All of the apps that we have reviewed that have iPad support and are available to use natively on the iPad. If an app is in this index, you won’t have the 2x iPhone app interface.


Textastic Is Your Code Editor On The iPad

Textastic for iPad

It is not often that I come by an app that appeals to me so much that I just had to get it, especially not at the $9.99 price point. Textastic however is one of these apps that is a must-have if you like me are a web designer and developer.

This is the first app that I have seen on the app store that lets me write and edit code files right on my iPad! This is a very important thing because it leaves one less thing that I have to bring my laptop for on shorter trips for example. It also means that wherever I am and have my iPad with me (which is very often), clients can have their sites fixed immediately, should something happen.

File format support

In terms of file formats, Textastic supports a ton of them, from HTML and CSS via PHP to formats like PDF files, if you like to code them yourself. All of these syntax definitions supported by the app have full syntax highlighting enabled, making it easier for you to read the code. Missing however is any type of code auto-completion. Even though that might be asking a lot of the iPad, it would of course be very nice. Don’t worry though, there is a workaround. Textastic supports Text Expander which has a built-in library of both HTML and CSS snippets for you to use to code quicker. It’s something to help, albeit not exactly the same.

Textastic – Text Editor with Syntax Highlighting - Alexander Blach



Contract Maker Pro Goes iPad Native!

Contract Maker Pro has always been my favorite App for making highly customized contracts and agreements. There was one thing missing though and that was a native iPad version. Although the iPad doesn't have a camera yet, which makes it less optimal for including photos in contracts, I still prefer to do them on the iPad for the larger screen real estate. Contract Maker Pro being a Universal App now means that I'm more likely to use it for producing a digital agreement. One way I get around the iPad not having a camera is to either email a quick photo from my iPhone or my MacBook Pro to the iPad while on a break or wardrobe change.

Contract Maker Pro has even more customizable fields

Not only does Contract Pro let you create multiple page contracts (1-5 pages), but this new version offers 10 Custom Placeholders that allow you to create your own fields, 5 custom rollers (those spinny data selector thingys), and 6 custom checkbox placeholders. It has a total of 62 usable placeholders (fields).  By far this App allows more customization than any other contract making App I've seen to date. It even has the ability to include multiple photos in the contract (like a model shot and a photo of their driver's license). 

You can get Contract Maker Pro for your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch for $4.99 here from the iTunes



ESPN ScoreCenter

Admittedly I’m not a huge sports fan; never have been. I’ve always rooted for the local teams, which here in Cincinnati where I live is the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bungles… I mean Bengals. But over the past few years I have began to watch a few more teams which probably has something to do with my brother who is in sports broadcasting. Like everything else in my life, I tend to try to simplify or manage most things with my iOS devices. This is no exception. I went looking for an App that I could follow my favorite teams easily and in one place. What I found was ESPN Score Center. It fits my requirements perfectly.

What I wanted

What I wanted was an App that allowed me to group all of my favorite teams from all sports on one page. I wanted to see the scores of their last contest, and when their next contest was to be played. Score Center delivered. Upon initial setup you decide which teams are your favorites in every major sport played in the US. These teams can be a mix of NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA(Basketball/Football etc.), Cricket, Ice Hockey, Rugby, Soccer, etc. These are going to be YOUR teams that show up on the first page of the App when you fire it up.
The interface is simple, easy to use, and intuitive. The first page shows your teams, their last contest, and the score. Simple. If you want to drill down further and see more in depth stats that is simple too; just tap your team’s latest contest. If you want more information, at the bottom of the drilled down screen there is an option for a recap of the game. The recap gives you more in depth coverage of the game.

Besides the “your teams” page, there are also several other customizable pages. These can be set as whatever sport you would like. There is also “The Lead” page. The Lead shows the current sports that are being played across all of the sports.

Best Sports App

This App is awesome. It gives me everything that I want in a sports App. I can track my favorite team, or check out what’s happening with all of the teams across the whole league. Before I meet my brother for any event I check Score Center just so I have something to talk to him about.

You can get ESPN’s ScoreCenter for your iPhone or iPod touch for free here from the iTunes

You can get ESPN’s ScoreCenter for your iPad for free here from the iTunes



Macworld Daily Reader

I've been a reader of Macworld Magazine since, well since day one in 1984. Even to this day I get each monthly issue delivered electronically to my Zinio App. The only problem is having to wait a whole month to read it. In each Macworld issue I can usually find at least one tip or product that I didn't know about and having been a Mac user since 1984 it's rare that I can find a new tip (that I need). While I do follow the Macworld website via my RSS reader App, it's just not the same. So I was more than a little interested when I saw the announcement for their new Macworld Daily Reader App for iPad. It's a free App and I downloaded it on the spot.

Nice UI, but…

The App is pretty 🙂 In other words like the magazine it's easy on the eyes with a good use of color and graphics. Upon 1st launch the App populates with the latest content from the site. Now keep in mind that this is not a replacement for the Magazine and at the same time there really isn't much here that you couldn't get from their website. It's just nicely packaged in an App taking advantage of the capabilities of your iPad. While the App delivers, it was a tad slow when it came to loading content. Also if you don't have an internet connection you be constantly warned of that fact even when you go to view articles that you've bookmarked. What I would love to see is the ability to load up the bookmarks area with a bunch of interesting articles to read off line while on a flight or train if I didn't have an internet connection and yes I know that there are other solutions out there for that, but we're talking about this App at the moment.  The article I bookmarked was there even in Airplaine Mode, but I still got the warnings about not being online. While you can share an article via email, Twitter and Facebook, I don't see a Print command. While I could care less about printing in general, I know that many of you like to print.

Lastly sometimes the layout gets in the way. There was one article I wanted to read but by the time I got past the large picture at the top and the table at the bottom there was only about one inch of height left over for the article in the middle. 

Yes there are Ads – I know that some of you are annoyed by Ads in your Apps. This is a Free App with no paid option and you're not only going to see Ads here, but they are going to popup at random. I tapped on a article and an Epson Printer Ad loaded first. I thought I had tapped on the wrong thing at first. While I get the need for Ads, I like to see them not be a surprise and for a paid option to eliminate them.


The Bottom Line

If you're a Mac user or an iOS user then this is a nice App to have on your iPad. With a few simple refinements it can be a great App. 

You can get the Macworld Daily Reader App for Free here from the iTunes

Adobe Photoshop Express for iOS

Photoshop Express 1.5 adds Background Uploads

Adobe has released an update today to Photoshop Express for iOS, now in version 1.5, adding quite a few noticeable features. Firstly, the app now enabled batch capturing of photos together with a review mode for looking through images. The update also includes support for the Retina display on the iPhone 4.

Finally, the most important update is with some iOS 4.2 features, enabling the app to be able to upload photos in the background. This means that you no longer have to stick around waiting for your photos to get uploaded before moving on and doing something else.

Adobe Photoshop Express - Adobe Systems Incorporated


10 Must Have iPad Apps for the Office

Documents to Go Premium – Work with your MS Office documents

You can't mention the word "office" without Microsoft Office coming to mind. So let's start with ways of not only reading and editing your MS Office documents, but creating new ones from scratch. This is where Documents to Go Premium. You can work with and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint files right on your iPad. This App also makes it easy to share with others with its integration with Google Docs, Dropbox, Box.net and iDisk. The Premium version adds in Exchange & GMail Attachement support and two-way syncing from your desktop Mac/PC over WiFi. If you have to deal with Office documents, this is your App.

Get Documents to Go Premium for iPad/iPhone/iPod touch for $16.99 here from the iTunes


FileMaker Go – Complete Database Management

FileMaker Pro is an industry standard database application on both Mac and PC. I actually started my career as a FileMaker consultant many years ago. The desktop version has completely grown up now and offers the best in class for EASY database creation and powerful relational features. With FileMaker Go you don't have to leave that data behind. The latest version gives you all that you need to take your FileMaker Pro databases with you and update/add records on the go right on your iPad. You can even connect to your hosted FileMaker Pro databases over the internet. 

Get FileMaker Go for iPad for $39.99 here from the iTunes


Keynote – instead of Death by PowerPoint


I don't think anyone is a fan of sitting through hundreds of boring PowerPoint slides. However, slide presentations are the norm in business meetings. They also don't have to be boring! This is where Apple's Keynote comes in. You can create/edit Keynote presentations either on your Mac and sync them over to your iPad or right on your iPad with this App. You can also open up presentations created in MS PowerPoint and show them not only on your iPad, but connected directly to a projector via the iPad VGA adapter

Get Keynote for iPad for $9.99 here from the iTunes




The TiVo iPad App is Finally Here

Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a TiVo fan! I have been ever since my DirecTV TiVo Series 1. Since those early days I have moved on to multiple TiVo HDs and finally a NEW TiVo Premiere XL box. As a matter of fact my biggest reason for upgrading one my TiVo HDs to the Premiere XL is because I wanted to use the NEW iPad App that TiVo announced was coming, back in November. While I do like the TiVo Premiere XL, I was perfectly happy with my TiVo HD boxes. However, now that I have the TiVo Premiere XL it's definitely many (little) steps in the right direction and improves on an already best in class experience. With that said, I was anxious to see how the new App would make life even better.


It's an intelligent Remote Control

First off the TiVo App for iPad was designed to be a "companion" and remote control for your TiVo Premiere. Once the App is installed and you've got your Premiere box setup with Network Remote Control enabled in the prefs, the TiVo App will give you information about the show that is currently playing. You can drill down on the actors/actresses and see credits as well as other shows/movies that they have been in. This is where the intelligence comes in. If you see a show/movie that you're interested in you can then check to see if it's coming on anytime soon. If it is you can set ti to record it right then and there. You can also buy the movies that they were in on the spot from Amazon, Blockbuster or stream it via Netflix if it's available. 

Too much to write about

Rather than go on and on in words here trying to describe how the App works, I figured it would be easier just to show you a demo:


Two points of clarification from the video: I never showed that you can in fact jump to a specific day/time in the guide and set a show to record that's coming on in the future. Also I mistakenly said that the Slingbox was connected to "your computer" when in fact it's connected to your TiVo or other video source and doesn't require your computer to be on or connected at all.


The Bottom Line – The Right Way to Do Internet Connected TV

I have to give it to TiVo for once again solving a problem that the rest of the industry seems to be scratching their heads about. There have been many (failed) attempts at combining the internet and TV and while TiVo is definitely leaning towards the TV side of the equation (as opposed to general internet browsing on your TV), their combined solution (TiVo Premiere and iPad) makes sense. I actually own a Sony TV with Google TV built-in and I rarely use the internet features of it because of the obvious issues of using a keyboard and having to share screen real estate with what's currently on TV. Having a tablet device instead means that the action doesn't have to stop on TV for me to look something up, schedule a show or manage the shows I'm already recording. Yes, they've done it! This is what I hoped Internet/Google TV would be.

You can get the TiVo App for iPad for Free here from the iTunes

Sadly the App only works with TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL boxes. It would have been nice to see support of at least the remote scheduling and remote control of playback for the older TiVo HD boxes. Also I'd love to see an iPhone/iPod touch version for scheduling on the go (yes I know that there are other Apps that do this, but I want the TiVo branded one.)

See my TiVo Premiere XL Review here.

Get the TiVo Premiere here for less than $99 or the TiVo Premiere XL here for less than $299.

See my Slingplayer for iPad App review here.

Get the Slingbox Solo here for less than $170 or the Slingbox Pro HD here for less than $290.



Lightning Was Here My Puzzle Book

I’ve always been a fan of the Disney “book” applications for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. I wrote a little about them in my 5 Apps that make my toddlers happy, but this particular App is different from the ones up to this point. The Lighting Was here App adds some interactive elements that really take it over the top.

Right to the point of why I love these Disney book Apps; my kids love them. My kids love to read, or to read along rather. They are just at the beginning of their reading lives and it is very important for them to read along and to know what words are being spoken. This is where the Disney books for the iPad shine. As they read along, they are highlighting each word as it’s being said unlike some other read along Apps that I have found that highlight the entire sentence. This is important because at their age (4). They need to see each word highlighted individually as they hear it in order to grasp what is being said. Also I find that they really enjoy turning the pages themselves so the ability to disable “auto turn” is a nice feature.

Usually the Disney books include some sort of light animation to coincide with the text, which this App delivers on as well, but Disney also added a few more elements to make this App a lot more interactive and fun for the kids. First they added a picture hunt throughout the game. Along your trip through Radiator Springs with Lightning McQueen there are semi hidden “decals” for you to collect. To collect them all you have to do is tap on the picture (which is usually out of place enough for the kids to realize that it is different and must be a decal) sending it flying off of the page presumably to your decal wallet which you will tap into later in the story. Midway through the book you come to one of two interactive jigsaw puzzles. Tapping the screen will scatter the pieces leaving you to reassemble them to form the picture. This was a nice touch on Disney’s part. It breaks up the reading time and my twins loved figuring out where all of the pieces went to continue with the story. This happens once more throughout the book which again was a nice break in the reading. At the end you are presented with a picture of Lighting McQueen with dark shadowy shapes on his hood and fenders. You have to dig into your collected decals and place them in the correct spots to complete the story.

There are a couple of things that I would like to see changed with this App. First has to do with the highlighting of the words. For whatever reason they didn’t turn this feature on default like the rest of the Disney read along books. I had to dig into the settings to find it. Not a huge problem but still annoying in my opinion. Secondly I would like to see more options for the puzzles. They chose two of the non-main characters for the puzzles. While I thought they were fine, my kids really wanted a picture of Lightning himself, or Sally (Lightning’s Girlfriend) to have broken into a puzzle. If they gave the option of rotating the images in or out, that would be great!

All in all this is a wonderful App that is worth downloading if you have kids that are learning to read. I can’t say enough about Disney read along books, and the positive effect reading Apps like this have had on my toddlers.

You can get the Lightning Was here App for $0.99 for your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch here from the iTunes


blueSLR Remote Controls Your Nikon DLSR

blueSLR is a software/hardware solution that brings bluetooth remote control to your compatible Nikon DSLR camera. It also allows you to use your iOS device to geotag your photos as you take them. I've been a fan of geotagging my photos for years and while I've used several different dedicated hardware solutions for Nikon cameras, I'm really jazzed about the blueSLR solution. First off you do have to have a compatible Nikon DLSR camera (Nikon D3100, D5000, D90, D3(s), D200, D300(s) or D700). You then plug in the blueSLR module and fire up the blueSLR App on your iDevice. 

Remote Shutter Release and Geotagging

The App allows you to wirelessly snap the shutter, auto focus and do time lapse/burst shots all from your iOS device. Since it's bluetooth based you can use it just about anywhere without having to worry about being on a WiFi network. Not only does this allow you to get into the shot, but it also is great for those low light long exposure landscape shots that you can't really do handheld. 

geotagged photos from the blueSLR attached to a Nikon D700 showing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 with a one button click to go to Google Maps to see where the shot was taken.

Having a bluetooth remote is sweet, but i'm even more excited about the Geotagging feature. Now my iPhone becomes my Nikon DLSR camera GPS as it can use GPS satellites, cell towers and WiFi hotspots to plot my location. This makes it much more flexible than traditional GPS units that require line of sight with a satellite. This is great for geotagging indoor locations as well such as monuments and museums. Also since it's writing the data directly to the images as I take them there is no post production matching up to do. It's accurate and on the spot!



Settings to fine tune your workflow

One setting you'll definitely want to enable is the GPS when locked. This means that you can put your iDevice away while still using this as long as the App is running in the foreground. This will help your iOS device's battery life as the screen doesn't need to be on for this to work.


The Bottom Line

This is a great solution for any Nikon shooter! It really gives you two tools for the price of one. I'd love to see a couple more things in the App though. First off the App doesn't work in the background. You have to leave it running in the foreground to communicate with the module on the camera. Not sure if that's a technical limitation or not, but I'd love to see it run in the background in an update if at all possible. Next, I'd love to see a quick link from the current location to Google Maps on the iDevice just to verify the current location. Having the longitude and latitude displayed on screen is nice, but those numbers don't mean much to me without an easy way of verifying them. Otherwise this App is awesome!

You can get the blueSLR App for Free here from the iTunes

While the App is FREE it doesn't do anything for you without the hardware. You can get the blueSLR module for your camera for $149 here.

See my blueSLR hardware review here.


Save Stickly!

Sometimes the simplest concepts keep our attention better than the more complicated ones. This concept holds true when it comes to Apps. Case in point is “Save Stickly from Falling Balls”. A spinoff of another popular iOS App; Save Stickly-Free Fall down game, this App takes a few very basic shapes (circles, and a stick figure) and turn them into a game I didn’t want to put down for hours!

The concept is simple, you are a stick man. You are constrained to a horizontal line and able to move left to right on by tilting your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad left or right. The object of the game is to avoid the balls of differing sizes that move at different speeds from left to right on the screen. To make it more interesting there are multiple “power ups” that help you become immune to the bouncing balls, shrink your player down to half of his original size, and more. Keeping with the simple theme, there are only three different levels: Classic (traditional movements, balls from only left side), Expert (traditional movements, balls from both sides), and Wacky (opposite movements, balls from left side).

I couldn’t put this game down. I haven’t “beaten it” but I don’t think there is really any actual way to beat it. It’s a fun game that seems simple but gets harder the longer you last. It’s a whole lot of fun, and free so head over to the App store now and pick it up!

You can get Save Stickly from Falling Balls for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch  for free here from the iTunes

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