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Matthew Guay

Writer. Former Tuts+, Mac and Web AppStorm Editor. Brainstormer-in-chief. @maguay | Techinch.com

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Around 1440, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. The printed word was a rare and valuable commodity in his world, and few people could read the few books there were. Books were painstakingly copied by hand, and represented years of work in making each volume. Now, in a day, Gutenberg could print more than you could write by hand in a year.

Fast forward 440 years. The motion picture was just becoming a reality, before most people had even had their own photograph taken. Before long, the world’s favorite pastime took us away from books, keeping us instead glued to our screens. First movies, then broadcast TV, and now iTunes rentals on your iPad, all bringing the magic of videos into more of our lives.

Last year, Steve Jobs announced the iPad as the eBook reader that would stand on the shoulders of the Kindle, and push eBooks to the next level. While both iBooks and the Kindle apps have made reading a great experience on the iPad, most eBooks to date are either plain text without even the formatting we’d expect from a paper book, or huge image or PDF files that don’t scale well. Neither make the book substantially better than it has been for centuries.

Then Moonbot Studios came, and showed the world how the future of books and movies had changed.

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The iPad has inspired a whole generation of focused writing apps. The included Notes app is a nice way to jot down quick notes, while Pages gives you most of the features of Word or Pages on a Mac, right on your iPad. Then, apps like iA Writer: An Astonishingly Simple Way to Write | iPad.AppStorm and Simplenote give you a focused, distraction free environment to write in plain text.

There’s still two things that aren’t very convenient in most writing apps: researching info and writing formatted text or HTML. Writing Kit is a new app that excels at both of these. With an included browser and research pane, you can lookup the definition of a word or copy text from a website without having to switch back to a browser. You can also quickly write Markdown formatted text, then save it in a variety of formats or export as HTML. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
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When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, pundits thought he’d lost his mind launching a phone with just a touchscreen. Surely no one wanted to tap on glass all day! Then, the iPhone proved the pundits wrong, and even Blackberry launched a phone with an on-screen touch keyboard.

Last year, the iPad faced the same dilemma. People had come to accept typing on a touchscreen phone, but for a laptop-sized device, surely that wouldn’t cut it.

Then we got the iPad, and discovered that you could actually type quite fast on a full-sized touch screen. So much so, in fact, that many declared the iPad the perfect writing device!

So, is there still any need to get an external keyboard for your iPad? I’ve recently picked up an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for mine, so keep reading to see what advantages a “real” keyboard brings to the iPad and whether it’s worth getting … or not.

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As long as there have been things that humans needed to do, we’ve been keeping up with them one way or another. From scratches on the walls of caves, to strings on our fingers, or pads of paper, we’ve always managed to find a new way to keep ourselves on track.

The problem hasn’t gotten any better, either. Today, we’re bombarded with hundreds of things we need to do. The good thing is that the iPad, your latest gadget, is great for keeping up with your tasks.

The problem isn’t finding a todo list app; the problem is finding the right one for you. There are dozens of high quality todo list apps on the App Store today, and many of them are beautifully designed and offer unique features to help you keep up with what you need to do.

One of the newest todo list apps for iPad, Wunderlist HD, is an exciting multiplatform task management app that has become extremely popular since its release. Keep reading to see what this free todo list app offers and how it can make you more productive on your iPad.

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The first time I ever signed my name digitally was on a UPS deliverer’s handheld computer, and it seemed amazing that it would actually work. Years later, we sign our names on strips of plastic on credit card scanners in stores all the time, and it somehow doesn’t seem so magical any more.

Then, tax season comes, and we have to print out forms, sign them, scan them, find where the scanner decided to save them on the computer, and finally email them back to the accountant.

Wait, what? Surely with all the advances in computers, we should be able to file anything we need without resorting to a paper copy. Your iPad is the perfect device to make your computing more paper-free than ever. Keep reading to see how you can fill out PDF forms, markup and annotate documents, sign any document, and then send them anywhere you need all from an iPad.

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If you’re considering getting an iPad, or have been looking for amazing and unique apps for an iPad you already own, chances are you’ve heard of The Elements. This app has been featured in Apple’s demos in addition to earning constant reviews ever since the iPad was released. Most of us struggled to remember the periodic table when in high school chemistry, so why would you want to get a new version of it for your shiny new gadget?

The Elements is an interactive eBook written by Theodare Gray, an author you may know from the Popular Science column “Gray Matter.” He and his team have photographed samples of each element they could and produced a coffee table book filled with high quality imagery and descriptions of each one.

They then redesigned the book for the iPad, bringing the periodic table into the 21st century. Most eBooks are simply a digital copy of the same text you could have bought in dead tree format, so is The Elements any different?

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When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in early 2010, many people thought it impossible that you’d be able to type accurately at any reasonable rate on a glass touch screen. After all, pundits still regularly mention the iPhone’s lack of buttons as a limitation, and that’s just a phone!

Surely no one would want a netbook-sized device without a physical keyboard! While you could always get a bluetooth keyboard or the keyboard dock, the hinderance to portability is a consequential downside.

So, is it actually possible to type fast and accurately on the iPad without an external keyboard? It turns out, you can definitely type fast and accurately on the iPad virtual keyboard. Keep reading to discover some tips to improve your typing, and find out more about TapTyping, an app that can help speed up your iPad typing. (more…)

Ever since it was released in late 2008, World of Goo has been a wildly popular PC, Mac, and WiiWare game. Developed by two former EA developers, World of Goo has been praised as one of the best examples of successful indie games. This past December World of Goo finally has been ported to the iPad, bringing the full game to touch-screens for the first time.

World of Goo has been featured in the App Store and risen to the top of the best seller charts numerous times for one simple reason: it’s one of the best touch-screen games available today. It’s incredible how natural the game feels on the iPad, while the art, soundtrack, and gameplay are suburb. Keep reading to find out more about World of Goo! (more…)

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