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13 Pro Apps for the iPad Pro

Nearly three years ago I wrote an article highlighting 9 Pro apps available for the iPad Pro. After three months of trying to fit the iPad into my workflow, I came to the realization that it wouldn’t work. I needed a Mac.

A lot has changed since then. Not only has the iPad Pro changed dramatically, but so has my lifestyle. My job has changed significantly, as has the tasks I do on a daily basis. I’ve moved into a new house. Not to mention, my daughter is now three years old.

Late last year I walked into Wal-Mart to grab some groceries and saw the new iPad Pro. Up until that moment I purposely avoided going into the local Apple Store because I knew if I saw it, I would want one. As I walked past the display in Wal-Mart, I felt compelled to take a look. And so I did.

Shortly afterwards I bought a new iPad Pro. I should clarify I did not buy my iPad Pro at Wal-Mart. Instead, I drove to the Apple Store to pick it up right from the source.

Re-introducing the iPad Pro into my lifestyle three years later has produced dramatically different results. Maybe it’s because I’ve changed, or maybe it has to do with choosing the larger 12.9 inch display this go around, but the iPad Pro has taken over my life.

I’m not going to dive deep into why the iPad Pro has become so useful for me (more on that in a later post), but I did want to revisit this article and highlight some of the apps which I have been using. Some of these are new additions and some aren’t.

Without further delay:

For Professional GTD’ers: Things

When I first published this post, Omnifocus was my task manager of choice. Since then, Things has now taken back it’s spot on my homescreen. It’s nothing against Omnifocus, it’s just that Things is so well-designed I can’t not use it. It feels right at home on the iPad, especially with all these useful keyboard shortcuts.

For Professional Writers: Ulysses

There are a few things an iPad is better at than a Mac, and one of those things is writing. Solely because of the portability and lack of distractions when writing on iOS, I prefer to do the bulk of my writing on my iPad.

Ulysses is my text-editor of choice because of its organization and customization options. On the iPad, Ulysses has all the same options as the Mac version with fantastic keyboard shortcuts.

Case in point, this article was written on my iPad Pro using Ulysses.

For Professional Graphic Designers: Affinity Designer

Out of all the categories in this article, this one more than any other may show how far iPad apps have come. Previously I recommended designers to check out Bez. It was a powerful application at the time, but couldn’t handle full-time vector-related tasks. Fast forward a few years and Affinity Designer has proven that you don’t need a Mac to do design work. This is a full professional tool with all the power of the Mac, formatted to work beautifully on the iPad.

For Professional Developers: Coda

For engineers and developers on-the-go, Coda is a fully capable code-editing app which allows you to write and edit code away from your Mac. I love the comfort of being able to leave my Mac at home and edit code on the iPad when necessary.

For Professional Photographers: Lightroom, Affinity Photo and Pixelmator Photo

This is the hardest category to choose just one winner, so I won’t. There are many powerful options for photo-editing on the iPad that match or exceed the flexibility offered by the corresponding Mac apps. If I had to choose just one, I’d choose Affinity Photo. Not only is it great for editing pictures, but it can easily be considering a full-on Photoshop equivalent for the iPad.

For Professional Artists: Procreate

Procreate was one of the first apps I downloaded to my iPad Pro, not because I’m an aspiring artist, but because I knew it was the best app to test the functionality of the Apple Pencil. I can’t imagine a better drawing tool than an iPad Pro, Procreate and an Apple Pencil. Artists have come up with amazing pieces of art on the iPad, and I don’t think they are going to stop anytime soon.

For Professional IT Managers: Screens, Jump Desktop

While I still love the beautiful UI of Screens, Jump Desktop has taken the spot of the most useful remote access tool for iPad. Despite it’s less attractive UI, Jump Desktop has the ability to automatically change the resolution of my Mac to match that of my iPad as soon as I connect remotely. That feature alone has sealed the deal for me.

For Professional Video Editors: LumaFusion

LumaFusion is a great example of how real work can be done on the iPad Pro. While it may not be a complete match to Final Cut Pro in terms of functionality, it’s pretty damn close. I challenge anyone who regularly edits video to try using LumaFusion on the iPad. While it may take some getting used to, it’s no slouch.

For Organization: Mindnode

It took a while for me to see the benefit of a mind-mapping tool, but once I did, I was hooked. Mindnode is a great example of how an iPad can accomplish the same tasks that a Mac can. Regardless of whether you’re working on Mac or iOS, Mindnode offers the same experience on both platforms. It’s truly astounding how they were able to design a product for two different platforms without sacrificing functionality or usability.

For Students or Business Professionals: Agenda

Let’s get real, everyone takes notes. I’ve long used Bear as my default notes editor, but when I first heard of Agenda, I had to give it a chance. In order to understand the appeal of Agenda, you have to completely forget everything you know about note-taking. The developers behind Agenda have created a note taking experience completely different from any other app. With it’s tight integration into my calendar and it’s unique categorization methods, Agenda has become the perfect tool for me in my day job. Not to mention, it feels right at home on the iPad.

There are so many other great iPad apps I could’ve included on this list, but I’ll leave those for another time. Soon I will dive deeper into each of these apps and explain in more detail why they have changed my mind about the iPad Pro. For now though, I feel reinvigorated. Once again I’m excited for the future of the iPad Pro. If we see another advancement in three years like we did the last time I wrote this article, I think we’ll all be looking at the iPad Pro in a much different light.