There are two kinds of people: one who cares about productivity apps, the other not so much. If you are among the latter, you may consider skipping this review. But if you – like me – enjoy checking out the latest attempts in raising ones productivity levels, then you may already have heard about Parker Planner. Ethan Parker and his team left the paper planner business in order to concentrate on creating the perfect day planning app. Let’s see how far along they are!
For those who you who don’t have an iPhone 4S (or the new iPad with iOS 6) and feel left out with not being able to converse with Siri, you’ll soon be able to do many of the same things that Apple’s digital assistant is able to. Along with Google’s announcement today that Knowledge Graph will be making its way outside the US, and the introduction of the Gmail in personal search results feature, the Big G has made it known that the Google Search app for iOS will be updated soon and it’ll include voice-based questions and answers.
Readdle, the dev team behind some of my favorite and most used productivity/business apps on the iDevice, has just turned 5 and is celebrating by offering their entire iOS catalogue at up to 70% off. Here’s a quick breakdown of several must have apps: Scanner Pro turns your iPhone and iPad into a digital scanner and is hands down the best I’ve tried to date (now $1.99); Calendars is a great looking and fully featured google calendar client (now $1.99); ReaddleDocs for the iPhone and iPad, an all-in-on file manager that no iDevice should be without (now $0.99); and Remarks, an iPad only app that lets you create notes and annotate imported PDFs (now $0.99). The birthday sale is only good for 48 hours, so be sure to check out the rest of the links below, along with a funky Readdle turns 5 video.
tyype HD, the handy text editor that lets you control the onscreen cursor via gestures (slide a finger above the virtual keyboard to move the cursor left or right, pinch to scale font size etc), has been updated with several new features that give the app even more functionality. Perhaps biggest of all is Dropbox integration; now your text no longer lives on an island and everything can be synced to and from the cloud (no iCloud support just yet). Also, Portait orientation has been added, along with support for Markdown (markup language that lets you convert plain text format into HTML) – which can then be sent via email as HTML text or an attachment, or saved as an HTML file to Dropbox. As someone who makes heavy use of Markdown – particularly when drafting TMA posts on my iPad – this is definitely a much welcomed addition. tyype HD sells for $2.99 and is worth a good look, especially if you don’t have a bluetooth keyboard lying around and do plenty of typing on the iPad’s virtual keyboard.
iApp, tyype HD - $0.99
The App Store’s littered with scanner apps and my favorite of the lot (and one of the apps I use most on iOS) – Scanner Pro – has received a 4.1 update. First up is a redesigned interface for the iPhone, which brings it closer to that of the iPad in terms of look and feel and user experience. Secondly, and more importantly, Readdle has implemented iCloud support for users with multiple iDevices. As such, all my receipts and docs can finally sync between my iPhone and iPad, making it immensely more convenient when accessing scans. From my brief tests, iCloud sync worked perfectly and it was a matter of several seconds before new scans from one device were uploaded to the other. If you’re serious about going paperless or simply want to store your business receipts digitally, Scanner Pro is fully featured and worth the $6.99 price tag.
Readdle, Scanner Pro - $6.99
Google Drive has landed on iOS. First launched by Google back in April, Drive is a cloud storage service like Dropbox that will allow its users to store their files on Google’s servers – as well as on their PCs and Macs. And with the release of the iOS app, Drive users can finally access and view their documents, images etc. on the iPhone and iPad. The app also supports offline viewing, file sharing with collaborators, starring or important files and more. If you don’t have a Drive account, you can get started here, where all new users get 5 GB free of storage space. Google Drive is a free download and now available on the App Store.
Google, Inc., Google Drive - Free
Buy Me a Pie!, one of the more popular grocery list type apps for iOS (and one of the best I’ve come across thus far) is now free until July 4th – just in time to help you get ready for those fourth of July parties you’ve been planning. Normally priced at $2.99, Buy Me a Pie! features a clean interface and a built-in grocery items dictionary for snappy list creations. Best of all, all your items and lists can be synced across multiple iDevices once you’ve created a free user account (it literally takes 10 seconds). So if you share your login info with your friends and family, you can all manage the shopping lists as a group. Even if they don’t have an iPhone/iPad or the app, they can still head over to buymeapie.com on any browser, log in from there and add/edit the items. Give it a try and you’ll never want to go back to using the Notes.app again for making grocery lists. Video demo after the break.
Grocery List – Buy Me a Pie! - Free
Google has updated their Gmail app with several handy (and overdue) features that could lure back previous users who’ve since jumped onto the Sparrow bandwagon. First and foremost is the full integration of iOS’ Notification Center, meaning you can finally setup banner, alert and lock screen notifications whenever new emails arrive into your inbox. According to Google, notifications are now “5x faster than in the previous version”. Also new is the “Send-as” feature, which gives users the ability to send emails with alternate email addresses. For this to work, you’ll first need to set it up in Gmail on your PC/Mac under Settings –> Accounts –> Send mail as, where you can add another email addy you own. Once configured, you’ll see a From: option when composing new messages right from within the app.
Back in early February, Dropbox released the beta version of the desktop app that’d allow for the automatic import (and upload) of your photos and videos upon plugging in your iDevice. Well that handy feature has made its way onto the iOS app, so after you’ve authorized Dropbox to have access to location services and turned on “Camera Upload”, all of your existing images and videos in the camera roll will be uploaded into the cloud. There’s a Gallery view so you can see what’s been uploaded to your Dropbox account. And by default, the auto export only works while the device is on Wifi, though you can enable cellular data if you wish.
The WWDC goes live at 10AM PST today and as most expected, Apple will indeed be unveiling iOS 6. In other news, OmniFocus for Mac and iPad have dropped in price in their respective App Stores for the first time ever! For those of you not familiar, OmniFocus is hands-down the best personal task manager around; it’s much more involved than your everyday todo list app and was designed with David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) Methodology in mind.