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Like the One Ring in Tolkien's fantasy novels, the iPad has fascinated me since it was first released in 2010. Now, I wouldn't say that I've been engaged in some sort of Gollum-esque quest for the "precious," but I have been tempted to purchase an iPad every single time I pass by an Apple store. My initial hesitation was brought forth by my experiences with Apple's iPod. Each iPod iteration was phenomenally better than the previous model. Waiting for the second or third versions of the iPad seemed like a good idea. What surprised me was the fact that I literally had to curb my iPad lust. I can't recall any other gadget that has tempted me so. Well, it just so happens that I was walking past an Apple store this past weekend and the "precious" called out to me. It's official. I'm now the proud owner of a "new" iPad.

Having been a Mac OS user for some time, I do like the consistency of having a mostly all-Apple setup. My smartphone is still the Motorola Droid X (have no fear, the iPhone may be a Fall endeavor). With only a few minutes of iPad time under my belt, I quickly started to figure out my new "productivity enhancement device." I know, it's magical, and I'll probably consume more than I create with it, but for now, I'm focusing on productivity.

The App Store is full of so many apps that your head will spin (almost like a beach ball). In all seriousness, it is really easy to spend a lot of money on apps. With my budget in mind, I went to my most-trusted source of crowdsourced information - Twitter - and sent out this query:

Almost immediately, responses came flowing in from friends and colleagues:

  • Flipboard, Pocket, Zite, and Instapaper were all suggested as apps for content consumption, curation, and social sharing.
  • Tweetbot was sent in as a go-to app for accessing Twitter. Also, why is the Facebook app so terrible?
  • Evernote has been on my tech radar for a while…perhaps I'll invest some time with it on the iPad. Any app that helps me "remember everything across all of the devices you use" is worth checking out.
  • LogMeIn is intriguing…remote access to my computer isn't something that I generally need. However, maybe I could leave my laptop in a hotel room and access it via the iPad while on the go?
  • Quickoffice Pro HD is fairly straightforward. Being able to create and edit MS Office documents is a must.
  • On a whim (yes, I am full of whims), I purchased a stylus for my iPad and I must say that Note Taker HD is amazing! Note takers, this app is terrific!
  • Snapseed is an outstanding photo editing app. It's perfectly intuitive.
  • Additional apps that were recommended by folks on Twitter: ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard, Notability, Dropbox (love keeping stuff in the cloud!), Kindle and Pandora Radio (spin some tunes!)

While I will most-likely end up still taking my laptop with me on consulting trips, the iPad is definitely going in my gig bag. Who knows…perhaps I will end up getting an iPad keyboard. Once again, Twitter to the rescue! While a keyboard might be nice, I know that the protection of my new (magical) productivity enhancement device will be enhanced/protected by two items: the Smart Cover that I bought at the Apple store and a soon-to-be purchased GelaSkins.

Now that I've downloaded some apps and am working my through the iOS learning curve I think it's time to revisit this excellent article from Becca Obergefell on "Student Affairs Applications for the iPad."

What are your favorite iPad apps?




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