic, I use Comiczeal, all you need to do is drop .cbr files in ITunes and you've got a great comic reader.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:25 AM on May 19, 2012

Best answer: Drawing and painting: I like ArtRage and Paper, both of which will export to the Camera Roll as jpegs. ArtRage is a bit slow, because it's calulating all sorts of things that you might not think about (e.g., how wet the paper is, which makes things especially sluggish when you're using watercolors), but it's fun if you're willing to exercise patience. (Note: I am not even remotely an artist... but it's fun to import an image and then paint over it. I like playing with nuances of color.) Paper is much simpler, and it has a free version in which you get a few of the tools to play with (you can also sample the others before you buy). Not many color choices, but that's not what its about.

Games: Seconding Carcassonne, World of Goo, and Contre Jour. Adding Machinarium and Plants vs. Zombies. (I already had the iPhone/iPod Touch version, which works/looks fine on the iPad. Love the game, but refuse to pay for it again; I'm not sure that there's any different functionality, anyway.) All of these are paid apps, but worth it in my opinion.

Videos: Netflix, obviously, if you subscribe. I've also really been enjoying the PBS app (some of what they have there are just previews, but there's lots of full-episode content, if you enjoy public television).

News/Reading: FeeddlerRSS (free, and it's a list-format RSS reader, which if you have a ton of feeds you follow that don't update multiple times a day is much easier to browse than things like Pulse News... which I also use, but for different feeds/things I don't read as regularly). Flipboard is fun, but I use Zite far more frequently. BBC News, CNN, NPR, &c. all have free apps. (NPR also has a music app that's particularly good.) Pocket, for saving things to read later (not every app seems to link with this, but Zite does).

Misc: Hootsuite for Twitter (free, and the closest thing I could find to Tweetbot for the iPad, which I still strongly prefer). Facebook, although I usually just end up accessing it via Safari, because it loads faster most of the time, and the Facebook app doesn't let you manage pages, which is a huge pain in the bum for those of us who need to. Dropbox (essential for me). Houzz is fun if you like interior design/decorating (not my area of expertise, but it's fun to explore). How Stuff Works (HSW HD, technically) can be fun. If you like cooking, Epicurious, AllRecipes, and Simply Org HD are all free and seem to be great sources of recipes. I don't really shop at Whole Foods, but their app also has some good recipes, and you can sort by dietary restriction. Penultimate is cheap and a decent handwriting app, although it won't transcribe. PlainText is exactly what it sounds like, is free, and will sync with Dropbox.

Finally, I recently re-subscribed to National Geographic after several years of not having the time to read it thanks to grad school, and so far I'm extremely happy with the quality of the digital issues. (Want to know what that neat bird actually sounds like, or see it moonwalk? You can, and will.) I've seen some complaints about people having to purchase issues even after subscribing, but two months in, I haven't had that problem.
posted by divisjm at 7:51 AM on May 19, 2012

Er... when I said TweetBot, I meant TweetDeck. TweetBot does have an iPad version, although I haven't used it.
posted by divisjm at 7:54 AM on May 19, 2012

Best answer: Big App Daddy knows what you need.

Vectors: Paintbook

Handwritten notes to text: MyScript Memo

All-around graphics editing: ArtStudio

Photo editor: Snapseed

Besides Artrage, you want Procreate for painting (not vectors)

Translate spoken words into any language, speak the results: SayHi

Speak to text: Dragon Dictation

Musical Fun: ThumbJam (I know you didn't mention music, but this is the kind of app that an iPad was made for, and it's infinite fun)
posted by dbiedny at 8:09 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Up until a day ago I was using iAnnotate PDF for my scholarly reading/annotating. Then I discovered Remarks. I think it might be the best app I have yet seen for...

Reading, Storing, Annotating PDFs AND Note Taking

iAnnotate is great, it syncs your files and annotations with Dropbox which is an absolute essential for me, BUT the interface is cluttered and over complicated.

Remarks does the Dropbox sync about 99% as well as iAnnotate, the interface is clean and the handwriting tool is absolutely amazing. The best I have used on the iPad so far. Well worth the cash.

Would be interested to hear other PDF surfers opinion on this essential iPad task
posted by 0bvious at 11:19 AM on May 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you're into drawing in any even moderately serious way - which I assume you are, as you are concerned about the file format - then you need to drop the $4.99 to get Sketchbook Pro. There's a free version (Sketchbook Express) if you want to take it for a whirl.

Sketchbook Express is good enough for most people who want something to doodle with. It gives you a full range of colors, a nice selection of useful brushes, and up to three layers. It exports your images as jpegs to the Photo Roll.

Sketchbook Pro adds the ability to export as either jpegs or layered PSD files, and lets you export to a lot of other different places, including Flickr and Dropbox. I export PSDs to Dropbox, then pick them up on my desktop to tidy up in Photoshop.

It also gives you up six layers, and a bunch more brushes. (90% of which are silly things like "a string of leaves" or whatever.)

The art that people can create with Sketchbook Pro humbles me. Search Flickr for "Sketchbook Pro iPad" to have your mind blown.
posted by ErikaB at 11:20 AM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure if they're still offering it, but if you create a account from your iPad (download the free app), they upgrade your storage to 50 gigs for free.
posted by dbiedny at 11:54 AM on May 19, 2012

Best answer: Game for Cats! My elderly kitty loves it. I've since upgraded from the free version so I don't have to keep resetting for her.
posted by upatree at 2:23 PM on May 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Fantastic, thanks everyone!
Really helpful.
posted by b33j at 5:07 PM on May 19, 2012

Response by poster: Whoa! 40 favourites?! I haven't really had a chance to play with my apps yet, but elderly Gordon has discovered the treachery of the iPad mouse already and after two times at the game refuses to play it anymore unless I let the mouse out.
posted by b33j at 2:46 AM on May 27, 2012

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