Recommended iPad apps: the basics

The following are a few apps that I recommend for the iPad.
Files and data:
  • DropBox (free): Gives you 2GB of online storage that you can sync with your desktop computer. Remember to “star” a file if you want it to be accessible offline. You can buy additional storage capacity. DropBox has become so popular that there are now many applications that integrate with it.
  • GoodReader: Has several useful features.
    • Manage files: Each iPad app has its own “file system” that can be managed via iTunes. GoodReader allows one to send any of its files to another application.
    • Transfer files via WiFi: The iPad becomes a web server in its LAN and other devices can manage files (uploads, downloads, changes). To do so, you either use a web browser or mount the iPad as WebDAV volume.
    • Read and annotate PDF files
    • Download files from the web: In your iPad web browser, prepend “g” to a URL and the corresponding file will be sent to GoodReader.
  • Instapaper: Manages local copies of HTML articles. Because it syncs with an online account, you can collect articles on your desktop computer and later pick them up from your iPad.
  • PlainText (free): A text editor for plain text files. Killer feature is the DropBox integration; any DropBox directory can be shown in the editor’s sidebar. Thus, all of its files will always be in sync with your desktop computer where you can use any text editor to access them.
  • Amazon Kindle: Great app, available for many devices (PC, Mac, Android, etc.). Large selection of books. Syncs its library with an online account, which means that backup is automatic and that purchasing is simple.
  • iBooks: Manages ebooks and PDFs. For the former, I prefer Kindle (less lock-in, greater selection). For the latter, I prefer GoodReader.
MS Office (Apple also has iPad versions of its office apps):
  • Quickoffice: No PowerPoint editing (promised by the end of the year).
  • DocsToGo: Very limited PowerPoint editing.
  • A web browser with tabs
  • Twitter’s Twitter app
More iPad application lists: