How I use my iPad

About how I use my iPad on daily basis. For development, for productivity, for reading and so on.

Siri is funny
Siri is funny

Around that time one of my friends want to sell an iPad she won from a contest. So at a reasonable price tag I agree to buy the tab from her, and there starts the love story between iPad and I.

Well I bought it mostly because of Siri in upcoming iOS 6 that time, but well.

As e-reader cum portable library

Laptop is not THAT portable, it is heavy, it has terrible battery life and its widescreen makes it a bad reading device. Reading on iPod Touch? Forget about that, that tiny puny screen.

iPad is perfect. Almost perfect.

The Retina Display is really sharp, it is even sharper and clearer than printed materials. What’s more the 10 hours of battery life means I don’t even have to bring a power brick, it just lasts all day long.

Here are a couple of apps on e-reading and how I use them:

ePubs are flexible, that is why reading on iPad is a pleasure.
ePubs are flexible, that is why reading on iPad is a pleasure.

iBooks – ePubs are awesome. You can read them by flipping pages. You can change the font face, font size, the theme (white, sepia or dark for nighttime reading) and you can now choose how you want to read it, flipping pages or scrolling like a super-long web page. However, iBooks is not really a good PDF reader as I encounter some weird color rendering of engineering textbooks with it.

Adobe Reader – This is great for storing PDF files, whether it’s engineering textbooks, or books that simply are not available in ePub format. You can draw on it, fill up a PDF form, sign the document and so on.

Safari Offline Reading List – The built-in web browser can now store online web pages offline, so that you can read it later, great for folks who cannot afford data plan like me.

Pulse board
Pulse board

Pulse – This daily news and blog posts aggregator has become somewhat essential part of my daily life. I will spend about 30 minutes daily to read through the news and blogs to know the trend of IT industry currently, as well as to learn more about business, entrepreneurship and so on. I have stated list of my subscriptions in “9 things IT students should do right now”.

Zinio – I am a long time Chip Malaysia subscriber, but storing the magazines from years ago is really a pain. With iPad I can now switch to their electronic version, not only I do not need to find physical space to store them, but they are stored on the cloud, I can retrieve any issue I bought if I want to. They are slightly cheaper per issue as well, and I am doing a great job saving Mother Earth by going digital. You can subscribe to many other magazines as well, to name a few, Harvard Business Review?

PHPRiot – The PHP reference app is handy for PHP developer like me. Forgot how to use a function or class or anything? Search in it! It is the complete PHP manual right inside the app.

Tips: Don’t get a smart cover. Although everyone seems to use it, I find no practical real world advantage using it, heck it hurts my fingers when using it as e-reader. Currently I am using Griffin Reveal Etch Graphite which has no smart cover and feels very thin and light when using iPad single handed-ly.

Developing Stuffs

iPad may not have full fledged IDEs like Visual Studio or Xcode, but it can certainly help a developer out as well. Here are just a few apps in my iPad that I sometimes use to aid developments, web or app.

Wireframing with iMockups
Wireframing with iMockups

iMockups – Like Balsamiq (file format = Balsamiq), you can sketch the wireframe of your idea apps or websites out. Great for 5 minutes brain dumping and presentation. You can export the mockups out into balsamiq BMML, JPG, or PDF, or iMockups file for another iPad. Neat.

Splashtop Win8 Metro Testbed – I already have a Windows 8 laptop and an iPad, and I know I won’t buy a Surface Pro just to test the Windows 8 Apps I developed. So Splashtop developed a testbed app that lets you control your Windows 8 computer with iPad complete with any other Windows 8 tablets gestures. So save your wallet and test your Win8 apps on iPad/Android tablet instead. Surface Pro is too expensive anyway.

A very capable text editor - Textastic
A very capable text editor – Textastic

Textastic – This text editor on iPad is a killer. You got FTP support, Dropbox, too bad not GitHub yet. And you got a special bar of keys above the usual iPad keyboard which is really awesome, I want the same for PC too! And you still have the usual function suggestion stuff. Now we just need a compiler for iPad.

What Else?

A killer presentation app to design namecard
A killer presentation app to design namecard

Keynote – This is one of the top reasons I want to get iPad. It makes slide designing more like an art rather than a textastic chores (Microsoft PowerPoint I hate you). The animations, transitions and font faces it offers are unparalleled. I even designed my first namecards with the app! Hook it up to projector with VGA adapter and I kiss my heavy-laptop-that-does-not-work-that-well goodbye.

Udemy – Now I kiss my college goodbye, but that does not mean I stop studying! I still use MOOC services like Udemy to learn new stuffs by following their free courses. iPad is quite good for this purpose actually, considering I can break free from facing laptop and move to other places in my house to listen to lectures. Couch anyone?


Notability – Yes it is branded as a note-taking app, but I certainly find it handy to actually use it as a sketching app. I drew the car above for my assignment right on the iPad. Although it is not very artistic or beautiful, but it gets the job done!

9GAG – I need some fun man! This app provides hours of dirty or messy fun with memes, and weird photos, and sometimes photos of naked girls just to give you a good laughing time.

Instagram – The perfect app to look at self-indulgent girls who take pictures of themselves everyday and put a beautiful quote with each photo taken. Or foods, cats, quotes on a note. Follow me on @anonoz BTW.

… and the list goes on forever that people don’t even care about …

Author: Anonoz Chong

Web Developer in Kuala Lumpur. Computer Science student in MMU Cyberjaya. President of IT Society MMU Cyberjaya. Rubyist.

What do you think?