First, I don’t use a tool because of cost, I use it for it’s usefulness to me. Free is great, but never the top requirement when searching out a piece of software for my iPad. So, here is the top 10 applications I use:
- TweetDeck (Free) – I use Twitter a lot and use this software exclusively from my laptop and the iPad version functions the same so it is a nice extension from the MacBook Pro. Note: at this time the software is not without one annoying flaw; when opening links from a tweet, the app will often crash, other times not but it can be a pain.
- NetNewsWire ($9.99) – I keep up with a fair amount of RSS feeds and this software syncs with Google Reader which I use daily on my laptop. It is a nice rich-client which keeps Google Reader up-to-date and has a nice UI to boot.
- GoodReader ($0.99) – I read a lot of books, which is one reason I bought the iPad. This utility makes reading PDF’s enjoyable. Dropbox integrates nicely with it to, allowing me to keep my PDFs on Dropbox.
- SimpleNote (Free) – This does just what it says, simple notes. This is like having a little notepad always ready but the beauty is it syncs to an online service to get your notes from any browser.
- iSSH ($9.99) – It’s really nice to have the iPad 3G to have connectivity almost anywhere and when accompanied by a great SSH utility like this I can SSH into all of my servers with ease. One more reason not to carry the laptop.
- BlogPress ($2.99) – I don’t write long emails or blog much from the iPad but this tool integrates nicely with WordPress and makes those short post really easy. Lots of features for the regular blogger.
- Penultimate ($2.99) – Great utility for mocking up ideas, taking notes or just a brain dump. Drawing on the iPad surface with my finger is super easy and no delays.
- Instapaper ($4.99) – This is a great service which is used in all of my browsers to bookmark web pages I want to go back and read later. The iPad version makes reading on the device really slick.
- BeejiveIM ($9.99) – A great way to keep in touch with remote workers and other contacts is of course IM and unfortunately I am on a few but this tool keeps them all in one place with the exception of Skype which I hope gets added soon. A runner-up to this tool is IM+ ($9.99, Free Lite Version) which does offer Skype IM integration but the UI is not as refined.
- Things ($19.99) – I use this to-do list on my MacBook Pro, iPhone and now the iPad to manage projects with a nice clean interface. The mobile devices sync back to the MBP and keeps everything in order. I have to say the entire suite is a bit pricey compared to other iPhone and iPad applications out there but for something I use all the time, worth it.
Bonus - Netflix (Free) – this is really the only entertainment type application on this list and after a long day of working it is often nice to pull up a movie or TV episode. The quality of video is exceptional.
I can’t think of a replacement for any of these tools just yet. I have tried their competitors but these stick as my favorites and most useful.