Com­pelling apps for your iPad

Make your iPad more ca­pa­ble with­out hav­ing to splash the cash…

Mac|Life - - FEATURE -

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to iPad apps on the App Store. How­ever, many of them re­quire an ad­di­tional com­mit­ment to a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, like Net­flix or Now TV, while oth­ers need an in–app pur­chase to get value from them. We’ve scoured the store for the best free apps that can be used ei­ther en­tirely with­out pay­ing a cent or whose in–app pur­chases re­ally are op­tional ex­tras. Across these two pages, you’ll find apps to en­ter­tain and in­form you — all for free!

> PCalc Lite­pcl

PCalc has been around since the ear­li­est days of the App Store. The Lite ver­sion in­cludes a full sci­en­tific cal­cu­la­tor with such cool fea­tures as op­tional RPN mode, mul­ti­ple undo and redo, and unit con­ver­sions. There are two vis­ual themes avail­able.


There are no shortage of draw­ing apps on the iPad. But Pa­per stands out for the love­li­ness of its in­ter­face. You store your draw­ings, notes, and even an­no­tated im­ages in note­books. And you can view those note­books in a 3D view that al­lows you to open them and swipe from page to page. There’s a full range of draw­ing and paint­ing tools and sup­port for Ap­ple Pen­cil. There are tem­plates for grids, lines, and sto­ry­boards to help you get notes and draw­ings down quickly and the Di­a­gram tool is able to snap your rough sketches to straight lines and shapes.

The note­books them­selves have cus­tomiz­able front cov­ers and you can view them in a grid to make nav­i­gat­ing them eas­ier. There is a pre­mium sub­scrip­tion avail­able, but all the tools most of us re­ally need are avail­able in the free ver­sion.

> TuneIn Ra­dio

TuneIn Ra­dio of­fers 100,000 sta­tions from around the world to choose from, as well as pod­casts and ex­clu­sive con­tent. It will rec­om­mend sta­tions based on your lo­ca­tion, and you can even search and add fa­vorites to make per­sonal playlists.

> Tasty

The iPad is the per­fect plat­form to eas­ily view cook­ing tips. Tasty boasts over 3,000 recipes, in US–spe­cific mea­sure­ments, tak­ing you step by step through them all. It’ll even keep your iPad awake and give rec­om­men­da­tions for your next meal.

> Flip­board flip­

If you want your news sto­ries de­liv­ered in a more vis­ually ar­rest­ing style than a sim­ple scrolling page, Flip­board hits the spot with its flip­ping pages. More­over, its so­cial layer lets you col­lab­o­rate with friends on dig­i­tal ‘mag­a­zines’.

Doc­u­ments read­­u­ments

Once, Doc­u­ments was a vi­tal iPad in­stall due to be­ing a Fin­der equiv­a­lent. Files now takes that spot, and Doc­u­ments in­te­grates with it. But Read­dle’s Doc­u­ments app has other tricks up its sleeve that it’s worth a down­load.

To use just some ex­am­ples, it al­lows you to save pages from the web, grab con­tent from lo­cal com­put­ers and re­mote file servers, cre­ate two–way syncs to fold­ers, and open or make Zip archives. When view­ing doc­u­ments, you can an­no­tate PDFs, lis­ten to mu­sic off­line in a swish player, and pe­ruse movies. And if beady eyes are nearby, you can lock ev­ery­thing be­hind Face ID/Touch ID.

> VNC Viewer re­

Doc­u­ments and Files might let you grab files from your Mac, but VNC Viewer en­ables you to view and con­trol them. It’s ideal for mo­ments when you need to do some­thing on your Mac, but your Mac’s not cur­rently in front of you.

Brushes Re­dux­br­sh­srdx

The orig­i­nal Brushes was thrust into the pub­lic eye when Jorge Colombo used it to paint a cover for the New Yorker on his iPhone. That app’s long since van­ished from the App Store, but it was for­tu­nately — and gen­er­ously — re­born as the open–source Brushes Re­dux.

There’s ex­per­i­men­tal sup­port for Ap­ple Pen­cil, but the app’s vir­tual brushes work very nicely as you paint with a digit. There’s plenty of power here as well: hugely flex­i­ble cus­tom brushes, a lay­ers sys­tem, and the means to record and share your ef­forts to fash­ion a dig­i­tal mas­ter­piece. It’s a must for dig­i­tal painters.

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