With iPad delivery only days away now, I’ve been giving some thought to what things I’m most looking forward to trying out on the new device. Below I’ve listed the top 10 things I want to try on the iPad that I use currently in my practice. These aren’t all iPhone apps – some are SaaS services that I want to try in the larger version of mobile Safari. Also, where I mention iPhone apps, I’m specifically talking about running them in “maximized” mode rather than at their native resolution. Note that there are lots of other great legal applications out there for the iPhone that aren’t on this list. I’m specifically listing things that, because of how implemented on the web or the iPhone, will translate best or most interestingly to the iPad platform.
1. LogMeIn Ignition (iPhone app | iTunes Link). Allows you to access and control your computer as though you were sitting in front of it. This killer app was recently discussed at the 2010 ABA TechShow and mentioned in the ABA’s Law Practice magazine. The app works on the small iPhone screen by allowing scrolling and zooming into particular areas of the remote screen. While zooming and scrolling are what make remote access possible, it is also what would make a long session of remote access difficult. The larger iPad screen should simply scale your desktop screen to netbook size – more than usable for longer sessions.
2. Highrise (web app). I think the folks at 37Signals are simply geniuses and use many of the online tools they create. Highrise is a web based CRM app that I use to manage my business development. While they just released a very nice iPhone app (iTunes link), I’m mostly looking foward to using Highrise in mobile Safari. While it works on the iPhone’s mobile Safari, there is a lot of panning and zooming. The iPad should make this webapp as easy to use as when I’m sitting at my desk.
3. Backpack (web app). Another webapp from 37Signals. While Backpack is very versatile, as a advocate and user of GTD, I use Backpack mostly for my numerous work and personal to do lists. Again, while it works on the iPhone both in mobile Safari (and in great apps like Satchel – iTunes link).
4. Google Reader (web app). I use Google Reader on my desktop to manage my RSS feeds. I also use a weblink to Google’s mobile version of Google Reader on the iPhone (yes, I hear that Reeder is the best and I mean to try it out, haven’t gotten there yet). But I’m not interested in the mobile version of Google Reader on my iPad, I want to try out the desktop version in mobile Safari. Like many of Google’s mobile apps, you can opt out of the mobile formatting and get the regular desktop interface. I can consume my feeds much more quickly in the fullscreen web app mostly due to the keyboard shortcuts built into Reader (if you use Google Reader and don’t know these shortcuts, learning just the “j” and “k” commands will change your game – go do it). Will these shortcuts be available on the iPad without a keyboard connected?
5. Dropbox (web app). These guys already have a killer iPhone app (iTunes link) to let me have all my files with me on all my computers at all times without a USB stick. This is another one where I want to see how the web version performs in mobile Safari because of the additional features available.
6. Documents To Go Premium (iPhone app | iTunes link) and QuickOffice Connect Mobile Suite (iPhone app | iTunes link). Both of these are apps for accessing, editing and sending Microsoft Office compatible documents. Each program has its strengths and weaknesses as excellently documented over at iPhone J.D. I expect the iPhone based navigation systems to be a bit weak on the iPad. I’m mostly curious about text entry and document viewing. I worry that the document scaling built into these iPhone apps won’t be able to take advantage of the iPad screen as currently coded.
7. Zosh (iPhone app | iTunes link). I discussed this app just the other day. This app allows you to access, electronically sign and deliver documents from your iPhone and has made my day on more than one occasion. I fully expect the app to have the same functionality on the iPad but with better document viewing, manipulation and editing. The magic of this application is its “signature pad” feature which I predict will not translate terribly well onto the iPad as it will take up the entire screen rather than a more natural signature sized piece of the screen. Already looking forward to the iPad version of this app that (I hope) they are developing.
8. RightSignature (web app). I also just covered this app. Another tool for managing, signing and delivering signatures on contracts and forms. RightSignature tackles the signature process via SaaS tool – a completely different approach than that taken by Zosh. At present, accessing RightSignature on an iPhone presents users with the mobile version of the webapp. My understanding is that the version of mobile Safari on the iPad is the same as that on the iPhone. As a result, visiting a website that automatically detects and displays a “mobile” version for the iPhone will do the same thing on the iPad. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to bypass the mobile version of the website on the iPad (like is possible on the Google apps) so I can use all the features of the product.
9. Stanza (iPhone app | iTunes link). This is an excellent eBook reader. But I don’t use it to read books. No, I use it to quickly and easily create ebooks out of the statutory compilations I use frequetly. Using the Stanza Desktop application, you simply input a url and the application generates an eBook version of the website. Like many states, Oregon publishes its statutes online – each chapter separately. I’m a business lawyer so I like to have the corporations code, the LLC statute, etc. with me at all times. Stanza allows me to easily turn these into ebooks I can read, search, copy, annotate, share, etc. Sure, the iPad will have its iBooks application that reads the open ePub format. But, as far as I know, it doesn’t have the copy, annotation and sharing features built into Stanza. Stanza has a brilliant text scaling feature that should translate well to the iPad allowing users to take full advantage of the larger screen with just the iPhone app.
10. iWork Suite (iPad app). This is the big one. On the release date, I think these will be the only iPad specific productivity/work applications that have been developed with the benefit of having an actual iPad in hand. Ostensibly, these are apps developed by the folks who know the device the best, who have had it in hand the longest and know how to take advantage of its features. Looking at the Guided Tours Apple posted yesterday, the iWork apps demo well and seem to have a ton of features.
So, that’s my list. Do you have an app or service you are looking forward to try? Let us know in the comments!