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  1. #1
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    Top iPad apps for Windows users: Part II




    TOP STORY

    Top iPad apps for Windows users: Part II


    By Woody Leonhard

    Getting an iPad to peacefully co-exist with your Windows gear is easier than you think.

    With 500,000 or so iOS apps now available in the iTunes App Store 100,000 of which are just for the iPad and a whole lot of very smart people working on bridging the interplanetary gaps between Apple's tablet and Windows, an iPad can be the best peripheral your PC ever had. Or vice-versa.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/top-ipad-apps-for-windows-users-part-ii/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    There are alternatives to the iPad which address iPad's inability to support Powerpoint and other such MS apps. I use an MSI Windpad, which has Windows 7 as its operating system and therefore runs MS Office. When making a Powerpoint presentation, I use a bluetooth mini-keyboard/mouse/laser pointer, which means that I don't have to display a touch screen keyboard. This gives me freedom to look at the audience, walk around, or whatever. Another advantage of my Windows Tablet is that it has a bog standard USB port, two cameras, an HDMI output, a memory card slot and so on.

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    3 Star Lounger Woody's Avatar
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    Good points - and no doubt that'll be another advantage for the Win8 tablets, when they finally arrive. But an iPad is much lighter, cheaper, and (dare I say it?) easier to use, I think. No need for a keyboard - you just swipe and poke.
    Woody

    For Dummies book author, Senior Contributing Editor for InfoWorld, and long-suffering Windows victim. Check out the latest at AskWoody.com.

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    I'm surprised there's no mention (or, at least, I haven't noticed it) of DocsToGo. Installed on my iPad and the desktop version on my PC, I have an easy way to sync individual documents or whole folders. I can view almost all Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on my iPad (in both old and new Office formats); I can also edit most, although there are restrictions when it comes to formatting (and DocsToGo locks a spreadsheet as read-only if it uses functions it doesn't have available). Full editing would be nice but I've not yet found any restrictions that have been show-stoppers (for me, at least).

    I can easily read Office files (and pdfs) on my iPad; I can create new documents as well and they'll be synced to my PC the next time I connect up. Oh, and DocsToGo also links into my Dropbox account, so all Office and pdf documents there are also available to read and edit (with the same restrictions as above).

    I've used DocsToGo on Palm and iPhone for several years - it's been useful but nothing to enthuse over. However, having it on the iPad makes it a whole new ballgame - I wouldn't want to be without it now as it's become integral to my iPad use.

    Steve

    PS I've no commercial connection to DocsToGo.

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    Apple Secrets

    Sorry Woody, but I am not convinced that you should be dedicating so much space to this topic in the Newsletter. "Windows secrets" is not "Apple secrets". Sure, some mention of how to sync with a PC is fine, but to extend it to actual iPad apps is more than a step too far. I am personally OS agnostic and in fact I use Linux fairly frequently, use Symbian every day, played with Apple, etc.

    I pay for this newsletter because I want to be informed of Windows matters. I would pay for an Apple or iPad newsletter if I wanted to be informed similarly. Most of your tips so far would be entirely suitable for an iPad Secrets newsletter, not this one. I have no dislike of Apple, just that I do not appreciate seeing you spend time on reseaching and reporting on iPad instead of Windows issues and features; that's what i pay you for!

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    KeyNote is an option for running presentations directly on the iPad. It will import Powerpoint. In fact, it has several features that I prefer over Powerpoint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cavehomme View Post
    ... I pay for this newsletter because I want to be informed of Windows matters. ...
    It seems to me that Woody's columns fits that description pretty well: an iPad (or "pad" of some sort) will almost certainly be part of my repetoire before long, and learning how it can integrate into my main platform -- Windows -- is very relevant for me. Advice like his is certainly not available from the Apple sites, and few Apple user forums could provide a Windows user perspective for products like Word or approaches like a file system. I say bring it on Woody!

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    Dropbox and Office applications.

    Have a look at www.dataviz.com. I use Dataviz.com's 'Documents to Go' for Android to view, edit, create and share simple Excel spreadsheets (97-2003 format) stored on Dropbox using my desktop, laptop, notebook (all Win7 with Office 2007) and Android phone. No compatibility problems. Word and Powerpoint are covered among other applications and there are versions available for iPhone and iPad. My experience is limited but anyone interested should take a look. There is a free version which allows viewing only. The full system key, which unlocks the editing and creation facilities, is inexpensive.

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    I absolutely love Evernote, and I think it's especially useful for Windows users. I have a Windows XP laptop for work and a Windows 7 desktop at home. I can enter virtually any information I want into Evernote on my iPad or either of the Windows machines, and it easily syncs across all these devices using Evernote's servers. All of your information is also available online at the Evernote website. Evernote is also available for the iPhone of course as well as other smart phones. The free version is highly capable, and for a $45 annual fee you get a much higher monthly data allowance (1 GB) and even more capability. For me, it has become indispensable and it has changed the way I work and the way I use information on my iPad and Windows computers.

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    So that's two of us voting for DocsToGo!

    Have tried Evernote (bought a portable version several years ago - portable in that it lived on a USB stick and could be moved to any PC) - just couldn't get on with it. Looked at the free iPhone version but still no joy. Have tried several notepad type apps and nothing has really become essential - other than the aforementioned D2G where I can just open a new Word document or spreadsheet (or PP presentation) and type something that will later sync to my PC. Currently trying MS OneNote (on my iPhone) but, as that's not part of Office Pro 2007, I don't have it on my PC to link to; trying it with SkyDrive but not convinced it's going to stay (and no iPad formatted version will probably be the killer). What is working for me on my iPad (as an alternative to D2G) is iTHoughtsHD - a mind-mapping program that, whilst it doesn't sync to my PC, can send to/from Dropbox and let me use MindManager on my PC if needed.

    As far as discussing iPad apps on a Windows forum, why not? I use my iPad as an extension of my PC; I have a fairly powerful netbook that I use for the occasional time I need to run Windows specific software away from my desk, but it's getting to be a less frequent need. If the iPad gives me a way it's inevitably a lot quicker and more convenient. I say lets continue looking at how these systems can work together. Windows rules in the business environment so I can't see me switching to a Mac anytime soon, but Apple seem to have hit the spot for the handheld/tablet market. Windows 8 (or 9, 10) may catch up, and good luck to them; I'm not an Apple fan, I just find the iPad (and iPhone) to do what I need...

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    After reading the latest Windows Secrets, I was ready to buy the iDisplay app to use with my Windows notebook. Luckily, I read all the user reviews of the app before buying - especially the July, August 2011 reviews. Those users say it works sporadically or not at all, long lag time with cursor movement, etc.. My question is: do you read any user reviews before you recommend an app in Windows Secrets? If you do, why would you ever recommend an app that has so many negative reviews? I wouldn't touch this app with a 10-ft pole now.

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    [QUOTE=sbcco;817865]So that's two of us voting for DocsToGo!

    Yes. I hadn't seen your post before I wrote mine.

    I also agree with your comments supporting Woody's reporting of his experiences with the iPad.

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    Also on Android

    I have an HTC Incredible phone, so I couldn't resist seeing what Powerpoint remotes were available for it. I found several and tried pptremotecontrol, which does the same thing for Android, and also connects via either Bluetooth or WIFI. I tried it with a WIFI connection and found that it works very well. There is a free version which will show up to 15 slides and a pro version for $5.99 that will show longer shows. I am not associated with the producer in any way, but I would suggest that Woody at least look for similar versions of the apps he is discussing for both iOS and Android. Neither are Windows, but both should have a place in the discussion. I really don't like apps discussions for either OS that simply ignore that there is another side. And with Windows 8, there should be another "side" for Windows 8 based tablets. I look forward to this, and plan to hold off buying a tablet until the Win8 version is available.

  15. #14
    3 Star Lounger Woody's Avatar
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    I just had a letter (which I hope the sender will post here) about Docs2Go, Quickoffice Pro, and iWorks. Of the three, I think iWorks comes closest to preserving formatting, but they're all severely hampered in that area. If you're just creating or editing straightforward docs or spreadsheets, though, they're all good - as long as you get an external keyboard. I HATE trying to type anything substantive on the on-screen keyboard.
    Woody

    For Dummies book author, Senior Contributing Editor for InfoWorld, and long-suffering Windows victim. Check out the latest at AskWoody.com.

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    3 Star Lounger Woody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cavehomme View Post
    Sorry Woody, but I am not convinced that you should be dedicating so much space to this topic in the Newsletter. "Windows secrets" is not "Apple secrets". Sure, some mention of how to sync with a PC is fine, but to extend it to actual iPad apps is more than a step too far. I am personally OS agnostic and in fact I use Linux fairly frequently, use Symbian every day, played with Apple, etc.

    I pay for this newsletter because I want to be informed of Windows matters. I would pay for an Apple or iPad newsletter if I wanted to be informed similarly. Most of your tips so far would be entirely suitable for an iPad Secrets newsletter, not this one. I have no dislike of Apple, just that I do not appreciate seeing you spend time on reseaching and reporting on iPad instead of Windows issues and features; that's what i pay you for!
    Ah, but by the same logic, I wouldn't cover Firefox or Chrome, Norton or McAfee, Linksys routers, Northgate keyboards, LaserJet print drivers, Google or Baidu, Facebook or G+... you get the idea. Windows doesn't exist in a vacuum. And the iPad may well be the most revolutionary hardware product in Windows history.

    Quote Originally Posted by EricFletcher View Post
    It seems to me that Woody's columns fits that description pretty well: an iPad (or "pad" of some sort) will almost certainly be part of my repetoire before long, and learning how it can integrate into my main platform -- Windows -- is very relevant for me. Advice like his is certainly not available from the Apple sites, and few Apple user forums could provide a Windows user perspective for products like Word or approaches like a file system. I say bring it on Woody!
    You betcha. I'm going to cover Android, when the tablets get a little more mature. I'll certainly be covering Windows 8 - although I may hear complaints about giving up precious room for Windows XP topics, covering this new-fangled operating system.
    Woody

    For Dummies book author, Senior Contributing Editor for InfoWorld, and long-suffering Windows victim. Check out the latest at AskWoody.com.

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