Today, Apple launches its newest iteration of the iPad. The iPad Pro is a smaller (at 9.7 inches) and somewhat more powerful tablet than its 12 inch sibling. Since its inception, I have had the original, the iPad 2 and 1st generation Air and am looking at maybe getting the Pro. In my opinion, the iPad has been the all in one media device that I have always wanted. It’s a machine that can allow one to watch movies and live TV, read books and magazines, stay connected with friends via social media and more. It has been my media companion on long flights and has also helped me show off my photography work to potential clients. The iPad also has laid the groundwork for many other tablet competitors which has flooded the marketplace in the 6 short years of existence.
Since the new version releases today, myself as well as my fellow PCU colleague John wanted to talk about the apps (outside of Facebook and Twitter) that we absolutely can’t live without. If you have your own recommendations, let us know in the comments below. As always, check with your carrier in regards with data usage. Also, if you jailbreak your iPad or do anything outside of what it’s designed to do, you are responsible for anything that happens.
Flipboard right now is one of the best RSS newsreaders for tablets. When the iPad was first released, a slew of apps came along that did their best to try and bring you the daily news to your device. There were a few apps like Newsify and Digg that were good but Flipboard came along and in my opinion, changed how we get news. The interface was a lot cleaner, you could design the app for the articles you wanted and as many websites got onboard with Flipboard, many made custom articles designed to be read within the app itself. Plus of course there is a phone version as well. The only con is I really wish that many of my articles could be cached for offline reading. But other than that, you can’t beat this as a great news reader**.
**Also, check out Apple’s own News reader.
The best part of nearly all tablets on the market is that they have become the best way to stream TV programs when not at home. A study done a year ago shows that nearly 30% of all TV viewing has been through streaming. Many of us with cable subscriptions have had some success with cable companies allowing us to stream our favorite TV shows via the company apps and some even allow viewers to watch content on their DVR. But there are still some restrictions in place.
One device I invested in a few years ago was the Slingbox. To be honest, back then it was a hassle to install and run, but in the years since I have had it, the software and Slingplayer app has improved and it runs better now than when I first got it. The issue for some is that you have to spend money on the box as well as the app. I honestly can’t say that I blame you for balking on that. Another issue is that for this to really work, you need a good wifi connection, but that much is true for any streaming content. However, when you are in your hotel room in Paris with only 2 English speaking channels on TV, and limited Netflix capabilities, once you get Slingbox running (which worked fine for me nearly ½ a world away from home) you realize that the hassle of hooking it up is worth it.
It was a toss-up between this app, Stitcher and Sirius XM. I went with TuneIn because it’s one of the few apps I can really say that I have had since my first tablet as well as iPhone. Simply put, TuneIn Radio is an app that can stream nearly every radio station in the world. A few great examples of how well it works: I had a co-worker who was from St. Kitts and was homesick and once she discovered the app and was able to tune to her home station she was good to go. Another example is simply if you don’t want to spring for Sirius XM but you have a long car ride ahead, you want an app that you can either stay tuned to the local station where you are from without having to worry about losing it, or maybe even tune into the station of your destination. Also, even if you want to listen in on ESPN, talkSport, SkySports or any sports shows, TuneIn has the ability to pick up those stations.
This app is a couch potato’s best friend. If you need ideas on what to wear, what to do during your next vacation or for some of us that need cosplay ideas, this app is it. Also, depending on how you have it set up, you can now directly pin items from websites to your board.
From the …darker side of things, let’s just say if you know what you are doing, this app will enable you to read comics from a variety of sources. However, not only does it do comics, but other magazine formats as well. The caveat is that all users should be responsible of where they get their items and they are responsible for all risks incurred. And please still make sure you still support your brick and mortar stores.
My life is a stack of unread comics, one after another. A few years ago, when Marvel began distributing their books with free digital copies, I decided to utilize this service. It allows me to quickly put my books away in their designated long boxes, while having the unread stories neatly on my iPad. I may still have too many comics laying around, but no Marvel titles, as they are the first thing I take care of on Wednesdays when I get home. The app itself offers some nice features, such as offering to move you to the next book in the series, or story line after finishing an issue. If you own it great, if not, it sets you up to purchase it instantly. Great app.
Everyone knows that when you become a member of Amazon Prime, you get their 2 day shipping and streaming video service. What many do not realize is that you also get this streaming music service. Their are tons of albums available to listen to for free (well,after the initial Prime subscription charge), and it offers me a chance to listen to old favorites that I haven’t owned in years, or listen to something new that I would rather not buy unheard. Hell, just last night I listened to Europe’s The Final Countdown album in its entirety, something I haven’t done since 1989. Ok, that may have been a bad example, but there is tons of really good stuff too.
Let’s just say if you know someone with a Plex account, and they are on the piratey side of things, life can be good. Plex is a video streaming service that allows you access to any of your friends video libraries that share them with you, via special ID and passcode. Maybe I have had access to a perfect copy of a certain blockbuster film from last year that doesn’t come out on video until tomorrow for several weeks. Maybe I was able to watch the Deadpool film without ever paying for it either. These are all maybes of course, because I would and could not admit to any form of video piracy. Plex rocks. The same caveat above for Comic Zeal applies here as well.
Let’s face it. If I didn’t have a WordPress app, you wonderful readers of PCU would never get a chance to read any of my Review Brew write ups or any other articles I have written. Imagine a world! On a serious note, I do not own a laptop or home PC, so I needed an easy way to write features for PCU, and since this site is based on WordPress, I was relieved to find they had an Ipad compatible app. Generally speaking it is easy to navigate and use, and makes the process of writing fairly easy. I use a different unnamed application to write for another site and let’s just say, it’s no WordPress.