There are plenty of stories written about how the iPad is great for productivity and how it will soon overtake laptops; but an iPad is only as good as the apps that are on it.

If you're looking to use your iPad as a second workstation, we recommend our SureDesk™ Suite. Your custom applications, files, and servers are all available to you at any given time from anywhere that has internet access. However, for personal use we find these products below to be among the best to help you organize, record, and store data efficiently while you're on-the-go. Please feel free to leave a comment below and tell us what makes you productive, too.


1) Word Processing


Pages ($9.99)  /  iWork Suite ($30.00)  /  QuickOffice Pro HD ($19.99)


Who doesn’t love a good word document app? For $9.99, Apple Pages is a great option. This app was designed exclusively for the iPad, making it both powerful and visually appealing.  Pages lets you easily edit, format, update, and share your work automatically across multiple devices using iCloud, so your work will be waiting for you wherever you are.

If you're looking for the whole Office experience, you should try the iWork suite. These products, which include Pages, Numbers (for spreadsheets), and Keynote (for presentations) were designed specifically for the iPad - and it shows.

QuickOffice Pro HD is a good option for road warriors who have documents living in more than one place. It not only syncs with local computer files, but also with Google Docs, DropBox, Box.NET, SugarSync, GMail, MobileMe, Huddle, Evernote, Catch, and iDisk. From what I've seen, QuickOffice is one of the best ways to collect, manage, and read all types of business documents - however its unattractive UI may turn some people off.


2) Bookmarking and Researching


Evernote (FREE)


One major strength of the iPad is its ability to take notes on the go. In that regard, Evernote is a crowd favorite due to its easy-sync capabilities that make idea-capturing super easy. Evernote lets you capture and save websites, ideas, videos, charts, images, and just about anything else you can think of. Evernote also syncs with all of your devices, giving you one location to view all of your important data. People also use Evernote to stay organized, plan trips, review important documents, and share data with other users no matter where they are. Did I mention it’s free?

After being blasted for their lack of enterprise security, Evernote decided to come back with Evernote Business; boasting easy on-boarding, user management, smart data ownership, enterprise-class security, and a company-wide directory. Although it's not launching until December 2012, you can still sign up for Beta testing here. This major update proves that productivity-tech is a constantly changing landscape.

3) .PDF Reader


Goodreader ($4.99)


GoodReader is more than a PDF Reader app; it syncs with almost every app on this list making it an essential collaboration tool. GoodReader is great at opening massive PDF and text files, however it really excels when used to open MS Office documents, HTML/Safari web archives, high-res images, books, audio, and even video. This distinction makes GoodReader not just a PDF opener, but a robust everything reader.

There’s a myriad of reasons as to why people use GoodReader – the ability to handle huge PDF files, PDF annotation, and great file organization – however I love how it lets you side-load all of your notes, videos, presentations, and word doc’s without having to be tethered to a sync computer. This is essential for the worker on-the-go. With a nice and clean look to it, GoodReader makes it very easy to open, navigate, and organize all of your documents. At $4.99 it’s a steal.


4) Note Taking



Noteshelf ($5.99)  /  PenUltimate (.99)


These apps were made for the people constantly scribbling down ideas, arrows, and ramblings into moleskin notebooks. When you couple the iPad with a stylus, you have a powerful yet sleek note-taking tool. Noteshelf ($5.99) is highly-respected and has DropBox and Evernote sync capabilities. Notebook replaces the standard pen and paper by allowing you to use a stylus and change the color, width, and overall look of what you’re writing. The only problem I see with the app is that there may be somewhat of a learning curve.

My favorite note-taking app is Evernote’s PenUltimate. It’s super effective as a notebook replacer and can be used with either your fingers or an iPad stylus. PenUltimate also gives you something the others can’t - and that’s the ability to export to PDF. Since this app is under the Evernote-umbrella, you can rest assured that syncing your files will be a no-brainer. I recently had a chance to use this app on the new iPad 3 with retina display and I was very impressed with the whole package. It’s a good deal at .99, so give it a try.


5) Brainstorming


Mindnode ($9.99)


Sometimes you need an easy and intuitive application to gather your thoughts and map out your workflow. MindNode aims to re-invent brainstorming by adding focus and flexibility to the way you view your data. By creating “Mind Maps,” users can quickly organize, collaborate, and brainstorm more effectively. The clutter-free interface lets you concentrate on generating and connecting your ideas, and an infinitely expanding canvas means that no matter how big or complicated your thoughts get, MindNode can keep up. If you haven’t tried out this app yet, give it a shot!


6) Free Cloud Storage


Box (FREE)  /  Dropbox (FREE)  /  SugarSync (FREE) 


Looking for an easy, free, and groundbreaking way to store your files cross-platform in the cloud and access them whenever you want? Box is a SureTech favorite, enabling you to wirelessly sync files between your computer, iPad, and iPhone. The biggest advantage Box has is its abundant enterprise features. By taking cues from on-site networks, Box lets you collaborate with your team from anywhere in the world by offering content management, online workspaces, Google Apps integration, group permissions, and task management. According to Box for Enterprise "You reduce content silos, lower costs and give users the simplicity and functionality they want with the security IT requires." In our mind there’s no better cloud storage solution for businesses than Box.

DropBox is a great service if you’re looking to access and share files from your iPad to any device. Almost every app being developed now has some sort of DropBox integration, so it’s clearly not going away anytime soon. The ability to access files of your choosing offline and its slick iPad interface gives DropBox two big thumbs up from me. The only downside to DropBox is its security flaws, leading it to be called an "unsecured, consumer-focused tool" by many. 

Another leader in the cloud-based storage world is SugarSync. Many critics praise SugarSync because they've "mastered" online backup, mobile sync, and file sharing - however I think the most exciting feature is the ability to access ANY file or folder from your computer. Just pick a folder that you want to sync and SugarSync automatically updates to include any new files added.

For more info, check out's "Top Cloud Services for File Sharing and Syncing." They picked SugarSync as the winner and give a lot of neat tips for deciding which cloud storage solution is best for you. Cubby and IDriveSync are two free (beta) cloud storage services worth checking out as well. For more cloud storage ideas for your sensitive data, you should also check out's "5 Enterprise Alternatives to Dropbox". 


7) To-Do Apps



Wunderlist (FREE) / Things ($19.99)  /  OmniFocus ($19.99)


People who make lists for everything from work tasks to grocery shopping will be happy to see a slew of new project planning apps gaining popularity on the iPad. Wunderlist is a free cloud-sync task manager that lets you organize, use, and share all of your ideas easily across most platforms. Set up due dates, task reminders, and push notifications to boost your overall productivity.

'Things' is a little pricey, but just as powerful and easy to use as any other option. While this app doesn’t sync over iCloud, it does react beautifully with the desktop counterpart. Lastly, OmniFocus is great if you're to-do lists can get a little lengthy or confusing. OmniFocus gives you the ability to create projects, contexts, maps, forecasts, and flagged tasks - all from one easy to use interface.


8) Your PC on an iPad


Citrix Receiver (FREE)  /  OnLive Desktop (FREE)


If you use Citrix to host applications - or if you're using our SureDesk Suite - you're going to need Citrix Receiver for iPad. Considered a "must-have" by the SureTech staff, the Citrix Receiver app allows for easy access to all of your cloud-stored files.

With a SureDesk-powered iPad, you're now able to turn your device into a fully functioning Windows 7 PC. Not only do you get the portability and flexibility afforded to you by the iPad's design, but you will also get blazing fast Citrix-hosted applications available at your fingertips, allowing you to check e-mail, approve expenses, and review important documents as easily as you would at your office. Ask your SureTech solutions specialist for the URL and set up your receiver today.

For those of you looking to have some fun, OnLive Desktop for iPad is worth checking out. Much like Citrix Receiver, OnLive Desktop for iPad gives you free reign to use your iPad or Android Tablet as a Windows 7 PC. The downside? OnLive only gives you 2GB storage in the cloud and bandwidth consumption problems have made users feel like they're moving in slow motion.


So there you have it, 8 iPad apps designed with productivity in mind. Did we forget to mention your favorite app? Let us know in the comments section below.

For more ideas on how to increase productivity, check out our post titled "Take Back Your Workday," GigaOm's "8 Productivity Boosting Gadgets for Media Junkies," or ZDNet's "Seven Must-Have Productivity Apps for the iPad."

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