Apps for your shiny new iPad Pro (August 2017)

Tired of reading about ProCreate for your new iPad Pro even though you are no artist?

It’s an awesome app, don’t get me wrong, but this device can be and do so much more even if you don’t have the Apple Pencil.
For my testing, I borrowed one and looked into which of my iPhone apps are compatible with the big screen.

Infuse Pro

If you have your own digital collections of videos, this app is a must have. Plays whatever you throw at it, supports PiP, can automatically fetch subtitles and metadata where
applicable. Has several ways to add files to it, from local iTunes syncing to a plethora of cloud options (Dropbox, gDrive, iCloud) and has constant support and updates.

You can pay an annual subscription of about $7 per year, which guarantees updates to major version changes. Or you can pay for the full major version for about $13.
For my use case, there has not been a file it cannot play, but I have yet to try the direct from DVD files approach it can apparently handle.

Pro Tube

I tried to go for the YouTube Red subscription and use the official app. I really tried.

Sadly, even though with YouTube Red you get no commercials, Google Play Music and offline viewing, it was not enough. The official app does not support PiP, a major oversight for the iPad Pro. I may be a little nit-picky, but I can’t stand the all white interface. The official app does not yet have a dark/night mode available.

This is where ProTube comes along. Even though it can get annoying with the login requests that it uses to get the full feature set, it has PiP and a dark interface.

Did I mention it carries no commercials? So no YouTube Red subscription needed for this.

Hopefully Google will pick up the slack with it’s official app, but for now ProTube is what I need.

This app has sadly been removed from the app store.

TweetLogix

I used to love Tweetbot, with it’s quirky and colorful design and great user flow. I heard due to the limited token number for apps Twitter gives, it’s necessary to keep the versions going.

Whatever the reason, each new upgrade did not warrant a full version payment ($9.99) each time, so I went trying alternatives.

Cue to Tweetlogix, a simple yet full featured… well it doesn’t have a fancy Apple Watch App but it supports all of the iPad features, such as multitasking.

You can have multiple accounts, customization options, mute filters, saved searches, among others and costs less than half, $3.99!

It has a major downside though, no push notifications. Because of Twitter limitations, such functions are reserved for major clients, such as Tweetbot or Twitterrific.

Marvin App for iPad

Marvin SxS

Do you have your own library of books, magazines or texts?

Marvin is my preferred reader for them, since you can customize the hell out of it. Need a custom color? Choose from all these sections. Need a different, bigger font? Sure lad, have over 20 fonts to choose from. You prefer to read comics? No problem, CBX supported. Need to throw some books into the app? Get them from your cloud options, web or OPDS servers and more.

It simply covers most if not all of my reading needs.

Google news in iPad Pro

Google News

I used to have an RSS reader called Pulse, which I loved.

It was acquired by LinkedIn and died a slow, painful death.

Fast forward today, my main source from news comes from Reddit and the incredible aggregator that is Google News.
Not only can you manually add your favorite sites. As you consume content, Google news presents related content from different sources, so you can keep bias in check
It has a plethora of collections for different regions, but you can customize the feed to your liking, adding sources which Google will try to also find related connect from other sites.

And it has a dark mode, which pretty much closed the deal for me.

Google Drive

Just recently I changed from Dropbox to Drive. I have yet to find a problem with file syncing, but what I like is the integration for docs, sheets and slides from Google. Sadly, the suite offers no real support for the Apple Pencil. It does not feature the camera upload that the Dropbox app does with the camera roll, but at least in my use case, that is handled by Google Photos.

The magic of this app, like Dropbox, is the behind the scenes integration. You can access and modify files from other apps to your files, which will sync to all your devices.

You can grab books, movies, music stored in the cloud from Infuse or Marvin for example, or share the files easily via a link.

Nothing stands up from the competition, as Dropbox covers all of that too.
The key difference is in the offering, for 9.99 I get at least 1Tb of space, gSuite (custom email and apps!) and Google Photos. Dropbox offers only the space, so the feature set has higher value in the Google proposition.

Yes, I am a little biased towards the Google Ecosystem, but Apple fights hard to get me back.

Whiteboards in the image search of Google Photos for iPad

Google Photos

A more comprehensive review of why it trumped the integrated Apple offering may be found here.
The gist is this:
It offers automatic sorting options for finding from your favorite people to your favorite whiteboards (?) within your photos. Cloud Machine learning magic. Managing a huge library is easier using the Google Photos apps and the space comes with the gSuite subscription. Not to mention you can actually modify metadata in the Google offering.

Inbox and Gmail

Inbox seemed like a weird beast to me at first, but I have grown lo love it. Tags and sorting of Gmail on steroids.
It is most useful on a phone, where you can quickly glance and sort incoming mails.

Scanbot

I needed a tool to scan receipts for warranties and returns (not just adding them to my camera roll only to be lost among the pictures). This is mainly an app I used on the phone as it makes it painless to scan, fix the image and upload it to a folder in the cloud.
In the iPad it is easier to sort and check your scans though, making it easy to review scanned documents from the phone.
If you don’t need something so fancy, Dropbox app has a feature to detect scanned documents included in your pictures, which may be a better option instead of a full featured app.
You can try Scanbot on the free version if you don’t use Dropbox for example.

BaconReader

Out of others I tried, BaconReader is my top Reddit client. I really like the dual pane navigation BaconReader presents, without being too fancy. Subscriptions, dark mode, multiple accounts, image uploads, among others.
In contrast for example, the official Reddit Client of Beam just look and work like an upscaled iPhone app, wasting valuable screen space on the iPad.
Why it is a great option in the iPad? Dual pane, adjustable text size, left or right hand mode for the panes are among the features that won me over.
It has extras such as different font size and fonts depending on the type of content, more updates and a more polished feeling.

Prompt for iPad Pro

Prompt

If you neither know nor care what SSH is you can skip this one.
If you need to manage servers through SSH though, there is no better option than prompt.
You can save your most used commands as clips and reuse them. It also supports key generation and management. Easy to quickly connect and sort issues, run maintenance, or other tasks. You can work on the iPad, creating commands and then sync them to the phone.

ICabMobile

I was too frustrated with the limited browser options even Chrome gave me. You can’t download files to where you want. Most pages insist on giving you their mobile versions even if you are using a 12.9” device (Why would this be the case still?). You mostly choose one for sync options since they all use the same engine and no addons. Enter iCabMobile.

With it, you can customize gestures, user agents (yay, no more loading mobile versions in a laptop replacement device). There’s even a version of Firebug and you can actually inspect the source code, among several other add ons (Convert to epub, view google cached copy).

It is notable that the scrolling feels weird in it, and sometimes I had graphical glitches or performance issues. The feature set more than makes up for it though for when you need a more powerful browser on the go.

Affinity Photo

The ProCreate of photography and the why of Lyra loving it so much.
Not only can it open RAW files, you can retouch using the Apple Pencil with layers, merge HDR images, use adjustment layers (a must!) open PSD files or RAW files from your cloud drive and so much more (the feature list is impressive).
It may very well be replacing Photoshop, and if the rumors are true, Lightroom as well. Or so Lyra says.
Anyway, working on the go with a iOS equivalent to Photoshop is a reality, and with the Apple Pencil Lyra does not need to lug her Wacom around.

Got any additional suggestions? Please leave us a comment with your favourite apps!

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