15 Amazing iPad Apps

With the arrival of the iPad 2, you may be looking at incorporating an iPad into your arsenal of freelancing tools.

If you’re considering an iPad 2 for your freelancing business, who could blame you? This newest generation of the iPad has received an awful lot of news coverage lately.

But is an iPad worth it as a freelancing tool? Of course, depending on their own business needs, every freelancer will have a different answer to this question.

My answer is this–I think it is helpful in my case. I actually use my iPad even more than I thought I would use it.

In this post, I’ll explain how my iPad has helped me to become a more productive freelancer. I’ll also list 15 amazing apps that I’ve loaded onto my own iPad.

Could Your Freelancing Business Use an iPad?

I get a lot of use from my iPad because I run a lot of errands and I also do some traveling. If you aspire to be a mobile freelancer, having an iPad may be worth it for you too.

My lifestyle means I spend a decent amount of time waiting. An iPad allows me to turn what would otherwise be wasted time into productive time.

Fortunately for me, nearly every place that I go–from doctor’s offices to hotels to restaurants–has a WiFi connection. Even the rest stops along the Interstate when I travel often offer WiFi.

Sure, I might not write an entire eBook or even a long post using my iPad, but it’s great for the following:

  • Answering emails
  • Checking in with social media
  • Moderating comments or commenting on blogs
  • Reading an eBook

So, what apps do I have loaded on my iPad? Here’s the list:

Productivity Apps

The first category of apps that I’ve loaded onto my iPad are tools that I can use to do a bit of work with:

  1. Gmail–If you have a Gmail account did you know that you could access it using your mobile device? There’s no need to leave an “out of office” message any more. Check your email even when you’re traveling.
  2. iA Writer–This is a great little tool for creating short documents with your iPad. This app has been lauded by a number of top sites, and I’m beginning to understand why.
  3. PhotoShop Express–I fell in love with this free mini version of Adobe PhotoShop and you probably will too. This lets you crop and share pictures to social media even before you get home.
  4. Evernote–Great for taking and accessing notes–The iPad version is a great way to organize your projects and can be synced with your PC version of Evernote.
  5. Kindle for iPad–I don’t have a Kindle, but several members of my family do. Fortunately, they make a Kindle reader for the iPad so that I can use my iPad to read books when I want to.

Social Media Apps

Most social media apps come with a version for the iPad. That’s fortunate, because the iPad is ideal for social media networking. Here are the social media apps that I use:

  1. Twitter–Twitter has wisely developed their own iPad app and I’ve found it to be nearly as robust as the PC version. Once you get used to it, you’ll enjoy the convenience of being about to send a tweet from wherever you happen to be.
  2. Friendly–Friendly is not Facebook, but it’s the next best thing if you need to update or view your wall from your iPad. There’s a free version, but I went ahead and invested in the Plus version.
  3. StumbleUpon–While I don’t use StumbleUpon nearly as often as I used to, it’s still a viable social media alternative. I was pleased to discover that they offer a version of the tool for the iPad.

Travel Apps

Naturally, if you’re using your iPad while you’re out and about, you’ll want to include some travel tools on your iPad. Here are my travel picks:

  1. The Weather Channel–If you’re traveling, you certainly want to know what the weather’s going to be like. Use this free app to find out.
  2. Yelp–Is there a decent place to eat near you? Read the reviews on Yelp and find out. (Note: this is an iPod app, but it works fine on the iPad too.)
  3. GasBuddy–No matter where you are, find the gas stations with the cheapest prices near you. With the way gas prices are going up, this is a must if you’re on a road trip. (Note: this is another iPod app, but it works fine on the iPad too.)
  4. Livestrong Calorie Tracker–Travel and especially eating out can really wreck your fitness goals, but this app knows how many calories there are in the entries at dozens of restaurant so that you can stay on track.

Games and Entertainment

What’s an iPad without a few apps just for the “fun of it.” Here are my game picks:

  1. Angry Birds–Of course I had to see what this was about and once I did, I was hooked. It seems simple, but it’s really not.
  2. BrianChallenge–I love puzzles, so naturally I like this puzzle game that serves up a wide variety of brain twisters. At nearly $5.00 it’s a little pricey for an app, but for me, the expense was worth it.
  3. WordPop–If nothing else, this choice betrays that I’m a writer who loves words. It’s like Scrabble (R) and Boggle (TM) combined. Everyone in our family has a version of this loaded on our various mobile devices.

Your Turn

I’ve shared the iPad apps that I use regularly. Now it’s your turn to share.

What iPad apps do you use?

Share your answer in the comments.

Image by ivyfield


  1. says

    That’s a solid list of apps. However, I’ll point out that #1 (which is the most-used app on most tablets) is the main reason I went with a Xoom instead of an iPad. The iPad can handle Gmail, but it loses so much of it’s Gmailness — conversations, starring, archiving, etc. Having a real Gmail experience on a tablet makes a HUGE difference and saves quite a lot of time in the long run.

    Of course, the downside to the Xoom is that some of those other apps (like Friendly) aren’t available to us at all… :)

  2. says

    I’ve been thinking to get an Ipad myself, but so far has nothing I need that an Iphone already has. The screen size is bigger indeed, but than I cannot handle development tasks anyway, so back to laptop.

  3. says

    Hi dp!

    Well, I have to answer emails for my business. A missed email might mean a lost client. I also consider social media more than entertainment–part of my marketing.

    So, not just entertainment for me.

    I use it mainly to stay connected. But, someone else may use it for their entire project–who knows. Really looking forward to seeing what apps others are using.

  4. says

    Hi Laura, I have my phone for emails and social media. (which includes Facebook)

    I honestly don’t understand the Ipads place when it comes to real work.

  5. says

    Hi dp!

    Maybe some other freelancers will answer your question. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    As for using my phone to check email-I’ve never done it. Personally, I don’t like to try to type emails using my phone. It’s just too small for my taste. Plus, I don’t text clients.

    However, the keypad that comes up in the iPad is sufficient for sending a reply to a client.

  6. says

    @Laura — It certainly is. The iPad will certainly outsell, and is a better choice for most people, but the Xoom is certainly a great device.

    I do some email on the phone, including the occasional reply; Swype makes it much easier. My main goal on the phone is just to keep tabs on email, delete unnecessary messages, etc. If nothing else, it’ll mean that I just have 6 emails to deal with at home instead of 16.

    @Lucian — That’s the big problem with these tablets, whether you’re talking iPhone/iPad or Android/Xoom; they really can’t do much more than the phone can. However, it can get those tasks done much easier (email, etc), and I just save the development work for my computer at home.

  7. says

    Here’s a few apps I use on a daily basis

    - Dropbox
    - Adobe Ideas or Sketchbook (for quick wireframing / sketching of ideas)
    - Plaintext (for quick note-taking… bonus points for integrating into Dropbox)
    - Instapaper (a must have for storing articles offline for reading on public transit)
    - Tweetmag (visual representation of news in a magazine like format)

    In the gaming department, Angry Birds (already mentioned) and Cut The Rope. I can’t live without them.

  8. says

    I just recently purchased an iPad. I’m definately not an Apple worshipper, but I do love my iPad for my side business. I do Web / Graphic Design and hosting and it’s great to be able to show potential clients my work. I believe it has closed more than a few of my deals, too!
    I use “Manage” to keep notes and track tasks for on-going projects. Twitter to work my Social Network ‘advertising exposure’ (finally have over 500 followers). Office2 HD for all my cloud documents.
    Now that I’m using Joomla for most of my websites, anytime I get an email from a customer, I can quickly make the changes wherever I am! I haven’t mastered using it for graphic design, but I’ll keep trying.
    Overall, the iPad has been a VERY useful tool.

  9. says

    Thanks for chiming in again Mickmel!

    Justin, thanks for sharing your apps. I may look into a few of those myself. :)

    Hi Todd! That’s exactly how I feel. In fact, the iPad is the only Apple product I own. I knew I wasn’t the only one finding it useful…

  10. Tina says

    I love your suggestions, and the drop box and instapaper additions. I would also add blog shelf, clipboard, and words with friends!

  11. says

    I don’t have an iPad-but I’d love either a Kindle or an iPad.

    I think iPads can be used can be helpful for productivity in that they allow you to offload some of the more “distracting” things to them, such a social media, reading blogs etc. Crucial for your job-but when you need to be doing client work can definitely become a distraction.

    I have an iPhone and while I RARELY respond to emails on it, I’ve found it really handy to be able to check emails/social mentions as they come in to make sure it’s not important, then go back to my work until it’s time for a break. It’s also handy to have my calendar and to-do list sitting next to me instead of open in different browser tabs. Between Gmail, GCal, Hootsuite, my task manager, Google Reader, and sometimes Facebook cutting down on open tabs has really made a difference.

    Plus, it makes it easy for me to disconnect the internet while I work on some heavier projects, and still know if someone really needs me, they can get ahold of me.

    That was long and rambly, but in short, I can see how even though it might be seen as a “consumption” device, the iPad can be good for productivity.

  12. Lexi says

    Well, I am an Apple fan girl. All day long, I switch between my iMac, Macbook and iPod Touch. I can’t wait to get my iPad 2 and try the apps mentioned here :-D

  13. says

    Great additions Tina–I’ll look into some of those apps. :)

    Well put Leslie A. Joy! I’m sure there are people who regularly use their phones to send emails, but I’m not one of them.

    Lexi–You’re an Apple user? I think their products are fine, but I started out on PCs and most of my clients are still PC-based. For my main machine I have a PC to match what my clients are using.

    I should add that I received my iPad as a gift from a family member. I probably never would have bought one for myself. Prior to having it, I felt a lot like those of you who are griping about this post–I didn’t see a lot of practical value. I wrote the post because I was really surprised by how much I use it (as in every single day for several hours) and how much more productive (yes, I said productive) it has made me.

    I can’t speak to the other tablets since I haven’t had a chance to try those, but I’m sure they would be helpful as well.

  14. says

    I dont have any IPad, but I wish have one. Its my dream since last year ^_^ . Anyway, from what I’ve been read about IPad, Its seem they want to collaborate entertainment and business apps on it. in fact, mostly their features based on entertainment, so do they really improve our (your) productivity?
    @Laura : what about u Laura? IPad improve your productivity or not?

  15. says

    I bought an iPad about a month or so. Hate to feel it has gone obsolete ever since the iPad2 came out. Grrrrr.

    Anyway, I hate to admit that I use it mainly for entertainment. But on the road, it helps me catch up with my emails. I often have clients contacting me for quotes and inquiries and I MUST answer all my emails within 24 hours (which I displayed on my site’s contact page).

    Other than that, I mostly use the GPS Navigator, checking realtime traffic and online banking. Mind you, Bangkok is a very congested city and it’s great to do all these stuffs right in my car!

    I wish I could share what sort of apps I use, but it’s mostly a for-local-use app which would not be useful other than here in Thailand.

  16. says

    Apps for me…

    1. Jobs (keeps track of my job list, clients, project time and costs)
    2. My pantone (Pantone colours)
    3. Paper sizes (handy little app for document sizes)

    It would be great to see an app in which you can create your own portfolio to showcase to clients! I use photos at the mo, but it needs some va va voom!

  17. says

    Great article, I will have to try more of these apps. Angry Birds is an awesome game, and I want to get Brain Challenge. Have you ever tried Binaural Beats type apps? I have a few and they’re great for me if I need to relax or need help focusing on work.

  18. Seeker of Knowledge says

    I’ve been having a great time with a new tool I’ve found that has been really entertaining and useful to me. I am definitely a traveler and although I travel frequently for business through Dish Network I do find the ability to find time to take little side trips. This helps immensely in that I can be away from the core of my destination and see the historical elements that are fascinating to me as well. I save a lot of material as I come to it on my DVR that is related to my trips so that I can get to it when I need to on location to enhance my side trips. The tool I’m writing about here is related to that, it allows me to access this material when and where I need it when on location. I decided to get a Sling Adapter which is really a unique little device that streams the recordings and any live programming in your package straight to most major mobiles. I prefer to have an iPad as my travel companion due to the size and capabilities for work and other things. This tool not only allows me to travel with a little piece of home but gives me access to the collected material that make my side trips so much fun. I’ve spoken to other travelers who have also come across Dish’s little miracle and have gotten a lot of good reviews from them as well each for their own reasons. I think everyone needs a little distraction from time to time especially if they are often collecting frequent flier miles especially for work related travel.

  19. says

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had an iPad for a while now, and I’ve noticed that I hardly use it for entertainment at all. I use it almost as a second montior while I’m working, for email (Mail), time tracking (Hours), and news (FlipBoard).

    I also use it heavily as an eReader (iBooks and GoodReader), checking site metrics (Analytics HD), project management (OmniFocus) and sketching and taking notes while waiting when out, on the go, or on plane or train rides (Muji Notebook and SketchBook). I’ll even use it do draft up blog posts (WordPress), documents, or spreadsheets (Pages & Numbers) if I’m not at the computer and an idea strikes me.

    The links Leslie shared are great for getting an idea, and like the article says, it’s all about fitting the iPad into your workflow in whatever way works, makes sense, and keeps you productive!

  20. Mark Jordens says

    I’m a consultant and love the Ipad. It makes interaction with my clients much easier. I use notes plus for handwritten notes in meetings. be ure to buy the alu stylus pen, the fat one, for best result. Smart pad as organiser. Keeps tracck of to do and events in one schedule. Inserts to do s in free time in the calendar. Synchronises with toodledo. Lipboard for staing in the loop of what occupies my contacts. I brainstorm for brown paper sessions. I project it with a projector using an extra cable. SG Project for my project planning. Ithoughts HD for building minmaps. They can be projected too. Idesk lite for building diagrams. Prezi for showing gorgeous presentations made in the online prezi environment and Roambi is my performance and client dashboard. With TVM I can calculate cahflows and investment decisions. Iannotate to read and edit files. Docs to go to read my ms office docs. And dropbox to exchange files.

    Not just a game then!

  21. says

    For what it’s worth, I’ve had an iPad for a while now, and I’ve noticed that I hardly use it for entertainment at all. I use it almost as a second montior while I’m working, for email (Mail), time tracking (Hours), and news (FlipBoard).

  22. says

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