iPad goodies for the college student

Posted: December 28, 2012 in Tech

Office Apps:

Quick Office – Better PowerPoint app and WYSISYG word processor. Can print to PDF (paid)


Documents To Go – Best overall MS Word and Excel compatibility and features. Very reliable. (paid)

MindManager – Mind mapping app. Great organizing tool for brainstorming. (free)

uTrack – scheduling organizer — based on idea of sticky notes on a whiteboard (free and paid).

TouchDraw – So far the only worthwhile drawing application in my opinion because it’s the only one that supports both Dropbox and Visio. (paid)

Note Taking:

Notes Plus – Typed text, digital ink, AND ink to text conversion. PDF annotation, built-in web browser for clipping, Dropbox support. I keep checking out the others, but somehow keep coming back to this. It’s the closest I’ve found yet to the functionality of OneNote. (free demo, paid)

GoodReader – When Docs2Go or Notes Plus don’t quite fit the need, this is the document reader that has the widest level of compatibility and usefulness. (paid)

Cloud storage:

Dropbox – Best of the bunch, 5GB free, but you can add more by friends signing up. Most widely supported by other apps. (free)

Sugarsync – Second best, more storage, less features. It does have one advantage in that you can tag specific folders on your PC to be always sync’d to the cloud. (free)


Imo – best IM app out there. Supports MSN, AOL, Google, Yahoo, FB, ICQ, etc.

MyPad+ – The FB iPad app sucks!, This paid version is the best of the breed.

Twitter – I’ve played with others, but keep coming back to it (free)

Hootsuite – Great Twitter & FB integration. Good if you have a bunch of lists/groups. (free)

FindMyFriends – Silly, but a nice way to keep track of where your iOS using friends are and letting them know where you are. (free)


Weatherbug: One of the more complete packages. (free)

Intellicast – Excellent app, but the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming. (free)

Traffic.com – Ok… this is an iPhone only app, so it runs in compatibility mode. However, it is still the only real option for accurate traffic reporting for iOS devices. (free)


Instapaper – Simply the best and most reliable offline reader. Saves web pages, links from social networks, etc. for offline reading. (paid)

Flipboard – Great magazine-style news source. Highly configurable with feeds from many mainline news and magazine providers (Fox, NYT, Pop. Sci, Nat. Geo, etc.) and can include social networks as well. (free)

Fox News – Not only the best news source, but also the best news app. Can build a queue of video clips or stories, well organized, and for many cable services you can even stream live. (free)


Wikipanion: The best Wikipedia client available. Works better and faster than using Safari on the web. (free)

Qwiki: very cool image and voice-synthed version of Wikipedia. (free)

IMDb: If you spend much time at all on the web site, you’re much better off switching to the app. (free)

Dictionary: Specifically the Merriam-Webster version. (free)

White & Yellow Pages: I used to use YP Local, but I’ve gotten a bit of fondness for this one, since it also includes the White Pages (free)

iTunes U – Educational channel for iTunes. Not a bad source of supplemental material. It handles both text and video sources. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of your profs don’t use this at some point. (free)

Bible Software

PocketBible: I know a lot of people like Olive Tree, but this Laridian product just consistently out-performs all the others. Note that for all Bible apps, the cost adds up if you add many books. (paid, free (KJV))

Carta Compact Atlas: For Bible maps, there’s just not much out there that are both good and affordable. For $5, this is the best I’ve found so far. (paid)


Hulu+ – Ok, at first I thought this was a pointless app, but the truth is, it’s great if you are cutting the cable. Most of the main TV shows are one here with a one-day delay. You can buy in multi-months, as well. (paid)

TV Guide – Well, it’s TV Guide, and a pretty thorough version, as well. Mainly it save you money at the grocery checkout.

Stitcher – Another great streaming radio app. If it’s not on TuneIn, you’ll probably find it here. It also streams a lot of popular podcasts, as well! (free)

TuneIn Radio – One of the more thorough streaming radio apps. Has many mainstream terrestrial stations. Search by station or format. (free)

Pandora – The well know classic streaming radio. Create your own stations of the genres you like. (free)


GroceryIQ – Best grocery list app that I’ve found yet. With the free account, you can sync across multiple devices and your PC. (free)

mSecure – As you go on in college, you’ll find your collecting a lot of passwords, PIN’s, combinations, account numbers, etc. You won’t remember them all. This is the best I’ve found for the job. It’s encrypted, has auto-erase, and the paid version can sync via Dropbox between iOS devices. (free)

Calculator! – Best of the free calculator apps I’ve found. Remember, the iPad doesn’t come with a calculator for some strange reason. (free)

PageOnce – One of the best financial apps (other people also like Mint, but I’ve never used it). Good budgeting tool to check on you bills and manage accounts (free)

FindMyiPhone – Utility from Apple where you can register all your iOS devices and track their locations. You can send a message, lock or even remote wipe the device. (free)


Apple Wireless Keyboard – One of the best Bluetooth keyboards around. The only complaint I have is that with the (very sensitive) power button on the side, it doesn’t travel well and is prone to turning itself on when travelling. Most important, in spite of the small size, it is a full-sized keyboard!

Targus Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard for iPad – This is the second best keyboard I’ve used and the best one for travel. Like the Apple it is full-sized. It’s off switch is a physical switch on the bottom, so it will not turn on my accident. It also has some very nice iPad specific keys – especially a Home key.

Apple VGA Adapter – Provides VGA output to an external monitor. When combined with a keyboard, you’ve nearly got a laptop replacement. I use this with a keyboard and set my iPad flat/angled so I can use it as a very large touchpad mouse. The biggest drawback is you can charge while using this.

Apple HDMI Adapter – Provides much better video than the VGA adapter. It also has two big advantages: 1) it plays protected content to an external monitor/TV, 2) it allows you to connect your charger.

Wacom Bamboo Stylus – Contrary to Apple’s official position, the iPad loves a good stylus. Wacom has always made the best digitizing styli and their iPad one is no exception. It will cost a bit more, but here’s the dirty little secret; all styli will were out. The Wacom is the only one with a replaceable tip and you can buy a 3-pack for $5 directly from Wacom!

Apple iPad Dock – Great combo stand/dock. Allows both power and additional connector through the back. Also has audio out for speakers.

This is my current list, though I have plenty more goodies floating about. If there is something specific you are looking for that isn’t on this list, let me know and I’ll tell you what I use for that task.

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