I’ve recently been on the search for a few iPad apps to get me ready for the 2012 work year. A couple that I’ve begun to try out and seem like they will be great additions to my productivity tool kit, I have discussed below.
Action notes: I’ve always been searching for an app to take meeting notes. To date I have relied on Evernote (discussed later) for this purpose. However I have come across (c/o Claire McGowan) an app called Action Notes. This sleek app acts like a dated notebook. It enables you to take meeting notes in a listed form which you can highlight. It has tabs which I use for different types of meetings. Each tab has a summary page of all your notes (i.e. each meeting). The selling feature is the fact that you can select which points in your notes are action points. These are automatically compiled and can be view from a dashboard across all meeting types. Notes can also be emailed out to attendees with the same sleek formatting.
For subsequent versions hopefully they will release additional features such as allowing you to allocate people and deadlines to specific action points.
Evernote & Web Clipper: Evernote is your go to note repository. Previously I had used it for meeting notes. Now I use it for writing ‘to do’ lists, storage of mind maps, blog post drafts and ideas and generally just writing notes about ideas or readings. However more and more I am using it to collect titbits off the web using the web clipper add on in Chrome. This is a great alternative to bookmarking everything you come across.
Evernote also allows you to email notes directly to it using a custom email address that can be tagged for a specific note book. This means you can even send your ActionNotes meeting notes to it.
Dropbox: This is a well known cloud tool for storing your data. I currently store all info I might need when I am mobile and a back up for key documents. I now also us it as a way to transfer files, PDF particularly, on to my iPad to read and annotate.
The good thing with dropbox is that many apps now integrate very nicely with it e.g. goodreader (below). This makes it easy to keep everything easily accessible and synced.
Apparently it is also a great tool for document sharing within a team of individuals however I have yet to try this out.
Pen Ultimate: Tool for making drawings on your tablet by hand or stylus. This app is more accurate and responsive than I thought it would be. After making a drawing I email it to the relevant people in addition to storing it in my Evernote notebook. Recommend getting a stylus if you intend to use this app a lot.
Good Reader: This is one of the best PDF annotators out there and is rated one of the top iPad apps. It integrates nicely with dropbox, google docs, mobileme, mail servers, box.net and more.
I have yet to try all the features out, but you do seem to be spoilt for choice.
A simple but nice feature is that when annotating a PDF you can choose to create a separate annotated version while keeping the original untouched.
Furthermore, there is a file sync function. I have this currently set up for a few files in my dropbox so that when I make more and more annotations to a document these are updated on the dropbox version as well.
You can also open PDFs you come across in your browser in Goodreader like you would do for iBooks.
Only problem I’ve encountered so far is that it wont let you import PDFs from iBooks which is where I currently store them. Moving to a Dropbox storage, which can sync with goodreader, or solely using goodreader as my sole PDF storage facility would negate this.
The inbuilt app for turning your iPad into a library and book reader. However I use this for reading PDFs and other documents (that don’t need annotating) mainly because I just started opening them in iBooks from Safari. While this works it just doesn’t feel right probably because it doesn’t offer the integration into other apps e.g. drop box from iBooks. It also has a simple file collection system.
It is good however because you can access these PDFs offline unlike dropbox.
This is where goodreader may end up taking over this role as it too allows offline access to documents.
Custom Icons for key websites
Not an app but definitely makes life easier. When you go to add a bookmark next time, if it is a regularly visited website consider just ‘Add it to Home Screen’ instead. This creates an icon which will automatically launch a Safari window for that webpage. I have used for TradeMe (I don’t want to use the actual App) and a directory page for my work.
Word Processing App
I am still trying to decide on a word processing App, either Documents to go or Quickoffice. Quickoffice is the newer entrant and has greater usability (UI is great) and links up with google docs, dropbox and Evernote seamlessly ( also enabled sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yammer). The only main downside is that it can’t create pptx files, cant insert pictures (I believe) and is more expensive. Documents to go on the other hand has got all the feelings of a slow innovating piece of enterprise software. This is without even using the App (first impressions count these days). However it does seem that it does offer a greater amount of features. To bad you can’t trial them.
Graeme @ graemefielder.com