The Apps that Stuck in 2012: iPad Edition

As I noted in my iPad app usage post from 2011, my iPad is a much different beast than my iPhone. During 2012 the iPad went from a tool primarily used in meetings (those duties shifted more to my iPhone) to a productive part of my computing setup.

With the removal of a MacBook Air from my toolset, and the retina MacBook Pro being much less portable, the iPad has picked up the slack. Over the course of 2012 I used my iPad for a few things (in order of most use):

  1. Reading.
  2. Writing.
  3. Wasting time.


I use my iPad to read a lot. Here’s the apps I use for reading:

  • iBooks: I prefer this to Kindle because I can buy the books directly in the app — this is powerful for Apple — but don’t love the UI of the reading interface. It’s six-in-one half-dozen-in-the-other for Kindle v. iBooks.
  • Instapaper: Still the gold standard in the “read it later” game, although lately I’ve noticed more crashes than normal. Is it just me?
  • NextDraft: It’s where I find the most interesting things to read on the web — and one thing I look forward to each work day.

I have a few Newsstand apps, but none that I read often enough to feel they warranted inclusion on this list for 2012.


I use more than just iA Writer to write on my iPad. In order of most used:

  • iA Writer: It’s just perfect.
  • Poster: For getting stuff into WordPress. It even holds it’s own as a writing app.
  • OmniOutliner: For outlining bigger posts and taking notes.
  • Notesy: Dropbox access to my notes.
  • Drafts: My scratch paper.
  • Paper: My more literal scratch paper.

The first two are most used by a wide margin. The rest are useful enough that they’re on my Home screen, but not so useful that I would miss one if they didn’t exist. The lack of OmniOutliner would be a pain, but I’m not a big outliner anyway.

Time Wasting

Another way of saying: ‘games’. I’m not a huge gamer on my iPhone, but I love to play games on my iPad. Here’s some of my favorites:

You may note the absence of Letterpress. I think Letterpress is better played on the iPhone.

TV Shows

I’ve mentioned before that I stream videos from my old G4 Mac mini to my Apple TV using FileBrowser. I also use FileBrowser to watch TV Shows on my iPad. It really is a good app, but it’s ugly as all hell.

Honorable Mention

Apple’s Pages gets a mention here because of its ability, added late in the year, to track and view changes made to documents. It’s become the best tool for me to review leases and other real estate documents. Pages is so much better that it may find its way to my Home screen by the end of January.


All I want for 2013 is a useable iPad calendar. I’ve been using Agenda and Calvetica, which are less than stellar on the iPad.

Please, developers, just make a good calendar app already. (Maybe Fantastical for iPad?)

Originally posted for members on: January 8, 2013
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