PDF Expert 5 by Readdle is on sale for $4.99 (50% off) right now. Here’s my video review from last fall of PDF Expert 5 on an iPhone (make sure you use the settings gear in the embedded video to watch in HD; you can also view full screen). The app is universal, which means you buy it once and then can use it on iPad and iPhone. Go here to find the discounted app.
Readdle‘s Calendars 5 seamlessly integrates both tasks and appointments into an aesthetically pleasing display. Moving things around and making new entries is really simple, too–just drag and drop or tap. Most of the time when I’m creating a task, setting an appointment, or checking something off, I want to do it quickly and with as few taps as possible. Calendars 5 makes that possible. View options on iPad are Tasks, Day, Week, Month, and Year. See my full review of the app here.
Calendars 5 has widgets in the iOS 8 “Today” view, so you can look at your day with a single swipe down on your iPad.
2. OmniFocus 2
This is the only app to make both this list and my 351 Words on 4 Mac Apps I Use Every Day. The integration of OmniFocus 2 on iPad and OmniFocus on Mac is tight. There’s a slight delay in the sync function (which uses Omni servers), but otherwise what I update in one place updates in the other. And, because I can link it to Apple’s Calendar and Reminders, which both sync with Readdle’s Calendars 5, the latter (see above) syncs quite nicely with OmniFocus. You can keep it updated easily via Siri voice commands, too.
OmniFocus 2 allows for more complex project management. Projects and Contexts are a great way to break a bigger endeavor down into its component steps (Projects), or organize them according to the environs in which you do them (Contexts): Office, iPad, Computer, Errands, etc. The Forecast view shows you both appointment and tasks in one place. Or you can just make a quick entry in the Inbox, and then decide how to categorize it later.
It still needs to be updated to work more smoothly in iOS 8, but BlogPad Pro is a far easier app to write a blog post on than WordPress’s own app. (Words on the Word is a WordPress blog.) You can start new posts, edit existing posts that you started on a computer, moderate comments, and check blog stats. The layout looks like the app belongs in iOS 6, but I actually sort of like that heavier look. Here are a few screenshots from their app page:
I haven’t really explored options for good third-party mail clients, but I like Apple’s native Mail app. There’s nothing flashy to it, but it is functional and easy to navigate.
5. Sky Force 2014
I’m not all productivity apps. The one iPad game I play is Sky Force 2014. It’s fun, challenging, and a great way to zone out. And… it’s free!
*Disclaimer: Some days I don’t use the iPad mini at all, but when I do, the above are the first ones I tap on. Thanks to Readdle, Omni Group, and BlogPadPro for the review downloads of Calendars 5, OmniFocus 2, and BlogPadPro, respectively.
At first I scoffed a bit at the idea of another calendar app for iOS. What’s wrong with Apple’s native “Calendar” app?
Well, it’s a fine app, and it gets the job done. You can sync your schedule across multiple devices–it’s how my family keeps our days and weeks organized. I add an event and it populates in any other place that my wife or I would check it.
Its interface feels a little less streamlined or smooth than one would like, but a calendar app is a calendar app, right?
Well, yes, for the most part. But Readdle’s Calendars 5 app is even better than the Calendar app that comes pre-installed on every iPhone and iPad. Look at this:
(Independence? We celebrate it twice around here.)
If I had a lot more events on June 28, I would simply swipe right gently to reveal them, while the whole rest of the screen/week would stay in place. This is the Week view, the one I use most often. There are also Tasks, List, Day, and Month views. You can easily tap (or just drag and drop) your way into creating new items or making schedule changes.
What is the Tasks view, you ask? It’s anything in your Reminders app! So from your calendar app (without switching to another app), you can see your tasks. (Integrated work flow is the only way to really get stuff done effectively, I think.)
You can even see on June 28 above: Calendars 5 combines appointments and tasks into each day, so you can easily keep track of everywhere you have to be and everything you have to do.
Once you set up sync (also very easy), anything that you change in Calendars 5 also updates in your iCal/Calendar app (and vice versa), and any task you add here updates in your Reminders app (and vice versa). This means you can say, “Siri, remind me tomorrow to…,” and if you it synced, the reminder shows up in your calendar view right in Calendars 5.
It never occurred to me that I’d have less mental clutter by using a single mechanism (app) to track appointments and tasks. Maybe I sound overly ebullient, but… this is a really sweet app. You should get it if you can.
Thanks to the folks at Readdle for the gratis download codes for the review, given with no expectation as to what I’d write. Though now that I’ve used Calendars 5, I’d pay for it if I had to. It’s been that helpful to me–and it looks really good, too.
You can get Calendars 5 here. $6.99 may feel like a lot for an app, but you get it on both iPad and iPhone (and they sync), so if you rock both devices, it’s like two-for-the-price-of-one.
Calendars 5 is also part of Readdle’s Ultimate Productivity Bundle, which includes PDF Expert 5 (I like that app, too–see my video review here). The Bundle comes with the elegant Scanner Pro and Printer Pro, that lets you print wirelessly from your iOS devices. See the discounted Bundle in action here, and check out purchase information here.
Having a good way to keep track of and annotate PDFs across multiple devices is important to me. PDF Expert 5 makes it easy, with a quick, high-powered, and intuitive app. It works great in iOS 8 already. The book I use in the video review below is a good one in its own right. It’s called Learning from Life: Turning Life’s Lessons into Leadership Experience, by Marian N. Ruderman and Patricia J. Ohlott. You can find it at the Center for Creative Leadership here or here, as part of CCL’s Ideas into Action Guidebook series. Here’s PDF Expert 5 on an iPhone (make sure you use the settings gear in the embedded video to watch in HD; you can also view full screen):
Here are a couple of shots of what it looks like on an iPad.
Especially useful on iPad is the ability to have multiple documents open at once as tabs:
Thanks to the folks at Readdle for the chance to review! Learn more about PDF Expert here. (P.S. I made the video above using the handy Reflector app. Reflector mirrors your iOS device to a computer, from which you can record your screen.)