The day after the iPad was announced, the joke went something like this: Hold up your iPhone and innocently exclaim, “Hey, check out my iPad nano!”
Good one. But now that we’ve gotten our hands on the iPad and seen how easy and fun it is to use, the joke’s basic truth shines brighter. The iPhone OS and its multi-touch input are so at home on a bigger screen that it feels like this was how it was meant to be all along. Recall what it’s like to go from a small TV to a big, high-def one--while it’s pretty much the same thing on paper, it’s still a vastly better experience when you sit down to watch a movie.
But if the iPad represents the way the iPhone OS was meant to be experienced, it still isn’t totally clear exactly what it’s meant to be used for. A lot of people we’ve spoken to are having trouble wrapping their heads around that. If I have a MacBook and an iPhone, they wonder, why do I need this? Short answer: the apps.
If you do a lot of diagramming, OmniGraffle is a must-buy. Contrary to it’s whimsical name, OmniGraffle is neither a toy, nor a graphing tool (although OmniGraphSketcher can handle the latter). But what OmniGraffle does do well is charts. Whether it’s organizational charts, flowcharts, interface mockups, or even page layouts, OmniGraffle allows you to quickly sketch out ideas on your iPad.
Truphone turns your iPad into a (really) big iPhone. The VOIP app offers free voice calls to other TruPhone users, and cheap calls to telephones with a variety of calling plans. Truphone for iPad even lets you IM across AIM, GoogleTalk, and MSN’s instant messaging networks.
1Password for iPad is the first app we installed on our new iPads. It makes keeping unique, complex passwords, logins and other information secure, and it works in tandem with desktop and iPhone versions to keep everything in sync. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting your super-secure, 18-character password for the office network--or even worse, use the same simple password for everything because it’s easy to remember.
It’s one of the dream applications for the iPad--scribbling on the iPad’s screen with your finger or a touch-capacitive stylus, and watching your handwriting convert seamlessly to type. WritePad can fulfill that dream for you, but only if you’re patient and dedicated.
Call me old-fashioned (or just old--I can take it), but there’s something about the look of a newspaper that just feels right when it comes to taking in the news of the day. Problem is, newspapers today bring you the news of yesterday and sometimes the day before that. RSS feeds are the answer, I know, but something in me dies at the thought of reading even more words in an email-like interface.
If you’re with me this far, you’ll understand why I instantly fell in love with The Early Edition for iPad.
Two of my favorite things about the iPad are how eager my kids are to use it and how quickly it became second nature to them. A big part of how they mastered Apple’s tablet (they’re ages 3 and 6) is this simple app featuring the Nickelodeon superstar who parents like almost as much as their little ones do.
This is what we imagine Harry Potter’s Chemistry book looks like. It’s a stunning--but somewhat confusing to use--iPad adaptation of Theodore Grey’s dead-tree book of the same name. The Elements presents you with a periodic table, complete with animated elements. Tapping on one brings up a page with 360-degree animations, as well as all the scientific details of the element in question.
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List offers a fantastic collection of recipes from Epicurious.com. On the iPad, the app serves up brilliant photography, and an interactive, cookbook-style layout that has us convinced we’re going to end up with olive oil and tomato sauce all over our brand-new iPad.
You may get older, wiser and more sophisticated, but let none of this fool you: it’s still amazingly fun to polish off an opposing team by launching an air strike or exploding sheep in their general direction. Enter Worms HD for the iPad.