If you’ve got an iPad, you’ve no doubt visited the App Store, and checked out one of the “iPad Essentials” lists for business, productivity, music, or any of the other must-have apps.
You’ve certainly read all the “Five (or Ten) Must-Have iPad Apps for Business Productivity” that all say you need Evernote, Dropbox, and the Kindle Reader. In fact, if those were the only articles you read about your iPad, you’d think there were only five apps ever made for it.
And because I’m tired of the same retreaded crap that appears in most 101-level articles, I tried to come up with ten iPad Business apps that are not Evernote or Dropbox.
- Type on PDF: This iOS app lets you open a PDF and type on it or sign it. If you’ve ever received a PDF without any form fields, but have Adobe Acrobat, you can drop in your form fields, fill it out, and send it back. Type on PDF lets you do this without using (or even owning) Acrobat on your laptop. The interface is a little cumbersome, but it sure beats messing around with Acrobat just to fill out a simple form. You can also add photos and draw on your PDFs.
- Docusign: If you just need to sign PDF documents, like a tax form or contract, use Docusign. I upload contracts and use it to get signatures from new clients. It can import documents from Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Evernote, and Salesforce, plus many others. Create your saved signature and drag it on to any document that needs it. It works just like Type on PDF in that it also lets you add text boxes, but it’s a little harder to do.
- Feedly: Now that Google Reader is going away, the big question is what feed reader should people switch to. I like Feedly because it works on my Android, my iPad, and my MacBook. It has a magazine-like layout, which makes it work more like Flipboard, but it imported my entire Google Reader account. Ziin is another possibility if you don’t like Feedly.
- Chrome: If you’re a serious Chrome user on your Mac or PC, you don’t need to give up the interactivity. Chrome for the iPad has saved my bacon a couple of times. For one thing, it syncs up all the passwords and bookmarks from my MacBook, which means I can use my iPad to access a website when I don’t have my laptop handy. For another, I can sync up open tabs from laptop to iPad too. That way, if I want to read something later, I just leave it open as a tab on my laptop, sync it, read it, and shut it down.
- Penultimate: Alright, I lied a little. There is something from Evernote on here, but it’s not actually Evernote. Penultimate is the pen-based note taking program. You can handwrite notes (which are searchable both in Penultimate and on your Evernote, regardless of where you use it), sketch ideas, and even color. But if you’re going to whine about it, then I’ll suggest Bamboo Paper from Wacom instead. It does the same exact thing, including sync up with Evernote. Both programs are available inside the Evernote Trunk.
- Moleskine: Another note taker, especially if you don’t want to use Evernote, or if you’re a Moleskine junkie. This is a typing and handwriting note taker, which lets you merge and upload notes as you take them. It’s especially cool if you don’t like the iPad Note’s yellow legal pad and cousin-to-Comic-Sans font.
- MindMeister: A great tool for visual thinkers whose ideas and brainstorming spans outside the traditional item-by-item of the list. Sketch out your ideas and create diagrams to illustrate them, then upload them to the MindMeister.com website for further access and sharing. MindMeister has a free version and a paid version.
- Drafts: A straight up text-only typing program, Drafts uses Markdown language for formatting. Markdown language is the big new formatting and writing language that’s used for cross-platform tablet writing. If you know it — and it’s simple to learn — you can write blog posts and articles on your iPad, and format them by surrounding headlines, bold, and italics with +’s and *’s. You can then upload the articles to your blog or website. I’ve used it to cover WNBA basketball games in the past, and may give it a shot at the Indianapolis 500 this year.
- Countdown Star: I have to confess a family tie here: my brother-in-law created Countdown Star. It lets you set times and dates of special events, like holidays, conferences, birthdays, and anniversaries, or other important dates like the one I entered, “Pitchers and catchers report.” Countdown is available in a free or paid version, and works on iPad and iPhone.
- News Republic: If you read a lot of news, you have a couple choices: tap through different news apps like NPR, USA Today, and your local news apps, or scroll through News Republic. This app pulls in news stories from all over in a variety of different topics, including news, politics, sports, science, tech, and entertainment, plus others. It’s a nice alternative to Flipboard because it gathers from news sources I’ve never even heard of.
So how’d we do? Any apps you’ve never heard of? Any good ones we missed? What outstanding iPad business apps do you use that don’t appear on any “Essential Business Apps Everyone Has Already Heard of” list?