Since the iPad was introduced 5 years ago, it’s been the subject of a lot of commentary from the tech community. Can it replace a computer? Is there enough developer support? Can it be your only device? Is it a pro computer?
Despite many other tech journalists attempting to make the iPad their main device, I happily used my Mac and stayed out of the discussion.
This all changed a few weeks ago when I picked up a 9.7 inch iPad Pro. I wanted to see how far the software had come in the past few years and whether the platform had matured since I last owned one. In the time since I’d last owned an iPad, Apple released a whole new version of iOS with several features designed specifically for the iPad. It became clear the tide was beginning to shift from laptops to tablets.
In my first few weeks with the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, I made an attempt to try as many pro apps as possible. While I’m still not completely convinced the iPad can be the average person’s only computer, I’m impressed with the pro apps that have come out recently.
Below are some of my favourites..
For GTD’ers: Omnifocus
Omnifocus may not share all the same features as its Mac counterpart, but the iPad version isn’t anything short of capable. Out of all the platforms I can use Omnifocus with, my iPad is the device of choice (more on that coming soon).
For Writers: Ulysses
There are a few things an iPad is better at than a Mac, and one of those tasks 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.
For DJs: djay Pro
While I’m not a DJ – and probably never will be – djay Pro is a powerful tool to complement any DJ’s arsenal. It has all the options you could want, and with the performance of the iPad Pro, you can spin four tracks at a time.
For Graphic Designers: Bez
When my wife first used Bez for iPad, she was amazed at the power of this vector-design app. From beginning to end, a designer could create a logo, model mock-ups and more.
For 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 Photographers: Lightroom
This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one Adobe app. Out of all the Adobe apps available for iPad, I feel Lightroom is the best one to represent professional iPad users. More than any other Adobe iPad app, Lightroom is the closest adaption of its desktop counterpart.
For 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 trio than an iPad Pro, Procreate and 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 IT Managers: Screens
Using Screens on an iPad paired with a keyboard is the closest thing to using a computer without actually using one. For IT Managers or just people who have a lot of non-tech-savvy friends, Screens is a must-have tool. Being able to access and remotely control a Mac/Windows computer is a huge asset for professional users.
For All Professionals: Workflow
Workflow is a tool most professionals could benefit from. I use Workflow to post both linked articles and reviews from my iPad. I’m constantly astounded by the workflows created with Workflow and the potential they bring to the iPad.
I know there are many other examples of pro apps available for iPad, but so far these are the ones which have surprised me most. While a lot of these are also available for iPhone, it’s easy to see they perform better on the larger screen of the iPad.
It will be interesting to see how the next few years pan out for iPad apps on the App Store. I have a feeling the smaller iPad Pro has reinvigorated a lot of developers’ interest in the iPad as a platform, and will continue to do so if Apple posts strong sales numbers.
When it comes to iPad app development, I think the best is yet to come.