This year, waiting under the tree for me was an iPad. (Happy Dance!) After the ritual updating, tweaking of settings and connecting online, it came time to download apps!
The form factor, particularly all that screen, was new territory for me. The only other extensive time I’ve spent with iOS is the iPhone 4, which for me has precious little screen real estate to dive deep into lengthy articles. I needed apps that satisfied my hunger for online content in a flexible way and made the best use of the iPad’s roomy display. I found two apps — one free and one paid but worth every penny — that let me do just that.
AirPrint? What AirPrint?!
As a bonus, they’re likely to prevent me from ever indulging in the iPad’s new-found ability to print. And given my reluctance to print and spend my precious dollars on printer ink, it fits right in with this green geek’s lifestyle. To round out the eco-warm-and-fuzzies, the iPad is a pretty green gadget, so there’s also that.
But enough chit-chat, here are the apps:
Instapaper: Taking the printer out of reading articles offline
Instapaper immediately shot to the top of my favorite iPad apps. Though setting it up to work with Mobile Safari requires some hoop-jumping, once the process is complete it really adds a fun and compelling new dimension to time-shifting your online article consumption.
Instead of leaving the office with a wad of printouts for your commute home, let Instapaper save them for later. Fire up the app before you leave the comfort of your Wi-Fi network (not an issue if you have a 3G iPad and coverage, of course) and you’ll have a trove of well-formatted articles to read at your leisure.
Setting up an Instapaper account is dead simple and you can even use the browser on your PC or Mac to save articles for later should your workplace prove to be less than iPad friendly. An added bonus is that it integrates well with other popular apps like Twitter and Flipboard (the other favorite, see below). Recommended!
Instapaper iTunes Preview Link – $4.99
Flipboard: Because magazines are so 20th Century
This year, a lot of virtual ink’s been spilled on the topic of magazines for tablets. Early efforts from Popular Mechanics and Wired showcased the medium’s potential, but the team behind Flipboard may have developed the secret sauce that will pry subscribers from behind those glossy pages for good — however many subscribers they have left, that is.
Apart from its crisp layout and impeccable design direction, Flipboard adds the immediacy of online news coverage and social media to deliver to its users content that’s not only relevant, but current and dynamic in a way paper mags can never match. Add some social hooks and what you get is a mobile platform that helps you expertly navigate the flow of information that most matters to your friends, family, colleagues and industry brethren.
And with content sources like National Geographic, Forbes and Spin, it helps users make a surprisingly smooth transition from the newsstand to the iPad. Heck, Flipboard makes it a snap to roll your own — with a community spin to boot — by seeking out your favorite sites, businesses or people on Twitter and Facebook. Pretty impressive stuff, particularly for a free app.
Enjoy, and don’t be surprised if that last ream of paper you bought lasts you a very, very long time. And in case you were wondering, yes this post was written (mostly) on an iPad. Though functional, WordPress’ app is a little bare-bones unfortunately, so don’t dump those admin bookmarks just yet.