The ipad was released in April 2010 to a slightly bewildered public. Essentially a bigger version of the ipod touch, many people were unsure as to what this revolutionary touch screen tablet had actually been designed for. It was a great platform for audio-visual media but, when it came to word-processing or programming, would it have the capacity to hold it’s own against a laptop?
Whilst this may not have initially been the case, the good news for bloggers is that there is now an array of apps available to ensure that you can successfully manage your blog from your ipad.
So, assuming you already have the relevant apps to host your blog, here are five free apps than can make your blogging life a little easier.
One of the downsides of blogging on the ipad is that there is no word count function. Although this may seem like a minor omission, word count information is something that is standard in desktop word-processing applications and is one of those tools that you take for granted.
Document Statistics is a free app that provides the fundamentals required for keeping a word count on your blog entries. When you paste the contents of your latest blog post into the app’s screen you are given a complete overview of the number of words used, characters and spaces, characters only and paragraphs.
There is a paid-for add-on available that calculates word frequency, letter frequency, length of word frequency and will also count the number of sentences used within the document. This paid-for add-on is only $0.99 which makes upgrading to the complete package well worthwhile.
Dropbox is an app that allows you to share files and sync with another computer via an external server. With a Dropbox account, you can upload and store files on their designated server and then access these files through any internet connected computer, iphone or ipad.
This means that any files you may have on your home computer can simply be uploaded to a server and then viewed on your ipad, wherever you are, even if the tablet has not been synced with the pc and the files have not previously been transferred between the two.
Dropbox will accept most file types, including PDFs and video files and these can easily be shared amongst friends and colleagues by emailing links to your Dropbox folder.
One of the most vital but most time consuming parts of writing an informed blog is research. And, although not trusted by everyone, Wikipedia is probably the most convenient resource to at least get your background reading underway.
Wikipanion is an app that acts as a portal to the full Wikipedia site as, once you have typed your keywords into the search box, you simply tap on the most relevant search result and you are taken to a fully optimized Wikipedia page.
Once here, you can tap on images to blow them up to the full size of the ipad’s screen, jump between sections of the article, search for related articles and even learn about things in your immediate vicinity via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
This app, like most others, has a paid-for upgrade with extra features such as the ability save articles to read later or read offline. But at $4.99 it’s debatable whether this is actually a worthwhile upgrade.
4) Dragon Dictation
There may be times when a great blogging idea comes to mind but it’s really not convenient to put your ipad down and start typing. This is one occasion when Nuance’s Dragon Dictation app would come in handy – for want of a better phrase!
Dragon Dictation is a voice recognition application that allows you to use the ipad’s built-in microphone to translate speech into text. It is easy to use as you simply press a record button, talk at the ipad and watch the text generated by your speech appear in a list of notes on the left of the screen.
These notes can then be saved to read back later or sent via text, email or even through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Another advantage is that taking notes in this way is said to be up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard!
5) TweetDeck (Free)
Speaking, not literally, of social media, TweetDeck is a free application that allows you to tweet across multiple Twitter accounts. This means that you can broadcast to your followers when you have a new blog post online and another useful feature is that it also has a built-in bit.ly url shortener for more Twitter-friendly links.
Twitter, and Tweetdeck in particular can also be a great tool for generating content ideas as it keeps a record of what is currently trending worldwide and you can search key terms to see what people are tweeting about in any given subject.
A major downside of the ipad version of Tweetdeck is that, unlike it’s desktop counterpart, it is not yet compatible across the various social media platforms but there are already plans afoot to have a Facebook integration in version 2.