ten mac apps that would give me ipad lust

February 2, 2010 | 8 Comments

Last week, I mentioned my concern about the iPad’s use as a creative tool, ending with a plea to developers to make apps for just that purpose. Since that time, OmniGroup has announced their intention to fully support the iPad. Immediately, I could see myself ‘needing’ one.

My primary use for an iPad would be research and writing, so I dream of uses that could help those workflows. Resources are limited at our house, so an iPad would be hard to justify. But if most of these apps came available, I would start trying to find ways to make it happen:

A version of Scrivener that could open, read, and edit documents from the Mac version would be a dream. Unfortunately, they’ve already stated that they don’t have any immediate or longterm plans to work on an iPad version. (Their blog post is worth reading…I think they touch on something that many indie Mac developers might be feeling.)

WriteRoom already has an iPhone version that can sync text into Scrivener via SimpleText.ws. Oddly, their Mac version doesn’t sync with SimpleText. I would hope that WriteRoom for iPad would.

I like Ulysses, but haven’t made the time investment to use it regularly over Scrivener. They have an alleged Ulysses Mobile in development, so Ulysses for iPad seems like a reasonable step for them. If it were to sync with the Mac version, Uylsses would find more room in my workflow.

After Scrivener, this one seems like the biggest longshot. My Yojimbo database already struggles to sync via MobileMe and they’ve never indicated any interest in developing an iPhone version. But after the OmniGroup apps, Yojimbo would be the biggest draw toward an iPad for me.

Logos Bible Software
They started working on an iPad version the day the iPad was announced. I don’t think I would spring for a 3G iPad, and space will be at a premium. So offline use and the ability to pick and choose resources to install is a must.

Of course it would be nice if the DropBox could sync documents, or a select folder onto the iPad. But even being able to access my folder in the cloud would be helpful enough.

If you use Instapaper, you already know why this is on the list. If not, read this.

I’m not convinced I would replace my Kindle with an iPad as a primary ebook reader. The Kindle’s battery life, weight and ability to read with one hand are too valuable. But with the ability to sync notes and location, of course it would be nice to have my books on an iPad as well.

I don’t know that I would do heavy editing, but being able to resize and adjust images for blog posts and other lightweight work would be great. There are already a few iPhone apps that do this kind of thing, but it would be good to see what the Pixelmator team could pull off on an iPad version.

While most creative work that I do would still require a full laptop or desktop for final production, blogging is one workflow that could be done start to finish on an iPad. I’ve been spoiled by offline editors over the WordPress dashboard, so one of these is a must.

How about you…what would you like to see?

  • WriteRoom for Mac files can sync with SimpleText.ws… but the feature isn’t built into WriteRoom itself. Instead download the SimpleText for Mac client (http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/simpletext). That will sync your SimpleText.ws documents down to your Mac as plain text files, which you can edit in any app, including WriteRoom. WriteRoom for iPad will also sync to simpletext.ws.

  • I was about to make the exact same suggestion as Jesse. Man these devs are really good at keeping an eye out! Interesting choice of words, “Writeroom for iPad…”

    Scrivener, I think, is a desktop app that works because of how open it is. I think txt, rtf, doc, and opml I/O make it ideal for working with iPad apps, but a full on iPad app might be confusing.

    Webjimbo is out there, but I agree a full on portable database would be nice. The trouble is how big they can get and how quickly.

    From a WordPress app I would like to see a lot more management than actual creation. Assumedly most of the backend will load in the iPad safari but it can get sluggish even on a desktop. Access to plugin management would be key for me.

    If I were making a list of 10, 3 would be covered by Omni: OmniOutliner, OmniFocus and Omnigraffle are the ones I’m most excited for. Stuff you missed:

    Stanza, BeeJive IM (or really ANY IM app that builds a browser into it so you can browse and chat, like on a real computer), Tweetie (AteBits builds masterful gesturing apps, so yeah, it will make sense on a huge screen), Jaadu VNC.

    Don’t mean to pimp again but I’ve got a neat and organized list of apps at the bottom of my iPad for Filmmakers post.

  • Accordance have also announced their plans to provide an iPad version

  • Joanne

    I’m hoping (wishing) for a full-blown version of Preview. Partially for the minor photo editing abilities, but mainly for PDF annotation. That would be killer.

  • Gary

    Would love to see a year-after update on which software you would recommend now.

    • John Chandler

      The Creative Tools series I’m in the midst of now will cover some of these once I’m done.

  • I too would go nuts for an iPad v. of Scrivener. I’m sure it’ll happen someday, but until then Scrivener 2 is making me very, very happy… especially the better footnoting (one of the ONLY things that kept me from using the previous version for a book I’m writing).

    But I have to ask, what is it about Yojimbo that you find particularly captivating? I’ve often wondered why people use that over, say, Evernote (which can do OCR… ON THE iPHONE), Springpad (which is online and can handle multiple formats) or even (potentially) the killer combo of Notational Velocity and Simplenote (which is plain-text only, but done BLAZINGLY fast and with full local download). What’s Yojimbo got up its sleeve? I used it a long time ago and never really “got” what made it so special, but I’d love to know– it’s pretty popular.

    It looks like we got basic image editing with Filterstorm et al. How’re you faring with Instapaper? I think it’s one of the most beautiful iPad apps there is… 🙂

    Nice blog, John. I’ll keep reading! (just discovered today)

    • John Chandler

      Thanks for your comments. Sorry I’m slow to respond…somehow the notification got dumped in spam, and you didn’t even mention virility drugs!

      As for Yojimbo, I still use it, but also use it in conjunction with SimpleNote. I described that switch in a series that began here: http://www.byjohnchandler.com/2010/07/08/capturing-ideas-revisited-intro/