Yes, you can write on an iPad using a variety of apps, but Penultimate integrates very nicely with Evernote and Dropbox, making your notes easily available for saving, sorting and sharing. There’s a variety of pen and paper styles, colours and drawing tools and it can import pictures, plus it has built-in wrist protection to avoid stray marks. You can also send single pages or full notebooks to anybody as PDFs. CC issue Nov/Dec 2012.
Platform:iPad, Android tablets
CloudOn is now available in Australia, bringing genuine Microsoft Office to the iPad and Android tablets, remotely. The free app lets you log on to a virtual Office hosted on CloudOn’s servers, so you’ll need a net connection, but gives you access to all Office features using touch. You can access documents directly from cloud services Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. It also has an Adobe Reader built-in and lets you email files directly from the app. CC issue Nov/Dec 2012.
Platform: iPhone; iPad, Android
Science fiction’s vision of a handheld universal translator is not yet here, but we’re getting closer. Google Translate provides instant translation of almost anything in more than 60 languages and has voice input for many of them. It even speaks the foreign phrase for you in many (but not all) languages and you can save favourite phrases for offline use. Now you can make yourself understood almost anywhere – a must-have when travelling. CC issue Sep/Oct 2012.
Link-shortening program Bitly (formerly Bit.ly) has become very popular on desktops. Now it has its own app that helps you shorten and save URLs on your mobile device and share them with others (ideal for Twitter, which sometimes can't fit a long URL in its character-limiting format). It also lets you save articles for later reading and sharing them with others. CC issue Sep/Oct 2012.
St. George Banking Application
Platform: iOS (iPhone)
The latest version of the St George banking app has the handy addition of a built-in budget planner, claimed to be an Australian first. A bonus is that it can be used by non-St. George customers, too. CC issue Jul/Aug 2012.
Platform: iOS (iPhone)
Right after a disaster is a bad time to discover you don’t know what needs to be replaced or who to contact. The Know Risk app helps keep track of your stuff and the policies that cover it, with pictures for identification and your insurers' contact details. CC issue Jul/Aug 2012.
Remember the Milk
Price: Free or $25/year pro version
Platform: iPhone, iPod Touch, Pad, Android
There’s no shortage of reminder and to-do apps on smartphones and tablets, but the Australian-developed app Remember The Milk (RTM) is not only one of the best, it’s the first to incorporate the iPhone 4S personal assistant, Siri, for adding reminders. RTM also works in with a web account and Gmail, Outlook, Twitter, Google Calendar and ties in with BlackBerry’s inbuilt Tasks program. CC issue Jan/Feb 2012.
Platform: iPhone, iPad, Android
If a picture's worth a thousand words, then the ability to quickly view anybody's computer screen remotely via your iPad must be worth a million. The join.me Viewer app lets you view somebody's screen, whether Mac or Windows, and collaborate from just about anywhere in real time over Wi-Fi or 3G connection. A desktop user “hosts” a meeting by going to join.me to start the connection and multiple users can join in. It's quick, simple and free. An optional Pro account provides extra services. Join.me is made by LogMeIn, makers of the easy-to-use remote viewing and control software for Mac, Windows and iOS devices. CC issue Nov/Dec 2011.
Platform: iPhone (including 3GS), iPod Touch (gen 3 and 4), iPad
Apple’s own productivity suite was a hit on the iPad and now it’s available for iPhone and iPod Touch as well. iWork, comprising Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentations) are universal apps, so if you’ve already bought them for the iPad, they’re available as a free update for the smaller iOS devices – and surprisingly usable at that size. All three programs have benefitted from the recent iTunes price drop, losing a couple of dollars, and all come with Apple-designed themes and templates. CC issue Sept/Oct 2011.
Platform: iPhone, iPad
Carrying many gigabytes of music, photos and files around with you on your iPhone or iPad is easy, but finding what you want when you need it requires a system. Awesome Files helps organise everything. Create and save files, folders, pictures, web clippings, downloads, notes and almost anything else you gather. You can also zip and unzip file archives and open files into other apps, as well as access and save files to online servers such as Dropbox, MobileMe, Box.net, Google Docs and WebDav servers. Files can also be swapped to and from your computer via USB and via Wi-Fi, with the free Awesome Files Connect for Mac or PC. CC issue July/Aug 2011.
Platform: iPhone, Android
Springpad aims to be the ultimate organiser. Use it as a central repository for all the different bits of information we tend to collect each day: memos, notes, pictures … almost anything at all. It can help find information on movies, books, products and more, and is great for creating various checklists. You can easily share your information with friends via Facebook and Twitter. And unlike Evernote (evernote.com) which also collects and organises information, Springpad also lets you set reminders for tasks and events – a big plus. All information is synchronised online and also accessible from any computer via a personalised web page. CC issue July/Aug 2011.
If you have an iPhone, international friends and like to chat, you’ll love Viber. It lets you make free calls to other Viber users using 3G or Wi-Fi. Once installed, you provide your phone number and receive back a code to activate Viber and that’s it. You can make free phone calls to other iPhone users that have Viber installed, and even to iPod Touch users (though that’s not officially supported yet). Sound quality over Wi-Fi is very good and all features are free, without requiring any additional in-app purchases. It’s similar to the free SMS alternative app called WhatsApp, which lets you send free SMS-like text messages (and even audio recordings) to phones that have Whatsapp installed. And unlike most chat clients, neither app needs to be opened on the iPhone to work. You can take calls and messages by just using the phone normally. March/April 2011.