Better than what Apple gives you: 4 great apps trump the iPad’s default apps

August 27, 2013

While iOS won’t let you replace a native app with an alternative, there is no reason to stick with what Apple gave you when there are so many options out there. Consider these choices when looking for a superior experience browsing the web, reading email, taking notes or updating your calendar.

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Apple's legal pad-themed Notes app is due for a makeover. But you can stop waiting and get more note-taking capabilities with Things for iPad. Get ready for some sticker shock, as it will cost you $19.99. However that comes with some more robust note categorization and the ability to sync with a Mac and iOS devices.

Other worthy, lower cost note taking replacements worth considering include Wunderlist, my Tasks or the ubiquitous Evernote.


Even as computing has moved inside mobile apps, the browser is still the most important one. The strong cross-platform performance of Chrome makes it my favorite. While it isn’t necessarily as fast or tightly integrated with the rest of iOS as Safari, it syncs Chrome data and open tabs across one’s smartphone, tablet, or computer.

If Chrome on the desktop isn’t your thing, Atomic Web Browser and Dolphin are also good choices.


The email app category is exploding with alternatives. The best comprehensive email app is currently Mailbox. It has an iOS-friendly design that also keeps a lot of what is good about Gmail. Mailbox is built for power users who want to swipe through messages to achieve the elusive Inbox Zero.

Given that Mailbox is owned by the cloud-storage powerhouse Dropbox, look for it to expand beyond Gmail to other platforms.

If all that swiping and archiving isn’t your thing, then check out Mail+, especially if you are an Exchange user. It has a good, all-in-one solution with a calendar and Outlook contacts. Other popular alternatives include Incredimail and Evomail.


This is another case where the default iOS calendar is adequate, but there are more powerful options available. Even looking ahead to iOS 7 the default calendar isn’t slated for an aggressive feature overhaul.  

Calendars+ is a great replacement. It has strong search features and multiple options for alerting you about upcoming events, including through SMS. It also easily integrates with Google accounts or any other calendar service that connects with the iPad.

Also, keep an eye out for when Tempo AI makes the leap to the iPad. The current iPhone-only app pulls in meeting data from your e-mail so all critical information is in one place.

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