in Ramblings, Reviews, Tech

iPad apps

I nabbed an iPad a few weeks back. It was almost an impulse decision, but it’s an impulse I’m glad I gave in to.

Basically, I need a new laptop. I also don’t want to pay as much as a laptop costs. This is a fundamental problem in obtaining a laptop, yes?

The iPad made for a nice compromise on price point and functionality. I still don’t want to type anything longer than a few sentences on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard. But for anything else I find myself using the iPad.

I don’t think the iPad qualifies as a mobile device. At least not in the same way that a smartphone does. I’m turning this over in my head a lot, and might elaborate on it at some later point.

I will now share my favorite iPad apps, a ritual I understand is customary upon obtaining a new piece of gadgetry:

Flickstackr – $1.99
FlickStackr iPad app
I didn’t want to sync my massive photo library to the iPad, as it would quickly overswamp my 16gb of storage. This is a great workaround. The iPad’s native photo viewing interface is beautiful, and Flickrstackr does a good job of replicating it’s high points for my online photos.

BBC News – Free
One of innumerable news apps, this one lets me listen to live BBC news radio as I browse stories.

NY Times – Free (for now)
This is free for now, and has a great reading experience. Great enough that I’ll consider paying for it when the paywall goes up sometime next year (depending on price, of course).

Comics by Comixology – Free app, comics range from free-$2.99 each
This device feels like it’s made for viewing digital comics. Comixology has distribution deals with Marvel, DC, and a host of smaller publishers.

Instapaper – $4.99
I’m late to the party on this one, but Instapaper does a great job of collecting all the articles I want to read but don’t have time to parse immediately.

Air Display – $10
ipad as second monitor
Pricey, but magical. This app lets the iPad function as a second monitor, so long as it’s on the same wifi network as the host computer. Not a flawless user experience, but when it works it’s a major productivity boost.

ABC Player – Free
ABC is the only major network with an iPad app. It (perhaps obviously) streams recent episodes of ABC’s shows. Works flawlessly.

Netflix – Free, requires Netflix subscription
It just works. Very very nice.

Angry Birds – $4.99
Don’t buy this. Your free time will thank me.

Bonus app that I want to like but it just costs way too much:
Wired – $3.99 per issue
Of all magazines, Wired seems like one that should be read on a tablet computer. Unfortunately the high price gets in the way. There’s no subscription option – a year would cost $47.88. I currently pay $12 for a year of print issues. Bring the price in line with the print, and I’m onboard.