Forget the laptop, get the iPad–and these apps

10 Oct

Two iPads happily snuggled together

Thrifty I may be, but personal tech objects are my downfall. The way new cars make teenage boys salivate? That’s me with laptops. I longed for a Vaio when it first hit the showroom floor, but settled for less (thanks for shattering my dreams, HP and Dell!). My desktop was a top of the line dual core processor high def flatscreen, the latest thing in 2007. And now? My interest in desktop and laptop is minimal–I find them handy to type on, but am in no hurry to replace them. They exist merely to service my iPads.

Photo taken in the zoo with iPad camera--no light in the aquatics room except from the tanks

Yes, I have two (I was lucky enough to have development money for them, so neither came from my sewn-shut pocket. But I would have bought one anyway). I love being able to have one on the charge while the other is stroked with my hot little hands. The iPad 2 is flat-out fabulous. I watch my Netflix on its sharpest of the sharp screen. I draw pictures with my finger at the zoo. It takes better photos than my camera, has video, and you can talk face-to-face with friends (yeah, when your hair is combed and your makeup is on). When my typing is too much for pressure touch, I whip out the wireless keyboard.

You need one, too. WiFi happy, it calls many places home–but if you can’t stand to do without, pony up and get the 3G version with a flat $15/mo AT&T fee (but stay away from Netflix without WiFi), cancellable at any time. Why do you need it? One gadget–forget Kindle or Nook or the other readers (you can still read all your Kindle books on the iPad with an app). Download library books with the free app Overdrive!  It’s just so light and handle–many purses can handle it. My arm was tired of dragging even the lightest of my laptops around. Get a special cable and hook it into a digital projector for presentations! Hold out for iPad 3? Nah, unless you think 2’s price will drop.

Table of Contents for your personalized daily magazine, Zite

But think about it. Even good laptops can be problematic if you use them much. My current one, only a year old, has a broken backspace button, and the last one went through three power cords in a two year span. No worries with iPad. It has new technologies that don’t just respond to touch, but to tilt and gps–they’re still discovering what can be done with it. And you’ll be a cool kid! Get the cheapest model, now that music storage will be on the iCloud–you’ll have plenty of room for everything else. The iPad2 with 16G is $499, and that’s all you really need. But also get the magnetic cover that converts to a stand in a choice of colors for $39. And if you don’t like lengthy touch pad typing, get the wireless keyboard for $69.

And the program savings! The Apple versions of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel are Pages, Keynote and Numbers, and they’ll open all your old docs and allow you to export in Office formats if you prefer. AND each one is just 9.99, the same price as some of Adobe’s upcoming iPad choices. A far cry from those expensive boxes! Downside? No outright Flash for you–Apple finds it vulnerable to attacks (and you know you won’t need a virus check subscription any longer). But no worries–developers are turning to html 5, and if you MUST have Flash capability, shell out the money for Skyfire and watch through its browser for $4.99.

Must haves for free:

  •  Zite. It’s not just some RSS feed amalgamator, it’s a lovely custom-made magazine. Check off their content boxes, but also make your own–they’ll go very individualistic. Single best thing on the iPad
  •  WordPress. Look how lovely your blog is on an iPad! It has a jazzy pictorial table of contents and is irresistible!
  • I love Wikihood for travelling. It lets me know what’s nearby.
  • ABC News has a fun globe interface
  • Overdrive lets you read digital library books
  • Google Books has wonders
  • EW’s Must List links you to film, book, music info with samples
  • Some love the Flipboard magazine format–an aggregator for your FB and Twitter accounts. Zite covers far more types of international sources.
  • Life magazine has wonderful photos to enjoy
  • Evernote!
  • Mandalachart for iPad is a great tool for general life planning
  •  SparkPeople breaks down calorie and nutritional info, shows exercise videos, tracks your slimming ways
  • Netflix–even better, now that they’re repentant
  • Falling Stars (by Trident) unite doodling and music
  • Crop for Free just what it says–perfect quick photo excision
  • Bamboo Paper — draw or write with your finger

Pictureka--speed, music, image recognition--PANIC and fun!


  • GoodReader is great for reading pdfs, and if you have access to JSTOR, you can get to it from within the program
  •  IM+ lets you send IMs
  • Checklister is a handy listmaker–simple but useful format
  • Uzu — I don’t get high, but the way these colored particles follow your finger is mesmerizing
  • Boggle & Scrabble  alone or with friends; wait for a holiday, since most of the big players put their games on sale then
  • Many types of games available, current fave is the compelling Pictureka!, but other faves are Splode and Animalia and Doodle Differences and Little Things

A little more, but still under $10

  • aNote (awesome note) I’ve bought loads of productivity/to do apps and this is the very best
  • Pages   like Microsoft Word
  • Numbers like Excel
  • Keynote  like Powerpoint
  • Sketchbook Pro — to draw with
  • Star Walk –take it outside, iPad communicates with the heavens, you see the star map overhead!
  • Two things that are free on Mac desktops and laptops, Garage Band and iMovie, have to be paid for, but if you love music or editing video, they’re vital.




2 Responses to “Forget the laptop, get the iPad–and these apps”

  1. Lucy Flattery October 20, 2011 at 5:17 PM #



  1. NaNo Blur | Just Another Anonymous Witch - November 2, 2011

    […] Forget the laptop, get the iPad – and these apps ( […]

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