The Apps That Make a Difference

Today I thought I would write a short article about those apps that truly bring the iPad to life for me.

Each of us will have those apps that make a huge difference to the usability and experience of using the iPad. I am in no doubt that we will differ.

That we differ is merely evidence of the vast and ever expanding capabilities of the iPad, as it makes significant inroads into our lives. For some, apps like Mail, Safari, and Calendar will form the basis of the iPad’s functionality. While for others, specific third-party apps are what turn the iPad into something revolutionary.

I’m going to take a brief look at those apps that make the iPad so hard to put down…

Every Day

The line of thinking that brought this article on was the simple observation that some of my most frequented apps weren’t made or designed by Apple. I do, of course, use apps like Mail, and find the experience of browsing photos or watching films on the iPad a joy, but those aren’t the things that cement its place in my everyday life.

The apps I’ll mention first have earned their place at the top of this article due to the way they’ve solidified the iPad in my morning routine – defined in their simplest terms, they allow me to read the news.

It doesn’t sound revolutionary (I guess it isn’t), but Reeder, Instapaper, BBC News, Flipboard, and Zite all get opened almost every morning. Apple has made a device that’s simply great for reading on, but these apps (and their developers) are what make me actually pick it up.

Reeder brings me the technology news in the most beautifully minimal yet functional way you can imagine, while Instapaper allows me to dig deeper into those articles that interest me without getting distracted.

I let the BBC News app bring me up to date on key events and current affairs, while Flipboard and Zite come into their own when looking for other sources or browsing for something that captures your imagination.

All these apps were created by developers who had the creativity and insight to build upon the foundation Apple had given them and transform and enhance the iPad as a device.


Most of the other apps that have made the iPad a truly wonderful addition to my life are those apps that support or enable creativity.

I am, for example, writing this article using iA Writer. It’s the perfect example of an app that has allowed the iPad to break into new territory. For a significant amount of time I hadn’t ever really considered the iPad as a writing tool, something that could be, in some instances, more apt than my MacBook.

I wish I’d realized sooner.

Writing on the iPad is fantastic! For many types of article I actually prefer it. The focus it gives you, and the extra typing tools provided by iA Writer, move it from merely a viable option on the move to a serious contender.

Rather than feel resigned to writing on the iPad when on the train or away from my desk, I tend to look forward to instances when it will truly come into its own – and I often get more done.

In a completely different sphere of creativity, and deviating slightly from my original point (as it’s made by Apple), I also find that Garageband brings the iPad to life.

If I have a spare moment and happen to be on the home screen of my iPad, my finger unerringly gravitates towards the Garageband icon…

It’s wonderfully revoltuionary to have a versatile multitrack recording device that you can hold in one hand. As a musician I simply love that I have an intuitive and diverse musical sketchbook on me at all (well, most) times.

Your Thoughts

This is, inevitably, a personal account of some of the apps that really make a difference for me. I would love to see the usage statistics so I could feign shock at the number of times I open Reeder a day…

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – simply post a comment below! What are the apps that bring the iPad to life for you? In a lull, where does your finger hover?