Over the last week or so, I’ve downloaded a handful of practical apps fully optimized for the iPad. This is not a definitive list by a long shot, but if you’re an iPad owner, you will no doubt want to add one or more of these free iPad apps to your collection.
My Secret Diary
There’s no shortage of word processing applications for iPad, and rightly so. The size and orientation of the device invites users to type and write on it almost as if they were writing on a notebook pad. If you would like to maintain a diary or journal on your iPad, My Secret Diary [iTunes Store link] is very well designed app with some great features for keeping your private thoughts.
Just as with a traditional paper diary, a date is automatically stamped on each entry, but you also have the option of changing it with the built-in calendar. The above left side of the journal contains a nice set of menu features, enabling you to add yellow sticky notes, smiley stickers, photos and various types of bookmark icons.
If you like listening to music while you write, you can even access your iPad’s iTunes library right from within the application.
Finally, My Secret Diary includes a three-digital lock code for keeping your personal thoughts private, but unfortunately this feature doesn’t work in the version I downloaded. I’m sure it will be fixed in the next update.
One of the best reasons for owning an iPad is that it enables you to do paperless reading and writing. There are several apps for reading PDFs and other types of documents on the device, but an app called LifeForms [iTunes Store link] is one of the few which allows you to fill in digital forms on the iPad.
That’s right, you can import PDF forms into the application and use the text, date, signature, and notes features to fill in the text fields. It works like layers in Photoshop, which means you set data and then move the layered text onto the appropriate space on the form. There’s also a feature that enables you to hand write your signature, save it, and add it to forms.
When you’re finished filling out the form, you can export it via email, iTunes, or print it directly on a supported wireless printer.
If you’re a dedicated iPad user, you probably find the default Safari browser limited in some areas. There are some really great alternative browsers in the App Store, but the best free one of the bunch seems to be one called, Terra [iTunes Store link].
I’ve used this browser for about a week, and I have found it to be a clean and feature rich application that includes full-screen browsing, unlimited tabs, passcode protection for securing browsing activity, and the ability to save images from a web page, as well as save and archive pages for offline reading.
Because many of these features are missing from Safari, you might very well put Terra in the home dock or the home page of your iPad for regular use.
If you’re an avid Amazon customer, you might want to check out its new application for the iPad called Windowshop [iTunes Store link]. In Windowshop, you can now shop for both paper and Kindle books, as well as other products, in one application, instead of the two in the previous versions.
There are so many categories of merchandise in this online store””including books, electronics, movies and TV””that you can only view and read it in landscape mode.
All the other traditional features””wish lists, shopping cart, product details””are included in this latest version as well.
Mad Math Lite
If you’re an iPad user and you have kids, you absolutely know you need to keep a folder of games and educational apps as part of your collection.
I downloaded Mad Math Lite [iTunes Store link] for my son, and he has found it to be an easy to use flash card application for reviewing math problems.
Mad Math can be set up for various types of equations, plus it includes a timer and report card for goal settings.
The large colorful, interactive buttons, and font styles make it very easy for kids to read and use.
Your Suggested Free Apps?
Though the apps describe above are free, they won’t be collecting digital dust in my iPad. I’m also sure you have a handful of freebies that you recommend; so let us know about them. And if you’re looking for more recommendations, check my first list of 10 free iPad apps posted back in April.