The iPad


If any readers were wondering about the sudden change in formatting (i.e lack of hyperlinks, italics etc) it is because I am now doing the majority of my posting via the Posterous app on my iPad. As a gift to myself for my 30th birthday I decided to buy an iPad after using one that had been floating around work. When the iPad was first announced I thought of it as nothing more than a mutated iPhone/iPod Touch and would be of no use to me. I did think that the device would be more suitable for the older generation because of its intuitive design and ease of use.

However, after using the iPad I could see how it would of use to me. It is easier to carry around than my MacBook and therefore ideal when going to conferences or travelling. The word processing and presentation iWork apps are excellent, being able to connect the iPad to a projector to give presentations is a welcome feature. I was particularly impressed by the iAnnotate app that allows you to annotate readings and export them as .PDF files, ideal for a PhD student and for preparing readings for in class discussion.

So, on the 24th September I purchased one for myself. I decided to buy the 16GB WiFi version as it was the cheapest and the one that best suited my needs. I have been surprised by how much use I get out of it. A number of my books have gone to charity shops as I now have copies of them in either the iBooks or Kindle app. The iPad will usually sit in the living room of an evening and will be used rather like magazine, dipping in and out of it. I steam videos and music from my MacBook to my iPad, watching them in bed. My iPhone now gets very little use at home as it is dwarfed by the iPad. I also find myself not using my MacBook as much.

Here is a list of some of the apps that I find most useful:

iWork: The keyboard is surprisingly responsive and using it to write documents is very simple. Keynote works fine and allows you to produce multimedia presentations, embedding videos, music and photos.

VLC: The best video player available works perfectly on the iPad, playing back all video formats apart from MKV. The only downside is having to transfer videos into the app from your computer.

Zumocast: Currently free to download from the app store. Improves on the excellent Airvideo app by allowing you to stream your iTunes library, video folders and files to your iPad. It will allow playback of any format as it will convert of the fly. A must have app.

Off: So, you are in bed and have been using Zumocast to stream media from your home computer to your iPad and don’t want to have to get out of bed to go and shut your computer down. Off will remotely shut down your computer.

Kindle: Books are cheaper to buy from Amazon than the Apple bookstore. Currently reading David Simon’s Homicide: Life on the Street using this app and throughly enjoying the reading experience.

Cloudreader: The best CBR reader I have used so far and PDFs look great on this app.

Dropbox: Everyone should have a Dropbox account. You can access all of your Dropbox files with ease. It also works with a number of other apps, such as…

iAnnotate: I really cannot praise this app enough. I use it to prepare class readings and for my PhD. If only more academic publishers would be willing to make books compatible with this app. Works perfectly with Dropbox.

Feeddler RSS: The best free newsreader I have used so far.

Splashtop: Remotely access your computers desktop on you iPad. This means that you can use Photoshop, Microsoft Office or any other app on your computer on your iPad. Can be difficult to control but works perfectly.

PhotoShop Express: Perfect for the quick editing of images.

Amplitude: A recent purchase. This has replaced my Line 6 Pocket Pod. Once you have purchased the iRig lead all you need to do is install the app, connect the iRig to the iPad and the your guitar to the iRig. The sound quality is excellent and the choice of different pedal effects is extensive.

I would have included The Guardian app and the Posterous app but neither have been optimised for the iPad yet.

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One Response to The iPad

  1. Anonymous says:

    dude I feel really bad – I didn’t realise it was your 30th this year. (because you look so young, obviously 😉

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