Like many people, I’ve had some issues with the migration from MobileMe (and .Mac before that and iTools before that) to iCloud, and as I happen to be the sort of person people come to with questions about this, I thought I’d collect a few useful links here:
Here’s my current home screen, with the most-frequently used apps in the dock. The closer to the bottom-left of the screen, the more-often it gets opened.
OmniFocus has replaced Things as my GTD-based task management tool of choice on the Mac, iPhone and iPad. It is indispensable.
Apple’s Mail app is used far too often.
Twitter is my current Twitter client, though I bounce back and forth between it and Twitterrific. I like trying lots of Twitter apps because there’s a lot of innovation going on in this space, and because it’s easy to jump from one to another. Ideally, though, I want to run the same app on Mac/iPhone/iPad, otherwise it gets easy to confuse DMs, @replies, etc. And that can get awkward.
Safari, for those times I don’t need a secure log-in.
Notes apps — an entire folder full of note-taking apps.
Other home screen apps
Calendar, Contacts. There are no compelling reasons to replace these that I’ve seen.
iBooks. Solid. The reading experience is very good. Recent addition of Collections is welcome. Inability to copy passages from books is not.
Kindle. Amazon’s reader is kind of weird around the edges; getting books into it is easy, actually, but totally any other iPad process I’ve come across. Still, their book selection is excellent, and reading in the Kindle app is just fine. Lack of clipboard-export support is as frustrating as with iBooks.
Instapaper. Marco Arment’s little app that could. Send all the web-based stuff you want to read later to this service, then read it at your leisure on your iPhone, iPad or on the web. Might sound bizarre, but it’s awesome.
Reeder. My favourite way to consume RSS feeds. The fact that the icon is a different colour than on the iPhone (where it debuted) or on the Mac (where it’s different altogether) makes it quite difficult for my visually-oriented brain to actually find this app; I wish the developer would bring the icons into sync.
iPod. Yes, I acutally use this. Mostly for podcasts on the iPad.
Videos. Movies (mainly backups of my DVDs or Digital Copies from my Blu-Ray™ collection), videos I’ve shot myself and video podcasts. Awesome for the treadmill.
Evernote is fantastic. Mac/iPhone/iPad/web. Sharable, OCR-searchable, GPS-enabled, awesomeness. Job-related notes go in here. Everything goes in here.
Penultimate. Just got it. Looks great. Looking forward to using it. Others, like Adobe Ideas, never really worked for me, and the Griffin stylus I have isn’t great for drawing (too much friction); a finger works fine, though.
PlainText, with Dropbox support, seems to be my go-to app for quick notes.
iA Writer is very nice. I’m not a writer, though, so I don’t use it very often.
Pages. Never use it.
SoundNote is great if you wish to record the audio in a meeting and be able to cue up what was being said when your typed something out. A revolutionary concept in note-taking, really. Can be handy, but get permission from meeting participants first — there is a creepiness factor otherwise.
Trunk Notes is a wiki-style editor with Markdown and Dropbox support. Never really use it.
TextExpander is especially great if you also use it on the Mac; it allows short, user-defined keystrokes to expand into longer strings of characters. Type “TII”, for example, and get “Tantramar Interactive Inc.” as output. Despite iOS not supporting the kind of background processes that would enable this on the Mac, enough apps have built-in TextExpander support that this turns out to be quite handy. When you remember it.
Notes, Simplenote, Audiotorium, Adobe Ideas (a drawing-based notes app), and Chalk (an iPad-only, web-based, drawing-oriented notes app from 37Signals, round out the notes apps.
WordPress, which used to be buggy, and which once deleted an entire post on me, sits here, languishing, until MarsEdit for iPad comes along. Are you listening, Daniel? 🙂
I have a conflicted relationship with most of the apps in this folder. In theory they’re all great. I never open this folder.
Daylite. Sigh. This might be awesome if I ever find the time to finish setting up a proper server for it.
OmniGraffle. One of the best apps I never use.
Keynote, Numbers. They’re great. I don’t need them.
Bento. Why do I keep imagining that I will need this one day?
Doodle. Website is all I need.
Insight. Please don’t make me use Basecamp any more.
LinkedIn. Website is more than I need.
CSS3Machine. I’m sure this would be handy if I was smart enough to figure it out.
AnalyticsPro. I tend to prefer Google’s web-based version, but this is sometimes handy.
dbd, Delibar & Bookmarks: Delicious apps. Delibar is my favourite on the Mac, but I think I would like dbd better if it supported multiple accounts. Maybe it does, but I haven’t figured it out if it does.
iTeleport. One of the best apps I never use.
Server Admin. I actually use this regularly. It’s quite good.
Dictionary. The full, paid version. Love it.
Google Earth. Don’t know why I don’t delete it. It demos well, but it’s useless to me.
Translate. From Google. Mind-blowing.
Star Walk. Real-time observational astronomy app. As someone who used to teach introductory astronomy at the university level, I love this app. The iPhone version is just as cool.
Soulver. Very cool concept. Never use it.
Wolfram. Very cool but hard-to-grasp concept. Is it reference? Is it calculation? Is it Q&A? Never use it.
iMDB. Use this far too often.
Articles. Award-winning Wikipedia app. Also great on the iPhone. Unnecessary. Get it anyway.
Google. Never use it (I use Safari’s built-in Google search bar instead)
Twitterrific. On heavy rotation with Twitter.
Friendly. Because Facebook has said they don’t view the iPad as a mobile computing device. Also because their iPad app — were it to exist — would likely be as frustrating as their iPhone app. Or their website, come to think of it. Never mind.
Ego. Never use it. I never like what it has to say.
Stumbleupon. No time.
Droplr. A cool idea. Never use it.
Birdhouse. A place to save Twitter drafts. Uh, what are twitter drafts? (drafts are built-in to most clients now)
Echofon. Not on heavy-rotation as my Twitter client, but I like that it can sync my twitter stream’s read/unread status across platforms. Why do none of the others do this? Sadly not a killer feature, apparently. Still; not deleted.
Osfoora HD. Huh. Forgot this was here. Twitter client.
Tweet Library. Save your tweets, archive them offline. Handy, say, should you meet someone across the country and you want to review the timelines for a blog post…
Not much to say about games, really. I don’t play them often. But then can amuse people who want to see what an iPad can do. mondoSolitaire from Ambrosia Software is probably my favourite. Osmos HD is cool, awesome sound, and also available on the Mac App Store.
Dropbox. The glue that holds it all together. So many apps sync/store their data via Dropbox. Love, love, love Dropbox. Works on all platforms. Get Dropbox free here.
Awaken. Yes, my iPad and iPhone are my alarm clocks.
DisplayPad lets you use your iPad as an external display for your Mac. Stupidly cool, especially if you have an 11″ MacBook Air with a small screen, and already carry your iPad around with it. Requires a wifi network.
Pastebot. Copy and paste clipboard data between an iOS device and your Mac. Woah.
Calcbot. Because Apple doesn’t ship a calculator app for the iPad.
Napbot. Ambient/white noise generator. Handy for those with tinnitus.
Twitter’s popularity continues to grow, second only to Facebook in terms of the sheer number of users. The Twitter.com website offers a sophisticated interface, but there’s a healthy community of third-party developers providing apps that access Twitter’s features on the desktop and on mobile platforms.
1Password is simply indispensable. It runs on Apple’s Mac OS X (in Safari, Firefox and Chrome), in iOS (for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad), for Microsoft Windows and, via 1Passwordanywhere, via the web (providing access for Linux users and Mac & PC users when they’re not at their own computers).
1Password has many things going for it:
Less-filling, tastes great — it’s both convenient to use and highly secure (the holy grail of security in any context)
Encourages security, rewards laziness — 1Password makes it easy to use a different, high-quality password at every site you frequent (by generating them for you automatically, avoiding the dangerous tendency to recycle the same password at multiple sites)
Anti-phishing protection — by using pattern-matching to only show you the appropriate logins for the site you’re on, it will recognize when you’ve been lured onto a site that’s masquerading as your bank or sears.ca and won’t provide your login credentials.
Cheaper than the alternatives — It costs much less than the time and hassles involved with compromised online banking or ecommerce accounts
Active development — Agile Web Solutions has always provided timely updates for new browsers and operating systems — this is one of the most actively-developed apps that I use daily