I highly doubt that there’s anyone out there who wants to work or study, but if you do, here are some apps to make it easier on you.  I should clarify that.  I love learning, especially new things, but sometimes working and studying just isn’t the most fun thing to do.  I don’t think you can argue with me on that one.  But, it has to be done.  So why not do it in a way that makes your life a little bit easier?


Ulysses Mobile: Best Short Form iOS Writing App

If you work in an office, you’re probably familiar with Microsoft Word.  Which is an extremely popular desktop word processor, but it can also be extremely complex.  Ulysses Mobile, however, wants to get you back to the basics.  What you get is a distraction-free writing environment that boosts efficiency.  You can write in Markdown, then stash, store and organize your notes and export whatever you write into a variety of formats.  On the iPad its extremely similar to the equally excellent OS X app, and even on the iPhone, Ulysses is usable enough to stab out a quick article with your thumbs.  And you can sync with iCloud.


Scrivener: Best Long-Form iOS Writing App

While Ulysses is excellent for short notes, articles and working in Markdown, Scrivener has been the long favourite of those users tasked with long-form writing -scripts, novels and never ending corporate plans.  The iPad version mirrors its desktop sibling, providing a rich-text editing system that includes powerful organization tools, research stashing, and a “cork board” for shuffling synopses about and robust export.  The sync feature is a bit clunky, but otherwise Scrivener is one of those apps where you occasionally have to check that you’re using an iPad and not a Mac or PC.  And while we wouldn’t suggest that you write a novel on your iPhone, it’s still a surprisingly usable app, regardless.


Mindnode: Best iOS Mind-Mapping App

When you think of a mind-map, what comes to mind?  Conference rooms, or maybe endless meetings?  But MindNode is hoping to change that.  It is a really easy to use app that is fantastic for sketching out ideas about almost anything and everything.  You can place your idea in the middle of the screen, and then grow it from there, adding pathways, images and icons.  You can export your mind map to a PDF or text outline.


Scanbot: Best iOS Scanner

Scanners are huge.  Even the small ones.  Which is why I present Scanbot to you.  Scanbot is an app that transforms your iOS device into a scanner.  There is a free version, which detects the edge of whatever is on the table in front of you.  It can scan multiple pages and gives you the options for enhancing everything when you’re done.  But if you pay for the pro version, you can get text recognition, smart file naming and the ability to add pages to existing scans.  There is also “quick actions” that attempt to extract useful details from scans, for example – get single tap access to contact details that would otherwise be buried in a document.  The pro version sounds pretty amazing, if you ask me.

PDF Expert

PDF Expert: Best Document Editor

PDF’s aren’t exactly sexy when it comes to technology, but most people end up needing to edit a PDF at some point. And maybe it’s “all the time”, which is why PDF Expert is your app.  From your iPad, you can quickly and easily make annotations, and sign documents.  If you get the pro version, you can go further to update text, replace images, add links and redact text.


Coda: Best iOS Web Design Tool

Coda gives web coders a full fledged toolkit when you’re on the move.  Maybe you need to work on your code when you’re commuting on the train, and you can’t pull out your desktop computer.  But with the Coda app, you can do this in a very simple way from your iPad.  The app includes a built-in file manager and SSH terminal, along with a robust text editor with syntax highlighting, reusable clips, powerful find/replace and “context keys” for more rapid tapping.  This app works well on the iPhone, but might be more useful if you just need to tweak a website, and not necessarily modify the entire thing.  But on an iPad pro, this app is transformative.




Fantastical: Best iOS Calendar

Say goodbye to whatever Calendar and Reminder app you’re using, and say hello to Fantastical.  This app boasts an infinite scrolling events ticker twinned with a month calendar for quickly snapping the list to specific dates.  On the iPad, the default layout’s admittedly a bit odd, although it works really well in Split View.  But, regardless of your device, Fantastical  will impress you with its natural language smarts, accurately interpreting your input, building your event as you type.



Productive: Best Habit Tracker

Calendars work really well, but they they tend to be beneficial for more important tasks like meetings, or reoccurring tasks.  Productive, though is more about encouraging you and tracking habits to make you a better person.  And we all need that.  I downloaded the free version of this, because I need help.  Especially around those small tasks, like remembering to drink water on a daily basis.  Or to get my extra workouts in.  The small things that I will forget about if I don’t have some kind of accountability.  The interface is extremely sleek.  You can create habits and assign them to a certain time of day – morning, afternoon or evening.  Or to specific days or regular intervals.  The free app only lets you have 5 habits to track, whereas the paid version gives you unlimited habits.  Yes, I drank all the water I needed to yesterday.  Today, however, is starting off slow.


Soulver: Best iOS Calculator

Calculators are boring.  Plain and simple.  But Soulver is like when you scribble down numbers on the back of an envelope, only it intelligently totals up when you’ve put down.  You can also use plain English notes to ensure that the context of your figures remain in tact.  Everything you work on within the app can be synced using iCloud or Dropbox and also shared as an HTML formatted email.


Ferrite Recordings Studio: Best Voice Recorder

With Ferrite you can record your voice, obviously.  But you can edit any clip, and Ferrite will turn it into a mobile podcast studio, enabling you to add and edit multiple tracks, tweaking effects, adjust panning and hastily delete the terrible radio-station intro you thought was hilarious at the time.   When you upgrade, it will take you from good to amazing.  You get unlimited recording time and 32 tracks.


Duet Display: Best iOS Extra Display App

When you’re working on a PC or Mac, your iOS device may as well do something useful.  Plug it into your computer with Duet Display installed and your iPhone or iPad instantly becomes a second display.  On an iPhone, this is of limited use, but an iPad is big enough to act as a second screen in an effective manner.  Because you’re hooked up via a wire, there is little or no lag, and the app can also emulate the Touch Bar on macOS Sierra.

By Staff Writer

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