The IT Guy: 7 must-have apps for your iPad

theitguy@islandpacket.comMay 6, 2012 

  • Send your computer and tech questions to Morgan Bonner at theitguy@islandpacket.com

In the course of trying to replace my laptop with an iPad over the past six weeks, I've constantly been on the lookout for new apps that can help me either replicate the functionality of the laptop, or do something entirely new that only the iPad can accomplish. I've found many such apps, but here are some that stand out and have made life easier -- or simply more awesome:

1. TWEETBOT

Hands-down my favorite Twitter client, Tweetbot has a gorgeous user interface and features multiple timelines, smart gestures, list management and more -- but the best part is the timeline syncing via iCloud so that you can use Tweetbot on your iPad, then pick right up where you left off on your iPhone.

2. PHOTO TRANSFER APP

This app will ... wait for it ... transfer photos. But it's how it goes about doing that that's special. If your iPad and your computer are on the same Wi-Fi network, simply launch the app and select which photos or videos on your iPad you want to transfer to your computer.

Then, the app will generate a unique IP address for you to point the Web browser of your computer at, then on that page you can download said photos/videos onto your computer. Very slick, and sure beats using the camera connection kit with its physical cards and cables, or having to do an entire sync with iTunes and iPhoto.

3. AWESOME NOTE

If you are the type of person who enjoys being organized, this app will be your new best friend. Much more than just a to-do app, use Awesome Note as a journal, grocery shopping list, calendar, note-taking, etc., then sync everything with Google Docs or Evernote. It's a must-have.

4. SQUARE CARD READER

If you collect money from your clients and don't want to play the ol' invoice/check-is-in-the-mail game, check out Square. This app, combined with a free card reader that attaches to the iPad, will let you accept all major credit/debit cards. Each transaction will cost you 2.75 percent, but do the math and see if that is cheaper than your current billing strategy.

5. POCKET

It happens every day -- you find a great story online that you want to read, but it's too long and you don't have time right then and there. Enter Pocket -- formally an app called "Read It Later." Pocket integrates with your favorite Web browser, news reader or Twitter client so that when you find something you'd like to read but don't have time, with a few taps you can send it to this app for later consumption.

6. GMUSIC

Google Music has been a great way to store all your music in the cloud for free, but Google never made an official iOS app for the service. gMusic fills in that gap; this app will let you stream your entire Google Music library to your iPad and has great features such as playlist editing and Airplay support. Just remember to watch your data usage if you're streaming music over 3G/4G.

7. APPADVICE

Above are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of apps available on the iTunes App Store. So how do you keep track and find new apps? With an app of course! AppAdvice is the best one out there -- curated app listings, user reviews and it even alerts you when apps drop in price. Sometimes, it feels like I spend more time searching for new hidden gems than I do actually using the ones I have.

So those are just a few of my new favorite apps -- all of which are also compatible with the iPhone.

Morgan Bonner is pre-press manager and a systems administrator for The Island Packet and The BeaufortGazette. Follow him at twitter.com/packetITguy

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