10 Essential Productivity Apps for iPad

Everyone has their favorites, which may, or may not, include “Angry Birds.” So here is a recommended list of ten from the Speech Dudes, who include the iPad as part of their tech toolkit, along with laptops, Droids, and Moleskine notebooks (never need charging and work anywhere in the world!)

We’re going to ignore those apps that are essentially standard in the device, critical as they might be. So mail and browsing are not in the top ten, even though you’d be lost without them.

1.  Dropbox: Free
Dropbox logoThis is top of the list because it’s possibly the easiest way to get files in and out of your iPad, but more importantly it can be used across platforms so you can share between your laptop, desktop, Android device, and so on. Being able to share files on a cross-platform basis is important today but will be critical tomorrow as more and more of us use multiple devices. If you thought that technology was converging, think again: it’s actually diverging! We’ll talk about that in another post 😉

So download Dropbox for free and once you set up an account with them, you’ll be able to pass files around to anyone else who has Dropbox software – on any device.

2. Pages: $9.99
Pages app logoEverybody needs a word processor and Pages is a steal at less than $10.00. You can import files from Dropbox and send Pages documents to other via email. Formatting is fairly basic (fonts, font sizes, bold, italic, underline) but enough to create straightforward documents. There’s a “smart zoom” feature for more specific editing and the facility to import images so you can create attractive documents. A selection of page templates make it easier to start-up a new file.

3. Whiteboard HD: $4.99
Whiteboard HD app logoAs its name suggests, this lets you create a whiteboard that you can use to sketch out ideas using shapes, colors, text, lines, and even imported pictures. What’s also really neat is you can use a VGA adapter to plug your iPad into a display or projector and use the whiteboards for presentations.  You can also export whiteboards as graphic files, PDF’s, or in Whiteboard’s native format – great for sharing with colleagues. And yes, you can export to Dropbox, too.

4. iThoughts HD: $9.99
iThoughts ap logoA mind-mapping software that you can also use for presentations. It’s a pretty full-features product and allows exporting of files in a multitude of formats so you can share with colleagues. Like Whiteboard HD, this can also be used with a VGA adapter and either shown on a large screen or sent to a projector. With over 90 built-in icons and 45 clip art images, it’s possible to make some eye-catching maps for brainstorming and project planning, or just use it to take notes at meetings.

5. Hootsuite: Free
Hootsuite app logoThis is a social media management tool that lets you run you Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare accounts from one location. You can operate multiple accounts, so if you have more than one Twitter handle, you can see all of them at once and post accordingly. But most valuable of all is the scheduling option: you can create a veritable cacophony of tweets and set them to appear at whatever times you want. Add to this the web-based version on your laptop and desktop, along with your Android, iPhone, or Blackberry, and you can pretty much tweet and be tweeted 24/7.

6. Penultimate: $1.99
Penultimate app logoIf you are the sort of person who prefers to use handwriting on a legal pad or notebook to jot down ideas, then Penultimate is worth trying. You can use your finger or a capacitive touch pen (well worth having) to write using any of three pen thicknesses. You can change the ink color and if you make mistakes use either the eraser function or “undo” button. Export is via email or saving to “Photos.” Oh, and if it’s in “Photos,” you can then use Dropbox again!

7. TaskTask HD: $4.99
TaskTask app logoThis one is more specifically for those people who are working across platforms and use Microsoft Outlook and an Exchange Server as a key component in their time management process. You can link up your Outlook account to the iPad to sync mail and calendar, but the one critical feature that isn’t handled by the iPad’s built-in apps is the Task List. Being able to have access to your tasks is fundamental. TaskTask will let you do this. It even allows you to tag tasks using your own categories and set alarms, end dates, etc. For less that $5.00 it’s a no-brainer if you’re multi-platforming.

8. Numbers: $9.99
Numbers app logoSpreadsheets are not just for numbers but for handling lots of text data. You can create your own mini database of all the articles you’ve read with full citations for when you write that paper; you can use it to maintain word lists that are essential for deciding what vocabulary items to be teaching; and you can even create checklists for therapy targets. Numbers is Apple’s own spreadsheet program and the one to have. One caveat: No landscape mode. Hopefully Apple will see fit to offer this in an update but for some of us, it’s just a matter of gritting teeth and settling for portrait.

9. Flipboard:  Free
Flipboard app logoKeeping up with news on specific topics can be difficult if you don’t have some way of aggregating. Flipboard is an aggregator that lets you create your own daily magazine containing stories on the topics you determine. You can set it to read your Twitter feed, trawl online newspapers, and even show your Facebook pages – all in a flip book that imitates a magazine.

10. Evernote: Free
Evernote app logoEvernote is a nifty little app that lets you snag text, images, even sound files from anywhere and store them as notes or links. If you often find yourself surfing the web looking for information and need to keep notes, Evernote can let you do that.


This collection of tools will cost you the princely sum of US $41.94, which is about 10 lattes on the “Starbucks” scale of value.

Feel free to share your own favorites, unless you’re blatantly shilling your own product – in which case feel free to contact us to place a paid add  😉


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