The first iPad Pro Apple introduced was huge. Really huge. Then, earlier this year, they launched a smaller version, which was more in keeping with the tried-and-tested 9.7” form factor iPad users have enjoyed since 2010.
Although many would argue against this assessment, the 9.7” iPad Pro (and even its big brother) is a compelling laptop replacement. Depending on the field in which you work and the type of tasks you undertake every day, it can do a blindingly good job of keeping you productive.
If your work centres mainly on email, content creation, direct communication with customers (be it video conferencing or instant messaging) and keeping on top of projects, the age of switching from your desktop PC or laptop to a tablet may finally have arrived.
No matter what tool you choose to perform your work, one thing remains: it needs to facilitate productivity, be approachable and easy to use and – most importantly – not turn into a distraction. This is tricky with iPads, given their inherent quality as entertainment devices.
That said, it is possible to be productive on an iPad Pro and, with that in mind, we’ve got ten of the best productivity apps for this great little device.
If you’ve never heard of the Kanban technique, you’re missing out. This form of project management relies on a top-down approach to productivity.
Picture a board, on which there are various columns. You may have one labelled ‘to-do’, another ‘doing’ and one more called ‘done’. Beneath each column you place ‘cards’ which detail specific tasks, and their place on the board tells you the exact stage they’re at, instantly.
Trello digitises the Kanban technique brilliantly (it’s perfectly suited to touch input on the iPad Pro) and, given that it offers a tempting free tier, there are few reasons not to give it a go and get into Kanban.
Some people get by with a simple, paper-based to-do list, while others need something rather more powerful in the modern age.
Omnifocus is built around the ‘get things done’ (GTD) model, although, at its heart, remains an advanced to-do list app. You can categorise tasks, put them in specific contexts and manage the constituent elements of larger projects – all from your iPad.
While not technically an app, iCloud Drive can be easily missed when setting up your iPad Pro, yet it is incredibly useful when it comes to file storage.
If you reside very much in ‘Apple Land’, iCloud Drive is a great alternative to Dropbox due to the fact that it is tightly integrated into both iOS and macOS. The quickest way to enable it in iOS 10 is to head to the App Store and search for ‘iCloud Drive’.
Dropbox remains the go-to file storage tool for many people and businesses. It offers a free tier and competitive paid upgrades, but simply makes the process of storing files and accessing them from anywhere incredibly straightforward and secure.
How much time do you waste looking for files? Dropbox on the iPad will fix that.
Forgetfulness is a silent productivity killer. Promises, lingering tasks and notes from meetings can all be washed away during a busy week – unless you keep them somewhere safe.
Think of Evernote as a giant, configurable notepad that you can access from anywhere and which works brilliantly on the iPad Pro, in particular. It even has Apple Pencil support, so you can combine typed notes with doodles, if you wish.
Omnifocus may be overkill for your needs and, if that’s the case, you can do a lot worse than look at Wunderlist.
This is to-do listing at in its most basic, addictive form. The iPad’s big screen makes for the perfect input device, and you’ll be assured of a task list that follows you everywhere.
When Apple introduced the iPad Pro, they also introduced the Pencil, which gives anyone who’s fond of drawing and hand-written notes a great way to do so in the digital realm.
Notability is the perfect partner for the Pencil, providing users with a canvas on which they can draw and write away to their heart’s desire. Notes can be categorised and output to a number of different formats, too.
Notes remain a vital part of productivity, and if you can carry them along with your to-do list, files and email client (see below) on one device, you’ll be amazed at how much more stuff you can achieve in a single day.
Name the biggest time killer you have to deal with every week. It’s email, isn’t it?
Email is still entirely relevant today, but it is also grossly misused. It has never been a way by which people should be contacted in emergencies, yet some still assume they’ll get an instant reply whenever they hit the ‘send’ button.
Just as you only receive and open snail mail once a day, email should be treated as a task you undertake periodically. Unfortunately, few email clients encourage this, and if you’re using the default email app on your iPad, you’re missing a trick.
Spark is a brilliant, free email client that will change the way you view this form of communication. You can easily categorise mail, snooze messages and triage at lightning speed from the comfort of your touch screen. Email will simply never get in the way, ever again.
Distraction-free writing is a technique that’s rather hard to come by. Traditional word processors are full of distractions, with menus, pop-ups and update reminders constantly getting in the way of your productivity. iA Writer changes all of that – big time.
It’s blindingly simple – just a big, blank expanse of white and a flashing cursor. All you need to do is write, undeterred. Think of it as a digital typewriter.
Did you know your iPad Pro can function cleverly as a second screen for a desktop Mac or MacBook? No? Well, it can, and Duet is the way to make this marvel of modern technology a reality.
Simply connect your iPad to your computer, install Duet on both machines and watch as your desktop is extended to the 9.7” screen.
It works fantastically, and is a brilliant alternative to a multiple monitor setup. What’s more, you can finally take two screens to the coffee shop and benefit from a productivity-enhancing technique relied upon by people the world over.
That’s all, folks!
We hope you find one or two of the apps above to be as transformative for your productivity levels as they have been for a great many others.
Your iPad Pro is a powerhouse of a device, but much of its benefits as a productivity tool will remain hidden, unless you install the right software. Let your iPad loose and start getting more stuff done than you ever though possible!