2015 was an interesting year for the iPad as Apple changed tact and blessed its latest slate – the iPad Pro, with a massive screen, significantly beefier hardware than its predecessors and a new cutting-edge stylus in the form of the Apple Pencil. With that in mind here are our favourite iPad apps of the moment.
Whilst not all of these apps are iPad Pro specific, it would be remiss of us if we didn’t include a few choice offerings from the wealth of developers already putting Apple’s newest hardware to good use.
Paper – Free
FiftyThree Inc. has established itself as the creative force behind one of the most popular artistic apps ever released for the iPad and that’s Paper. The latest incarnation has outgrown its roots in creating realistic looking sketch and paintwork, as it now includes tools for lists and notes as well as the ability to import and work over photos too.
Everything you do within paper is also non-destructible too, so you can use multitouch to rewind back to a point you’re comfortable with in order to take your work in a different direction. iPad Pro or not, FiftyThree has also created a stylus of its own which works on a number of iOS device, with pressure, tilt and erase control built it. In fact the Pencil doesn’t just work with Paper, but other third-party apps too, like…
Procreate – £4.49
By all means question the name, but you can’t fault Procreate’s developer, Savage Interactive, as it’s built some incredibly rich artistic apps for the iPhone and iPad whilst continuing to innovate by adding new hardware support for everything from the Apple Pencil to the Apple Watch.
You have a significantly higher level of control over the likes of similar apps such as Paper, as Procreate lets you specify canvas size, layer limits and modify the huge host of brushes on offer, with everything from charcoals and spraypaints to elements like smoke and crystal at your disposal.
There are also handy assistive tools like perspective guides and an active community of artists looking to share creations and tips on how to get the most out of this powerful artistic app.
Flipboard – Free
Flipboard has a talent for displaying news and topics on the things you care about in an interesting way and the best mobile incarnation of the service is undoubtedly found on the iPad.
With Flipboard’s preference for big imagery and optimisations for touch-based input, it’s easy to see why it’s such a perfect fit for Apple’s signature tablets. You can pull stories from specific sites or publications, topics of interest and even integrate your social accounts so you don’t have to leave the app to keep tabs of what your friends and family are up to on services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
You can ‘collect’ your favourite stories into what the app calls ‘magazines’, which you can then share with others and for those in markets like the US and UK, the app offers a regional news roundup each day.
Microsoft Office – Free
Seeing Microsoft on stage at the iPad Pro keynote felt a little strange, but there’s no denying that Apple’s age-old rival has spent time and effort tuning its suite of mobile apps to play nice with Cupertino’s latest stylus/giant tablet combo.
Whilst we’re technically covering three apps and not just one here (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), it’s this trifecta that makes for the best productivity experience around. Not only are the files you operate in within these applications compatible across multiple platforms and operating systems, but the Air 2 and Pro’s multitasking talents mean you can easily drag and drop elements of work between them seamlessly.
You can even markup or annotate documents with the Apple Pencil and have your drawings transformed into vector-based shapes to make your presentations that little bit sharper. Microsoft’s also managed to retain the familiar interface from the desktop apps so the experience is consistent and easy to use on the iPad too.
iMovie – £3.99
Editing video is typically a hit-and-miss experience when it comes to mobile devices; apps like Google Photos automate video editing, by selecting content they deem appropriate, adding some music and some filters and then spitting out a video you might* like at the end, but what if you want to be the one to do the editing?
Apple’s own iMovie iOS app is arguably the most robust offering on any app store and thanks to its touch optimised UI, feels particularly intuitive. The biggest challenge is getting media on and off your iPad to edit with (unless of course you’ve captured footage from the iPad in question), but thankfully AirDrop has made the whole experience markedly easier and wire-free. The beefier hardware of the iPad Pro means that you can even work on 4K footage, which is something even a MacBook Air would struggle with.
Apple’s included transitions, templates and you can even choose to export to your camera roll or iCloud – making iMovie not just a powerful video editing app, but a well-connected one too.